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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 15 - number 3
Freemasonry and the Progress of Science
The fifth of a series of discussions of Ancient Freemasonry and Present Day Problems
BY BRO. HERBERT HUNGERFORD Author of The Masons of Tomorrow
The present is commonly said to be an Age of Science. It is also an age of super-specialization, and specialization leads to one-sided development. It is often amazing to find out how little some people know outside their own immediate concerns.
Speculative Freemasonry was definitely designed to be an all-round educational influence. How has this come to be so completely forgotten? How can we recover the original balance of interests in our Institution? ACCORDING to the views of many profound observers, there is but one fundamental problem in the world to which all other problems are auxiliary or incidental. This basic problem is the conflict between ignorance and education; the warfare of science against superstition, of truth against the twin falsehoods of prejudice and intolerance.
From this point of view, our present article may be considered as the keystone of our entire series of discussions of the relations of our ancient institution to the various modern problems which our world is facing today. It may readily be seen, after due reflection, how all the other social, political, commercial and religious problems of our times might be regarded as phases of this basic problem of the progress of scientific discovery and the more popular diffusion of scientific knowledge and understanding. Probably, there never has been a more excellent statement of the benefits to be derived from the solution of this basis problem than the maxim of the Master Teacher "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Surely the founders of Freemasonry and the authors and revisers of our ritual must have given due regard to this basic problem of life when they designed the ceremonies whereby candidates are inducted into our Craft. Certainly the central theme of all our rituals is the leading of those blinded by the darkness of ignorance, and bound by the cords of superstition, out into the uplifting light of truth and knowledge. No one will deny the design of Freemasonry's educational aims and activities; but some may doubt whether, in our modern Masonic program, we are placing proper emphasis on the fundamental objectives of our Fraternity.
Have Our Lodges Shifted Their Objectives?
I do not hesitate to state that my personal observations of present day Masonic activities have developed the conviction that we modern members of the Craft have shifted the emphasis from the matters of highest importance and practical character-building value, which have been chiefly the cause of our world-wide influence and our worthy history. We still talk about the ancient activities, upon which the fame and credit of our institution has been established. We still profess due reverence and admiration for our ancient traditions. But, in our actual practice in most modern lodges, it seems to me that we place our real emphasis upon trivial and incidental matters, and devote most of our attention to "feeds," functions and fraternity politics.
This criticism is not directed against the essential social activities of our Fraternity. My objection is that too few lodges devote any part of their program to anything but social and ritualistic matters. The great popular educational activities of our Order are thus side-tracked, or omitted altogether.
Freemasonry Had Educational Aims
Even the most superficial study of our ritual will disclose its essential educational character. In the early days, as any student of Masonic history will testify, the educational activities of Freemasonry were kept first and foremost. In fact, it would not be wide of the mark for Freemasonry to lay claims to the credit of being one of the earliest exemplars and advocates of the now popular adult educational movement.
While it must not be denied that many foremost leaders in our Fraternity today are putting forth most commendable efforts to preserve our worthy educational traditions and still keep our educational activities in the foreground; yet I doubt if any widely and well informed observer of Masonic activities will pretend that the average lodge devotes one-tenth as much attention to affairs that could in any sense be termed educational as every lodge ought to.
The Progress of Science: What Is It?
I trust that I am not causing confusion among the Craft, or at least in the minds of those who are following this series of discussions, by referring to the progress of science as meaning the same as educational progress. The terms actually are synonymous, even though so much of the activity of our times that is labeled educational is neither scientific, nor truly deserving of the title educational.
The scientist is a searcher for truth, an investigator, explorer and experimenter with the facts of our natural world. The teacher or educator explains and gives instruction regarding the facts discovered and the conclusions deduced by the scientist. This, of course, is not the entire task of the teacher, but it should comprise his principal endeavor.
Freemasonry and Science Are in Accord
Bearing these facts in mind, it will be noted that the aims of Freemasonry are in complete accord with the attitude of science. Every Mason should be a seeker after the enlightenment afforded by truth, on exactly the same basis as the student of science.
The deepest personal impression that I have gained from a study of the structure of our organization, and the history of the institution, is a profound admiration for what appears to me the sound scientific principles on which Freemasonry is based. It would, therefore, in my opinion, be a tragedy if we permit our lodge programs to continue their present tendency towards superficialities and frivolities, without serious protest and an earnest endeavor to turn the trend of thought back to the great educational aims and activities on which the solid fame of our Fraternity has been established.
Understand, please, that this must not be construed as a protest against any wholesome social or entertaining feature of Masonic activity. It simply registers my personal opinion that too many lodges at the present day are concerned chiefly with the lesser things of Freemasonry, while they permit the greater and more worthy features to be crowded out of their programs.
While I must admit that my observations of Masonic activities have been limited principally to lodges in New York and a score or so suburban towns and rural villages, but, I should conclude from this circumscribed survey that not more than one lodge in a hundred now- a-days is placing proper emphasis upon educational matters in its regular program.
What Do Masons Know of Masonry?
This is not a plea for more dry-as-dust lectures in lodges. Neither is it a protest against a reasonable amount of fun and frivolity in our lodge activities. Wholesome fun is just as essential to character development as any other activity. But when your lodge devotes practically all its efforts to the operation of your degree mill and to purely entertaining affairs, you certainly are missing many of the real benefits and privileges of Freemasonry.
What I deplore most in modern Masonic activities, as I have observed the same in my visits to various lodges in my section to deliver my address on "The Masons of Tomorrow," is the appalling ignorance which so many of our younger brethren disclose regarding the real fundamentals of Freemasonry.
It was my observation of these matters which first drew my attention to the work of the National Masonic Research Society, and THE BUILDER. No auxiliary of Freemasonry, it seems to me, is undertaking a task that is closer to the fundamental ideals of Freemasonry, and no present day activity in the Fraternity is more deserving of the cooperation of all lodges and the support of all thoughtful members of our Craft. The Crying Need of American Masonry Today
I have long contended that the crying need of modern Masonry is for a better understanding of the real principles and practices of the Craft. It is practically impossible, under modern conditions, to give our novitiates more than a smattering of Masonic information and understanding by depending entirely upon our ceremonials and our occasional informal lectures. Consequently a Masonic Study Club ought to be regarded at least as essential in every lodge as the Entertainment Committee.
In my travels, however, I have met with only one Study Club in the lodges that I have visited, but every lodge had an active and aggressive Entertainment Committee. I have been asked questions on Masonic matters which were such a confession of ignorance of the fundamentals of Freemasonry that it would seem to me that the questioners ought to be ashamed to ask them.
Some Little Things That Count
The blame for this condition, I believe, lies upon the Masters of our lodges, who are blinded by modern notions of "making a big show," so that they fail to estimate justly the value of certain things, which may be small in the general esteem and make little noise, but which loom large in making for the sound progress of a lodge.
I have run across any number of lodges which have had all sorts of difficulty in filling their chairs with men well grounded in the fundamental principles of Freemasonry. I have seen lodges disrupted because untrained and injudicious officials have been elected to responsibilities which they were incapable of undertaking.
All these and many other difficulties would be overcome if it should become the universal practice in our lodges for the Master to appoint an Educational Committee to take charge of organizing and conducting a Masonic Study Club. It is not pretended that the work of such a Club would make as much show as the activities of the Entertainment Committee. It would be nonsense to claim that any sort of scheme would make Masonic study as popular as Masonic entertainment. But, in the long run, I believe, the half dozen members who might meet quietly once or twice a month to study the real fundamentals of Freemasonry would ultimately contribute more towards the permanent upbuilding of your lodge than the biggest entertainment you could possibly hold, or a whole series of them.
Perhaps you think I am straying from my subject. Quite the contrary, I assure you. In fact, we have now reached the heart of this series of discussions that I have been attempting to develop.
Let Freemasonry Keep Pace With the Advance of Science
My firm conviction is that Masonic Study Clubs should not confine their research to the dusty minutiae of Masonic history, but should include among their investigations some comparison between ancient Masonic principles and practices and the present day problems of our own lives and the real world in which we live.
Of course we must delve into the history of our ancient and honorable institution in order to discover its fundamental aims and objectives. Yet the vitalizing factor of our historic research will be the connections we make between the past, the present and the future of our grand old Fraternity.
It is my sincere belief that no single activity would do more to make Freemasonry keep Pace with the progress of science than to adopt some measure for establishing Study Clubs in all lodges. I hope to live to see the day when any lodge will be ashamed to admit that it does not maintain a Study Club.
As in our previous discussions, we have not attempted to treat this tremendous topic in any degree exhaustively. We have simply aimed to hit a few high spots, but, principally, have endeavored to raise questions in the minds of our readers. Our object, you understand, is to provoke or stimulate "come backs" and thus develop genuine discussions rather than the one-sided expounding of one man's personal opinions and observations.
The editors of THE BUILDER will welcome your comment on any phase of this series of discussions. If your views are at variance with those of the writer, so much the better. If you agree with the writer's general aims, but wish to suggest other and, possibly, more practical solutions of problems involved, by all means send in your suggestions.
In the next article of this series, we expect to discuss "Freemasonry and Modern Business Problems."
The Degrees of Masonry; Their Origin and History
By BROS. A. L. KRESS and R. J. MEEKREN (Continued from February)
ANOTHER scholar, Arthur Edward Waite, an authority in his own field, calls for brief mention, although he does not seem to have investigated our problem very deeply himself, but depends, it would seem, chiefly upon the conclusions reached by others. Indeed he tells us that he has no direct interest in archeological matters. (1) His views are not easily summarized, because to fully understand them requires at least an acquaintance with his belief in a "secret tradition," and a "mystical quest," a subject that is on a different level altogether from that of the present discussion. He is willing to accept either one, or two grades, in the original operative system, and assumes that the present first degree is founded more or less upon the ancient ritual. (2) He notes that Speth held that the original two degrees embodied the essentials of our present system, but thinks that Gould modified this position considerably, as he says the latter held that
. . . the terms Fellow Craft and Master were interchangeable and had reference to one and the same thing, being a Second Degree, but he did not suggest that it contained the present elements of the Master Grade.
We would not like to contradict this, as we gather Bro. Waite has had better opportunities to learn what Gould's opinions really were than we have had, but, from the latter's published works, we have distinctly gathered the impression that in his opinion the original second grade did comprise the elements of our third. But perhaps this difference of opinion rests on differing idea of what the elements of the third degree really are.
Bro. Waite expresses himself as in a painful quandary. He has sought longingly to find some trace of the existence of the allegory and symbolism of the Master Builder earlier than the Grand Lodge era, but sorrowfully confesses he has not yet heard of any indication of this; although he insists, on the other hand, that it is incredible that any one of that particular period, and in London of all places, could have invented it. With this we heartily agree. It is, we believe, a psychological impossibility that it should have been invented in the 18th century. The period is either too early or too later. (3)
The Rev. F. deP. Castells has very recently published two books, the Origin of the Masonic Degrees and the Antiquity of the Holy Royal Arch. Like Bro. Waite his interest chiefly lies in the symbolical and mystical side of the subject, but unlike him he does not seem to retain so firm a grasp on fact. Bro. Waite frankly admits the lack of support given by existing evidence to the continuity of the "secret tradition," while Bro. Castells is inclined to bridge the gap by force of suppositions and straining of the evidence. As his books are easily obtainable there is no call here to set forth his views in any detail. He is familiar with most of the documents in the case, and quotes them freely. He holds the Royal Arch to be the original end of the Masonic system, and seems to believe in there having been two lines of descent, a purely Operative one, and a Speculative one concealed behind the former. Attractive as this hypothesis may be, we feel sure that the critically minded will prefer Bro. Waite's attitude of suspension of judgment, especially as there can be very few who know as much about occult and mystical schools as does the latter eminent scholar.
The Rev. Herbert Poole gave a paper before the Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1924 on "Masonic Secrets and Ritual Before 1717." This exceedingly valuable essay however does not contain very much that is relevant to the question in hand. Bro. Poole classifies and discusses the evidence, and thence constructs a provisional sketch of the ritual forms that seem to be implied in the fragmentary descriptions and allusions that have come down to us. The only two passages referring to degrees are the following. The first is from the body of the paper:
All the sources imply (if they do not state it explicitly) that secrets were given after the oath of secrecy, and that this oath was administered at the commencement of the Masonic career of the candidate. Now since an apprentice was bound to his master for seven years, and forbidden under heavy penalties to seek work elsewhere, it would seem to be not only unneccessary, but perhaps even undesirable, for the apprentice to be able to prove himself a Mason to a stranger. Is it possible that the giving of the secrets to the apprentice indicates a "telescoping" of ceremonies for the benefit of the speculative? I doubt if full weight has been allowed to this possibility by past investigators of the problem of the number of degrees of ancient Masonry. (4)
The idea of a "continuing" ceremony is far from new as we have seen. Speth had spoken of the two degrees having "been practically welded into one" and the hypothesis had been accepted by other scholars. (5) The problem of the runaway apprentice is a real one, or at least it was. There would not have been pains and penalties so definitely provided had the phenomenon been unusual. But this is speaking of apprentices in general, in all trades. One can imagine that the temptation to run away was much greater in confined and sedentary employments. Further, in Scotland express provision is made in the Masonic code for the Apprentice to work "on his own" if his Master have no sufficient employment for him. (6) It is a point certainly requiring consideration however. There is evidence to indicate at least the possibility of such "welding" or "telescoping" of degrees, which would be a further stage of degeneration following upon a custom of "continuing" from one to the other on the same occasion.
The second passage referred to comes at the conclusion of the paper where Bro. Poole says:
Before closing, I must revert to the vexed question of "degrees." I have put this question on one side while dealing with my material; but it cannot be left there, though I do not propose to enter upon it now. I wish merely to throw out a suggestion, which I do not think has ever been emphasized, that in my opinion it is tied up with the question of "operative" and "speculative"; and that two "degrees,"' though not the same degrees, may have been worked by each- and that the operative "fellow" corresponded in some way with the speculative "master-mason", while possibly, as I have hinted earlier, the two operative degrees were communicated at once to the speculative. Along such lines, I believe, the solution to the question recast he searched for.
We hope that Bro; Poole will not forget his implied undertaking to develop this further, because, aside from the general value that his researches would have, we are not quite sure just what he has in mind in this distinction between operative and speculative systems. We judge that he may be referring to the present third degree, and if this guess is correct, then it would seem that he, like Bro. Ramsden Riley and others, holds, in common with the supporters of one degree, that the master's grade is an innovation in Masonry, even while admitting the existence of two grades in the original system.
We now come to the last scholar whose views call for mention, Bro. Lionel Vibert. He is indeed the only recent writer who has treated this subject systematically and at length, with the one exception of Bro. Castells. The character and aim of their respective investigations are, however, radically different. Bro. Vibert treats of the subject of "Ceremonies and Degrees" in a chapter of his well known and useful work, The Story of the Craft. He has since elaborated some phases of the problem in his Prestonian Lectures, the second of which was very recently submitted to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge in a somewhat amended form; the modifications being due to such criticisms and suggestions from other students as seemed to him to have merit. As this lecture was quite fully reviewed in THE BUILDER last year (7) it will be possible to treat it more briefly than its importance would otherwise demand.
In his earlier work Bro. Vibert accepts the conclusion reached by Murray Lyon, which has since been accepted almost as an article of faith by Masonic students generally, that:
The Scottish operatives in early days had but one ceremony and that was of the simplest natured
Bro. Vibert then goes on to say:
The English had a form of admission for the apprentice, and may, on continental analogies, have had some sort of feast at all events for the apprentice, out of his indentures, admitted to full membership of the Guild. But of ceremonial beyond an oath and prayers and the reading of the Charges there is no clear evidence. Neither in Scotland nor in England was she operative master distinguished from the Fellows by the possession of any further secrets, or by anything that we should call a degree.
He then intimates the probability of some legend being preserved in the Fraternity concerning Hiram the Builder. and states his acceptance of the view that
. . . at all events by 1723, in England there were two ceremonies recognized. One was the apprentices ceremony and the other the Master's Part.
And a little further on he refers to the Miracle Play hypothesis of the origin of the Third Degree, pointing out however, that no play extant has been found that could be taken as its source. (9)
Now there here appears a chasm that is unbridged. In the indefinite operative period there is only one ceremony; for the possible feast hardly seems to come under the head, that is, in the same sense. But some time before 1723 there were in London at least two ceremonies each conferring a certain status. Bro. Vibert has made no attempt to bridge this gap. He has only undertaken to propound a reason for the two having been converted into three.
In broad outline his hypothesis is that this evolution arose out of the problem created by the need for new lodges, due to the rapid growth of the Fraternity in London in and after the year 1720. He suggests that the establishment of permanent organized bodies (in distinction to the casual lodges of six or seven Masons "well met," which formed themselves by inherent right, and dissolved immediately) was, if not an innovation altogether, regarded as such by the brethren. And that it was as a measure of control over the situation that Payne compiled his Regulations. And further, that the clause in Regulation XIII, which has been so often referred to, was devised mainly for the purpose of keeping a cheek on those who were to be eligible to office in the new lodges. Bro. Vibert does not put it quite in this way, but it seems to be what is implied in what he says.
Now the Regulations also provided that the Master and Wardens of a lodge should be "among the Fellow Craft." As the old qualification of the Master's Part could only be given in the Grand Lodge it is suggested that a new degree of Fellow Craft was formed out of the original first grades like Eve out of Adam's rib, for the purpose of qualifying those- selected for office without going to the Grand Lodge. Stating it thus baldly does not do the theory justice, and as the lecture is easily accessible we must refer our readers to it. (10)
The great attraction of Bro. Vibert's theory is that for the first time a definite, tangible, motive is suggested which does seem to be adequate to the known effect; for Gould's theory of misunderstanding would be a cause rather than a motive. Precisely for this reason it needs the closest scrutiny, for it is a general failing to be blind to the difficulties raised by an explanation that appeals to us. The chief difficulty here is that of seeing why the direct way out of the dilemma was not taken. As was pointed out in the review above mentioned, and by several of those who took part in the discussion in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the Grand Lodge was merely the particular lodges in general council, and it is not easy to see how it could persist, as a unit, in a course that was causing general dissatisfaction to its component parts. It does not appear to us that Bro. Vibert has altogether succeeded in meeting this difficulty.
The discussion that followed the lecture revealed as many different points of view as those who took part in it. To begin with, there seemed to be no definite agreement as to the connotation of the terms used; degree, master, fellow, apprentice, mason. And behind this, very different prepossessions in regard to what the essential elements of the various ritual forms might have been. As a result the impression is given that those taking part were, to some extent, at cross purposes. Bro. Covey-Crump doubted if "Fellow" and "Master" were identical terms. He seemed inclined to suspect that the masters, in the sense of employers, "bosses," had ceremonies or traditions of their own, while the non-operative honorary members became fellows immediately by the omission of the apprenticeship, but that, though fellows, they were not masters. In effect this seems to be bringing back the theory of an original three degrees ceremonies-with-secrets instead of two.
Bro. J. Heron Lepper also seemed to doubt the equivalence of Master and Fellow-Craft in Regulation XIII, basing his questioning on the fact that Pennell in his reprint (and revision) of the Constitutions quite unmistakably makes provision for three grades. But, as has been pointed out previously, Prichard exhibited three degrees two months later, while the Philo-Musicae et Architecturae Societas had apparently worked three in London four years earlier. (11)
Bro. Tuckett, assuming the existence of lodges and Masons throughout the country, asked why, or how, they came to adopt the inserted grade, which had no purpose or object outside the new organization? And he raised the further point, that qualification is not derived from a mere name, which was all the new degree amounted to. That is, the new-style fellow possessed no more than the old-style mason or apprentice; and he reverts to his own hypothesis that the two grades of the old system were equivalent to our first and second degrees, containing the same esoteric essentials; and that there was the additional ceremony-with-secrets (which was not a degree) containing the Hiramic legend, and commonly known as the Master's Part.
Bro. W. J. Williams also doubted the equivalence of master and fellow, and thought the use of the word "degree" in the discussion led to confusion of thought; as in our sense degrees did not then really exist. He argues, and quotes Gould in support, that master meant only master of the lodge.
Bro. Poole thus summarized his understanding of Bro. Vibert's position. Owing to the non-operative or speculative members being made members of the Fraternity the two steps as taken by them were
1. Apprentice and Fellow
2 What we now call Master
but that in 1723, though still containing the same elements in the same order, these became
2. Fellow Craft and Master
and gives it as his solution of the puzzle that the change was not an innovation but a restoration of the older (operative?) practice. That is, if we understand him, that the two ceremonies, which had been made one for the speculative because he did not serve an apprenticeship, now became two again. But this seems also to imply the original existence, in some form, of three steps, grades or ceremonies-with-secrets.
Bro. J. Walter Hobbs, however, seemed to stand by the dual system, and affirmed the two grades to have been apprentice and master, with fellow as an alternate term for the latter, signifying full membership presumably, and he pertinently points out what "a whirl of varied titles" are used in our available documentary sources. Still he is inclined to adopt Bro. Poole's suggestion as affording a possible avenue of escape from the confusion, that the Operatives and Speculatives each worked two degrees but not the same degrees. To us this would seem to promise to make the confusion worse confounded.
Bro. Bullamore rejected the conclusion that there were only two degrees in 1723, accepting the vague hint in the letter signed Verus Commodus in 1725 (12), that there were "five orders" in the Masonic system, which "orders" he seems to accept as equivalent to degrees. The hostile skit he here referred to is hardly sufficient authority by itself, and the phrase "the fifth order" obviously refers, from the context, to the five orders of architecture.
Bro. Thos. M. Carter, while seeing a difficulty in the brief space of time in which the supposed method for evading the force of Regulation XIII came to be "practically universally adopted," sees also a moral difficulty in such a systematic evasion. This objection does seem to have weight, and we are inclined to hold that this facet of the complex dilemma is best resolved by assuming that the Regulation was merely a restatement of the old rule that apprentices were only to be passed in the general assembly, to which everybody was agreed in theory, while force of habit and mere convenience tended to make the attempted revival of the old law a dead letter from the start. There is nothing strange or unusual in that. All organizations are subject to the same experience, not only in their beginnings but even when well established, of making rules that prove quite unworkable in practice.
Bro. Daynes, referring to the statement made by Bro. Vibert, that while authority could be, and was, delegated to constitute new lodges, there was "no delegation of the power to confer the Master's Part," pointed out that it was not conclusive because the Regulation expressly adds, after the general prohibition of making Masters and Fellow-Crafts in the private lodges, the saving clause, "unless by dispensation." Bro. Vibert said that there being no record of Grand Lodge passing Masters and Fellows proves nothing, which is true; but neither does the absence of any record of the granting of dispensations prove they were not given. It may be that they were, and that the repeal of the clause was due to the absurdity of a practical annulment by dispensation. He also pointed out, what the other brethren seem to have somewhat lost sight of, that the Haughfoot records are definitely witness to a dual system in 1702, (13) and he might have added Dunblane, a little lateral. (14)
In reply Bro. Vibert acknowledged the difficulties raised and sought to meet them. Admitting the confused terminology in the sources, he yet thinks they point to the sequence, Apprentice, Fellow and Master; changing that of Gould and Speth who interpreted the documents as witnessing to the arrangement Apprentice, Master, Fellow. He repeats that these ranks were given in two steps, and to non-operatives, in the grouping A. & F., and then M. And he insists that the character of the two steps was quite different, the first being "purely symbolic and based on Two Pillars," while the other "was associated with a Hiramic Legend." But this of course is precisely one of the points at issue; was there at that time a step or ceremony based on a Hiramic Legend? It is quite possible to deny that there was and yet hold that there were two degrees, or ritual steps; and as we have seen, this explanation has been advanced by more than one authority. It is thus only in obedience to a natural progress in the investigation that in recent years attention has been specially turned to the problem of the origin of our third degree.
Bro. Vibert then goes on to offer a modified version of his theory in view of the suggestions and criticisms that had been offered to it in its original form. It is in bare outline as follows:
The "trade system" had a symbolic step connected with Pillars. The apprentice was merely sworn (just as in other crafts we judge) but when out of his time, became a Fellow and full member of the fraternity by the symbolic steps of the Pillars.
The non-operative honorary or speculative member "must needs go through the form of being admitted an apprentice," yet nevertheless proceeded
. . . then and there to full membership. The speculative, therefore, as an apprentice, learnt about the Pillars, both of them. Nevertheless the step was really a double one- it conferred in one day the rank of full membership that in the trade was only to be achieved after years of work and sometimes not then.
We do not know on what grounds the suggestion was made, that full membership was not always attained, or how much it implies, but that is aside from the point. The italics in the above passage are Bro. Vibert's. It seems to us that the hypothesis is not the obvious or simplest way of relating the facts. While the Regulations do expressly give "even the youngest Apprentice" a voice and a vote in the annual Assembly of the Grand Lodge, or rather, concurrent with it, it does not seem that this is to be taken as indicating that the majority of Masons present ranked only as Apprentices, even in the light of the note in the Mystery of Freemasons that;
There is not one Mason in a Hundred that be at the Expense to pass the Master's Part, except it be for Interest.
Even granting that the only ceremonial in the operative period that was worthy of the name of an initiation was that at the end of the apprenticeship, it does not seem necessary to suppose, or even natural, that the non-operative who, after being sworn in as an Apprentice in ordinary form, and then straightaway given his freedom, by being passed through the initiation that normally followed years later, should be denied the rank of a fellow, and held to be only an apprentice. Or to put it another way; though for the honorary or speculative candidate, apprentice oath and fellowship ritual were combined in a continuing, or even "telescoped," ceremony, yet his status would be that of the higher, not the lower rank, and he would be called fellow equally with those who had served their full time.
Bro. Vibert then says:
While we cannot say categorically what esoteric knowledge is in every ease implied in the use of the term Fellow or Fellow Craft, it does appear as though, in the operative system, it cannot have involved a knowledge of anything beyond the Pillars. Nowhere in the Constitutions is it suggested or even hinted that the Master of the Lodge must have prior knowledge of the narrative ceremony or its accessories.
By "narrative-ceremony" is meant that embodying the Hiramic legend. Bro. Vibert further asserts that, technically, by the letter of the (English) law, a Fellow-Craft is still qualified to serve as Warden and Master of a lodge. But while this may have real foundation in fact, it seems here to becloud the issue. The question in point is not whether at a later time the letter of the law qualified for office those with the title, Fellow Craft, but, what did that title imply in 1723? And further, while it may be true that there is no hint that the brother elected to office as Master had to have the status of Master Mason (and this might be questioned) (15) it does not follow, necessarily, that "knowledge of the narrative" was not required, if it be supposed to have been, at that time, included in the grade of Fellow. Bro. Vibert of course does not suppose this. His scheme seems to be:
1. Status of Apprentice, acquired by the formality of registration, and an oath to obey his master and the rules of the trade, just as in other occupations.
2. Fellow, attained normally at end of apprenticeship, with an initiation concerning the Pillars
3. Master, a ceremony-with-secrets, originally restricted to employers, and dealing with the Hiramic narrative.
This scheme being granted his hypothesis does seem logical. That is if we grant his further contention that the office of Master of the lodge was a new thing. And this does find support in the Old Charges, and from other sources, too, in that it seems to be implied that the individual who presided in a lodge was the senior fellow. In workshops, the master was of course the man who "hired and fired", and paid wages. Under the new regime of speculative Masonry the new lodges elected their presidents, and called them Masters. The old qualification for an employer (i. e. the "narrative ceremony") might be insisted on by analogy and we remember that Anderson takes pains to describe the speculative lodge, figuratively, in terms of the workshop; the presiding officer being the employer, in a speculative sense. But on the other hand, the new elective officer might be regarded as taking the place of the "senior fellow", who traditionally presided in such groups; in which case no further qualification was needed. The Grand Lodge, having assumed control of the "narrative ceremony," the lodges adopted the latter alternative; and then, to make more of their ritual, enlarged the Apprentice part, by adding to its bare formalities part of the symbolic content of the Fellow. The difficulty here is that Regulation XIII speaks of Fellow Craft as well as Master. That would seem to leave the lodges only the bare formality of an oath. Bro. Vibert of course assumes that the Fellow's part (concerning the Pillars) had been attached to that of the Apprentice, but if so why did the Regulation include the Fellow Craft? Was it merely pure confusion, or divergence of opinion, or what?
We are not absolutely sure that Bro. Vibert would accept this version of his theory. (16) we have tried to distinguish his postulates from his argument, and to present the latter apart from discussion of the validity of his conception of the situation. And in our opinion, that being granted, his theory seems to fit the case very well.
Bro. Vibert concludes by saying that the last word has not been said; and this undoubted fact has its compensations, for were the question finally settled there would be a distinct loss of interest in research, for it is without doubt one of the most exciting problems connected with the history of the Fraternity. Perhaps, though, the interest is after all only a derived one. We have remarked above that discussion in recent years had turned from this particular problem to that of the origin of the Master's grade. Really the question of the number of the original degrees is a flank attack upon this more significant problem, and agreement on this would doubtless greatly increase the chances of agreement on the subsidiary investigation, the progress of which we have been surveying.
(1) Waite, New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Preface, p. vi.
(2) Ibid., vol. i, p. 280.
(3) It is impossible to enlarge upon Bro. Waite's theories of the Master's grade, and we refer our readers to the work already mentioned, and to Emblematic Freemasonry, Chapter iii, and especially page 52.
(4) A. Q. C., vol. xxxvii, p. 16.
(5) BUILDER, September, 1928, p. 270.
(6) Lyon, History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, p. 16.
(7) BUILDER, February, 1928, p. 56.
(8) Vibert, Story of the Craft, p. 75.
(9) The late Bro. Robert Race was the most prominent advocate of this theory, which he set forth in a most interesting and suggestive article. (See Trans. Manchester Ass'n, 1918-1919 vol. ix p. 9.) We may here remark that Bro. D. E. Williamson Associate Editor of THE BUILDER, has carefully read every Medieval play that has been published in English, French, German or Latin, and states positively that there is nothing to be found that by any Stretch of the imagination could be taken as a parallel to the legend in question.
(10) Bro. Vibert's second Prestonian Lecture is included in the Transactions of the Merseyside Ass'n for Masonic Research 1926, p. 47, and those of the Somerset Masters' Lodge for 1926 p. 562. In its amended form it appears in A. Q. C., vol. xxxix, p. 208.
(11) BUILDER, January, p. 29, and December, 1928, p. 357.
(12) Gould, History, vol. iv, p. 286.
(13) In 1707 the lodge resolved, "except on special considerations" not to "admit to the Society both of apprentice and fellowcraft, at the same time, but that one year at least should intervene . . ." A. Q. C., vol. xvi p. 178.
(14) In 1716 it was enacted "that in tyme coming there he no measons or vthers entered and passed ..... at one and the same time." Lyon, op. cit., p. 416.
(15) It could be argued, and it is the position that we are inclined to accept, that the term "master" in the Constitutions is used in two, or rather three, distinct senses: (a) Master of the Craft of the trade and its technical processes; (b) master in the sense of an employer of other masons; and (c) master, or presiding officer of a lodge. Indefinite as such usage may sound we submit that there are very few places in the Constitutions where the particular meaning is not fairly clear from the context, though there may be places where two of the three meanings are combined. As in the much discussed clause of Regulation xiii, "Master" may mean both masters as competent workmen and masters as employers. There is no contradiction or difficulty raised in such an interpretation, for the master as employer is assumed to be master of his trade. We think, however, that in this place (and in others also) the latter meaning is to be taken as the dominant one.
(16) Since this was written this resume was submitted to Bro. Vibert, and he writes us that he considers it "perfectly fair" and remarks on the confusion the matter is in due to the looseness of the terminology.
American Army Lodges in the World War
Sea and Field Lodge No. 2 of New York Stationed in Paris BY CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor
TO approach the problem of recounting the history of the several Army Lodges established in France by the Grand Lodge of New York it is necessary to make a brief survey of the efforts of the American Craft to carry aid and comradeship to the Masons who went across the seas in the service of our government during the war.
The war, as everyone knows, was officially declared in April of 1917. By midsummer troops began to cross the Atlantic as an advance guard of the later movement. As early as August of that summer a group of Engineers and others, aboard the Cunarder "Saxonia", met in one of the Ward Rooms for a delightful evening of Fellowship, and formed, for that occasion, an informal association to which they attached the name "Saxonia Lodge, Somewhere at Sea." The story of that evening will be told later in this series.
In the old Coast Defense a Club had been organized, known as the "Fellowcraft Club." And when this branch was reorganized into the Coast Artillery and broken up into a number of regiments, the parent Club was likewise separated into a group of Clubs. And among these, several went across and took root, first at Bordeaux, and later, scattered throughout France wherever the former units of the Coast Guard (now the C. A. C.) were stationed.
Meanwhile the Masonic bodies at home were busy forming various kinds of organizations, every one of which had the welfare and comfort of Craftsmen and their families at heart. Out in Missouri the Grand Lodge created an "Overseas Commission", and appointed a number of their members as a Committee to proceed to Europe and survey the situation, with a view to relief, not only to Americans, but also to all the Allied countries. The Chairman of the Committee was W. Bro. George S. McLanahan.
In the Grand Lodge of Ohio, William Melish, known and loved throughout the United States, had fathered and started an organization called the "Masonic War Relief Association of the U.S.A." This organization eventually spread beyond the confines of this Grand Lodge.
The Southern Jurisdiction Scottish Rite very early in 1917 took practical steps to survey the situation and sent to Paris Judge George F. Moore, Sovereign Grand Commander, with several of their prominent members. The stories of all these movements will find a place later in this series.
In the Grand Lodge of New York, in the reconvened Annual Communication of 1917, a Resolution was introduced looking toward active work for the relief of American Masons within our forces and candidates for the degrees in the same. Their efforts culminated in the formation of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, the story of which was told last month. At the same time this Grand Lodge organized an "Overseas Masonic Mission" with powers to proceed to France and survey the Field, and, if it was deemed necessary and advisable, to issue dispensations for Sea and Field Lodges. The Chairman of this Mission was Chief Justice Townsend Scudder of the Highest Court within the State of New York. Associated with Justice Scudder were a number of the finest type of professional and business men, all leaders in the Masonic Fraternity. The story of this Mission will be made a matter of a special paper a little later.
But the story of this Mission is so intertwined in the history of the four Sea and Field Lodges of France that it is necessary for me to go somewhat into their preliminary history here. Many Craftsmen wondered during the year 1918, and in the winter months of 1918-19, why it was that the home Lodges seemed to have forgotten their very existence. It is due to these Masonic bodies to speak very frankly in this paper. And I want to say that the Masonic Fraternity was not negligent nor static during those months. Anyone who will take the trouble to secure a copy of the "Report of the Masonic Overseas Mission", issued on Dec. 31, 1918, by the Grand Lodge of New York, will find, after reading the 129 pages of this report, which is signed by every member of the Committee, why Masonry was unable to follow its members across the seas until after the Armistice. A reading of this report would be very healthy food for those Masons who still hold fond fancies as to the general friendliness that is supposed to exist toward the Fraternity throughout the United States.
Suffice it to say here that passports which were first assured to this Mission in the summer of 1918 were refused by the Government for almost a year; statements were issued that General Pershing was opposed to the entrance of the Fraternity into France in 1918, which statements he has, I am informed, since denied, comparatively recently in fact. After the heaviest pressure was placed upon the former Secretary of War, and even the President, the only way the representatives of the forty-nine Grand Lodges of America could get to France was in the garb of the Y.M.C.A., designated as Secretaries of the same.
However, the New York Mission finally landed in France, and reached Paris in February, 1919, and proceeded immediately to obtain information as to the state of affairs in regard to Masonry. They found Judge Moore already there and assisted in opening the Paris Overseas Club. The formal housewarming of this headquarters was on the twenty-second of the same month. The Masons working at the Headquarters of the Y. M. C. A. at Paris had already formed the Trowel and Triangle Club, the membership of which was composed of Y. M. C. A. Secretaries scattered throughout France. The story of this Club will have to come later.
Judge Moore soon after returned home. The Overseas Mission fitted themselves into the scheme of things as they found them and proceeded to organize, the Y. M. C. A. authorities giving them such assistance as lay in their power. The Mission found a home at 10 Victor Emmanuel, and made this the center of their work.
As soon as practicable, members of the Mission visited all parts of the country to see what was to be done. Their experiences are being prepared now by former members of the Mission and will find a place later on in the series.
It was apparent to Justice Scudder and his companions that the establishment of a Sea and Field Lodge at Paris would be very valuable, and so under the authority of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York the dispensation issued to Bro. Townsend Scudder was put into effect, and with Bro. Scudder as Worshipful Master, Thomas Channing Moore as Senior Warden, and Merwin W. Lay as Junior Warden, Sea and Field Lodge, No. 2, Paris, France, was instituted.
Associated with these brethren were William C. Prime, as Secretary; George S. Goodrich, as Senior Deacon; B. D. Norman, as Junior Deacon; and C. B. Blackwell as Junior Deacon.
The story of this Lodge was reported to the Grand Lodge in 1920 by Bro. Scudder and published in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1920. I am here largely reproducing this report, because being told so soon after the events happened, and by the Master of the Lodge himself, the story is not only official but undoubtedly comprehensive and accurate.
Justice Scudder said:
When you appointed me Chairman of the Mission to Freemasons in the United States Forces Overseas, you also commissioned me as your plenipotentiary in territory outside the United States, with all power and authority possessed by yourself as Grand Master, in respect of Freemasons without the United States, owing obedience to the Grand Lodge of New York in respect of the relations of the Grand Lodge of New York with Masonic Grand Jurisdictions overseas, and you committed to my care four Warrants for Overseas Sea and Field Lodges exclusively military in their character, which Warrants were signed by you Dec. 24, 1918. You instructed me to complete the same by inserting the names of the seven principal officers of each at my discretion, and in case I should determine that the welfare of the members of the Fraternity from New York, with the A. E. F., required it, or would be promoted thereby, to institute said Lodges, or any thereof, as regular Naval or Military Masonic Lodges, in such places without the United States as I should see fit, for service to and with the men enlisted, drafted or commissioned in the United States Forces in the Great War, or regular members of the A. E. F. - Y.M.C.A. or American Red Cross ministering to our men.
You will discover in this paragraph that most extraordinary powers were granted by Grand Master W. S. Farmer to his Committee. How statesmanlike was his masterly foresight, and his confidence in the ability of his committee to proceed on wise and sound lines, even if far away from New York! So utterly different from many other Grand Masters who displayed such timidity and fear as to the Masons who went with the Army, lest they might not know how to proceed nor be able to control their zeal, should they be given powers to act as Masons when abroad ! Particularly noticeable is the absence of any "strings," of fettering provisos and exceptions, to the commission granted to Justice Scudder. The soundness of his procedure, and the type of men he chose for the responsible places in the four Overseas Lodges justified this carte blanches and is in strong contrast to the hesitating and the non possums attitude, found elsewhere. Of course, these other rulers of the Craft may have been justified concerning their own members. Regarding this they were perhaps the best judges, though my own observation does not incline me to agree with them.
Bro. Scudder in his report gives the blank dispensations used by all four of Field Lodges:
SIT LUX ET LUX FUIT William S. Farmer, Grand Master
I, William S. Farmer, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, do, by these presents, appoint, authorize and empower our
Worthy Brother to be Master, our
Worthy Brother to be Senior Warden, our
Worthy Brother to be Junior Warden, our
Worthy Brother to be the Treasurer, our
Worthy Brother to be the Secretary, our
Worthy Brother to be the Senior Deacon, our
Worthy Brother to be the Junior Deacon
of a Sea and Field Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, to be, by virtue hereof, constituted, formed and held at the City of New York, and elsewhere and Overseas, as may be convenient and necessary, which Lodge shall be distinguished and known by the name or style of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 2, and the said Master is hereby authorized to appoint subordinate officers of said Lodge; and said Lodge is authorized to adopt all such by-laws and regulations for the governance of its proceedings and labor, subject to my approval as it may see fit.
And, further, the said Lodge is hereby invested with full power and authority to assemble on all proper and lawful occasions and to elect and confer the three degrees, or either of them, of Ancient Craft Masonry, without the usual formalities and requirements of chartered Lodges upon Candidates, who have actually enlisted, or been drafted, or commissioned officers in the United States forces in the present great War, and who apply therefore in writing and satisfy the Master and Wardens of said Lodge that they are qualified, and in case they be sons of Master Masons, so they be over the age of eighteen years; and on payment of twenty dollars; as also to do and perform all and every such acts and things appertaining to the Craft as have been, and ought to be, done for the honor and advantage thereof.
Membership or officership in said Lodge shall in no wise impair or affect existing membership or officership in a regular chartered or warranted Lodge.
Said Lodge shall have a seal and shall have and keep all books required to be kept by regular Lodges in the State of New York, the same and all records to be surrendered to the Grand Lodge on the termination of this warrant.
This warrant shall terminate at the pleasure of the Grand Master.
Given under my hand and Private Seal, at the City of New York, in the United States of America, this ..... day of .... in the year of our Lord, One thousand nine hundred and eighteen.
Carrying with him these warrants in blank form, Bro. Scudder and his Mission set sail, and he relates what occurred as follows:
I left New York Jan. 30, 1919, and arrived in London, via Glasgow, Feb. 8, remaining seven days, which were devoted to examining into the welfare of our numerous sailors at several Naval Bases, in the United Kingdom, and many soldiers and sailors on leave in Condone or at the several rest camps. Inquiry of the proper authority of the United Grand Lodge of England led me to believe that objection would not be made to a Sea and Field Lodge at some place in that Jurisdiction if I should decide that the welfare of our men would be promoted thereby. I also studied war service and activity of the United Grand Lodge of England to the end that we might profit by the experience of our mother Grand Lodge.
I proceeded to Paris, arriving Feb. 15. We had mailed to France, in anticipation of our arrival, some fifty letters addressed to well- known Brethren with the Forces announcing our coming and giving them our address in Paris, and soliciting their advice as to the paramount needs of men in the service and particularly of our Brethren. Answers to these inquiries soon began to come in, and in addition an active correspondence commenced with Masonic Clubs which we located by various means, including advertisement in the Daily Mail, the Paris Herald and the Stars and Stripes. Through the Trowel and Triangle Club, an organization of Freemasons, who were Secretaries of the A. E. F.-Y. M. C. A., through personal interviews with officers and men, members of the Fraternity who came to us in Paris, and through a thorough canvas of the whole of France by the several members of the Mission, I endeavored to sense the situation and determine the needs of our men.
I was greatly enlightened on conditions in the occupied territory by interviews with Major W. S. Solomon, 417 Telegraph Battalion, Signal Corps, a prominent and zealous member of the Fraternity from Rhode Island, who was stationed at Coblentz and who had, as President, undertaken the reorganization of the Third Army Masonic Club in the occupied territory of Germany, assisted by M.W. Wendell Davis, Past Grand Master, and by R. W. James S. Collins, then Deputy Grand Master, now Grand Master of Rhode Island, both secretaries of the A. E. F.-Y. M. C. A. These Brethren, who had been with the forces for months, in conflict, and behind the lines, and who had been in Germany for some time since the Armistice, not only recognized the need of the Masonic Club referred to, but had cabled the Grand Master of Rhode Island, requesting a Warrant for an Overseas Lodge with the Army of Occupation, and in due time were assured that there request had been granted and a Warrant dispatched. I offered these Brethren, whatever I might decide as respects Lodge activities in France, to hold for them one of the Warrants which I carried, until their own should arrive, or until they should be assured it had not been lost in transit. Their Warrant, a replica as to authority of those entrusted to me, arrived in due course, and Overseas Rhode Island Lodge, with Bro. Davis as W. Master, did valiant service for the A. E. F. in the Occupied Territory and I am informed has been preserved as a living instrumentality for such service as may be required of it, at home. By virtue of the authority invested in me, I exchanged plenary waivers, over all material in France and in Germany, respectively, with Overseas Rhode Island Lodge and referred to it all requests for courtesy service coming to me, affecting men stationed in the Occupied Territory.
The story of this Rhode Island Lodge was given in the January number of THE BUILDER. This mention by Bro. Scudder calls attention to the perfect harmony that prevailed among the several Masonic bodies representing various groups of Masons at home. The kindly and courteous fellowship did much to deepen the loyalty of the rank and file to the Institution.
The next thing dealt with in the report is the baffling and perplexing problem of French Masonry. Bro. Scudder said in regard to this:
At the Conference of Grand Masters, held at New York May 9, 1918, the possibility of Overseas Lodge activity under New York auspices, was intimated to certain of the representatives of Grand Jurisdictions there assembled, and by some, plenary authority was granted me, to accommodate their material applying to me in France, without reference to headquarters.
Though the Grand Lodge of New York was not, and is not, in fraternal relation with any French Grand Jurisdiction, I bore letters to the Conseil Federal of the Grand Orient, and to the Grande Loge de France, and also to the Supreme Conseil of the Rite Ecossais Ancien et Accepte; also to Brother Edmond Heiseh, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Loge National et Regulaire pour la France, and soon presented them and established most amicable and friendly personal relations with them all. With each of these Obediences the possibility of Lodge activity in France, under authority of the Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, for the benefit of the A. E. F. was discussed, and from each cordial acquiescence was received, and offers of use of all facilities and premises belonging to them, without change, were graciously made. It would be difficult to imagine a more perfect courtesy than that shown me, and all American Freemasons with whom I came in contact, by the Masonic Authorities and brethren of France.
In this statement I am sure the host of American Masons in the A. E. F. who came to know the French brethren will agree. I had a wide contact with French Freemasons throughout France and found them invariably courteous, generous, willing to exhaust themselves to care for our Masonic needs. I also found them to constitute the highest mentality in that nation and believe that within the ranks of Freemasonry in France is to be found the great underlying stable force that keeps France poised and sound.
But returning to the story as told by Bro. Scudder:
As graphically descriptive of the condition of our men when I arrived in France, let me quote the following from an article by Katherine Mayo in the Outlook for March 3, 1920. Referring to Le Mans, she wrote:
"In order to appreciate, however, anything of what it really meant, one should be able to realize, as perhaps only an eyewitness can do, the utter depression, the weight of melancholy the general low morale of the whole body of troops held waiting in the Embarkation Center Area.
"The great machine that had been throwing men across the ocean into France was now to be reversed. All the big, nervous effort that had preceded the Armistice had stopped short. The excitement was over. A dull, long pause had ensued. Men had begun to fret and fear about their jobs at home- to ponder at leisure the possible personal cost of their war period. Mail service had been exceedingly defective. For many months, in many eases, home news had been entirely shut off. Meantime, in America, the influenza had Slain its thousands, and every man who had failed to hear from his family dreaded the possible truth.
"Under conditions as anxious as these, with little but time killing labor to occupy attention and with sailing orders still delayed, a vicious circle of thought ground on."
I saw these same conditions. Each member of the Mission saw them in every part of France where our men were. The sad story was brought to me by Masons in numbers, and by others, competent observers.
I became convinced that valuable as was the influence of the Masonic Club, it was not sufficient. The existence of Masonic life, to vary the tedium of existence, was necessary. Once established it came to the knowledge of innumerable non-Masons buddies of our brethren in the service, and they were keen to acquire the same privilege. The need for more genuine Masonic life than the Club could afford was conspicuous. If we were justified in our effort to serve in the activity of our Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, in New York, and in our regularly chartered lodges, men about to be sent out of the country, surely in their sorry plight, if we could, it was our duty to serve them "over there."
I decided to institute Sea and Field Lodge! No. 2, in Paris, and arranged with the officers of the Grande Loge National, to rent quarters for that lodge at 42 rue Rochechouart, Paris, in the headquarters in France of that Grand Jurisdiction, and equipped our premises there with such furnishings as were needed. You had designated the personnel of this lodge in the Warrant which you had signed, and it was supplemented by Brothers Davis and Collins of Rhode Island, Kelly of Nebraska Lee of Oklahoma, Crouch of West Virginia, Eddy, now Grand Master of Michigan, Acker, Past Grand Master of Texas, and many other keenly interested and devoted brethren, hailing from all over the United States.
It sat first on April 3, 1919, and nine times thereafter, its last session being July 10, 1919, at which you were present and took part, and it conferred the degrees of Craft Masonry on 278 candidates, which included 40 candidates accommodated by courtesy for other lodges.
The full personnel, and the roster, are appended to this report together with the same information respecting the other Sea and Field Lodges temporarily located in France in the A. E. F.
Thus we have a clear and, to my mind, a very true picture of the conditions under which this Mission operated, and of the causes that led to the formation of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 2, and its companion lodges. What they meant to the Craft can never be overstated. The tonic they injected into the demoralized conditions during the period of waiting; the progress of activity which they provided; the outlet for the pent up emotions. As I sat in the East at the closing communication of the Lodge in Paris, in July, and watched the eager faces of the brethren and candidates, I was confirmed in my profound conviction that the Military Lodge is just as justifiable, and just as rational, as any civilian lodge ever was. Only those who have passed through the field conditions of war can appreciate the tremendous import of the close association afforded by the Masonic Lodge to men whose whole nature is strung almost to the breaking point.
The tabulation of statistics referred to by Justice Scudder is as follows. It covers the entire life and service of the lodge. A close study of this chart yields much valuable information.
Going into these statistics a little in detail we discover that the courtesy work covered candidates from Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Indiana, Kentucky, Ontario, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, California, Kansas, New Jersey, Montana, Tennessee, England, France, South Carolina.
This Mission carried with it the following authorization from a number of the Grand Lodges which had assembled at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to discuss the Masonic situation both at home and abroad in 1918:
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY OF BROTHER
TOWNSEND SCUDDER GRAND LODGE OF IOWA, A. F. & A. M. Geo. L. Schoonover Grand Master of Masons of Iowa Anamosa, Iowa.
This is to certify that at a conference of Grand Masters of Masons in the United States, held November 26, 27 and 28, 1918, at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the following resolution was duly adopted:
Be it resolved, That Brother Townsend Scudder, Past Grand Master of New York, and the Chairman of the Commissioners appointed by the Grand Master of New York. to undertake the Overseas work among the soldiers and sailors of the American Expeditionary Force, be and he is hereby, appointed and designated as the agent and Commissioner of this Conference and the Grand Jurisdictions here represented, and those which may hereafter adopt the Constitution of the Masonic Service Association of the United States, to take charge of the overseas work contemplated and embodied in the Constitution this day adopted.
GEORGE L. SCHOONOVER, Chairman of the Conference.
NEWTON R. PARVIN, Secretary of the Conference. December 1, 1918.
From this document it is to be seen that the Mission Overseas was acting not only for New York, but also for a group of Grand Lodges who had subscribed to the Constitution of the newly organized Masonic Service Association.
With the winding up of the work of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 2, of Paris overseas, the records of this and the other New York Lodges were returned by the Mission to New York, and deposited in the archives of the Grand Lodge of New York.
The roster of No. 2 was consolidated with that of No. 1, and provision was made to dimit all material on the No. 2 roster to the various lodges within whose jurisdiction the membership of No. 2 resided when at home. This dimitted membership was not turned adrift without further knowledge and information to the Grand Lodges involved, but full information was transmitted by Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, to the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodges, within whose bounds the dimitted brethren resided, so that a check up could be maintained.
In spite of all this care there were wartime candidates, made overseas, who did not take up their dimits, and in these cases the brothers have been carried on the roster of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, of New York City.
In a letter which I received some time ago from my friend and brother Merwin W. Lay, one of the Overseas Mission. I find this paragraph:
Sea and Field Lodge, No. 2 (the Paris Lodge), has been perpetuated by a dispensation from our Grand Master to veterans of the war. and I am glad it is located in Syracuse.
Thus the brethren of New York have proceeded to do what those of Rhode Island did; they have perpetuated the names and the activities of these overseas Army Lodges. It was a wise provision, and as the years stretch out their course, more and more will these names gather to themselves memories and traditions of inestimable value to their membership and to the Craft at large.
Too much praise to the members of the Overseas Mission cannot be given. And alongside this praise must ever be added the praise for the foresightedness of those Grand Lodges which made possible the formation of the Masonic Service Association in the time of War to meet the stringent requirements laid upon the Craft by the Government, when great need arose for universal Masonic aid to the Craft under arms.
That the reader may once more be reminded of the brothers who carried on the labors of this Army Lodge, I offer the tableau of their Lodge:
W. M. Townsend Scudder, New York City.
S. W. Thomas Channing Moore, New York City.
J. W. Mermin W. Lay, Syracuse, N. Y.
Secy. William C. Prime, Yonkers, N. Y.
S. D. George S. Goodrich, Bronxville, N. Y.
J. D. B. D. Norman.
Tyl. C. B. Blackwell.
I cannot close my story of this Lodge without revealing a personal contact I had with Sea and Field, No. 2, in Paris. It is my first and only opportunity to get back at dear Bro. Goodrich, who caused me to have a rather embarrassing interview with my good wife upon my return home. I had received a very distressing letter from my home parish, from a widowed and crippled aged mother, asking me to try to locate the grave of her son. I obtained leave and went to Paris, from which city I planned to re-visit the battle front and attempt to find the boy's resting place. In Paris I ran in to the headquarters of the Overseas Mission, as I was wont to do every time I went there. Having heard of the fund of money they had at their command I resolved to try them out in order that I might testify upon return to America to the actual working of their financial scheme. I had more than sufficient money in my money belt to cover all my expenses. Nevertheless I remarked to Bro. Goodrich, who presided over the office at this time, "How about a little loan for a few weeks ?" "Help yourself," replied George. Opening a drawer in his desk he displayed enough French paper money to paper the four walls of an office. I closed my eyes, stretched my fingers to utmost capacity, and reached in. I drew out my hand holding a bundle of the money. Saying good-bye I left the office and went down to the street. Then I retraced my steps and looked into the office once more and said, "Goodrich, you never asked me for a receipt." "Get along with you," replied he, "you have sufficient credentials already. You are a Mason, a Chaplain, and officer of the U. S. Army." I wrote out an I. O. U. after this manner: "This is to acknowledge the receipt of a loan of ..... francs from the Overseas Mission, Paris." I signed my name and went out. I had assured Bro. Goodrich I would send him a French Postal Order as soon as I returned to my station. He was to send to me the I. O. U. After some time on the old battle line I returned to my station and sent the Postal Order to Paris. But Goodrich never sent the I. O. U. back to camp. After months in the service I landed in my home town in the late summer of 1919, and a few days later my wife came to me with a very serious face, and handing me a slip of paper inquired, "What does this mean? Why were you in Paris, without any money?" Goodrich had sent the I. O. U. to my American address. And to this day my wife has a reminiscent gleam in her eye every time Paris is mentioned in conversation. Thus in my earnest desire to test the generosity of the Masons at home, I created a situation that almost severed my relations with "friend" wife. I have long wanted to get back at Bro. Goodrich, and now after almost ten years I have accomplished it.
Owing to a regrettable error Bro. Prime was designated "Most Worshipful" on page 39 last month. We apologize to Bro. Prime, and trust that this blunder may not have caused him any annoyance or embarrassment.
Some Notes on Symbolism
BY BRO. SILAS H. SHEPHERD, Wisconsin
To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. [William Blake]
The thoughts of all the greatest and wisest men have been expressed through mythology. [John Ruskin]
A myth is a narrative framed for the purpose of expressing some general truth. A symbol is a silent myth, which impresses the truth which it conveys not by successive stages, but at once throws together significant images of some truth. [Wm. Fleming]
In a symbol there is concealment and yet revelation, silence and speech acting together some embodiment and revelation of the infinite, made to blend itself with the finite, to stand visible and, as it were, attainable there. [Thos. Carlyle]
The first learning of the world consisted chiefly of symbols. The wisdom of the Chaldeans, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Jews, of Zoroaster, Sanchoniathon, Pherecydds, Cyrus, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and all of the ancients that is come to our land. is symbolic. [Dr. Wm. Stukeley]
Symbolic representation of things sacred were coeval with religion itself as a system of doctrine appealing to sense, and have accompanied its transmission to ourselves from the earliest known period of monumental history. [H. C. Barlow]
In the absence of a written language or form of expression capable of conveying abstract ideas, we can readily comprehend the necessity, among a primitive people, of a symbolic system. [E. G. Squire]
The study of Freemasonry is essentially a study of symbolism because Freemasonry teaches by symbolism only. Any inquiry therefore, into the teachings of Freemasonry, should be preceded by a comprehensive investigation of the nature of symbolism in general, its origin and its peculiar characteristics. [M. R. Grant]
THE scarcity of literature dealing with symbolism seems strange when we consider its importance and how much it influences our present life, as well as the significant function it fulfilled in the development of human thought and culture.
Albert G. Mackey and Oliver D. Street have both written works of great merit on the subject of Masonic symbolism which should be more extensively read. Albert Pike was a profound scholar of symbolism, but unfortunately only published limited editions of his "Lectures on Symbolism." All these talented brethren have warned us against the errors into which we are liable to fall by either neglecting to give the symbols the spiritual significance they deserve, or by trying to give them forced interpretations.
W. H. Rylands, a distinguished brother, also warns us saying:
Symbolism is always a difficult affair as everyone knows or at least ought to know. When once fairly launched on the subject, it often becomes an avalanche or torrent which may carry one away into the open sea or more than empty space. On few questions has more rubbish been written than that of symbolism, it is a happy hunting ground for those who, guided by no sort of system or rule, ruled only by their own sweet will, love to allow their fancies and imaginations to run wild. Interpretations are given which have no other foundation than the disordered brain of the writer and when proof or anything approaching a definite statement is required symbols are confused with metaphors and we are involved in a further maze of follies and wild fancies.
While the foregoing advice is timely and needs to be always considered, we must also consider the equally important admonition of Albert Pike, who says:
The symbolism of Masonry is the soul of Masonry. Every symbol of a lodge is a religious teacher, the mute teacher also of morals and philosophy. It is in its ancient symbols and in the knowledge of their true meanings that the pre-eminence of Freemasonry over all other orders consists. In other respects, some of them may compete with it, rival it, perhaps even excel it- but by its symbols it will reign without a peer when it learns again what its symbols mean, and that each is the embodiment of some great, old, rare truth, and again, that to translate the symbols into the trivial and commonplace is the blundering of mediocrity.
Freemasonry is the custodian of a system of symbolism and we can never fully comprehend the depth of its philosophy or the height of its spiritual significance without some knowledge of the use of symbols in past ages.
Three theories have been advanced for the probable origin of Masonic symbolism. First: it has come down from times antedating the Grand Lodge era. Second: it was formulated by the brethren of the Grand Lodge about 1717. Third: it has been an evolution, which is still going on.
If either the second or third theories are correct the present paper is useless, because it deals with evidence bearing out the first theory. The evidence, from its very nature, can not be conclusive proof. If Freemasonry is really a system of symbolic teaching, which is generally conceded; and if this symbolism was undergoing a process of decay in the time immediately preceding the Grand Lodge era as R. F. Gould thinks probable, we may well seek for the earliest recorded use of symbols in general, and architectural and geometrical symbols in particular, as possible aids to a better understanding of their importance and utility.
The use of tools and implements of architecture as symbols, and a traditional history distinguish the so-called operative Freemasons of the era preceding the revival in 1717 from the many guilds of other crafts, and it is noteworthy that architectural and geometrical symbols are much more in evidence as moral and spiritual teachers than any other class of symbols. We may also note their use many centuries ago, in much the same way Freemasonry uses them today.
Going then to the records we possess of the earliest historic times in China, I find clear evidence of the existence of a mystic faith expressed in allegorical form, and illustrated, as with us, by symbols. The secrets of this faith were orally transmitted. the chiefs alone pretending to have full knowledge of them. I find, moreover, that in these earliest ages this faith took a Masonic form, the secrets being recorded in symbolic buildings like the Tabernacle Moses put up in the desert, and the Temple his successor, Solomon, built in Jerusalem; that the various offices in the hierarchy of this religion were distinguished by the symbolic jewels held by them during their terms of office, and that, as with us at the rites of their religion they wore leather aprons, such as have come down to us, marked with the insignia of their rank. I find in the earliest works that have come down to us, the square and compasses, and regulated his life thereby being then, as now, considered to possess the secrets and to carry out the principles of true propriety. Finally, I find one of the most ancient names by which the Deity is spoken of in China is that of the First Builder, or, as Masons say, the Great Architect of the Universe.
The Mysteries of this ancient Faith have now become lost, or at best obscured, though attempts at a revival may be traced in the proceedings of existing brotherhoods, whose various rituals and signs are supposed to be in some measure founded on ancient rites and symbols which have been handed down from the earliest ages.
From time immemorial we find the square and compasses used by the Chinese writers, either together or separately, to symbolize precisely the same phases of moral conduct as in our own system of Freemasonry it has ever been accepted as a physical axiom in China that "Heaven is round, Earth is square"; and among the relies of the nature worship of old, we find the altar of Heaven at Peking round, while the altar of Earth is square. By the marriage of Heaven and Earth, the conjunction of the circle and the square, the Chinese believe that all things were produced and subsequently distributed, each according to its own proper function. And such is, in my opinion, the undoubted origin of the terms "square and compasses" as figuratively applied to human conduct by the earliest ancestors of the Chinese people.
Let us not imagine that symbols have become obsolete, or that they are not commonly used in present everyday life. The symbols used by our remote ancestors were in many cases their only method of conveying abstract thought, while modern invention and education has in a pronounced manner supplemented them with facilities for development which divert our conscious realization of the importance of symbols.
Do we doubt the power of symbols? If so, let us take those we use daily and analyze their power over our mental processes. The emblem "$" signifies dollars. As a symbol it brings us to a clear consciousness of financial affairs.. We cannot take this sign ($) and buy anything with it; but if we have that which it symbolizes we are able to procure equivalent values in necessities and luxuries. As a symbol it only partially effects our emotional nature, and is only given because of its being so generally used.
The flag of our country, Old Glory, is an emblem of the government of the United States of America. As a symbol it brings vividly into our mind yes, into our hearts and souls the high ideals which made the United States of America possible. As a symbol of the high ideals of liberty and equality it keeps us eager to maintain and promote those ideals. For a brief moment reflect on the emotions which have vibrated your whole body as you gazed at this symbol of equality and liberty, and you cannot deny the power of a symbol. As a physical object it is nothing but cloth. The colors are used in many ways. To be sure the arrangement is very beautiful and from an artistic viewpoint we can be justly proud of our flag; but its real power is the wonderful things it symbolizes.
Likewise, let us consider the cross. To the Christian the cross is a continual reminder of the great law of love which Christianity teaches. To the Christian the cross must ever symbolize that Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man which the Master taught.
Both the flag as symbol of equality and liberty, which are the foundation stones on which our country rests, and the cross, which symbolizes divine love, are only partially understood by the great majority. To comprehend their full significance it is necessary to understand how political equality and liberty developed, and study the religious aspirations of humanity. To express a sentiment of patriotism without a real conception of the great principles which the flag symbolizes, or profess to be a Christian and fail to love God with all your heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself, is to understand only partially the things they symbolize. So, too, with the square and compasses and other pertinent symbols of Freemasonry. They have deep significance and the power to raise the brother from the prevailing conceptions of social relationship to the highest ideals of brotherhood. Symbols cannot make any impression on the human mind, except by desire and consent. Freedom of action and even speech is sometimes restrained or prohibited, but freedom of thought is something that is inviolable. We choose whether to permit a symbol to influence us and to what extent.
The flag and the cross are the most potent symbols relating to political and religious thought on this continent, but they are by no means the only way of teaching these things. In Freemasonry, however, symbols are the very essence of the whole system. Without the symbols it would be of no more value than the many other fraternal societies which promote the welfare of humanity to limited extent. It is by these symbols and a proper understanding of their use in our lives that Freemasonry excells. To be a member of a Masonic lodge and not understand its symbolism is as inconsistent as to be a citizen and not understand the principles of government.
The object of the present essay is to direct attention to several of the more important symbols of antiquity, as it is only by knowledge of what they have meant to people of the past that we can fully understand the general system of symbolism of which Freemasonry is custodian.
The word symbol comes from a Greek word meaning "a sign by which one knows a thing." In its general use it is a visible sign of an ideal or quality of another object. In a religious and moral or Masonic sense, it is a sign with a moral or spiritual significance.
Symbols, emblems and types are very commonly used as synonymous, but must be considered as distinct in any study of symbolic teaching. An emblem is a representation of an idea by a visible object. A type is, more strictly speaking, one thing which is a model for another, such as the tabernacle was a model, or type, of King Solomon's Temple. As H. C. Barlow says in Essays on Symbolism:
Emblems, symbols and types all have this in common: they are the representatives of something else for which they stand. Emblems and symbols often differ only in their mode of application, thus the palm-branch is an emblem of victory, but, taken in a Christian sense, it is a symbol, significant of the victory of our faith, and is given to all Christian martyrs who have thus overcome death. The anchor may be a mere emblem of hope, but when it is put for the hope of a Christian it becomes a symbol. So, also, the equilateral triangle may be nothing more than the emblem of three united in one- but, as significant of the doctrine of the Trinity, it is a symbol of the highest order.
A symbol is of the highest order when it expresses a religious dogma or philosophical doctrine, but of the lowest when it is put for a received fact, either real or legendary. Thus the anchor as a symbol of St. Clement, is of the lowest order; and so are all those particular symbols of saints by which they are distinguished from one another: as the sword of St. Paul the keys of St. Peter, the knife of St. Bartholomew, the tower of St. Barbara. etc.
The Christian church is possessor of a wealth of the most impressive symbolism. The sacraments are all symbolism of the highest type, but alas, like Freemasonry, its votaries too often go through the forms and ceremonies with very little conception of their full significance. The subjects of the medieval artists were originally symbolical, but are now simply conventional with a large majority. The Virgin and Child was introduced as a symbol of those holding the orthodox faith after the Council of Ephesus had condemned the Nestorians in A. D. 431. Barlow tells us:
The dogma of the Mother of God was of Egyptian origin, it was brought in, along with the worship of Madonna, by Cyril and his monks of Alexandra, in the fifth century.
The earliest representations of the Madonna and Child have quite a Greco-Egyptian character, and there is little doubt that Isis nursing Horus was the origin of them all. The Chinese also recognize this old pagan notion in Tienhow, the Queen of Heaven, nursing her infant son, who is usually represented holding a lotus- bud as the symbol of the new birth.
In a recent work entitled The Celestial Ship of the North, a vast accumulation of material bearing on the primitive conceptions of a divine Mother was collected. There are many traditions which point to this Celestial Ship of the North as being symbolized by the Great Bear, or Ursa Major. Miss Zelia Nuttall in her Archaeological work for Harvard University has brought together much evidence in favor of the theory that it was from this group of stars that the Swastika was originally derived. The revolution of these stars around the Poled Star annually with one spoke of an imaginary wheel at equal angles at the four seasons of the year is, according to her theory, symbolized by the Swastika.
Any study of the highest types of symbols, or those effecting the moral and religious nature, should embrace considerable knowledge of all the religions of antiquity. In such a study we should endeavor to find those basic principles which are common to all religions, and to acquire as much as possible the viewpoint of those primitive people among which symbols were first used.
The use of symbols is prehistoric, because when man had developed to a point where he recorded his actions and thoughts he was far advanced. The first language of primitive man was undoubtedly a sign language. Spoken language developed very slowly. The first language was probably limited to things concerning physical acts and desires, such as desire for food, shelter, clothing and to express fear and pain, joy and happiness.
Sustenance and reproduction are the motive forces which actuate physical man. His mental, moral and spiritual nature are dependent on the leisure he may find from the necessities nature has imposed. He has within him faculties which are seldom developed to their capacity. Sustenance and reproduction have been perverted, and selfish desire to live on what others produce, and use reproductive natural propensities for lustful excess has diverted many of the human race from the development of the higher phases of being.
As far back as records guide us, or traditions permit us to speculate, a limited number of men have held the highest ideals and helped their fellows to a better understanding of the mental, moral and spiritual phases of life.
A primitive shepherd sending his flocks on the plains of Chaldea gazed in amazement at the starry heavens and eventually discovered that the sun, moon and stars had orderly and systematic movements. He saw the return of seasons and the wonderful reproduction of vegetable life and in his primitive way must have speculated on the cause. The first line which primitive man saw was a circle. It was the circle of the horizon. How long after he discovered this circle and tried to reproduce it in miniature by the aid of two sticks which eventually became our compasses must remain conjecture, but we may venture purely as a probability that the circle, line and square were the first geometrical figures used by man. It is probable that even before this he may have made crude pictures gradually evolved a written language.
It required a long period of time to develop both written and spoken language to such a degree as to be capable of conveying abstract ideas that it is almost certain that such ideas were originally expressed by symbols.
The records of pictographs in discovered caves, inscriptions on monuments, vases, coins and tombs have given to us the information upon which all writers on symbolism of antiquity have based their opinions. According to these records we may consider the swastika as one of the most ancient of symbols. It is also one of the most prolific and is found in almost every part of the northern hemisphere, and in such parts of the southern as it might have been carried by migration. The swastika is considered by many writers to be a form of cross and, as such, to symbolize the four quarters of the earth in times when it was believed the earth was flat and oblong. As previously mentioned, Miss Nuttall, with many facts to substantiate her opinion, holds that it represented the movements of Ursa Major around Polaris, and symbolized the year.
The migration of symbols has followed the migration of peoples and commerce. Many symbols have been used on coins and thus in commerce the symbol has been transplanted to places where its original significance was not understood.
Another symbol of great antiquity is the Phallus. The lingam and yoni of ancient India and the Crux Ansata of ancient Egypt are the most ancient we have any knowledge of. The reproductive principle in nature seems to have led primitive man to use this symbol as the most pertinent way of expressing his ideas of the Great Creator of the Universe. The ideas of propriety which make it so repugnant to us did not occur to primitive man. The following quotation from Primitive Symbolism, by H. M. Westropp, expresses this very clearly:
Nature to the early man was not brute matter, but a being invested with his own personality, and endowed with the same feelings, passions and performing the same functions. He could only conceive the course of nature from the analogy to his own actions. By an easy illusion the functions of human nature were transferred to physical nature. Man not only attributed his own mind and feelings to the powers of nature but also the functions of his nature- generation, begetting reproduction, bringing forth; they became his ideas of cause and effect. To the sun, the great fecundator, and the chief cause of awakening nature into life- to the earth, the great recipient in the bosom of which all things are produced, man attributed the same powers and modes of reproduction as in human nature. The human intellect being finite, man is incapable of imagining a personal god inseparable from the functions of human nature. Sex was given to them, the sun or sky were considered the male, or active power- the earth, the female or passive power. The sky was the fecundating and fertilizing power; the earth was looked upon as the mould of nature as the recipient of seeds, the nurse of what was produced in its bosom. An analogy was suggested in the union of the male and female. These comparisons are found in ancient writers.
As an example we may take this from the Greek poet and dramatist, Aeschylus:
The bright sky loves to penetrate the earth; the earth, on her part, aspires to the heavenly marriage. Rain falling from the watery sky impregnates the earth, and she produces for mortals pastures of the flocks, and the gifts of Ceres.
The later writer, Plutarch, expresses the same idea:
The sky appeared to men to perform the functions of a father, as the earth those of a mother. The sky was the father, for it east seed into the bosom of the earth which, on receiving them, became fruitful and brought forth, and was the mother.
And finally we may quote Dr. Christian D. Ginsburg:
Eminent scholars who have devoted themselves to the investigation of ancient cults, have shown to demonstration that the most primitive idea of God was that He consisted of a dual nature, masculine and feminine, and the connubial contact of this androgynous deity gave birth to creation.
Vast numbers of quotations might be made to further demonstrate the conclusions eminent scholars have arrived at regarding the prevalence of this primitive belief and also showing that it was general among all is primitive people in every part of the world, even in the ancient civilizations of the western hemisphere.
All prominent writers on Symbolism have stressed the importance of phallic symbols in the religions and philosophies of primitive people. We feel that their importance has not been over-estimated and that among the early ancestors of our race this particular phase of nature's manifestations produced in their minds a reverence which it is hard for modern people to understand.
Primitive symbols were all very close to nature. The earliest pictographs were crude pictures of animals which were probably the crudest and most elementary symbols. Geometrical symbols, of which the Swastika, Cross and Crux Ansata are the most important and interesting, were all closely allied to astrological symbols.
THE ARTIFICIAL CHARACTER OF CIVILIZATION
Twentieth century modes of life make most of us quite unconscious of nature and the great universe, except as we relax from the daily routine and seriously contemplate it. With our primitive ancestor it was the reverse. He lived in a world that, while it was crude in modes of life as we know them, was simple and very close to nature. His very existence depended on his knowledge of nature. He must observe the sun, moon and stars and regulate his life by them. To him the sun actually did rule the day and the moon govern the night. In his crude way he started the study of astronomy which eventually became astrology in which we find a most complex system of governing influences. Constellations were named after mythological and fanciful characters, each of which had its particular influence on earthly affairs. Astrology and mythology are very intimately connected and a very extended system of symbolism was developed. The zodiac with its twelve signs is the central figure of this system of symbolism, and although we are prone to ridicule astrology, it has been a most potent factor in the development of the human mind. Perhaps we do an injustice to the ancient astrologers by judging the ideas they expressed literally when much of all the expression of the ancients was figurative.
Architecture was the first mechanical occupation of man. Early in his development he learned to build crude shelter for himself and soon after built altars for worship. He next built a temple, or house of God, and with the tools he used probably associated moral tenets. The first use of tools and implements of architecture was symbols of moral virtues is lost in antiquity. They are closely associated with religion, and so, in fact, are all the symbols that have come down from the remote past. It was a religious sentiment that actuated their first use and the same sentiment that perpetuated their use. If we study them today from purely intellectual motives, we may never under stand them.
Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia
By BRO. JOSEPH S. ROUCEK (Continued from February)
IN or about the year 1680, a young Bohemian nobleman, Francis Anthony Count de Spork (born 1662), visited the Netherlands, and joined the Society of the Friends of the Cross, which, most probably, was already united with the operative Masonic Lodges. De Spork is said, in records of the time of Joseph II, to have been initiated into Masonry in Holland; although this may have happened on the occasion of his later visit to Holland, which took place about 1717. As there existed at that period no Masonic Lodges in the same sense as those that came into existence after 1717; and as, on the other hand, it is an undoubted fact that he joined the Friends of the Cross and afterwards founded the first Prague Lodge; these matters can hardly be explained except in some such way as above indicated. Another tradition tells us that Spork was initiated into Masonry in 1717 by Anthony Sayer at London, and accepted from him the power of founding Lodges in his native country; an assertion which, however, lacks probability, although Spork had really been visiting England about that time. However this may be, it is certain that Bro. de Spork founded, on his return home, the very first Masonic Lodge at Prague, on June 26, 1726. This was named the Three Stars. From this fact it is more probable that his initiation had taken place on his later visit to Holland and England, in one or other of these two countries. Its jewel exists yet. It consists of a Maltese Cross (brass) enameled blue; the upper limb exhibits the cypher 3, the center the letter S (Stern; Star), and in the other three limbs, cherubs' heads lock with four wings, all in silver. There exists also a medal struck in commemoration of the foundation of the Lodge. Obverse, a portrait of Bro. de Spork; reverse, the New Jerusalem of the Apocalypse (square with 12 gates, in the center the Lamb on a mound, above all, the name of God in Hebrew letters irradiated).
The seal of the Lodge, however, seems to have been lost. As for the members, they belonged for the greater part to the nobility; among them were the Counts Vrbna, Paradis, and Kaiserstein; but there were also many of the upper commoners, especially authors and scholars. Among them is also to be noted, Gottwald Fr. Stillenau, Spork's private secretary, a very learned man, who later went to Holland in order to maintain a continuous intercourse between the Dutch and the Prague Lodge. He afterwards wrote, under a pseudonym, a biography of Spork, in which the proceedings of the Jesuits were sharply scourged. Another member of the Lodge was Charles David, secretary to Count Gallas and afterwards to Count Bubna, who later was appointed an Imperial Chancellor, and was ennobled in consequence. On that occasion he applied for, and received, three stars in his coat-of-arms.
Bro. Spork himself, who was the Master (then styled Grand Master) of the Lodge, had been made a Chamberlain in 1690, previous to the formation of the Lodge. In 1691 he had been appointed Governor of Bohemia, and a Privy Councillor in 1692. He did a great deal in propagating enlightenment and culture as well as laboring for the common welfare and interests of his fellowmen.
He became the Maecenas of a great number of artists and scholars. He cared for the poor and miserable. He raised very considerable foundations for charitable purposes. He was an indefatigable champion of light and progress. As was but natural this proceeding soon rendered him an object of hatred to the fathers of the Society of Jesus. They succeeded in rousing the suspicions of the Emperor Charles VI concerning him. They accused him and his friends of fighting, not only against the Church, but against the state also. An inquiry was ordered. At the head of the Commission stood a Jesuit named Konias. On the proceedings of this Commission some light is thrown by the fact that the Count's library was confiscated, and the whole contents, instead of being examined, was burnt unread. A charge of high treason was brought against the Count, and he was tried. The trial lasted seven years. No one knows what the end of it would have been had it not been for the intercession of Francis, then Duke of Lorraine (a personal friend of Spork, who in 1731 had been himself initiated a Mason), with his imperial father-in-law. So the trial was closed, and soon after Spork was re-established in his former dignities. But his sorrow had entirely shaken and broken the old man, so that only a short time after the conclusion of his trial, he entered the eternal East, on March 30, 1738.
Now to return to the Lodge. Before going further, it may not be out of place to describe where the meetings of the Brethren were held. This was in Spork's palace situated in the so-called "Angelus Garden." In the newly-rebuilt palace and the gardens adjoining it the Brethren of the "Three Stars" Lodge met for a long period. At present the Palace of the Directory for Posts and Telegraphs stands on the spot.
Other Lodges were subsequently constituted from Prague, in Galicia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Styria, and Moravia.
THE SUPPRESSION OF MASONRY IN AUSTRO-HUNGARY
The first Lodge in Vienna, Zu Drei Kanonen, was founded in 1742. The first Lodge in Hungary is known to have existed at Pressburg (now the capital of Slovakia) in 1766. A Grand Lodge for Austria and its dependencies, ruling over 45 Lodges, was established in 1748. An Imperial Edict in the following year ordered that not more than three Lodges should exist in any single town, while those that were at work in any place which was not a "Seat of Government" were summarily suppressed.
The consequences may be supposed. The newly formed Austrian Grand Lodge, together with its Provincial Grand Lodges, passed off the scene; and the general discontent of the Craft betokened the beginning of the end.
Then came the French Revolution. The Freemasons were regarded with suspicion. The Austrian Lodges voluntarily closed in 1792, and those in Bohemia during the following year. Masonry in Hungary had a somewhat longer life, but by an Edict of 1795, all secret societies in the Austrian dominions were ordered to dissolve. Since then Freemasonry in Austria has been prohibited, except for one short period, till the year 1918. In 1867, after the Civil War, Masonry was revived in Hungary, nevertheless in Austria it still continued to be forbidden.
THE REVIVAL IN THE HUNGARIAN KINGDOM
The Constitution of Hungary of 1867 did not prohibit Masonry. A Lodge, Unity in the MotherLand, was founded at Budapest in 1868, and this, with six daughter Lodges, formed, on Jan. 30, 1870, the St. John's Grand Lodge of Hungary. The three Craft degrees only, were recognized or tolerated by this governing body.
In 1869, however, a Lodge, Matthias Corvinus, established under the auspices of the so-called Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (after a vain application to the Grand Lodge of Scotland) obtained a warrant from the Grand Orient of France. This likewise warranted daughter lodges and they in November, 1871, founded the Grand Orient of Hungary. Ultimately the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient amalgamated under the title of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary, on March 23, 1886. "Freedom of Conscience" was acclaimed by this Grand Lodge, and the preamble of its Statutes follows rather closely that of the Grand Orient of France. There are nominally 83 Lodges, with a total number of members of over 6,000; but in 1920 the Government closed them all. The furniture and property was seized and the funds distributed in other directions. The Masonic officials were imprisoned; The chief reason, probably, was the newly-aroused antiSemitism, which was directed against Freemasonry chiefly because the great majority of the members of the Lodges, with but one or two exceptions, were Jews.
THE SITUATION IN AUSTRIA
In Austria, after 1867, when more liberal legislation had been passed by the influence of liberally-minded Germans, old Masons, who were members of Lodges in Bavaria, Saxony, and Prussia, hoped that they would be allowed to establish Lodges within the scope of the new law concerning societies, or according to the law for political societies, the members of which had to be named to political and police authorities. The meetings were attended by police officials, who had the right to stop any speaker if, according to their judgment, he had violated existing laws. These officials even had the right to stop all proceedings of the meetings, to forbid further activity; and they were obliged to make an official report, which ended very often in subpoenas. Where state officials were concerned the treatment was more severe than with civilians. Very often the state employee was transferred, without any reason being assigned, to places where he received a smaller salary, where there were no schools, and where there was a lack of communications, doctors, etc. It was in fact - exile.
Consequently after 1867 the Austrians became members of foreign Lodges. Many Lodges performed their work of initiation, etc., in Hungary, in such places as Neudorfel, Pressburg, situated near the frontier. It took only a half hour from Vienna to Bratislava (the Czechoslovak name for Pressburg, the present capital of Slovakia) by train. In Bratislava the Lodge remains until the present time. It still has the archives and property from the pre-war time.
INDIRECT MASONIC ACTIVITIES
In Bohemia, especially in Prague, Masons formed mutual benefit societies, only occasionally devoting their meetings to ritual work. In order to secure the possibility of meeting on the Austrian territory for purposes of administration, instruction, or social intercourse, each of the Lodges formed a parallel society with a profane name and character, publicly maintaining a social, cultural, educational or charitable purpose. Most of the Lodges also maintained special benevolent institutions.
Many other Bohemian societies had the same tendencies and interests as Masonry. Such was the well known society even in America - the Sokol, which, however, put more emphasis on physical training than on intellectual activity. The main task of the Sokol is the physical and Slovak people. In this endeavor the Sokols recognize no differences in regard to age, rank, wealth, and religious or political convictions, for they address one another as "brother" and employ the second person singular. Similar principles are followed also by the female Sokols, whose members address each other as "sister." The Sokols have grown into an organization of national education. A recent manifesto expresses their aims in these words:
We wish to train our members so that they may reflect on their view of life, their religion, and their efforts towards a high moral standard, and act according to the results of their reflections. Thus, free of all hatred, and not knowing in our midst any political, class, religious or party conflicts, we advance like one single powerful body, united by true brotherhood, and work with good spirit on the tasks allotted to us; A life. Another interesting watchword is: We will eliminate the weak by helping them to become strong.
The Sokol organization is well disciplined despite the fact that it is based on voluntary activities.
In 1914 Austria-Hungary was quite out of touch with the spirit of nationalism and democracy. Because the old Empire could not satisfy the Czechoslovak idea of freedom, a man appeared who was to lead his people to freedom. Thomas Garigue Masaryk, the first President of the Czechoslovak Republic, began his career as a locksmith's apprentice in Vienna, but the protests of his former schoolmaster persuaded his parents to let him be a teacher as he desired. He spent a year in Leipzig, Germany, where he became acquainted with Miss Charlie Garigue of Brooklyn, who later became his wife. His family relations with America continued when their son, John, recently married the daughter of Charles R. Crane, former U. S. ambassador to China. John is an ardent Mason.
In December, 1914, Prof. Masaryk fled from Austria and went abroad to become the leader in the work of national redemption. He became the chief apostle of the Czechoslovaks among the Allies; he inspired the Czechoslovak legionnaires in Russia, Italy and France. In 1915 he had been joined by Dr. Eduard Benes. The story how these two statesmen brought about the creation of Czechoslovakia is well known today. It is discussed in daily newspapers and magazines. It is of great interest to Americans to notice that Masaryk reached America on May 5, 1918, and was welcomed enthusiastically by his fellow countrymen. With the consent of Wilson, on Oct. 18, 1918, he proclaimed Czechoslovak independence. The document was written in America, in Washington, D. C., in the houses at 3620 Sixteenth street and 1125 Fourteenth street. On Oct. 28 the Czechoslovak State was formed.
Czechoslovakia never forgot this fact. Subsequent aid given to Czechoslovakia in the form of loans and food-stuff by Mr. Hoover still increased the sympathy of that country for America. Last year, on July 4, 1928, to be exact, a monument to Wilson was unveiled in presence of the Czechoslovak Government and distinguished Americans as a token of appreciation. These little facts might explain why the Czechoslovak Masons are so anxious to receive recognition from their American brethren and establish fraternal contacts as soon as possible.
INSTITUTION OF THE FIRST CZECHOSLOVAK MASONIC LODGE
When it was evident that Austria would fall, fourteen Czechs met in a private house and decided to create a Czech Lodge. It happened two days before the fall of the Empire, which was sooner than expected. Thus Czechoslovak independence was proclaimed two days after the foundation of the first Czechoslovak Masonic Lodge, viz., on Oct. 26, 1918.
Among the first members of the independent Czechoslovak Lodge are brothers who in 1927 have been wearing the Masonic apron for thirty years, and one even for thirty-five years.
Freemasonry has been placed under the ban in Russia, Hungary and Italy. In Germany a hostile campaign is being waged against it. In almost every part of Continental Europe a relentless anti-Masonic propaganda is kept up to discredit and suppress it, since the closing of the War. An unsettled economic and political situation furnishes perhaps the chief explanation. Settled prejudices offer another. Atmospheric conditions, that is the pervading something which has been called post-war psychology, may no doubt be also considered a contributory cause. The general public in Continental Europe knows next to nothing about Freemasons, who they are, what they are, and what they are trying to accomplish. This may be accounted for by either the exclusiveness of the Lodges, general lack of interest on the subject, current misconceptions, or a more or less deep-seated prejudice among the members of the public at large.
I remember very clearly my school days; the compulsory Catholic education was assiduously directed towards influencing our minds against anything connected with Freemasonry. Quite skilfully the ministers were trying to impress us psychologically that everything connected with this Fraternity is morally degrading, antireligious and anti-social. In fact the general idea among my fellow-men and students was that the Mason was a man armed with a dagger and ready to commit any sort of murder. This psychological conviction still remains in the Central Europe of today, as I had the chance to convince myself last summer.
Furthermore, in Central Europe the state is looked upon as the highest interest. Not only from the political and economic point of view, but also intellectually and spiritually; philosophy as well as politics, religion as well as literature should serve the needs of the state. There is not space to discuss it here, but it has had an overwhelming influence upon the whole people, and especially upon religious life. It is the chief explanation of the attacks on Freemasonry, for it is assumed that it does take no account of the state, but thinks first, or only, of internationalism, pacifism, and the spiritual agencies of life. Thus, in summary, may this prejudice be accounted for. Arguing with an enemy of Freemasonry has always been a futile undertaking. Freemasonry is an experience; it cannot be explained adequately in a set of phrases, least of all to one who is prejudiced against it to begin with. This general introduction is necessary in order that the reader might realize the several limitations of the Order in Europe, as well as understand popular feeling toward it. It will also explain why an American Mason, who is not well informed about conditions does not get any opportunity to visit the Lodges, unless by accident.
THE ANTECEDENTS OF CZECHOSLOVAK MASONRY
Czechoslovakian Masons received the light from the French brethren of the Grand Orient of France. When they learned that the Grand Orient was not of the Scottish Rite, they asked to be released; and they were successful in obtaining their request. They received authority from the Great Orient of Switzerland, situated at Lausanne.
Czechoslovak Masonry follows the so-called Scottish Rite. The third degree is worked four times a year only. At all other meetings the lodges open in the first degree and Masons of all grades are present. The forms of initiation are in accordance with the ecossats rituals, which differ in detail from those practiced in America; but recently it has been decided to conform the ceremonies to those used in America.
Brethren of unusual merit receive their degrees at five-month intervals. This is the minimum. Ordinarily it takes much longer than this, the usual period between initiation and receiving the third degree is about two years.
Today there are ten lodges of Czechoslovak brethren, with five hundred members; and in addition there are eighteen German lodges and one Magyar lodge with a membership of one thousand and fifty- three brethren. The greater number of the German lodges is due to the fact that there were German lodges, and in Bratislava, Magyar lodges, before the war, when there were no Czechoslovak lodges in existence.
The oldest lodge, as previously mentioned, is named Jan Amos Komensky, after the famous Bohemian philosopher of the seventeenth century, better known by the Latin form of his name, Comenius. The other Czechoslovak lodges are named as follows: The Nation; The Twenty-eighth of October; this is in allusion to the date of the signing the Declaration of Czechoslovak Independence. Then there is one named Work; and Bolzano. As a disciple of Kant, Bolzano was a rationalist, and, in the spirit of John Hus, demanded that religion be a moral code of love and progress, while at the same time he condemned everything that he considered superstitious and opposed to reason in Christian dogma. Another lodge is named, Truth Will Win, and yet another is named after Dobrovsky. Dobrovsky, though he had been a Jesuit father, was an enthusiastic Freemason, and throughout his work he put science, reason and humanity above everything else. It is impossible not to be struck by the similarity of his character to that of Hus, or Masaryk, especially in regard to his frankness, love of truth and the unselfishness and kindness of heart that distinguished him, to which all hatred and jealousy was quite foreign. He was one of the Bohemian patriots of the nineteenth century. The lodge named for him is in Plzen (Pilzen), famous for its Pilsen beer, and the Skoda steel works. In Bratislava (Pressburg) is the Jan Kollar Lodge. Kollar was the first Czech poet, but his chief claim to greatness lies in the enthusiasm with which he inspired the Czechs for Pan-Slavic ideals, founded on the idealization of the past and the future mission of the Slavs to world progress. The Pavel Joseph Savarik Lodge is in Kosice. Savarik, with Dobrovsky, remains to this day an authority on questions of Slav philosophy. His work on Slav antiquities, his history of Slav literature and his work on the origin of the Slavs have made him known among all the Slavic peoples, and well fitted him to be the President of the Slav Congress held in Prague in 1848. The Road to Light Lodge is situated in Brno, Maravia. The name was taken from the title of one of the philosophical works of Komensky, written in 1642, and which had much influence in the foundation of the Academy of Science in Paris in 1666, and the Royal Society in London in 1663.
The German speaking lodges are situated in Prague, Liberec, Karlsburg, Marienbad, Zatec, Jaclonec and Brno. The one Magyar lodge is in Bratislava.
According to the Annual Year Book of the International Masonic Association for 1928, Czechoslovakia comes tenth in the proportion of membership per capita to the population of the country. It holds twelfth place in respect to the number of lodges, and is seventeenth in regard to the actual number of members.
(To be concluded)
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. LlTTLEFIELD, Missouri
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
J. HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
JESSE M. WHTED, California
DAVID E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
PRACTICE AND THEORY
IT is very difficult to discern the tendencies and undercurrents in a social organism of which we form an integral part. Just as hard as it is to detect the drift of a ship at sea. Sailors have been forced to overcome this difficulty, and have learned, by reference to sun and stars, how to determine their course. Their calculations are based on observations of very minute variations of angle, and the smallest error will make very great differences in the result.
No one is disposed to laugh at a navigator for being so careful in "taking the sun" or in the calculations that ensue; but in the more complex situations of life analogous observations of small changes are usually ignored, and those who dwell upon their significance are derided as alarmists, cranks, or even (by a strange reversal) as revolutionaries. And yet, when we form part of a drifting whole our landmarks are moving with us, and it is only by faintest indications we can hope to determine our direction and the distance we have traveled.
'Some time ago, there is no need here to particularize where or when, a certain brother of influence and standing in his own jurisdiction, deprecated calling the Masonic society a Fraternity; chiefly on the grounds that so many other organizations were also so designated. More recently it has been suggested that Freemasonry is not universal, but only (to some degree) an international institution.
As descriptive of the existing state of affairs we may accept these dicta as unfortunately only too accurate. But are we to give up our traditional ideals simply because we have departed so far from them as to make it hopeless, short of a miracle, to see them even approximately realized in our own day? This certainly seems to be the fashionable philosophy in this "de-bunked" and ultra-sophisticated period. But is it not precisely against such tendencies that all ethical and religious organizations are in necessary opposition? Little as these may agree with each other, they do at least take the same attitude against things as they are by setting forth some ideal of what they should be, and by offering some method of working towards that end.
When we can be seriously told that Freemasonry should not be called a Fraternity we see, if we have the least knowledge of the past, how far we have drifted from the ideal of brotherhood. It gives us a shock; and though it is not true - yet, we can see that, in America at least, we are on the way to make it true. We can see the process in any city under our own eyes.
The lodges are growing ever larger and larger, and are yearly becoming more and more mere organizations, institutions, branches of a huge corporation that exists - for what? Quantity production of members?
And so, too, with the Universality of Masonry. Our predecessors of two hundred years ago dreamed, not only of brotherhood, but of universal brotherhood. That ideal was so embedded in our rituals that it will be very difficult to cut it out and leave much of any value behind. But is it any good reason to wish to cut it out because the ideal has never been realized? Or even that it is further from realization than it was a hundred years ago? Would not the more logical thing be to change the direction in which we are going?
It is too easy to blame others. We should rather look to our own failures. When we have come back to the course that our fundamental principles imply we would be in a stronger position to ask that others also return to the old ways.
The result of years of imperceptible changes cannot be undone in a moment; but it is not too much to demand of the leaders and official guides of the Craft that they should know in what direction we ought to be going, and to govern - themselves and others - accordingly.
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A SOUTH AFRICAN PROBLEM
HISTORY never does repeat itself exactly, but it often does present cases and events of the same kind. We learn from the South African Masonic World of a grievance existing in the lodges under the Scottish Constitution in that country that closely parallels those endured by the lodges in Canada some seventy years and more ago, and which, not being amended, led to the formation of an independent Grand Lodge in that country.
The grievance was one that should naturally touch a responsive chord in the heart of the American Mason, namely taxation without representation, or at least something approximating thereto. From the pages of our able South African contemporary we gather that the situation is, that lodges holding warrants from the Grand Lodge of Scotland are required by the regulations of that sovereign body to devote the collection taken on the occasion of the installation of their officers to a Grand Lodge benevolent fund. This is a matter of obligation. In British Masonry generally, the Installation meeting of a lodge is easily the most important one in the year. It corresponds, one might say, to Easter in the Christian church, and the Installation collection is generally in the same proportion as an Easter Offertory to those taken at other meetings.
Now this money is sent to Scotland where it is used, undoubtedly, in the most efficient way for the most charitable purposes. But the point is that, probably, for one South African Mason going to Scotland, ten Scottish Masons go to South Africa. And it is highly probable that for one South African Mason needing assistance in Scotland there would be a hundred Scottish Masons needing it in South Africa. This was precisely the state of affairs complained of by Canadian Masons in 1850. They were very frequently being called on to relieve distressed brethren from England, while it was practically unheard of for a Canadian Mason to ask for aid in England; yet they were required to make the same contributions to English funds as the lodges in England.
Of course the cases are not wholly alike. The Grand Lodge of England coupled this injustice with the grossest neglect in other respects. Letters remained unanswered for years, remittances were unacknowledged, certificates took an endless time to reach those entitled to them though all fees had been paid. There is nothing like this in South Africa. Indeed the occasion for the subject being raised by our contemporary is the official visitation by a Grand Lodge deputation, by which the officers of the Grand Lodge of Scotland expect to get in touch with actual conditions in South Africa, and in the Scottish lodges working there; and no doubt the result will be to find some means of removing these unnecessary and aggravating causes for complaint.
The Grand Lodges of the British Isles are in somewhat the same position as the British Parliament. They have to act, like the latter body, primarily as local legislatures for compact, circumscribed areas with very much the same conditions everywhere; but at the same time they have to legislate for groups scattered all over the world existing under the most varied conditions possible. It is true there are Provincial and District Grand Lodges, but these have very little real power or authority. From the outside it would seem the most practical thing to give these provincial bodies a much more extensive jurisdiction in local affairs. But, if history teaches anything at all, it has made it clear that no centralized authority ever devolves any of its powers, except it be compelled to do so. And yet the lesson never seems to be learned.
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QUATUOR CORONATI LODGE
MEMBERS of the Society will be interested to learn that at the last annual meeting of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, Bro. Lionel Vibert was elected as Secretary. Bro. W. J. Songhurst, who has so ably filled this position for more than twenty years, is going to devote his whole time to the editing and publishing the minutes of the Grand Lodge of England, a first installment of which appeared in 1913 as the tenth volume of this lodges reprints (Quatuor Coronatornm Antigrapha). This is a work of very great importance, and it is good news indeed that the lodge has so improved its financial position that it can once more take up this work of publication, so unhappily interrupted by the war.
Bro. Vibert needs no introduction to readers of THE BUILDER. We are sure that in him Bro. Songhurst will have an able and energetic successor, competent in every way to fulfill the many duties that fall to the Secretary of the foremost Research Lodge in the world. We extend our congratulations to him and to the lodge.
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TO explain explanation may seem a work of supererrogation, a carrying of coal to Newcastle - importing corn to the Middle West, or any equally fatuous enterprise. But it may not be so silly to ask as might at first appear. Most people would probably conceive explanation - were they asked suddenly - as peculiarly an intellectual thing. Or to put it the other way about; that the function of the intellect is to explain, to make clear what is obscure, to flatten out or unfold what is heaped up in confusion or involved and hidden. And really this would be a very good answer, and no less an authority than Henry Bergson (and he not alone) insists that the intellect has no other use, and little further possibility, than this.
We explain a country by drawing a map; we explain the orbits of the stars by diagrams and mathematical formulae. What we have explained is dried up, crushed flat, torn to pieces. The botanist picks a flower and pulls off the petals and counts the anthers and stamens - and so explains it. We kill a man and cut him up in pieces, or more politely and technically, dissect his body - and all is explained. Is it? Yes, if explanation is intended only to lead to action and nothing more.
But we are all held by the illusion that our explanations do explain, or at least can explain in some further, more subtle and wholly undefined, sense. We have a comfortable feeling that even if we individually have not the answer at the tip of our tongues, yet there is an explanation to be had, and that someone, somewhere, knows it and can provide it when called upon. Of this we are instinctively sure. We congratulate ourselves on the wonders (no longer wondered at) and the achievements (that have so soon become commonplace) of our age and generation, and we take it for granted that there are no more mysteries; or at least that the few remaining ones will soon be cleared up in the routine work of scientists, engineers and others.
It is an opinion that many previous generations have also held. Millions of years ago, doubtless, men were likewise congratulating themselves on the fact that they then knew it all, and that there was no more to be explained. They had discovered the appropriate songs to sing, and the flint stone would flake away under their hands, and give them beautiful and efficient knives, axes and spear heads. Or they could repeat the right evocations, and call forth the all devouring flame from the fire-drill as they twisted it. They could compare their state of knowledge and affluence with the poverty and ignorance of their forerunners, who had had no weapons but sticks and rough stones, and lacked the many gifts brought by that powerful servant fire. There could be little doubt that all mystery and the unknown had been abolished.
This is not a jest. Knowledge and civilization are as relative as all other things in the universe. The first step towards civilization, the first step up from the animal to the human, must have cost infinitely more, and was far more significant than any taken since. We deal in mathematical formulas instead of incantations - to a like end - to do things. We think that the latter were non-essential, while our formulae are important and necessary. Perhaps it is a just judgment, but we cannot yet be sure of our judgment. It is too human, and follows the age-old trail too closely.
If, and when, we stop to think what our explanations are – essentially - we see how little they explain. They relate the unknown to the known. They use familiar images and ideas to compose a picture of the unfamiliar. But this is only a process of substitution and association. What are these familiar things ? Our formulae do not deal in names of power, but in x and y and infinitesimal differences and signs of integration. We have disintegrated reality in order to understand, as we say, in the naive belief that familiarity is understanding. Whereas at every point in our lives the unknown opens out; the unknown, the. inscrutable, the incomprehensible. Omnia eat in mysteries was said long ago, but all those who have really counted in the advance of the race have known it. "Everything goes out into mystery." Perhaps to see and realize this too clearly would unfit us for the work-a-day world. Perhaps that is the reason we shut ourselves in with curtains and veils of illusion. But it is not well to forget entirely.
In proposing that the sessions of the Federal Convention, in 1787, should be opened with prayer, Benjamin Franklin said:
"I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed no better in this political building than the builders of Babel. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by wisdom; and leave it to chance, war and conquest "
Papers of the Cedar Rapids Conference
The last general topic taken up at the Conference was that of Masonic periodicals and their relation to Masonic Education. This was presented under three heads: the independent journal, the Grand Lodge official organ and the lodge bulletin or leaflet. Of the second of these classes the Missouri Grand Lodge Bulletin was discussed by M.W. Bro. Ittner and the Iowa Grand Lodge Bulletin by Bro. C. C. Hunt. Unfortunately these were presented only in informal addreses and so cannot be recorded here. In regard to the first class Bro. J. A. Fetterly, Editor of the Masonic Tidings presented the following paper on Masonic journalism:
MASONIC JOURNALISM By J. A. FETTERLY, Editor, "Masonic Tidings," Milwaukee, Wis.
IN discussing Masonic Journalism and particularly privately owned Masonic journals, before an audience like this, one such owner is powerfully prompted to liberate a few thoughts that have long been held captive, and to emit some "home truths" fully warranted by the circumstanees which gave them birth.
We have been discussing "Masonic Education" and ways and means of creating a more general desire for Masonic knowledge by members of the Fraternity.
I am convinced such a desire can be created but only among the new Craftsmen. The old Craftsmen except about 10 per cent of them are hopeless from an educational standpoint. Masonry to them is made up of a lot of waste history, wornout traditions and discredited old- wives tales, compounded with some questionable philosophy and superstitious symbolism.
The above statement may fairly be applied to 90 per cent of the present membership. The remainder are earnest, sincere, upright- minded men and some of them have a real desire for "more light."
My conviction is that we should give our attention to, and labor with, the newly-raised Master Mason. Think back on your own experience. Think of that "fine frenzy" as Shakespeare calls it, for "light" and "still more light" on Masonic history, symbolism and philosophy which possessed your mind while taking your three Blue Lodge degrees. You and I both actually hungered for knowledge of this wonderful old Craft of ours.
The newly-made Mason of today is not different. Here is the fruitful soil awaiting our labors; here the harvest crying for the reaper. Great dividends will be paid on all investments of information and knowledge planted in that ground.
It was only last year that I offered to send my magazine for a year, free of charge, to all newly raised Master Masons in Milwaukee county, if the lodge would supply their names and addresses for me.
Five lodges out of the twenty-two in the county accepted the offer in the spirit in which it was made. Most of the others did not even answer my communication. One of the largest lodges in the city refused to supply the names of its newly-raised members, because it "smacked of commercialism."
That is a fair sample of the cooperation given us by Official Masonry.
Some of us are publishing our magazines at a cost of 22.1 cents per copy and those of us who are lucky, get as high as 16 2/3 cents per copy from our subscribers. The majority of us get far less.
Yet when we are forced to run advertising to make up this deficit and to supply a sufficient margin on which to live, such advertising is actually resented. Instead of rejoicing at the thought of the improved magazine this makes possible, Official Masonry often charges us with "commercializing" our Masonic standing.
How those "Lily Whites" must suffer at the thought of the Salary paid their pastor, the Secretary of their Grand Lodge or the Secretary of their Blue Lodge! Such "commercialism" is deplorable.
At this point I want to pay my tribute to those Grand Masters and officials as well as to those lay brethren, who have given us their hearty support and cooperation. About 10 per cent of the Craft can be thus classified. They are as an oasis in an otherwise arid desert; as cool water to parched lips. Their name shall be called Blessed.
Let me, in conclusion, ask that Official Masonry be somewhat more broad-minded in its atitude toward the privately-owned Masonic journal. It is the house organ of the Craft and its management is willing nay anxious, to do all possible for the good of the whole. We appreciate our responsibility and desire to measure up to it.
Also let me repeat: The best and most fertile field of labor for Masonic education is among the newly-made Masons. To their hands we, of the older generation, must commit the future interests of our Beloved Craft. Let us do what and all we can to prepare them for their serious responsibilities.
Bros. W. H. Braun and N. H. Hicks followed with papers on the objects and scope of the lodge publication. A great many lodges publish some form of leaflet or bulletin as a matter of convenience, but a few of these attempt a good deal more than the announcement of meetings and social entertainments and the record of local Masonic gossip. Among these the Palmer Templegram and Light stand out as among the best.
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THE PALMER TEMPLEGRAM Monthly Publication of Henry L. Palmer Lodge, No. 301, F. & A. M., Milwaukee, Wis. By WALTER H. BBAUN, Editor
OUR publication is the second of its kind of local lodge publications and made its first appearance on March 1, 1920, as a four-page leaflet containing at that time officers rostrum, monthly schedules, announcements of special events and short items of interest to the members of our lodge and those Masonic and allied bodies meeting at Palmer Masonic Temple. It appeared regularly every month of each year until 1925 when the July and August issues were combined into one single issue and has since 1925 appeared in the form of eleven issues each year. From four pages in 1920 our monthly editions have been increased to sixteen pages at present with occasional twenty page issues.
Beginning with approximately one thousand copies per month circulation in 1920 our present mailing lists number about two thousand seven hundred. Beginning with elected candidates for degrees each member of Henry L. Palmer Lodge, No. 301, Henry L. Palmer Chapter, No. 87, R. A. M., Henry L. Palmer Commandery, No. 42, K. T., and Golden Rule Chapter, No. 194, O. E. S., is placed on our mailing lists. Duplications are avoided by counter- checking and cooperation among the secretaries of the various Masonic and allied bodies occupying space in our publication. Beside our regular membership circulation we also maintain a Special "exchange"' and "courtesy" mailing list, which includes numerous local, domestic and foreign Masonic and other publications of interest to our own readers, present and past member of the Wisconsin, sister and foreign Grand Jurisdictions, who have expressed interest in our publication and a desire to be numbered among our readers.
At the annual meeting of the lodge a typewritten, signed statement is rendered by the Editor giving all details of cost. The ownership of our publication resting solely in Henry L. Palmer Lodge, all other Masonic and allied bodies occupying space in it are billed monthly for such space at cost plus postage and cost of envelopes. The cost to the owners, Henry L. Palmer Lodge, per Master Mason per year delivered to home address is about ninety cents per year at present. This is paid out of the general funds of the lodge, no special assessment being levied from any individual reader.
The responsibility for the contents of our publication rests solely with the annually appointed editors of the various Masonic and allied bodies represented in our pages. In cases of doubt, the respective editors consult with their respective presiding officer as to the propriety of any particular contribution. None of the editors expects or receives remuneration for his individual labors.
Contributions to the columns of our publication are invited at all times from any one of our readers. However, with rare exceptions, the respective editors personally provide the necessary material for their columns. All other contributions and reprints are identified by name or source, to distinguish them from original contributions of the editors. The latter kind of contributions appear unsigned.
The Palmer Templegram is conducted strictly on a Masonic, i.e., non-commercial, basis. No advertisements are solicited or accepted. While this policy accounts for approximately one half of the cost of our publication, its owners are willing and ready to pay for the maintenance of this principle, which we consider as the first essential of a Masonic publication. Each month's issue is mailed out to our readers on or before the 1st of the month preceding its date.
In the conduct of our publication we have found the resources of a Masonic Library of inestimable help and are fortunate to have at our disposition at all times all books and records of the Palmer Temple Masonic Library, which is the largest in the Wisconsin Grand Jurisdiction and consists of little less than a thousand volumes. We aim at all times to serve the educational purposes of the Craft and each issue contains between twenty-five and eighty per cent of Masonic educational subjects. Regular correspondence is maintained with all domestic and foreign exchanges, respectively, their editors, and carbon copies of such correspondence are filed in the reference section of our Masonic Library for the perusal and inspection of all auhorized individuals. All "exchanges" are displayed, as received, on the reading table of our Library for perusal and inspection of visitors and members.
We strongly advocate the establishment of "official" Grand Lodge publications in all Grand Jurisdictions, but with the priviso, that such Grand Lodge publications should be managed on a strictly Masonic basis and published without commercial advertising of any form. The Grand Lodge of Iowa among the few Grand Jurisdictions which have proven that such an undertaking is feasible and practical. To measure the benefit to the Craft in general of such plan in dollars and cents is beyond the scope of mathematical calculation.
The trials and tribulations of an Editor of an individual lodge publication are in complementary relation to the quality of the publication. Troubles increase in the same ratio as the quality of a publication. The more original a lodge publication and the greater the latitude permitted for individual expression always of course within the limits of Masonic ethics and good common sense the greater will be the amount of criticism received. If properly managed, this, however, will have only the effect to spur on the editors to do still better and still more individual work. The wages of sin are said to be death, but the wages of Masonic lodge paper editors are a multitude of character studies and human experiences as no other voluntary Masonic task can afford.
LOCAL LODGE BULLETINS By N. L. HICKS, Editor of "Light," Marshalltown, Iowa
THE Subject of local lodge bulletins must necessarily be treated in this paper by one whose experience has been confined to the one particular publication of which he has been in charge for the past few years. This monthly publication, LIGHT, is the official organ of Marshall Lodge, No. 108, located at Marshalltown, Ia., one of the leading cities of the state, Masonically and otherwise. This lodge has a membership of three hundred forty, which, combined with the membership of the local Chapter, Council and Commandery gives an aggregate membership of over thirteen hundred. This Subject may be best handled under three headings, viz.: finance, editorial and results accomplished.
The perplexing problem confronting every publication is finance. It would be well nigh impossible to finance a local lodge bulletin where the revenue is confined to personal subscriptions. In such event it would require practically all the time of one person to obtain subscriptions and collect for them.
Our experience has been that for convenience and efficiency the best method of carrying on the work is for the lodge to turn the whole matter over to an association with authority to handle all matters pertaining to the publication as in its judgment may be deemed best. The Worshipful Master and Wardens of the lodge are ex-officio the board of governors of the association and they, in turn, appoint the editor, business manager and other members of the staff.
Advertising rates are made as reasonable as possible in order to make it appeal to the largest number of advertisers, who are all members of the Fraternity. In this connection I might say that since the publication was started over three years ago, fifteen business men and fifteen professional men have been continuous advertisers. Of course there have been a great many who bought space from time to time. Naturally, we try to cooperate with these advertisers and make money spent with us a profitable investment. Without a proper Masonic spirit in the town and a willingness on the part of the Masons to assist through advertising, a Masonic publication will find its road indeed rough and rugged.
Advertising space being limited and it being inadvisable to charge a high rate, it follows that the revenue from this Source will not cover the entire expense. It is therefore necessary for the lodge to contribute a sum which may be as much as one hundred dollars to cover the deficit.. By careful figuring last year we were able to keep our expense down to $937.98. Our income from advertising and contributions from other Masonic bodies for special pages was $902.61, leaving a small deficit which was taken care of by an appropriation from the lodge.
Editorial matter must be carefully chosen when one has only eight pages, nine by twelve inches, at his disposal for advertising, news, announcements and personal items. While we have three able Masonic writers on our staff as associate editors, who are willing to contribute articles whenever called upon, yet limits of space prevent the use of their talent as often as we desire.
At present the writer is presenting to the readers a history of Marshall Lodge, chartered in 1858. This is run in monthly installments and requires about two pages for each chapter. After much correspondence photographs of nearly all the Past Masters have been secured and from these half-tone cuts has been made for use in presenting the history. This feature has been highly complimented by old and new members alike.
At least one column of each issue is written by the Master of the lodge under the heading "Tidings from the East." This gives the principal officer an opportunity to speak intimately with every member of the lodge once each month.
Another section headed "Tidings from near and far" contains communications from members of the lodge who write in during the month preceding publication. These letters always contain the full address of the writer and thus LIGHT serves as a broadcasting station to keep the members in touch with each other and gives an accurate knowledge of the whereabouts of each writer as he changes his residence from time to time.
A local lodge bulletin is of great assistance in the collection of dues. Many members fail to pay their dues promptly simply because they forget to do so. If they read a publication from their own lodge they are reminded of this important duty and many of them will respond.
In exchange for our own publication we receive each month copies of sixty-two of the best Masonic publications in print. These are placed in order in a magazine rack in the lodge library and are at the disposal of the reading Masons of the city at all times. At the end of the year when the files are complete, many of these magazines are nicely bound and become a permanent part of the library. Thus we are gradually building up a library at practically no expense.
Members who take part in the discussions of the monthly meetings of our study club are urged to bring in their material in written form. In that ease their papers are published in LIGHT and even the non-resident members receive the benefit of them.
Each year in January a special twenty-four page number is published. This requires considerable extra advertising to cover the additional expense. In this special number a summary of the work in the different Masonic bodies during the preceding year is given in detail; photographs of the retiring presiding officers as well as the incoming officials are published; statistical tables of historical value are presented; when space permits a complete roster of the membership of all bodies is published as well as a complete catalog of the library. Much greater interest has been shown in the lodge library since the members became familiar with its contents through the pages of LIGHT.
I regard the following as among the most important results accomplished by this publication: Non-resident members retain their membership in the lodge because they are constantly in touch with it; local Masons who are members of other lodges often petition for membership because they have been sent complimentary copies of LIGHT and become familiar with the activities of Marshall Lodge; attendance at lodge meetings is increased because the members know just who is receiving the degrees from time to time; greater interest is shown in the library and study club as the members read about the contents of the former and the activities of the latter. However if there is one result being accomplished which is outstanding it is the fact that the history of the lodge, as it is being made today, is being recorded in detail from month to month. Possibly the greatest value of the papers will be in the years to come when future members of the lodge may read about events which are transpiring today.
FUTURE OF LODGE BULLETINS
It is my opinion that in the near future there will be many lodge bulletins published. At present there are only four in Iowa to my knowledge. I have talked with the officers of several of the larger lodges and find they are paying nearly as much for printed announcements of coming events as our net expense comes to for a monthly publication. As soon as the lodge begins to realize that the expense of publication is not excessive, they will favor the bulletin idea.
Assistance is freely given by the management of other publications, whether local or commercial, and the brethren of Iowa are exceptionally fortunate in having the Iowa Masonic Library at hand to assist them in all such endeavors.
Our own publication could be made larger and very much better. All that would be required would be the services of some brother who could devote more time and effort to the work than it is receiving at present.
Sentiment in the lodge is decidedly in favor of continuing the publication indefinitely. This is especially true with non- resident members who are continually writing in expressing their pleasure at receiving it. The full Masonic report of each newly made brother is published as soon as his work is completed, also the record of each brother lost by death. In this way the member in California, New York or Canada is accurately informed of the changes in personnel from time to time.
In fact, one of the main arguments favoring a lodge publication is in the fact that it is highly appreciated by non-resident members. These brethren pay the same dues as the resident members but cannot take advantage of all the privileges of the Order because of their distance from the lodge. Resident members, for instance, may partake of a banquet occasionally at the expense of the lodge. Those members living at a distance are at least entitled to a lodge bulletin, if they so desire, when their dues are helping to support it.
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.
ALBERT PIKE: A BIOGRAPHY. By Fred W. Allsopp. Published by Parke-Harper Company, Little Rock, Ark. Cloth, Illustrated, Table of Contents, Index, Appendices. 869 pages. Price $3.65.
LITTLE need exists for any painstaking analysis of the contents of a book whose subject is the life of Albert Pike.
As Sovereign Grand Commander of the A.A.S.R., Southern Jurisdiction, and as the author, or at least the reviser, of its rituals his Life is sufficiently familiar to Masons generally to make anything more than the briefest comments superfluous. That he was born in Massachusetts and as a very young man journeyed into the then wild and decidedly woolly west is a matter of general knowledge. This western experience and its accompanying failure led Albert Pike into Fort Smith, Arkansas, and back to the profession of school teacher which he had deserted when he left New England. How he came to be, first an associate editor, and later owner and sole editor of the Advocate, a Little Rock newspaper, only to desert this field to read and practice law, forms an appealing story which is typically the struggle for success that we see around us even at this date. The trials and tribulations that came to Pike as a Confederate officer, the difficulties that faced him after the close of the war, and his Masonic activities complete a life that was full to the brim of activity.
The present biography is not all that could be wished. It seems that much of real interest is either omitted or treated in a dull manner. Pike's experiences on the western prairies would furnish enough material for a thoroughly exciting novel, but as it appears in Bro. Allsopp's book it can hardly be classed as interesting reading. As much might be said of other portions of the book. While the critical mood is present it may not be amiss to ask why the author deems it necessary to harp constantly upon the greatness of his subject. It seems to this writer, at least, that one of the best ways of impressing a reader with the greatness of a man is to show by the incidents of his life how far above the average he actually is. By his manner the author leads his reader to the opinion that Pike was not really so great as he says, else it would not be necessary to reiterate the statement so constantly.
Factually the book seems accurate and because of this it will prove a valuable addition to Masonic literature.
E. E. T.
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ENGLISH MEN AND MANNERS IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. By A. S. Turberville. Published by The Oxford University Press, New York. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, preface, index, xxiii and 581 pages. Price $4.25.
ONE of the outstanding characteristics of the present day is the universal passion for travel. By rail and steamer, in car and aeroplane, men and women of the twentieth century imitate Puck and put a girdle round the earth. Nor are they satisfied with journeying in space, but desire also to travel backward through time and visit the past ages of human history, to study the life of Periclean Athens or the London of Elizabeth. And as the volumes of Baedecker and the Guide Joanne are published to direct the traveller's attention to the sites most worthy of a visit in the course of his peregrinations, so scholars of the present day are producing works which may not inaptly be described as guide-books to the past. Of such a character is Mr. Turberville's English Men and Manners in the Eighteenth Century.
The period which the author has selected for treatment is one of the most fascinating and important in the whole course of human progress. It is not, perhaps, too much to say that during these hundred years the transition was made from earlier England to the England of today. Externally, the old British Empire was rent asunder, the American colonies entered upon a separate existence, and a new British Empire arose, in shape and character much as we know it. In domestic politics, parliamentary government was evolved and the periodical press created. In the sphere of economics, the machine replaced the handicraftsman; in the realm of thought natural science assumed the predominance, and ideas which are commonplaces today, such as toleration and philanthropy, make their appearance; while Masons will recall that it was at this time that Masonry entered upon its present phase.
The importance of a period is, in general, a guarantee of its interest, as implying great characters and striking events. And there are few ages that could match statesmen and soldiers with the age of Walpole and Pitt, George Washington and Warren Hastings, of Marlborough, Wolfe and Clive. Moreover, strange as it may seem to those who recall the formal social character of the period, there are few epochs which present us with so many quaint and original personalities, personalities that have become a part of the Anglo-Saxon inheritance We know Steele and Addison and Swift, Dr. Johnson and Garrick and Goldsmith, better than we know most of the great figures of the succeeding age. For the twentieth century, the eighteenth is sufficiently remote to have acquired the flavor of the antique, sufficiently near to be easily comprehensible.
It is to this changing, many-sided and fascinating age that Mr. Turberville introduces his readers. Throughout the whole work he has kept steadily in view the two-fold function of the guide-book, of pointing out the chief features of the subject with which it deals, and of arousing an interest that will only be satisfied with personal first-hand knowledge. His book sketches in outline the various interesting developments of the age - the great historical events, the fluctuating party polities, the social, economic and artistic life of eighteenth century England. It introduces us into the cabinet of the statesman, the Pump Room at Bath, the workshops in which the inventors were creating the machinery that was to revolutionize industry, and carries us to the farms on which scientific husbandry was being evolved. The reader thus acquires a grasp of the general character of the age, and is enabled to decide which aspect or aspects will be of greatest interest to himself, and will best repay further investigation.
The second function, that of arousing the reader's enthusiasm is the more difficult to perform. But the author has triumphantly overcome the difficulty by the only possible method, that of giving just so much information as will whet, but not satisfy the curiosity. Whether a chapter deals with statesmen or highwaymen, with divines, philanthropists, or inventors, it not only presents the reader with matter of interest, but leaves the feeling that the half or the quarter has not been told, and the desire to round out the subject by personal investigation. The book is thus in the truest sense an Introduction to the men and manners of this by-gone era. Mr. Turberville "wants us to meet" his old friends Sir Robert Walpole and Dr. Johnson and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and gives us just such an account of them that we shall desire to pursue the acquaintance thus made until they are our own old friends.
It is with the aim of effecting a real introduction that the book has been so lavishly illustrated. An introduction over the telephone is of little value. It is only when the parties are brought face to face that the introduction has any chance of developing into familiar friendship; and in the excellent series of illustrations we are placed vis-a-vis with the actual eighteenth century. Portraits, caricatures, broadsides like that of 1725 attacking Walpole under the presence of a hue and cry after a defaulting coachman, make us feel the eighteenth century, not as something dead and gone, but as something living and present, as an age in which we may live in the imagination among interesting people with whose persons and characters we are intimately acquainted.
E. E. B.
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MASONIC CEREMONIALS FOR USE OF THE M.W. GRAND LODGE OF IOWA, A. F. & A. M., AND ITS CONSTITUENT LODGES. Compiled by Charles Clyde Hunt Grand Secretary, and the Board of Custodians. Privately printed, Grand Lodge of Iowa, A. F. & A. M., Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cloth, 18 mo., 181 pages. Sixty cents, postpaid.
THIS pocket-size volume, received with much acclaim I through the Iowa Jurisdiction because of the manifest improvement over the cumbersome volume of the previous edition, has particular interest for brethren of other jurisdictions because of several marked improvements in customary ceremonies. The outstanding feature is the very desirable change in the old funeral service, which has persisted in so many jurisdictions because the ultra-conservatives consider a deviation from the work as they learned it as a "violation of the landmarks" - whatever they may be. It is so difficult for the worshippers of the letter to distinguish between the essentials of ritual and those portions of our work which are monitorial. The attempt to modernize those peculiar features of Masonic ritual which are a heritage of ancient days, and which give flavor and distinction to Freemasonry, is rightfully to be decried; but to cling to the obsolete, archaic and benighted views of death, as held by the lugubrious and unctuous religionists of a century and more ago, is something which should not be upheld in this enlightened day and age. The Grand Lodge of Iowa permits marked deviation in certain of its work and ceremonies from the generally accepted text, and it is not an uncommon thing for a Master of a lodge to fit the funeral ceremonies to the beliefs held by the deceased brother in his life. In recognition of this desire for latitude, the new Book of Ceremonials has optional texts.
Another feature is the chapter on "Visitation." The subject of Masonic etiquette is a perplexing one, and with the American tendency to override form and ceremony, such as is one of the distinctive features of the British Craft, there are many flagrant breaches of established Masonic etiquette apparent to the informed brother in many lodges. The present work simplifies matters for the uninformed Master, and establishes an official procedure for the reception of Grand Lodge dignitaries. It is to be regretted that the cut illustrating the appropriate floor work was made from an apparently tentative and incomplete sketch, for the expenditure of a dollar or two would have produced a complete, symmetrical and well lettered drawing.
The volume conforms to the canons of bookmaking in the essential details. It has a preface by R. W. Bro. Charles C. Hunt, Grand Secretary, in which the development and scope of the book are set forth. A table of contents facilitates ready reference; an index to the concise volume would have been an unnecessary addendum. The type is clear and very legible; the captions are in bold face type, so that the use of the text in ceremonies where reading from a book is permissible whit not hinder proceedings. The literary features measure up to the standards which the American Craft have learned to expect from Iowa Freemasonry, and are in keeping with the other editorial productions emanating from the Iowa Masonic Library, over which the Grand Secretary presides as en officio librarian.
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WHAT IS THE MIND? By George T.W. Patrick. Published by The Macmillan Company, New York. Cloth, Table of Contents, index, 185 pages. Price $2.65.
THE advanced student of philosophy or psychology will find little of interest in Professor Patrick's answer to the question "What is the mind?" The book makes no pretense of being the result of original research, but is no more than a resume of modern developments in its field. Designed to furnish this information devoid of technicality and in a language sufficiently simple to be understood by the untrained reader it is apparent that the author has set himself a difficult task. Some technical language cannot be avoided, but the scrupulous care exercised in defining such terms when they appear, is assurance that Prof. Patrick has succeeded at least passably well. Doubtless no more should be expected in a field where commonly used words like consciousness, behavior, mind, and others have connotations quite different from their common meanings.
No warning is necessary for those who are acquainted with the vagaries of language which make their appearance in philosophical and psychological works. The technical use of words in the mental sciences is somewhat difficult to the ordinary reader It might have been well for the author to have emphasized this point at the outset. However, the careful definition of terms implicitly, at least, accomplished the purpose fairly well.
The work is not as valuable for its definition of the mind as it is for the interpretation of philosophical theory that it contains. The author has endeavored to analyze the views of the most outstanding men in the realm of mental sciences, not only the moderns, but the ancients as well. It is obvious that this can only be done in a superficial way in such a short work, but the lay reader will find the comparisons of great assistance in clarifying their own views on the subject. Prof. Patrick shows with surprising clearness not only wherein these views differ from his own, but the reasons therefor.
The theory advanced by the author is a modification of behaviorism. He disagrees with those of the modern school who adhere to the view that the mind is entirely objective. This hypothesis, according to Prof. Patrick, leaves no room for consciousness, interests, thinking, and other mental activities which are not subjects for objective study.
As nearly as is possible the following quotations express in brief the views held by the author:
We seem to have arrived at a definition of mind as the sum total of those processes and activities studied in psychology, and to have given to these a definite meaning in defining them as the behavior of living beings as they adjust themselves to their surroundings in such a way as to maintain their integrity and satisfy their desires. Let us regard this definition of mind as provisional rather than final.
. . . If the mind is the name of that kind of behavior by which living beings adjust themselves and adapt themselves to their physical and social environment, why, then, many problems hitherto perplexing and disturbing become easy of solution. The mind-body problem, for instance, which has puzzled many thinkers in many ages, seems suddenly to have disappeared . . . since we now see that the mind is simply the sum of a class of activities of a living being.
This definition, too, should be considered only tentative. In the final analysis the conclusion is reached that Prof. Patrick's view is hardly more than a modification of the monad theory advanced by Liebnitz. It can be seen that there is much left open in the field of consciousness, etc., in both of these definitions.
Professor Patrick asks the following questions, answers to which form a major portion of the discussion and lead to a more complete understanding of his interpretation of the mind:
How does this view (mentioned in the definitions above) affect the reality of the mind?
What bearing does it have on the dignity and worth of the soul?
If intelligence is a form of activity of living beings, how have they acquired this capacity?
Is the human mind a kind of special creation, or has it been evolved from the simple responses of the lower organisms?
Is there no consciousness or is it the same as mind?
What are the springs of conduct?
What are the "wishes"?
Can these, too, be considered forms of behavior or must we seek an altogether different source for them?
It is in the answers to these and other questions that the value of the comparisons of philosophical theories mentioned above plays such an important part. The reader is led into complex studies too wide in implication to be touched here, but still within the understanding of the ordinary reader.
The book is unquestionably a valuable addition to the elementary literature of this subject. With the reservations above made it is easily read and understood. For these reasons, if no others, it is a worthy sequel to the other volumes in the Philosophy for the Layman series.
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THE THREE MUSKETEERS OF THE AIR. By Captain Hermann Koehl, Major James C. Fitzmaurice, Baron Guenther von Huenefeld. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 330 pages. Price $2.65.
20 HRS. 40 MIN. OUR FLIGHT IN THE FRIENDSHIP. By Amelia, Earhart. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 814 pages. Price $2.65.
FLYING THE ARCTIC. By Capt. George H. Wilkins. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 836 pages. Price $2.65.
FLYING WITH LINDBERGH. By Donald E. Keghoe. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 299 pages. Price $2.65.
THE year 1928 was, perhaps, more fruitful in successful pioneering in aviation than any of those immediately preceding. Of course, 1927 saw the completion of Lindbergh's flight from New York to Paris and immediately following his effort there were two additional transatlantic flights which were eminently successful. We are not particularly interested in the achievements of that year, except that one of the books included In our list has to do with our tour of the United States made by Col. (as well as Bro. Lindbergh) under the auspices of the Guggenheim Fund. That flight in its direct bearing upon the future of aviation was perhaps as important as any of the more spectacular trips. made by other air pioneers. This tour was not commonplace from any standpoint, but it lacked the showiness that makes an emotional appeal. With precision that rivalled the crack trains on our best known railway systems the tour party arrived at scheduled stops. Their departure was not always so precise, but that part of the story is better told by Mr. Keyhoe than by anyone else. That such an extensive program could be carried out with so little deviation from the schedule speaks well for the stability of aerial transportation. Today there are few who will admit that this form of travel has not "arrived" as a permanent part of our commercial existence.
The story of the tour as told in Flying With Lindbergh is a delightful account of a trip that, while it was filled with formalities that must have grown boresome before the conclusion, furnished many impromptu amusements that kept the life of the party at a hilarious pitch. Mr. Keyhoe is an interesting and entertaining writer whose ability to make other people see the amusing side of this tour is sufficient recommendation for spending pleasant hours in reading his book.
Not so very long after the conclusion of this air tour in the Spirit of St. Louis the world was informed that Capt. George H. Wilkins had hopped off from Point Barrow, Alaska, on a flight to Spitzbergen. If this news affected others as it did me, there was no more than a feeling that it was about time. For the past two or three years the newspapers had contained accounts of the expedition under the direction of Capt. Wilkins whose expressed purpose was to explore the Arctic wastes by airplane. These efforts had successively culminated in failure as we would estimate it, and I think there was not one who paid very much attention to the preparations that were made for the third trip last year. Doubtless this was as much due to lack of publicity as any other cause. We are informed of the difficulties that stood in the way of this last attempt and of the many trials and disappointments that confronted the explorers in their previous efforts. People had, by this time, however, become accustomed to daring flights, and I am confident that the eyes of the world were not so earnestly directed to the Arctic wastes in the spring of 1928 as they had been turned toward the reaches of the Atlantic Ocean on that day in May, 1927, when the first attempt to span this body of water from mainland to mainland was under way. There is no need to go into detail on that score, the mere mention is sufficient to cause a surge of emotion even at this distant date. Captain Wilkins in his flight over the northern wastes could not, and did not, grasp the imagination of the people as Col. Lindbergh did a year earlier. There was a feeling of trepidation when day after day passed with no word from the Australian explorer and his redoubtable aid, Carl Ben Eielson. When the word was flashed to the world that they had finally arrived at their destination there was a feeling of relief that two more gallant souls had not yielded their lives in pioneering the air.
It is not necessary to mention how interesting the account of this trip really is when we have it at first hand. Those who have read works by others who have explored the Arctic and Antarctic wastes have no need of assurance of its interest and thrill. To others who have not felt the thrill of reading about new accomplishments in the face of discouragement and danger we can only offer the advice that they begin at once. Unless they do they are missing a great many hours of real pleasure.
The adventures of the Bremen flyers as set down in their joint book The Three Musketeers of the Air are as interesting and entertaining as any book in the lot. Unfortunately they have each set down their own account of the flight and the repetition of the same story becomes just a bit monotonous before the end. After I had read it I felt that not enough space had been devoted to the efforts that were made to rescue the flyers from Greenly Island, and further that they had been a bit too brief in recounting their experiences on tour in the United States and Canada. They each tell the story of the actual flight in interesting though diverse styles. There is a certain interest in learning of the things on the flight that impressed each of these men, but even that does not take away from the monotony of an oft-repeated tale. I think a better arrangement of the story would have been for Koehl to have told the actual story of the trip, Fitzmaurice to have devoted his attention to the efforts at rescue and the problems associated with the repair of the Bremen and for Huenefeld, who has capabilities in a philosophical direction, to have devoted himself to his thoughts during the flight and a more detailed description of their trip over this country. It strikes me that the Baron is more observant, or perhaps it would be better to say that he seems to sense the emotions of those with whom he Is associated more clearly than his companions. I think his observations on America would have added materially to the value of this volume which in spite of its defects remains intensely interesting.
Hardly had the clamor of the Bremen flight died away when the world was advised of the attempt of Miss Earhart and the Friendship crew to span the Atlantic. The successful conclusion of this flight was due in but small measure to any effort on the part of Miss Earhart, a fact which she frankly admits. In spite of this, however, one cannot help but admire her courage in taking part in the flight. Perhaps her role as passenger was, after all, the most trying of the three. It is not so difficult to venture into the unknown when you are occupied, but she seems to have had no particular duties aboard the craft and one gathers the impression that the trip was anything but comfortable though it must have been thrilling beyond measure.
Miss Earhart's style is much more amusing than that of any other author here discussed. Whether you admire the young lady or not has no real bearing upon the case. She has a sense of humor that is thoroughly amusing and a sparkle and vivacity must be present in her personality to make itself so clearly felt in her writing.
To these pioneers of the air is the public indebted for four volumes of delightful reading.
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THE TEACHINGS OF FREEMASONRY. By “Essex Master". Published by Cecil Palmer, London. Boards, Table of Contents, 176 pages. Price $2.00.
BOOKS on Masonic symbolism seem to find ready acceptance by the majority of Masons who devote themselves to reading about the Fraternity. For this reason, if no other, it may have been better for the publishers or the author of the work under review to have selected a title which would have pictured more accurately the contents of this volume. There are two connotations usually placed upon teachings as the word is used in titles for Masonic books. In one sense the word applies to the philosophic side of the Order and in the other to the symbolic as it does in the present instance.
But this is not a review of Masonic book titles, it is the contents of the volume that are, or should be under discussion. A brief opening chapter is devoted to "The Approach to Freemasonry." In these pages the author discusses the manner in which a candidate for the degrees should consider the institution. The conclusion that
The approach to the Craft should be actuated by a desire for the subjugation of self and the opportunity for service to humanity
is reached. This may seem to have little connection with a book dealing primarily with Masonic symbolism, but the next sentence furnishes the key to what it is all about. The author says:
Brethren who may have failed in this conception of their membership must have misread their obligations, and failed utterly to understand the meanings of things they say and do.
The purpose of the work as a whole is, therefore, to explain those things that are said and done and which are frequently misunderstood by the brethren.
The author deems it necessary to discuss the antiquity of the Fraternity before entering upon his main thesis. The wisdom of this is dubious, but since it has met with the approval of the author some consideration must be paid the views expressed. The contents of this chapter may very well be summed up in one paragraph:
Between the two schools (of Masonic scholarship), which on the one hand endeavors to weave some link of continuity from the stone builders of ancient history to the modern speculative Masonic Order, and those who refuse to distinguish any such connection, there appears to be a position favored by the present writer, which is that the texture of our ritual of today is to some considerable extent the same as the lodge rituals of the old guildsmen, and that although the objectives of the working of this ritual may be entirely different from those of earlier days, the ideals are similar, namely, to preserve the exclusiveness of an organization to inspire its members with lofty conceptions.
There is nothing with which we may find fault in this states meet. It is in brief the exact policy that this reviewer has been advocating for some time. This is not, however, the place in which to air personal views upon Masonic scholarship in general. The difficulty with the view expressed in the quotation above is not Its applicability, but the application of the author of the work now under review. He does not adhere in the later portion of his book to this opinion. In feet the reader may become convinced that "Essex Master" is a follower of the first of the two schools mentioned, and then, on another page, perhaps not far from the one that led to this conviction he will be inclined to the opposite opinion. The path followed by the author is not a middle road between the two schools of scholarship, but a wavering lane trending first in one direction and then in another. In reading the book the present reviewer came to the uncharitable conclusion that the author was an adherent of either school depending solely upon which plan of scholarship best fitted the symbolism under discussion at the moment. It is, perhaps, unfair to base any positive statements upon such a brief work as The Teachings of Freemasonry and it may be that it is the brevity alone which conveys the above mentioned impression.
The chapter on "The Practice of the Craft" which fills nearly half of the book is indeed worthy of careful reading. Much of the material to be found in these pages is not new, but there is enough that is new to warrant a careful perusal of the whole. "Essex Master" has an ability to interpret symbols that warrants ranking his work among the best on the subject. Because the book deals with ritual workings as found in England there is a good deal that does not apply particularly to anything in American Masonry. It would be well, perhaps, to consider at some length the author's interpretation of the Apron as illustrative not only of new material in Masonic symbolism, but of the inapplicability of some of the English symbolism to American Masonry. This one symbol offers a concrete illustration on both of these points. We are not, in this country, accustomed to decorating the aprons of members in accordance with the offices that they hold or permitting the wearing of such distinctive badges in our lodges. It is not the general practice, for example, for a Past Master or even a Past Grand Master to wear in lodge an apron signifying his attainment of these ranks. It is, however, the custom in England and the author of this book has found a symbolic interpretation for the decorations that appear upon such aprons. Some scholars might find fault with this as they certainly would with the fact that "Essex Master" has found much of a symbolic nature in the shape of the apron. Both shape and the ornamentation are comparatively new in Masonic circles. It is not true that new things are necessarily without symbolic significance, but an air of antiquity should not be thrown about new things for the sake of supporting a possible symbolic interpretation. In this one respect does the author err in the symbolism of the Apron. He endeavors to show that Masons wore rectangular aprons long before the Grand Lodge era. He also asserts that the flap on the apron was triangular. It may have been so in some eases, but the impression is left that such aprons were worn to the exclusion of all others which is manifestly false when we consider the evidence. So far as that goes aprons with rounded corners were generally, if not universally worn by our operative forebears, and by speculative Masons, too, even to the present day in some places.
It is necessary to pass briefly over the last chapter which deals with the symbolism or teachings of the legend of the Temple and the drama of the Third Degree. As has been previously stated the symbolism is exceedingly good, but the history is not nearly so accurate.
Taking the book as a whole it may be stated that it is a valuable contribution to the Literature of Masonic symbolism, but the history must not be considered either as authoritative or accurate. There are, of course, statements made that are strictly true, but it takes a discerning reader to know wherein lies the true and wherein the false, and for the elementary student it is best to issue warning that all of the history should be east into the discard and more accurate sources found for such information. In the narrower field of symbolic interpretation there are more complete books, but none that are any better. This little volume can take a place in the front rank of books on Masonic symbolism.
E. E. T.
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SPECULATION ON LIFE AND RELIGION. By: C. L. Kasson. Privately printed. Paper, 47 pages.
TO some extent this would appear to be a further development of a line of thought followed out in part in a previous pamphlet published by the author, Speculation on Human Life, but with much more emphasis on the spiritual and moral side. The later essay might be described as a superstructure on the foundation of the earlier one.
Every generation regards its own conventions and mental furniture as absolute, as the final and perfect standard by which all others are to be judged. This makes it difficult to realize that the vital truths of man's higher nature continually require to be translated into the language of the day - or even of the hour. More especially so, as one generation is always overlapped by older ones, which act as a conservative, and often as a reactionary force.
When translation is spoken of it must be understood as a more subtle thing than translation from English into French or Latin into German. We can there see the necessity. But this is rather a translation into a new set of ideas, and perhaps the word "restatement" is in some ways better than "translation."
When it is considered without prejudice, it is obvious that minds furnished with a set of concepts based on modern physical science, familiar with electricity and radio, and with the broad outlines of astronomical, biological and physical theories, cannot possibly see or grasp spiritual truths under the same aspects and figures of speech that our forefathers did. However the conservatives in religion may dislike it, the change of formulae is inevitable in the nature of things.
Hence the usefulness of such essays as the one under consideration. The author has grasped some of the implications of the change, not in our collective mentality, but in the counters and images of collective thought. He rightly deprecates the tendency to the standardization of our ideals, especially as the standards, while good enough of their kind are not of a very high or heroic type.
He is rather prone, like so many writers, to use the word religion too loosely. Those with sufficient knowledge of the differentiating features of the various Christian sects will see from what the reaction is made, but it would be better to define, or label more accurately. Popular protestantism took many things for granted, accepted many things literally, that are no part of religion in general, or the Christian religion in particular.
This is but a passing thought. The author does not offend nearly so much as many others. In the main we may agree with him. In other places we must, presumably, understand him, when he speaks of religion, as referring to a definite code of ethical precepts promulgated under the sanction of certain metaphysical conceptions, such as those of God, or of gods, and held together in a community knit up with more or less of ritual observance. He likens religion, any religion, in this sense, to crutches, which mankind progressively improves. It may be asked if it be possible to improve upon Christianity? Though the answer to that be no, yet it must be admitted that Christians have to return continually to the religion of Christ, for none have ever fully comprehended it.
We may conclude by one rather striking sentence. The thought is not wholly new of course, but it bears repetition. "Hell is right here on earth, and heaven might be, too." So it might if we only willed it.
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TAKING THE NAME OF SCIENCE IN VAIN. By Horace J. Bridges. Published by The Macmillan (company. Cloth, Table of Contents, Appendices, Index, 273 pages. 5 ½ x 7 ¾ inches. $2.65.
Herein is contained a challenge to young men and women to be as skeptical in their scrutiny or what is offered them upon the alleged authority of science, as they are with what is tendered for their acceptance in the name of church or Bible. It undertakes to show that certain tenets very popular at present which are derogatory to human worth and dignity are devoid of any sound foundation and that, when dissociated from a number of dogmas which we can no longer honestly receive, the reality of the spiritual universe is the inescapable conclusion yielded by the facts of our own nature.
THE QUESTION BOX
PRESENT DAY PROBLEMS
I have just received my February BUILDER and am writing to let you know how much I have enjoyed it. I was especially interested in the article by Bro. Hungerford. His diagnosis of the present situation in American Masonry seems to me to go right to the disease center in our Fraternal organization. We are paying lip service to the Landmarks, to formal rules and regulations that affect only the externals of Masonry, the dead letter of the law; while all the time the real living Landmarks, the spirit of universal brotherhood, is being smothered and stifled. And I dare say we shall soon be told that it does not exist, that there is no such thing as universal brotherhood, and that Freemasonry has nothing to do with Fraternity.
Forgive me, if I am letting myself go too much, but I do think we need a change of heart, or anyway a change of direction; and that we need to break loose from a lot of this red-tape tradition that has grown up, all tending to prevent Masonry from doing anything, or amounting to anything.
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Without expressing any opinion of my own, for or against, I would like to point out that the implications of the article by Bro. Hungerford in your last issue are by no means novel or original.
He stresses universal brotherhood very strongly, and its necessary consequence, universal peace. He says that a beginning must be made somewhere and that it is "his sincere conviction that the leaven of this great ideal has already begun its work in our great Fraternity." This is all very true, and I do not suppose anyone would question it as a general statement, but when it comes to putting it in practice it is quite another thing.
However, what I would especially like to point out is, that this view is precisely that taken by the Masons of Europe. most of whom we do not recognize. They very generally - outside of Germany - hold passionately to the ideal of the universal brotherhood of mankind, and more heretical still, think that the general tenor of their Masonic obligations binds them to find ways of putting it into practice. For instance, I would refer to the manifesto signed by several brethren in Holland that you published last year under the head of "An Appeal for Unity" in the June number, page 181, and also that of the Universal League of Freemasons that appeared in October, page 318. This last especially dwells on the idea that Freemasonry, in view of its universal fraternal ideals, is inevitably bound to seek in all ways to promote world peace. I fancy that the number of American Masons who have associated themselves with this movement is negligible, even to a vanishing point.
I do not want to pose as a pessimist, but life disillusions one. I am inclined to think that the root source of the differences between American and European Masonry, under all the camouflage of the continual harping on the Landmarks, is that our European brethren will persist in taking Masonry seriously, which we do not want to do at any price.
G. H. B., New York.
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Bro. Hungerford seems very anxious that readers of THE BUILDER should write and express their views on the subjects he is treating in his articles. I do not know to what extent his wishes have been fulfilled, but my own feeling is that there is nothing to say. Every thinking Mason is already in full agreement with his indictment, and no other but thinking Masons will read it. It has all been said before, possibly not so systematically, but very frequently. So frequently indeed that it has become material for the addresses of Masonic Grand Lodge officials in the lodges. Everybody agrees and applauds, but no one dreams of doing anything, least of all the official orators, who could give a lead if they took it seriously. Meantime the degree mills run overtime, and those who would like to help, if they were given a lead, get tired and bored, and cease to come to lodge, and eventually cease to take any further interest in an organization that promises so much and does so little.
J. T. T., Michigan.
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I have been a reader of THE BUILDER for some years, and I feel obliged to say that I regret very much the present policy of giving so much prominence to what are called modern problems and social service activities. I think these things are very inappropriate in a research organ such as THE BUILDER is supposed to be, and that they seriously detract from its dignity. If it continues, I am afraid that I shall lose interest in it altogether.
The proper limits of Masonry are well defined. It has nothing to do with social, charitable or humanitarian work. It is, of course, benevolent, within closely defined limits, outside which it has no right to go. Such work should be left to the churches and other organizations which are specifically intended for the purpose. Masons may, and should, associate themselves with these; but they should not import such interests into the lodges or any definitely Masonic society. To do so can only lead to confusion, and possibly to much graver evils in the long run, unless checked in time.
I trust that you win not deem this criticism too severe, but I feel that you are moving along the wrong lines and that the situation demands a protest if THE BUILDER is to be kept up to its former high standard and to retain the interest of its old readers.
D.D. H., Canada.
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The last statement in Bro. Hungerford's article in the January BUILDER to the effect that he contemplates a second article on the subject may make it manifestly unfair to criticize his views at this time. However, his opinion to the effect that controversial subjects such as religion and polities should be admitted to the lodge as subjects for discussion seems improper.
Harmony cannot, in America at least, prevail when discussions take the form of debate. Too often is this illustrated by the formation of factions within the lodge due solely to difference of opinion on matters of lodge policy. If we inject subjects on which there is a divergence of opinion, regardless of how big the subject may be, it seems that this very harmony we are trying to promote is likely to be destroyed.
I have no objection to discussions of such subjects in their Masonic import appearing in periodicals and extra-lodge activities. That is where they belong.
M. S. J., Idaho.
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Most Masons will agree with Bro. Hungerford and those who have preceded him in his views on religion and politics in Masonic lodges. This barring of such controversial subjects in lodge meetings has done much to further the interests of the Craft. I do not agree with Bro. Hungerford, however, in his opinion that present day problems should be talked over in lodge meetings.
In the first place there is hardly time for any adequate discussion of such subjects; farther than this, they are generally speaking as controversial as the two subjects which are specifically barred.
The view that these subjects should not be considered by Masons is false. But the subjects in their Masonic import should be brought to the attention of the Craft through Masonic journals. Such discussions would increase the interest in those periodicals, and ere long it would be found that a growing number of Masons were becoming reading members of the Craft. Ample space could be given to any important subject and those interested could read both sides of the questions if the journals would endeavor to be impartial.
Incidentally THE BUILDER could easily set the pace the rest of the publications. Why doesn't more of such material appear ?
C. R. S., Arizona.
[Ed. Note.] If brethren will furnish us with material of the type suggested above we will be very glad to publish it. There is no little difficulty in obtaining articles of this nature.
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THE ALMONTE STONE
Your letter of Dee. 28 was read at the last monthly meeting of the Toronto Society for Masonic Study and Research, and it has helped to crystallize our own intentions and wishes. Our Grand Lodge will hold its Annual Communication this year at Ottawa, in July next, and some of us hope to be present and win afterwards arrange to visit Almonte.
I have written again to the Master of the local lodge, Mississippi, No. 147, and asked him for all possible information, so that we can make the best use of time and effort when we go.
It is very strange that the local brethren do not seem to have made any further effort in the matter since 1892, but neither the Master nor the Secretary have been able to tell me any more about it - except that most of those mentioned in the old newspaper report of the discovery are now dead. The Master is also the Town Clerk of Almonte, but all he knows about it is "a memory of a tradition!" Almonte is some forty miles northwest of Ottawa, and about two hundred and fifty miles from Toronto by rail, so that the expense of a journey for this alone would be rather a burden for any one of us, quite apart from the difficulties of visiting a farm some distance out in the country at this time of year.
N.W.J. Haydon, Sec.-Treas.
This was the matter alluded to editorially last month. It almost seems as if the attempt to investigate will prove to be too late, in this also. The newspaper report referred to by Bro. Haydon mentioned a proposal to cut out the part of the stone bearing the inscription and depositing it in a museum. It is possible that this was attempted by unskillful hands and the record wholly destroyed.
We have also had a letter from Dr. Austin Evans, President of the Toronto Research Society, in which he says that he has received information from an old inhabitant "that the portion of the stone bearing the Masonic marks was cut out and taken to the lodge at Almonte, but that no one seems to know whether it ever arrived at its destination or what happened to it afterwards."
Thus it seems that the prospect of obtaining any definite information is not very bright; but we hope that the personal visit of a deputation of the Toronto brethren may be the means of eliciting more, even if it is not actually possible to find and photograph and describe the actual inscription itself.
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DESIGNS ON THE TRESTLEBOARD
The Master of an Ottawa lodge was recently asked, presumably by one of the younger Masons, this very embarrassing question: "When do you propose to lay lines and draw designs on the Tracing Board?" At least it would be a most embarrassing question to ninety-nine per cent of the Masters of lodges in this country, and from what I am told, in the United States also.
Why is it that the brethren who are chosen to the most responsible positions in the Craft should so completely ignore a charge laid upon them in the most solemn manner at their installation, and of which they are reminded every time the lodge is opened? Making all allowance possible for bad traditions, timidity, ignorance and laziness, yet one would expect by the mathematical law of chance that there would be some among those chosen to guide and govern the Craft to whom the wording of the ritual would have some meaning, and who would seriously hold themselves bound to attempt to instruct their brethren, personally or by proxy. Yet as a matter of feet those who make even the least attempt at doing this are so few that their appearance is more like the return of a comet in its stupendous orbit rather than the regular procession of the sun and moon.
I am deeply curious about this. Was it always so? Have those who have sought to elevate the Craft intellectually always been a negligible minority? Is it another case of stoning the prophets in one generation and building their tombs in the next? But if so, then Freemasonry is, as a whole, operating under false pretenses. The promise of light is offered to the candidate, and then he is fobbed off with a few formal and trite moralities. Is it any wonder that so many to whom our doors have been opened, after a period of gradual disillusionment, lose all interest, and either become totally inactive as Masons, or let their membership lapse?
But what can be done about it?
A. E. C., Canada.
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CANDIDATES UNDER AGE
As a reader of THE BUILDER I have enjoyed the articles edited by Bro. Irwin on Masonic activities during the war.
In the last number, I see in the account of the New York Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, on page 41, a reference to the initiation of the sons of Master Masons under twenty-one years of age - "Lewises" in fact. And again on page 42, it is said that on one occasion there were no less than fifty-seven candidates, all under twenty-one, and each a "Lewis."
I have made inquiries of one of our Past Grand Masters concerning this, and he admitted that he knew nothing about it. Can you give me any further information about this? I always supposed it was unlawful in the U. S. A. to initiate any candidate under the legal age of majority.
B., New Jersey.
It is perfectly true that American Grand Lodges construe the requirements that the candidate be of "mature age" as meaning that he has attained his legal majority. While this is practically safe and convenient, it is nevertheless rather artificial. In many ways young men of eighteen or nineteen are mature, in other ways, very few men can be regarded as mature before they are twenty-five, or even older. Twenty-one is frankly a compromise.
The bold action taken by the Grand Lodge of New York, in view of the caution, and even timidity of most Grand Lodges in such matters, was as surprising as commendable. But we have no further information than can be gleaned from the article referred to. The argument, we presume, was that these young men were mature enough to die for their country, and so were mature enough to be made Masons.
The subject is both interesting and important and we should be glad to hear the views of others, and to have any further information that may be available.
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