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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 16 - number 2
Historical Sketch of Albany Sovereign Consistory Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret
By BRO. ISAAC HENRY VROOM, JR., New York
THE City of Albany, N. Y., has the distinction of being the home of the oldest working body of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection having received its Charter on December 20, 1767, from Henry Andrew Francken, " Deputy Inspector General of all the Superior Degrees of Masons in the West Indies and North America."
The early records of the lodge were long lost, but were recovered in 1901 through the efforts of the late Ill. John Hally Lindsay, 33d, and the late Ill. William Homan, 33d, then Deputy for New York State. Ill. Bro. Homan caused the Minutes from 1767 to 1774 to be published in the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation for 1902, and also a photographic copy of them in the Proceedings for 1906. There appeared also in the 1902 Proceedings a concise history of Ineffable Lodge by Ill. John Hally Lindsay, 33d, then its T.P.G.M.
These records throw a flood of light on the early history of Scottish Rite Masonry in Albany and, in conjunction with the records of Masters Lodge No. 2 (now No. 5), F. & A. M., give us a fairly complete story of the building of "The First Lodge House Owned by a Masonic Lodge in America." This house (1) was situated at the northwest corner of Maiden Lane and Lodge Street (hence the name) on the site of the present Masonic Temple; a bronze tablet in the vestibule of which records the fact that:
On This Site
Purchased Oct. 17, 1766 By
Brother Samuel Stringer
The First Lodge House
Owned by a Masonic
Lodge in America
Was Erected in 1768
and Remained the
Until Presented to
The Masonic Hall
A Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem was established at the same time, but, unfortunately, there are no early records available.
On December 6, 1768, Ill. Bro. Francken appointed Dr. Samuel Stringer a Deputy Grand Inspector and at a Lodge Meeting on March 27, 1769, "Br. Samuel Dr. Samuel Stringer, Deputy Grand Inspector, December 6, 1768.
Stringer produced to the Lodge a Warrant from our Worpl. Founder, Constituting him a Depy. Grd. Inspector, which was read and admitted of by the Body. " Bro. Stringer was Master of the Lodge of Perfection from 1770 to 1774, and was also Master of Masters Lodge for many years. His portrait is here produced.
Bro. William Gamble, the first Master of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection, was a Civil Engineer by profession and a draftsman of ability. It was he who, probably, executed the "Constitution and Patent" of Ineffable Lodge and he also prepared tracing boards for many of the Degrees. Eleven of these are reproduced in the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation for 1906. and one of them will be shown in the March issue.
The Minutes of Ineffable Lodge end with the meeting of December 5, 1774, when the "Lodge closed till this Night fortnight"; but the Lodge met for some years thereafter. For some unknown reason the Lodge suspended labor and was revived in 1820 or 1821 by Bro. Giles Fonda Yates, as will later appear. The Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem was also revived and continued active for several years. It exercised the power of issuing Charters and one of these is reproduced. Although it is evident that several of the Albany Brethren received the higher degrees of the Rite, there was no Consistory established until 1824, and what follows is an attempt to gather together into a consecutive narrative the material at present available concerning the early history of Albany Sovereign Consistory, S. P. R. S.
The early history of Albany Sovereign Consistory is so intimately connected with that of Bro. Giles Fonda Yates that a short sketch of his life seems appropriate. He was born in Schenectady, N. Y., on November 8, 1798, the son of John and Margaret (Fonda) Yates. He was graduated from Union College in the Class of 1816, with Phi Beta Kappa rank, and later received the degree of Master of Arts. He was by profession a councellor-at-law and held the office of Surrogate of Schenectady County from 1821 to 1840. For many years he edited the Schenectady Democrat and Reflector.
Bro. Yates was Initiated Entered Apprentice in Morton Lodge No. 77, of Schenectady, N.Y., on October 23, 1820, and received the degrees of FellowCraft and Master Mason on October 27, 1820. On December 15, 1820, he was elected Senior Deacon and the following year Senior Warden, to which office he was re-elected in 1822, but was not advanced in 1823. On December 7, 1824, he affiliated with St. George's Lodge No. 6, but did not sign the By-Laws until June 24, 1825. W. Bro. Yates served as Master of St. George's Lodge in 1826 and 1827, and again in 1844 and 1845. He was also a Royal Arch Mason and a Knight Templar.
It is not known when he received the Scottish Rite Degrees, but it must have been during 1820 or 1821, for in the Minutes of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection of January 31, 1822, he is recorded as Senior Grand Warden, and on November 11, 1823, he was elected Sublime Grand Master.
Ill. Bro. Yates received the 33d on October 24, 1825, from Ill. Bro. John Barker, special agent of the Supreme Council of Charleston, S. C. - as noted in the Reprint of the Proceedings of the Supreme Council, 33d, . . . Portland, 1876, p. 36. Later, Ill. Bro. Yates stated that he took his vows as a Sovereign Grand Inspector General "between the hands" of Bro. Joseph M'Cosh, Ill. Gr. Secretary-General of the Supreme Council at Charleston, South Carolina. (2)
While the Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was established in 1813, it was not until 1828 that the two Councils agreed upon a jurisdictional division of territory. On July 5, 1828, Ill. Bro. Yates was "acknowledged and admitted" a member of the Northern Supreme Council and Representative near it of the Southern Supreme Council, his appointment as such Representative having been made May 11, 1826. His Patent of 1828 is in the Library of St. George's Lodge No. 6, of Schenectady, N. Y., and is here reproduced. On June 15, 1844, he was appointed "Most Illustrious Inspector Lieutenant Grand Commander ad vitam" of the Supreme Council, N. M. J., and in 1851 succeeded Ill. Bro. John James Joseph Gourgas, 33d, in the office of M. P. Sovereign Grand Commander. At a meeting of the Supreme Council on September 5, 1851, he delivered a most important address, in the course of which he said:
"I turned my attention to the history of the 'Sublime Degrees' very soon after my initiation as a Mason. My intercourse in 1822 with several old Masons (3) in the city of Albany led to the discovery that an 'Ineffable Lodge of Perfection' had been established in that ancient city on the twentieth December, 1767. I also discovered that not only the Ineffable, but the Superior Degrees of our Rite had been conferred at the same time on a chosen few, by the founder of the lodge, Henry A. Francken, one of the Deputies of Stephen Morin of illustrious memory. It was not long, moreover, before I found the original warrant of this lodge, its book of minutes, the patents of III. Brothers Samuel Stringer, M. D., Jeremiah Van Rensselaer and Peter W. Yates, Esquires, Dep. Inspectors General, under the old system; also the 'regulations and Constitutions of the nine commissioners,' etc., 1761, and other documents that had been left by Bro. Francken with the Albany Brethren when he founded that lodge. With the concurrence of the surviving members of said lodge residing in Albany, Dr. Jonathan Eights and the Hon. and R. W. Stephen Van Rensselaer, P.G.M. of the Grand Lodge of New York, I aided in effecting its revival.
"The necessary proceedings were thereupon instituted to place the same under the Superintendence of a Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, as required by the old Constitutions; and such Grand Council was subsequently opened in due form in said city.
"Having been made aware of 'the new Constitution of the thirty- third Degree,' ratified on the first of May, 1786, conferring the Supreme Power over our Rite on 'Councils of nine Brethren,' I hastened to place myself in correspondence with Moses Holbrook, M. D., at the time S. G. Commander of the Supreme Council at Charleston, and with my esteemed friends Joseph McCosh, III. Gr. Sec. of the last named Council, and Bro. Gourgas, at that time III, Gr. Gen. of the H. E. for this Northern Jurisdiction. Lodges of Perfection in the Counties of Montgomery, Onondaga, Saratoga and Monroe in the State of New York, were successively organized, and placed agreeably to the Constitutions under the superintendence of the Grand Council before named, The establishment of this last named Body was confirmed, and all our proceedings in 'sublime Freemasonry' were legalized and Sanctioned by the only lawful authorities in the United States, the aforesaid Supreme Councils.
"On the sixteenth day of November, 1824, I received a patent appointing me S(overeign) of S(overeigns) of a Consistory of S. P. R. S., established in the city of Albany. I would here also state, that on the thirteenth day of February, 1825, a charter was granted to III. Bro, Edward A Raymond, of Boston, Mass., and eight associates, constituting them a Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem; a charter was also granted them for a Consistory of S. P. R. S., both Bodies to be holden in the city of Boston. All these several Bodies named, as well as the Albany Grand Council and Consistory, have since their establishment, paid due faith and allegiance to our Northern Supreme Council."
At the close of his address - having appointed Ill. Edward A. Raymond Lieut Gr. Commander - Ill. Bro. Yates resigned the office of M. P. Sov. Gr. Commander and installed Ill. Bro. Raymond as his successor. The latter, appreciating Ill. Bro. Yates' great services to the Supreme Council and desiring to retain him in active office, appointed him Ill. Grand Chancellor, H. E., which office he retained until his death - at the same time serving as Deputy for New York.
The latter years of Ill. Bro. Yates' life were spent in New York City, where he took an active interest in the local bodies of the Rite. Between April, 1856, and May, 1857, Cosmopolitan Consistory was organized in that city and he was appointed the first "Sovereign of Sovereigns.
He died on December 13, 1859, and his body rests in the Union College plot of the Vail Cemetery, Schenectady, N. Y.
The foregoing account of Ill. Bro. Yates' activities is condensed from a longer article by the present writer on the same subject, printed in the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation, 1914.
Portions of the correspondence to which Ill. Bro. Yates refers have been preserved and were printed in the "Official Bulletin of the Supreme Council of the 33d Degree, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, " Vol. X, No. 1, June, 1890, pp. 179-254. It is from these letters that most of our information relative to the early days of our Consistory has been obtained.
While the Northern Supreme Council was established in New York in 1813, the Charleston Supreme Council apparently continued for some time to grant charters in the Northern territory. It was the practice of this Supreme Council never to establish more than one Consistory, 32d, in a state. The Supreme Council only chartered Councils, 16d, and Consistories, 32d, the Councils chartered Lodges of Perfection and the Consistories regulated the degrees from the 17th on. (Bul. Vol. X, No..1, p. 189.) This will account for the absence of any early records or mention of Albany Sovereign Chapter of Rose Croix, which was, apparently, incidental to the Consistory, although established at the same time.
When Ill. Bro. Yates commenced his correspondence with Ill. Bro. Holbrook he was unaware of the existence of the Supreme Council in New York City.
Ill. Bro. Holbrook had appointed Ill. Bro. John Barker as agent to effect the establishment of Consistories and Councils, and it was he who instituted the Consistory at Albany in the fall of 1824 or early in 1825. In 1826, the New York Supreme Council commenced correspondence with the Charleston Supreme Council relative to the bodies established by it in the Northern States - especially the Consistory at Albany - and the Charleston Supreme Council on September 22, 1826,
"RESOLVED: That the different subordinate bodies now under this jurisdiction in the Northern States be directed to furnish and make out full returns of the names of all of their initiates into any or all the Sublime Degrees specifying which degree and their place of residence and avocations together with the date and place of birth and religious persuasions that it may preparatory to transferring the Jurisdiction over them to the legal Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree in the Northern States."
"The Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret for the State of New York will be pleased to take due notice of the above order and govern themselves accordingly." (5)
In response to this resolution Ill. Bro. Yates prepared a return from which is taken that portion relating especially to the Consistory:
"To the Three Illustrious Supreme Council of the Sov. Gr. Inspectors General of the 33rd Degree in the U. S. A. situated under the C. C. of the Zenith, which answers to the parallel of 32d 47' N. L. and to the Meridian of 2d 32' (or 79d 48') West Longitude.
"The Consistory of Sub. Princes of the Royal Secret for the State of New York, established in the G. east of the City of Albany, in said State, would most respectfully beg to leave to represent:
"That they have hitherto deemed it inexpedient to exalt and perfect any Princes of Jerusalem (in any of the Sublime degrees conferred by them), except those associated with the original founders of their body in the organization of the same, who were not present to receive said degrees from Ill. Bro. John Barker, general Agent of your Supreme Council.
"The above Brethren received the degrees of Sup. from that of Rose Croix to that of Sublime Prince of Royal Secret from the hands of Ill. Bro. John Barker, General Agent of the Sup. C. Of Sco. (3) Imp. Genl. 33rd Degree of the Southern Tiers of U. S. in 1825 and admitted members of grand Consistory of Su. C. P. R. T. for State of New York at the City of Albany.
"Bro Beck has moved to Vermont, and will not be able to assist us. Bro. Van Dusen whose name was given in our Warrant, is at present under censure, perhaps unjustly . . ."
The return continues with lists of members of the Council of Princes of Jerusalem and of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection. It was copied many years ago and a portion was printed in the Proc. N. Y. Council of Deliberation, 1902, pp. 150-153. On March 22,1827, the Charleston Supreme Council transferred the Consistory to the jurisdiction of the Northern Supreme Council, as is shown by the following letter:
"Supreme Council Chamber, "Charleston, S. C., 17th May, 1827.
"Most Illustrious Brothers of S. P. R. S.:
"Agreeably to a resolution passed by this Supreme Council at its sitting of the "Vernal Equinox," 23rd of the 12th month, called Adar, of the Hebrew year 5587, answering to Thursday, 22d March, A. M. 5831, A. D. 1827, I am directed to write and inform you that, in conformity with a mutual arrangement, which is legal and will be conducive to the good to the Craft, your Consistory of S. P. R. S. at Albany will henceforth pay all due faith and allegiance to the Grand Supreme Council of S. G. I. G. of the 33d Degree for the Northern District and Jurisdiction of the U. S. A., rendering them all due obedience which of right heretofore could be claimed or exercised with justice; hereby renouncing on our part all our rights and privileges of control or direction. In thus separating, as parent and child, this Supreme Council wishes you prosperity both individually and as a Body, and can assure your respectable Body that it will always give great Satisfaction to hear of your success.
"I have the honor to remain, with the best wishes, most illustrious brothers, for your welfare both temporal and eternal,
"Deus Meumque Jus, "MOSES HOLBROOK, M. D., "R+, K - H. S. P. R. S., S. G. I. G of the 33d Degree, "(L S. 33d) and Grand Commander in the Southern Jurisdiction of the U. S. A.
"P. S. Your orders and directions will be received from the Illustrious Brother J. J. J. Gourgas, Esqr., Sec'y Genl. of H. E., to whom you will as soon as may be, report yourselves."
The correspondence indicates that several of the Brethren were reluctant to sign a "Submission" to the Northern Supreme Council and that some of them resigned. By this time the Anti-Masonic excitement was gaining strength and it was difficult - if not impossible - to hold meetings. In 1828, Bro. N. N. Whiting, one of the charter members of the Consistory, applied for a dimit on the ground that "he must give up Masonry or lose his place as a Baptist clergyman, on which, and which alone, he depends for his daily bread." (Bul. S. C., Vol. X, No. 1, p. 218.) In a letter to him, dated April 4, 1828, Ill. Bro. Yates gives the following interesting information:
"You know that the charter for the Consistory to be located at Albany was granted by said Supreme Council (at Charleston, S. C.), to five or six persons, including yourself, and that circumstances have prevented us from doing anything as a body since the receipt of the charter in the fall of 1824. You know too that, afterwards on account of our location, it was deemed proper by said Sup. Council to transfer their jurisdiction over our Consistory to the Sup. Council at New York. To effectuate this object and also that the interests of the Southern Sup. Council and of our Consistory might be promoted, they thought it expedient to appoint a representative in the Northern Sup. Council, and as I was the presiding officer of the Consistory this appointment fell upon me. I could not, however, act as such representative without first receiving the degree of Grand Inspector of the 33d, &c., which I accordingly I received shortly after.... On the 6th September, 1826, ' the Sup. Council at New York wrote to the Sup. Council at Charleston as follows: 'Your request to have us recognize Ill. B. Giles F. Yates, of Sehenectady, as your representative near our Sup. Council is accepted with satisfaction. . . ."
From the facts thus far obtained we may gather that the Consistory at Albany, N. Y., was chartered by the Supreme Council at Charleston, S. C., on November 16, 1824, with the title of "The Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret for the State of New York," and Ill. Giles Fonda Yates was named as the first Sovereign of Sovereigns. It was instituted either later in the fall of 1824 or in 1825 by Ill. John Barker, General Agent of the Charleston Supreme Council. The Consistory was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Northern Supreme Council at New York City by the Southern Supreme Council on March 22, 1827. The Consistory had jurisdiction over the degrees from that of Prince of Jerusalem (16d), consequently there was no separate organization of a Chapter of Rose Croix. Little, if any, work was done for many years for, on April 4, 1828, Ill. Bro. Yates wrote: "We can hardly be said to be as yet completely organized," so that the organization would seem to have been in posse rather than in esse, potential more than actual.
1. An article by the present writer was published in THE BUILDER for 1920 under the title, "The First Lodge House Owned by a Masonic Lodge in America." For those readers who are unable to refer to this it may be said here that no drawing or description of this earliest building erected in America for exclusively Masonic purposes now exists
2. Proc. Sup., Courtland, 1876, p. 236.
3. In the passage quoted it will be observed that Ill Bro. Yates gives the date of this revival as being 1822. The evidence, however points to meetings having been held two years previously, in 1820.
4. Proc. N. Y. Con. Del., 1911, pp. 280-303.
5. Idem., 1902, p. 150.
6. While the date of Ill. Bro. Yates' birth is here given as November 9, 1799, the usually accepted date is November 8, 1798. The former date would make him but 19 years old at the time of his initiation into Masonry (October 23, 1820).
7. It is evident that these abbreviations have been copied incorrectly.
8. Bul. Sup. Coun. S. J., Vol. X, No. 1, p 192, Proc N. Y. C. of D., 1902, p 164.
(To Be Concluded)
Historical Notes on Masonry in the Civil War
By BRO. FRANK P. STRICKLAND, Kansas (Concluded from January)
GRAND MASTER JOHN F. HOUSTON, of Missouri, who had consistently refused the incessant demand for Masonic privileges for the so- called "good fellows" for whom such privileges were generally asked, congratulated his brethren upon their freedom from the entanglements of military Masonry; but he suggested that, as many Masons had been made in army lodges, some method of procedure should be devised by which subordinate lodges might be governed in their intercourse with these Masons. The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, still unhappy over the fact that citizens of that state had made Masons in army lodges, chartered by other Grand Lodges, ruled, June 13, 1865, that all citizens of that jurisdiction so made were to be regarded as clandestines until formally healed, the healing process to consist of submission to the same regulations as those governing the application for the degrees.
Among the thousands of citizens of the border state of Tennessee who served in both the Federal and Confederate armies were many Masons and prospective Masons who sought affiliation with military lodges. Upon their return from service they naturally sought Masonic intercourse in their home surroundings. Although Grand Master Thomas A. Hamilton felt that many of these brothers were not influenced by proper motives, yet the Grand Lodge, on October 2, 1865, ruled that, as there had been many worthy applicants admitted to the degrees in army lodges in both armies, they should be admitted into full membership upon their return to the jurisdiction of Tennessee.
At its Annual Communication, October 3, 4, 1865, the Grand Lodge of Illinois took steps to evolve a plan of action tending to eliminate the evils resulting from army Masonry; and instructed the Grand Secretary to issue a bulletin notifying other Grand Bodies of the action taken. Because of the light which it throws upon the subject of military Masonry, the copy sent to Kansas is appended in its entirety:
To the M. W. Grand Master, R. W. Deputy Grand Master, R. W. Grand Wardens and Worshipful Brethren of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Kansas: The Grand Lodge of Illinois sends Fraternal Greetings.
Dear Brethren: At a Regular Grand Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, M. W. Thomas J. Turner, Grand Master, begun and held at Springfield, on the 3d and 4th days of October, A. D. 1865, A. L. 6865, the following proceedings were had:
October 3d. 1865.
* * * * *
The Grand Master delivered his annual address, which, on motion of R. W. Bro. S. A. Hurlbut, was referred to a Select committee of five.
"Previous to my installation, several dispensations had been granted by my predecessor to open military lodges in the army then in the field. I have never been fully informed as to the extent of the powers granted by these dispensations, but I suppose they did not confer any authority to invade foreign Jurisdictions and make Masons from the citizen soldiery of other States. In all the dispensations for military lodges granted by me, jurisdiction was limited to the single regiment of Illinois troops to which the dispensation was granted. I am led to believe that some of the military lodges working under dispensation from our jurisdiction have greatly abused their privileges, and brought reproach upon our Order. Instead of confining their operations to Illinois regiments and troops exclusively, as they ought to have done, they made Masons indiscriminately from soldiers and citizens of other States, with very little regard for the kind of material used. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri have especial cause to complain in this respect.
"M. W. George W. Washburne, Grand Master of Wisconsin; A. T. C. Pierson, Grand Master of Minnesota, and E. A. Guilbert, Grand Master of Iowa, in the most fraternal manner called my attention to the fact that these military lodges were in the habit of making Masons of citizens belonging to their respective jurisdictions, and that candidates had been admitted whose characters wholly disqualified them from becoming Masons. As soon as these facts became known to me I at once addressed letters to the Masters of all the military lodges working under dispensations from our jurisdiction, instructing them not to receive or act upon the petition of anyone who was not known to be a citizen of the State of Illinois. About that time most of our military lodges suspended work, and, the war being closed, they ceased to exist, having done some good and much mischief. I would fraternally ask our sister Grand Lodges to overlook errors which were not designed or Sanctioned by the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
"There is one question connected with our military lodges to which I invite your careful attention. What is to be the status of Masons who were made in these lodges? The lodges ceased to exist when the war closed. Some of them had been broken up through the long marches and hard fighting which immediately preceded the cessation of hostilities; the brethren have no demits, and in many cases cannot procure even certificates of having been made Masons; some have received only one and others only two degrees. They are all Masons, and will naturally seek affiliation with Masons when they return to their homes. How that affiliation shall be accomplished, and how those who seek advancement shall be disposed of, are questions of grave importance, and of sufficient magnitude to demand your prompt attention.
"In behalf of the brethren who have been made Masons in our military lodges from citizens of other States than Illinois, I would fraternally ask that our sister Grand Lodges adopt some plan by which they may, if found worthy, become affiliated with lodges in their respective jurisdictions."
* * * * *
The Grand Master appointed R. W. Breth. S. A. Hurlbut, of No. 60; W. James M. True, of No. 260; John A. McClernand, of No. 71; Mason Brayman, of No. 4, and John M. Pearson, of No. 27, said committee.
October 4th, 1865.
* * * * *
R. W. Stephen A. Hurlbut, from the Committee on Grand Master's Address, submitted the following report, which was received and read:
"Very grave and serious questions are raised by so much of the address as relates to military lodges and their action.
"Either by direct authority of the Grand Lodge in dispensations conferred, or by usurpation of power in those to whom the dispensations were committed, it is clear that the rights of sister Grand Lodges have been repeatedly invaded. Masons have been made not only of citizen soldiers of Illinois in the field, but also of known citizens both of loyal and disloyal States, under apparent authority from this Grand Lodge. For those who were thus made Masons, and who reside in this jurisdiction, this Grand Lodge should provide by recognizing them as such, and a resolution to that effect is appended. For those who have been made Masons, and who of right belong to other jurisdictions, this Grand . Lodge can do no more than to request the appropriate Grand Bodies where they may permanently reside to adopt them into the general Brotherhood, if in other respects found worthy, and thus heal the breach which has been made in the walls.
"It is to be hoped that this experience will forever close the question of traveling lodges operating within regular foreign jurisdictions."
* * * * *
On motion, the consideration of the report was postponed until 2 o'clock P. M.
* * * * *
2 O'CLOCK P. M.
The Grand Lodge called to labor.
* * * * *
The Grand Lodge resumed consideration of the report of Committee on Grand Master's Address.
W. Bro. L. B. Dugger moved to consider the resolutions proposed by the committee seriatim. Carried.
Resolution No. 1 was then taken up, considered and adopted:
1. Resolved, That all Masons made in military lodges under dispensation from this Grand Lodge should, upon the best evidence that can be procured of that fact, be acknowledged and received as such, and, if found worthy, should become members of subordinate lodges where they reside, and be advanced if incomplete.
Resolution No. 2 was then taken up, considered and adopted:
2. Resolved, That our sister Grand Lodges are fraternally requested to take into their charge such Masons within their jurisdictions as have been made under these dispensations, and, if found worthy, to incorporate them into the fraternity where they may reside.
A true copy from the record.
Given under my hand and the seal of said Grand Lodge, at Springfield, this 9th day of November, A. D. 1865, A. L. 5865.
HARMON G. REYNOLDS,
Grand Secretary (17)
This bulletin was issued too late in the year to receive general consideration in 1865, as most Grand Bodies had already held their Annual Communications. It aroused a great deal of discussion in the annual meetings of the following year, when the troubles growing out of army Masonry finally came to a head.
With the advent of the year 1866 and the disbanding of the armies of the Union and the Confederacy, and the resulting dispersion of the membership of the army lodges, large numbers of army-made Masons were "left in the air," so to speak, with no Masonic connection and little, if any, evidence to show that they were brethren of the Mystic Tie. Upon their return to their homes they naturally sought recognition. Their activities in this direction brought up for final solution the problem which was engaging the thoughtful attention of Masonic leaders. And a solution was now acutely necessary. Those Grand Bodies which, through patriotism or other motive, had created the problem, now were seeking, with anxiety, some method of solving it; those Grand Lodges which had kept themselves free from the entanglements of army Masonry, although they now saw their course justified, yet were drawn into the tangle, and forced to aid in the solution.
Maryland refused to subscribe to the Illinois plan. Oregon refused recognition to any soldier Mason unless he could prove that at the time of making he was a resident of the jurisdiction which authorized the military lodge in which he received his degrees. Florida made the same ruling.
On the other hand, the District of Columbia adopted the Illinois scheme; as did South Carolina. At the Annual Communication of the latter Grand Lodge, in 1866, Grand Secretary A. G. Mackey, reporting for the Committee on Correspondence, discussed the subject of military Masonry:
Not more important to the Masons of Illinois than to those of South Carolina is the consideration of these questions. Between the years 1860 and 1864, the several Grand Masters who, during that eventful period, presided over this jurisdiction, issued dispensations for the establishment of ten military lodges among the troops of this State. From not one of these lodges have I received a return of the dispensation, any report of its proceedings, or list of its members. Many of them, established in regiments quartered for some time near Charleston, did, I know, much work, initiating, passing and raising many candidates. Some of their work, too, was unfinished, from causes which, I have no doubt, were beyond their control; and there are now in this State many Entered Apprentices, as well as Fellow Crafts, who received the degrees, as far as they have taken them, in military lodges. Most of these Masons, finished and unfinished, have now returned home, their lodges informally disbanded, and they themselves without any external evidence of their Masonic character, and are knocking at the doors of our regular lodges for affiliation and for advancement, and the completion of that work which the military lodges were unable to accomplish. I have received many communications, asking for my opinion as to the proper course to be pursued in these cases. My answers have uniformly been to this effect: I have looked upon these military lodges as extinct lodges, whose records have been lost or destroyed, and of whose membership there is no documentary evidence in the archives of the Grand Lodge. In such cases, it is impossible to obtain dimits, and as the law does not and cannot require impossibilities, I have advised that the lodge to whom application is made for affiliation or advancement, may lawfully dispense with the production of the dimit, and on the person applying proving his status by "due trial and strict examination", the lodge might proceed to ballot for his affiliation or advancement. But in cases where the lessons of Masonry had been so badly taught or so carelessly received, that they had made no impression, then I conceived (there being no evidence, external or internal, of Masonic character or standing) that the petitioner should be treated as a profane making application for initiation.
This, it has seemed to me, is the only way in which this difficulty can be overcome; but the very fact of the existence of the difficulty in no measured degree, has led me very seriously to reflect on the history and character of military lodges as a part of the Masonic Institution . . . my experience of the working of the system for the last four years would hereafter render me exceedingly averse to their establishment in volunteer organizations which have but a temporary existence. When the regiments are in activity, but little time or opportunity is afforded to the soldier to acquire any useful knowledge of the nature and object of the degrees which he has received; and when the regiment is disbanded, the members are dispersed over the country with little or no means of proving their Masonic character or standing, and every jurisdiction is likely to be incommoded with a large class of unaffiliated and unaffiliable Masons.
I will say nothing of the chances that, in a military lodge, a rigid scrutiny of the character of messmates and of companions in labor and peril will not be so likely to be exercised as in a lodge of civilians, but will base my objections solely on the ground that a volunteer regiment, organized for a particular purpose and for a definite period, is of too temporary a nature to admit within it of the establishment of a lodge, which should always be a permanent institution. (18)
The Grand Lodge of Michigan, feeling that any blame in the matter of making a Mason in an army lodge rested, not with the individual, but with the lodge making him, decided to recognize Masons so made in military lodges authorized by other Grand Bodies, or working in other jurisdictions, so long as they remained in good standing, and, if dimited, to admit them.
The Grand Lodge of Missouri, never having countenanced military lodges, evinced but little interest in the problem; but inasmuch as many Missourians had been made in army lodges, the Grand Lodge ruled that they were to be regarded as clandestines until healed, the healing process to consist, in the case of those found worthy, in their regular election and advancement through the degrees. Iowa adopted the same procedure, while the Grand Lodge of Mississippi required its subordinates to affiliate, pass and raise those soldiers who had received a part of the work in army lodges, provided their petitions were handled in the same manner as those of other applicants. Grand Master W. S. Patton, in speaking of the military Mason, remarked:
Masonry has no censure to inflict, or rebuke to administer, on account of religious or political tenets, or his views or the position he took in the past struggle (provided he is otherwise worthy) (19).
At the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas, in 1866, Grand Master Jacob Saqui, in handing a copy of the Illinois bulletin to the brethren, announced that:
A circular has been received from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Illinois in relation to the Masonic position of members of military lodges acting under the authority of that Grand Lodge. Now when these lodges have ceased to exist, truly, indeed, it is said the "questions raised" are of the most grave and serious import. The Grand Lodge of Kansas has cause to rejoice that she unhesitatingly refused to give the Sanction of her Masonic authority to a single military lodge, and may congratulate herself that none of those Masonic Ishmaelites can trace their paternity to her indiscretion. The circular marked "A" I lay before you, confident that you will do the best you can with what at best is a "bad matter" (20).
The committee appointed to study the subject made the following report, which was adopted by the Grand Lodge: To the M. W. Grand Lodge of Kansas:
Your committee, to whom was referred the communication from the M. W. Grand Lodge of Illinois, relating to military lodges, and the status of Masons made therein, would respectfully report, that in the opinion of your committee that and other Grand Lodges exhibited but little Masonic wisdom in granting itinerant dispensations, which evidently have brought confusion among the Craft, and we earnestly hope that the sad lesson taught thereby may prove to them the necessity of guarding more closely the true interests of Masonry in the future.
In regard to the status of such as received the degrees in such lodges, your committee are of the opinion that, however impolitic or, as some may say, illegal, the granting of such dispensations may have been, we must recognize as Masons those who received the degrees of Masonry in such lodges.
Fraternally submitted, C. K. HOLLIDAY, J. C. RICHMOND,
With the close of the year we thus see that while certain Grand Bodies still withheld recognition to the army made Mason the bulk of them were preparing to absorb him into the general body of the Fraternity.
By 1867 most of the Grand Lodges had reached a decision in the matter of military Masonry, and the agitation aroused by the soldier Mason began to subside. A few Grand Bodies, however, still wrestled with the problem. In that year Louisiana decided to recognize all army made Masons; Wisconsin ruled that these men must be first healed before they could be considered as being Masons. The healing process prescribed required each applicant to petition in the regular manner; if elected, he was to take the obligation of each degree at intervals of not less than twenty days, show the usual proficiency in each degree and pay a fee of not less than ten dollars.
In spite of all the agitation growing out of army Masonry, Iowa, in 1868, permitted the degrees to be conferred, out of time, upon a number of returning soldiers. On the other hand, in Indiana, a hotbed of military Masonry throughout the war, the pendulum had swung so far away from the soldier Mason that, in 1869, the Grand Lodge even refused to allow its subordinates to participate as such in the Memorial Day exercises.
Kansas, the stern exponent of regular Masonry throughout the war, never fully accepted the soldier Mason, although it had subscribed to the Illinois plan. Even at late as 1871, Grand Master John H. Brown aroused some unfavorable comment in the Grand Lodge of New York, and in other Grand Bodies, by ruling that a certificate of standing, or a dimit, from a military lodge was not admissible in Kansas; and that an applicant should be formally healed before being admitted, even as a visitor to a Kansas lodge.
MASONRY AND THE CONDUCT OF THE CIVIL WAR
At various times during the progress of the War efforts were made to inveigle the Fraternity into the political dissentions of the period. Many Craftsmen believed that Masonry, founded upon the principle of "peace on earth, good will to men," should endeavor to bring about a cessation of the unnatural strife, and should use its influence to restore peace. But the attempt to involve the Order in the political confusion of the times was almost universally discouraged and condemned by the wise leaders who held the helm of the Craft in those troublous days. Although few Grand Masters failed to refer to the War in their addresses, yet they invariably sought to impress upon their brethren the necessity of carefully separating their duty as Masons from their duty as citizens.
Although Grand Master N. Greene Curtis eloquently expressed his sorrow, at the Annual Communication of California, May 14, 1861, over the national troubles, yet he thought that his brethren were doing their duty sufficiently when they invoked the Grand Architect of the Universe to speedily end the unnatural conflict.
A large part of the address of Grand Master Alexander C. Downey, at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, May 27, 1861, was devoted to a discussion of the perilous condition of the country. Brother Downey thought that there were ways of clearing up the misunderstanding existing between the two sections of the country. But he made no suggestion that his Grand Lodge enter into the matter. On the same day, Grand Master McFarland, of Missouri, exhorted his brethren to remember that Masonry knew no sectional or political lines; that regardless of whatever they did as citizens, they should always remember the teachings of the Craft.
At the Annual Communication of Kansas, October 15, 1861, the Committee on Correspondence, in reporting upon certain communications from the Grand Lodges of Nebraska, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, referring to action that might be taken by Grand Bodies in the political troubles, stated that, while it deplored the loss of peace and hoped for a peaceful solution of the contest which threatened to wreck the government, yet Masonry was a brotherhood which eschewed interference in warlike projects; that it was the duty of the Institution to attempt to relieve the horrors of war but not to bear a part in the strife. The Committee, therefore, recommended that the Grand Lodge take no political action.
Brother John Dove, reporting for the Committee on Correspondence, at the Annual Communication of Virginia, in 1861, remarked:
"A few communications have been received from Grand Masters, bearing on the distracted political condition of our suffering country, but on these we forbear to comment, and would earnestly deprecate any concerted movement on the part of the Masonic fraternity, as such, to interfere in any shape with the discordant political questions now agitating the public mind. With these our glorious old Institution has nothing to do; its mission is 'Peace on earth and good will to mankind'; and when, by the relentless force of patriotic duty it becomes necessary for the Mason to assume the character of soldier, he should never be unmindful of the divine attributes with which his sword is emblazoned - Faith, Hope and Charity " (22) His pacific words evidently had little influence, for we find that, in 1862, his Grand Lodge prohibited members of its jurisdiction from having any intercourse with Masons who adhered to the Union. (23)
At the Annual Communication of Iowa, in June, 1862, Grand Master Thomas H. Benton, Jr., in his address, quoted Mackey to the effect that: "No civil commotion can sever Masonic ties, or render nugatory Masonic obligations." (24) He went on to say:
"That while the revolt of certain States against the authority of the government, receives my unqualified disapprobation and condemnation, I know of no reason why it should interfere with Masonic jurisdictions. Masonry is a private Institution, established solely for social improvement, and the inculcation of the principles of benevolence, morality and virtue. It is restricted by no metes and bounds of civil jurisdiction, and has no special identity with any particular government. Its character is universal, and its objects everywhere, and for all time, the same. " (25)
At the Annual Communication of Kansas, October 21, 1862, Grand Master Jacob Saqui felt that, in the excited state of the public mind, there was some danger to the Craft. He realized that obedience to the government was one of the cardinal duties of Masons which the brethren should cheerfully perform; but he feared that, in their zeal for the preservation of the Republic, they might lose sight of that charitable spirit which should ever guide the conduct of draftsmen in their dealings with mankind. He begged them not to bring into the lodge political rancors which would cause them to act toward brethren of opposite political opinion as Masons should never act. He called attention to the fact that:
"Masonry never yet descended from her high position to participate in the struggles of policy or of warfare that the error was not fatal to her prosperity and usefulness, and not infrequently to her local existence." (26)
During the progress of the war several attempts were made to organize Masonic conventions whose general purpose was to draw the Order into the political arena. Few Grand Bodies participated in their deliberations, and the attempts were all abortive. Grand Master George Armstrong, in discussing these conventions, at the Annual Communication of Nebraska, June 2, 1862, expressed the opinion that there was nothing "which the Masonic fraternity could advise that would be mutually acquiesced in by the belligerent parties." (27)
The Grand Lodge of New York, in the same year, decided that the relations of Masonry to the civil government, both of the United States and of the Confederacy, were not such as to permit it to interfere with any line of policy which either might see fit to adopt. consequently, Grand Master Finley M. King had refused to attend a so-called Masonic convention, to be held at Louisville, Kentucky, as he conceived that "it must necessarily be of a political character," and he had no authority "to mingle in the deliberations of such a body. " (28)
When American Grand Lodges refused to attend these conventions, it was hardly to be expected that foreign Grand Bodies would care to be represented. Thus Grand Master T. Douglas Harrington, of the Grand Lodge of Canada, reported, July 8, 1863, that he had declined an invitation, extended him by the Grand Lodge of Maine, to attend such a meeting to be held in New York. While he desired to see an end of the struggle of the Civil War, and felt that Canada would gladly assist in bringing about this end if she could do so with propriety, yet he did not think it proper for him to attend the convention - "First, because my attendance might be looked upon as an unauthorized interference in a domestic quarrel with which Canada had nothing to do, and secondly, because no Southern brethren could have an opportunity of giving expression to their feelings." (29)
Many Masons believed that Masonic punishment should be inflicted upon those who held political beliefs opposite to their own. In the North, certain brothers thought that those who followed the fortunes of the Confederacy should be expelled from the Order. In the South, some believed that the Order should be purged of those who adhered to the Union. This sentiment was constantly frowned upon by Masonic leaders. Speaking upon this subject in 1861, M. Wor. Bro. Garfielde, of Washington Territory, said:
"While the cloud of misfortune hangs black and threatening over the land; while States are discordant and hostile armies meet to spill fraternal blood, it is the high and holy mission of our fraternity to pour oil upon the troubled waters; to act as ministers of peace, mercy and conciliation, and at all times maintain our unity. Masonry knows no North, no South, no East, no West, no nation or race. Its home is the world; its devotees, the worthy of all nations; its faith centers in Deity, and its hope in immortality. Let us act as Masons, while we think and feel as citizens of the Republic. So shall we always be found true to ourselves, true to our families, true to our country, our race and our GOD." (30)
Speaking of Masonic punishment, at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, October 21, 1862, Grand Master Hiram Bassett said:
"While I observe with pleasure that most of the Grand Lodges, whose Proceedings it has been my pleasure to examine, have wisely abstained from introducing any political legislation, I have been grieved to find that some of our brethren in this jurisdiction have conceived the idea that what they deem political offenses - crimes against the State or civil government - are also breaches of Masonic obligations. In order to preserve that harmony among the brethren, which is our strength and our support, it seems to me neither ill-timed nor out of place to notice briefly here, the relation which Masonry, as an Institution, bears to the civil government." He quoted from the Ancient Charges:
"A Mason is a peaceable subject to the civil powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior magistrates, for as Masonry has been always injured by war, bloodshed and confusion, so ancient kings and princes have been much disposed to encourage the craftsmen, because of the peaceableness and loyalty, whereby they practically answered cavils of their adversaries, and promoted the honor of the fraternity, which ever flourished in times of peace. So that if a brother should be a rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanced in his rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man, and if convicted of no other crime, though the loyal brotherhood must and ought to disown his rebellion, and give no umbrage or ground of political jealousy to the government for the time being, they cannot expel him from the lodge, and his relation to it remains indefeasible.'' (31)
That there was not always unanimity of opinion, even in an individual Grand Body, upon the subject of Masonic punishment, is shown by the action taken in the Grand Lodge of Indiana regarding an incident which occurred in that jurisdiction in 1863. A subordinate lodge desired to know whether or not it had the right to expel a member who had gone south, accepted a commission in the Confederate army, and was then fighting against the Union. Grand Master John B. Fravel ruled that a brother could not be expelled for disloyalty alone. But the Committee on Jurisprudence, to whom the matter was referred, did not agree with the Grand Master, and ruled:
"Expel him, and expel him quickly; and should you ever catch him engaged in his unholy purposes, treat him just as you would the assassin who, in the dead hour of night, would, with stealth, enter your bed-chamber, and there, while carrying out his purpose of robbery, plunge the dagger to the heart of the wife reposing on your bosom. Your committee deny, in the most emphatic terms, that there is any law of Masonry contravening or setting aside the first law of nature self-preservation." (32)
However, the report of the committee was tabled, and justly, in the opinion of the Committee on Correspondence of Kansas, which was "glad to see that the Grand Lodge of Indiana is not disposed to misconstrue the Ancient Charges on this point. However much our erring brethren may be politically culpable, it is only politically that they are so; and however much as patriots we may detest their course, we should not, by extravagant pleading, or farfetched and unnatural construction, attempt to shove the old and sacred landmarks of the Order out of their natural position, in order to gratify our patriotic ardor. By such a course we injure the Order, open a gap for innovation, and gain no advantage either to our country or the Craft." (33)
The Grand Lodge of Ohio gave proof that the policy of aloofness in political matters was not unanimous among Grand Bodies, when, at its Annual Communication, October 20, 1863, it passed fiery resolutions "expressive of their utter condemnation of the infamous traitors engaged in the unholy work of rebellion"; these resolutions further announced the "complete and thorough determination of the Grand Lodge to sustain the government in its efforts to restore the union of the States at every hazard." (34)
A survey of the situation as respects politics shows that, while sporadic attempts were made to involve the Institution in the tangle of political cross currents, the Order, in general, abided by the landmarks and refrained from taking those steps likely to involve it in the political contests of the time.
MASONIC RELIEF WORK IN THE CIVIL WAR
While the Masonic Institution regarded the army-made Mason with suspicion and even hostility, and while it refused to be inveigled into attempting to influence the conduct of the War, yet Masonry showed no unwillingness to render all possible aid to the soldier in the field. There were few, if any, Grand Bodies that did not contribute in some way toward the relief of the troops. Some furnished money to be used by sanitary commissions in aiding the sick and wounded; others provided medical and other supplies. Certain Grand Bodies also donated the services of visitors who made personal contacts among the troops. And this relief work was not confined to the soldiers of one side only, but was extended to the men of both armies. Outstanding among Masonic bodies in its relief work, was Louisiana Relief Lodge, No. 1, of New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1861, this lodge reported its receipts for 1860 as $3876.46; of which, $3087.15 had been expended for the relief of soldiers regardless of the side on which they fought. (35) Although its resources became more and more circumscribed as the War advanced, yet the lodge continued its good work throughout the years of the great struggle, its expenditures, as late as 1866, being $2392.36 The splendid work of the brethren of this lodge aroused the admiration of Grand Master William C. Belchor, of California, who, in 1863, called the attention of his Grand Lodge to the "noble act of J. Q. A. Fellows of New Orleans, who, in spite of all opposition, fearlessly did his whole Masonic duty toward those of our brethren who had the misfortune to be prisoners of war in that city." (37)
The Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, in 1862, organized a complete system of relief for the troops of both armies; Grand Master McJilton, in 1863, reported that he had visited many army hospitals, in his capacity of head of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, and had found the need of Masonic chaplains so great that he had appointed Reverend Brother Robert Piggott to begin the good work, an idea that was strongly supported in many Grand Bodies.
A final problem growing out of the War was the attitude Masonry was to take toward maimed candidates. Many Grand Lodges, as in the case of Missouri, ruled that, in the case of such petitioners, the subordinate lodges should adhere to the landmarks and the rules and regulations of the Grand Bodies upon the subject of the admission of candidates. Other Grand Lodges were inclined to be lenient in the matter, as in the case of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi, which, on January 21, 1867, ruled that it was proper to confer the degrees of Fellow Craft and Master upon candidates who had lost an arm or leg, provided they had been initiated before such loss, and provided, further, they could physically perform the ceremonies.
With every line of human endeavor disjointed by the holocaust of the Civil War, it was inevitable that Masonry should reel before the storm. The conflicting ideas of various Grand Lodges as to the proper method of dealing with army Masonry naturally led to great confusion which involved not only those Grand Bodies yielding to the desires of the soldier petitioner, but, also, those which, adhering to the doctrine of Grand Lodge sovereignty, sternly refused to bow to army Masonry. Further, there was a large body of sentiment among the membership of the Craft in favor of the Institution entering the realm of polities and taking a hand, as an organization, in the conduct of the struggle between the states - a sentiment which required the utmost efforts of Masonic leaders to combat and suppress.
And this state of affairs was naturally bound to follow under the circumstances. But, confronted by unusual conditions, the several Grand Bodies sought, honestly and conscientiously, we believe, to solve the problems which were presented to them. And the evidence shows that they did, finally, solve them. During the period of reconstruction adjustments were made and the damage largely repaired. The worthy army-made Masons were absorbed into the stream of regular Masonry, which was soon flowing as placidly as ever, unpolluted by any contamination growing out of political entanglements.
But there is a lesson to be learned from a study of the trials and tribulations of Masonry during the period of the Civil War. In times of great national danger when men are arming themselves for battle, there is, among them, a vital need for Masonry. After all, men are but adult children. As the ties of family and home are broken, and the perils of the battlefield draw near, they cast about for some staff upon which to lean for strength and support. Religion does not always furnish that support. But who that has not experienced it can appreciate and understand the mighty strength and help of the tie with which Masonry binds together its votaries? It is stronger than the tie of comradeship which binds soldiers closer together than the tie of blood brotherhood. How many American Masons will ever forget the cheer and encouragement and comfort which they derived from the informal little Masonic gatherings in the muddy trenches and reeking dugouts on the shell torn fields of France?
From the earliest times there has been an intimate connection between the Mason and the soldier. Our ancient operative brethren were exempted from military duty, but they followed the Roman legions into the fastnesses of western Europe and erected their bridges and fortifications; the great cathedrals, which were their handiwork, were erected only after the soldier had conquered the land. From the very beginning of Speculative Masonry, we find, sprinkled over the roster of its leaders, the names of warriors. Who can estimate the value to American Masonry, of the labors of the soldier draftsman of colonial times? In all the history of mankind, the Mason and the soldier have worked hand in hand - each the complement of the other. In the soldier, Masonry has always had a defender; in Masonry, the soldier has always found that peace and relaxation denied him by his stern profession.
The laws and regulations formulated for the establishment and government of civilian, or regular lodges, are not, as a whole, landmarks. They are conventions developed to meet conditions and have responded to changes in those conditions; they may be subject to changes in future. The American doctrine of Grand Lodge sovereignty, although it has come to have something of the status of a landmark, is not one in the sense that the Ancient Charges are landmarks, and it is virtually unknown in European Masonry.
Why, then, should there not be a place in American Masonry for the soldier Mason? In what way would the landmarks be violated by the enactment of legislation having for its objects the control of military Masonry during period of hostilities, and the orderly absorption of the army made Masons upon the return of peace? Why should the defenders of the country (including the Masonic Institution) be made to feel, upon their return from war, that, because they received their degrees in military lodges, they were pariahs and Ishmaelites? Does it not seem that the Grand Lodges of the United States might deliberately agree upon a policy to be adopted should any similar emergency unhappily arise in the future? Is there not prescience enough, and statesmanship enough, among the leaders of the Craft to accomplish this?
17 Proc. Kansas, 1866, pp. 24-5.
18 Review, Proc. So. Car, 1866, in Proc. Kans., 1867, pp. 250-1.
19 Review, Proc. Miss., 1866, in Proc. Kans, 1867, p. 259.
20 Address, G. M. Saqui, in Proc. Kans., 1866, p. 15.
21 Proc. Kans., 1866, p. 51.
22 Review, Proc. Va., 1861, in Proc. Kans., 1864, p. 464.
23 Review, Proc. D. of C., 1862, in Proc. Kans., 1863, p. 388.
24 Review, Proc. Iowa, 1862, in Proc. Kans., 1863, p. 392
25 Review, Proc. Iowa, 1862, in Proc Kans., 1863, p. 393.
26 Address G. M. Saqui, in Proc. Kans., 1862, pp. 264-5-6.
27 Review, Proc. Nebr., 1862, in Proc Kans., 1862, p. 320.
28 Review, Proc. N. Y., 1862, in Proc. Kans, 1862, p. 322.
29 Review, Proc. Can., 1863, in Proc. Kans., 1864, p. 454.
30 Review, Proc. Wash., 1861, in Proc. Kans., 1862, p. 326.
31 Review, Proc. Ky., 1862, in Proc. Kans., 1863, pp. 393-4.
32 Review, Proc. Ind., 1863, in Proc. Kans., 1863, p 390.
34 Review, Proc. Ohio, 1863, in Proc. Kans., 1864, p. 477.
35 Review, Proc. La., 1861, in Proc. Kans., 1862, p. 316.
36 Review, Proc. La., 1866, in Proc. Kans., 1866, p. 91.
37 Review, Proc. Calif., 1863, in Proc. Kans, 1863, p. 386.
Seth Warner; The Green Mountain Boy
By BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART, New York
A STUFFED catamount crouching upon the signboard of the Green Mountain Tavern in Bennington, and apparently snarling toward the province of New York, reflected, a few years prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, the spirit of the times.
In this tavern were wont to assemble the leaders of those settlers who had resolved to protect their rights against the authority of New York, even to the shedding of blood. And of these leaders, who gathered on frosty evenings about the roaring flames in the fireplace and discussed over their wine and long-stemmed pipes projected raids against the officers of the law, the two most noted ones were the gigantic Ethan Allen and his smaller friend, Seth Warner.
Seth Warner had been born in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1743, removing with his father to Bennington twenty years later. The dispute with New York was just then beginning and young Warner soon found himself involved.
The first settlement in what is now known as Vermont was made at Fort Dummer, now Brattleborough in 1724. The region was claimed by both New Hampshire and New York. The governor of the former colony disregarding the rights of New York, issued grants of land in the new territory so indiscriminately that the region became known as the NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS.
New York resorted to the courts, obtained a favorable decision and endeavored to eject the settlers who had cleared and rendered valuable their isolated farms. These pioneers now banded together, assumed the name of GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS, chose for their leaders Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, and proceeded to resist the execution of the law. In the mountains of THE GRANTS ensued a species of guerrilla warfare, in which the New York officers usually had the worst of it.
On the 9th of March, 1774, the Legislature of New York Province passed an act of outlawry against the leaders of the Green Mountain Boys; mentioning by name, and offering a reward of fifty pounds for the capture of each, the following persons: Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Remember Baker, Robert Cochron, P. Sunderland, S. Brown, J. Smith and J. Brackenridge.
The valley of Otter Creek was the scene of this mountainous warfare, which was yet of pigmy size. The locality and many of the events have been described vividly by Daniel P. Thompson who, in 1839, published his novel, Green Mountain Boys.
Ernest Peixotto, in 1917, while collecting data for his book, A Revolutionary Pilgrimage, motored through the valley of Otter Creek (or river) and thus described it:
"From Rutland southward the road follows the Otter River, threading a beautiful valley, hemmed in between the Taconic Ridge on the one side and the main range of the Green Mountains on the other. The day . . . was showery, and gray clouds hung thick at times about the mountains, hiding one peak and revealing another; screening one range entirely and crawling over another in long, white filaments, that hung like ghosts among the trees, and by their air of mystery enhanced the sense of height."
It is likely that the contemplation of such scenes as that portrayed by the artist Peixotto had much to do with inspiring Allen and Warner to cast in their fortunes with the common cause. When the guns of Lexington sent their alarming message reverberating among the crags where the "Boys" had been forced to pitch their camp, in order to avoid the New York officers, they realized that their own petty quarrel must inevitably be engulfed in the greater one now at hand. As many peaks were required to produce the grandeur that was the Green Mountains, so the fate of the "Grants" would depend upon the success of the "Old Thirteen." The bickering with New York must now be cast aside so that all true men might hasten to the defense of the common country.
So, when Ethan Allen led his men to the surprise of Fort Ticonderoga, Seth Warner was in command of the rear guard. Allen captured the fort, " In the Name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," before Warner could cross. But Allen now sent his lieutenant to surprise Crown Point.
Warner was at first driven back by a sudden storm, but two days later he took the place, garrisoned by twelve men, without firing a shot. Much plunder was secured, including sixty-one cannon fit for service. At the last moment Warner had been joined by Captain Remember Baker - another proscribed Green Mountain Boy - with a small contingent of troops. Baker had seized on the way two boatloads of British troops who were endeavoring to escape to St. Johns.
On July 27, 1775, Seth Warner was elected by his own men lieutenant-colonel of the Green Mountain Boys, now organized as a regiment. It was at about this time that he accompanied Ethan Allan to Albany to offer the services of their organization to the common cause.
The New York legislators were somewhat embarrassed. The attainder against Allen and Warren had never been wiped off by a repeal. Could the Solons receive in their midst the outlaws of the mountains?
After considering the matter from all angles, they admitted their former enemies, by resolution, "to the floor of the House. " The hatchet was buried.
It is likely that it was at this time that Seth Warner was raised to Masonic Light in old Union Lodge No. 1, now Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3, the oldest in the state outside of New York City.
The history of this Lodge is an interesting one. It was organized in Albany in 1759, under authority of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, originally issued to brethren of what is now called in the British service, the Royal Scots Regiment. During the years 1758-59, this regiment was located in Albany, and many prominent citizens of the town were admitted to its Lodge. When, in 1759, the regiment was ordered away, it left a copy of its warrant with the Albany Brethren, to enable them to continue their meetings.
The Lodge worked under the copied authority until February 21, 1765, when it was chartered as Union Lodge No. 1, by Provincial Grand Master Harrison. Eight years later (July 30, 1773) the charter was confirmed by Sir John Johnson, the son of Sir William Johnson and at this time Provincial Grand Master. On January 6, 1807, it received a warrant from the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, as Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3.
The By-Laws of Union Lodge, drawn up by request of said body by Peter W. Yates in 1773, and approved by Sir John Johnson, were signed in order by the various members, beginning with Peter W. Yates, Master. Seth Warner was the ninety-sixth signer. Until No. 274, no mention was made regarding the dates of the various degrees. The Brother who signed as No. 274 received his first degree, January 14, 1794. It is therefore probable that Colonel Seth Warner was initiated, passed and raised during the summer of 1775, receiving at least the first degree while on his visit to the New York Legislature.
Colonel Seth Warner commanded some of the Green Mountain troops at the siege of Fort St. Johns, under General (Brother) Richard Montgomery, and was instrumental in carrying the operations to a successful conclusion. When Governor Carleton approached with a relieving force, he was ambushed by Warner and his men and driven into headlong rout.
Later, Colonel Warner was at Quebec, and he covered the retreat of the Americans from Canada to Ticonderoga.
On July 5, 1776, he was appointed by Congress colonel of a regiment in the Continental Line.
He was with St. Clair at Ticonderoga, and when the Americans were forced to evacuate that fortress, he commanded the rear-guard. It was on July 7, 1777, that he fought his heaviest action at Hubbardton.
General Arthur St. Clair, a Master Mason, the grandson of a Scottish earl, and perhaps the most unfortunate officer in our service, had been fairly outgeneralled by Burgoyne at Ticonderoga. The fort was fully commanded by Sugar Loaf Hill, later called Mt. Defiance. This elevation had been deemed by St. Clair inaccessible for artillery. Burgoyne proved that the contrary was true. With a battery planted on this height, he held the key to Ticonderoga. St. Clair was forced to evacuate in the night and beat a hasty retreat.
Contrary to orders, someone fired a building and the flames betrayed to the British the retreat. An immediate pursuit was organized. Colonel Seth Warner, known as a bulldog fighter, commanded the brigade that was the last to leave. At Hubbardton he was overtaken by the enemy 's advance guard under General Fraser. Colonel Warner had three regiments - 1300 men. Fraser had 800 veterans.
At seven in the morning of that hot July day Fraser began the attack. Pushing from the forest, the red-coated British infantry made a rapid charge. Warner's men opened with quick volleys and broke up the assault. All would now have been well had not a raw militia regiment commanded by Colonel Hale given way and fled. This left Warner but 700 men to continue the action.
The Americans were, however, stationed in a strong position on the brow of a hill, partially screened by trees. From this post they poured a galling fire upon the British grenadiers, who occupied the Castleton road, and caused them to fall back. Victory was again in sight for Warner's men, when drums were heard in the forest, and soon the tossing of banners and the gleaming of steel informed all that Reidesel and his Germans had arrived to support Fraser.
An overpowering charge followed. Warner 's brigade was forced to flee over the Pittsford Mountains. The loss on each side was very heavy.
Colonel Warner collected his own regiment at Manchester and at once began whipping it into shape for further conflicts. It was soon to be needed.
When, the following month, hard-pressed Burgoyne sent Colonel Baume with his German mercenaries on the Bennington raid, with orders to "scour the country from Rockingham to Otter Creek," John Stark (soon to become a Master Mason in Albany) took charge of the threatened territory, rallied the militia and sent a messenger post haste to Colonel Seth Warner, begging his help.
At once Warner ordered his men to march. All that day and part of the night they plodded through the rain over muddy roads and arrived at Bennington during the watches of the morning. Here they remained for a time, drying their clothes and preparing their arms for battle. But Colonel Seth Warner joined Stark as an aide.
The first part of the Battle of Bennington ensued. General Stark made his famous speech, containing the allusion to the future slumbers of his wife - provided the red-coats were not beaten; Baume was mortally wounded, his artillery and most of his men captured and the rest driven away. The militia had fought well, but the end was not yet. Colonel Breyman arrived on the stricken field with British reinforcements, at once charged the scattered American militia, and it seemed that the battle would be lost by the patriots.
But now, just in the nick of time, the drums of Colonel Seth Warner's veteran regiment were heard beating the charge. Through the ruck the Continentals shoved with advanced bayonets, fell upon Breyman's troops and drove them steadily until darkness settled and the historic contest was over - the contest that proved to be the first nail in the coffin of Burgoyne's military reputation.
Once more Seth Warner and his men had proved their worth.
But the Green Mountain Boy's work was not yet done. At the battle of Saratoga he was to meet again his old antagonist of the fight at Hubbardton - General Fraser. In this decisive conflict of the war for American independence Warner and his men rendered excellent service. At the end Fraser was killed and Burgoyne surrendered. The war in the far North was over.
In this campaign Seth Warner soldiered with such Brother Masons as Daniel Morgan, the old wagoner general; Colonel Peter Gansevoort, a member of his own Union Lodge No. 1; Colonel Cilley of New Hampshire ; Benedict Arnold, of Hiram Lodge No. 1, New Haven; General Gates himself; Marinus Willett, the final savior of the Mohawk Valley; Stark, Poor, Whipple, Paterson, Wilkinson, Glover, Dearborn and Hull. Surely, Masons helped mightily at Saratoga to build the foundations of the Republic.
Colonel Seth Warner was destined barely to see his country independent. Early in 1782 he was forced by ill health to leave the military service. He retired to Woodbury, Connecticut, the place of his birth, and there two years later he died, being but forty-one years of age.
Friend of the puissant Ethan Allen, Green Mountain Boy, patriot of the Revolution, Master Mason, Seth Warner - though his life was brief - qualified as one of the builders of the nation.
THE DUCE'S REVENGE
Translated from DIE LEUCHTE by Bro. Jacob Ruehl, Illinois.
SOMETIME ago we gave an account of the situation of the Italian Masons who have been exiled in the Lipari Islands. We based our report upon the information of a journalist who had had permission to visit the Island. Today we present the information given by three fugitives, Rosseli, Lussu and Nitti. The former is a well known Professor of the University of Genna and the latter a nephew of the some time Prime Minister, Nitti, who has for years been living in exile. The escaped brethren are now safe in Paris with their friends.
According to the Ogenbacher Zeitxng, the trial of a Mason takes the following course:
Place of action: Prefecture of any city in Italy
People Present: The committee, consisting of the Prefect the Chief of Police, the Secretary of the City Administration, and an Attorney for the Secretary of the Interior, dressed in the robes of a judge.
A gentleman enters the courtroom escorted by police. Three months ago he was arrested. All that time he has been in jail without any preliminary hearing. The Attorney rises from his seat, puts his cap upon his head and proclaims the judgment already decided upon, to- wit: "Upon affirmation that you have been connected with the defense of Anti-fascism, you are sentenced to five years deportation in the Island of Lipari." The convicted is escorted out of the courtroom, the committee is dismissed. The end.
Twelve hundred of such sentences have been given in one year. They are usually reported: "Sent off by order of the administration." The prisoners are divided upon the Islands Lipari, Ustiea, Ponza and Triniti. Amongst the prisoners are intellectuals like General Beneivenga, once a dignitary of the Grand Orient of Italy, and President of the Union of Italian Journalists. There also is the leader of the Peoples Party, Turati; the representatives of the burghers, of the republican party, men of letters, savants, Fascists who refused to be such any longer; there are people who stood in the way of some higher officer of the Fascist hierarehy. The official sentence is always based "Upon affirmation." The trip to the Islands takes about fourteen days, during which time the prisoner is handcuffed or laid in chains. The transport is made in railroad cars traveling about eight kilometers per hour. At night we lodge in penitentaries. The Island lies in a northwestern direction from Messina and is about thirty-eight square kilometers and has about five hundred population. Amongst the deported are highway robbers and other criminals from the gutter. Four hundred guards watch the prisoners. Around the Island circle continuously three gun-boats, and one high-sea-boat does patrol service. The shores are watched by a chain of sentinels about two for every one hundred meters. At night searchlights throw light upon the island every ten minutes. Radio, aeroplanes and every modern technical device is carefully put in service. The living allowance for prisoners has been reduced from 20 Lire to 10 Lire per diem. Out of this sum the cost of living quarters and food must be paid. Diseases are very common. It is forbidden to send food or clothing to the prisoners on the island. Letters are severely censured, which means physical and mental repression, which again causes the prisoners to become homesick or to lose their minds if there is no chance for an escape.
To shake off these conditions was the work of three of Italy's best men. Reluctantly they tell of their escape, some of their escape, not all, because one incautious word and the whole secret is exposed. They gave representatives of the French press the following narration of their experience:
In the night of June 27, a night with no moon, the three at a certain signal jumped into the sea. It was about 9 p. m. At 9:10 p. m., they had to be at a certain rock in the sea, which lay about one hundred and fifty meters from the shore. At 9:20 a boat was to be at this rock. At 9:25 they had to be in the boat, or their chance of liberty was lost because at 9:30 the last roll call took place and their absence would be noticed, and then every means would be at once put in motion to find the fugitives; if found life as well as liberty would be in danger. Professor Roselli was a few minutes behind, with his clothes on he jumped in the water, he had no time to take them off. While swimming he saw the Carabineri on patrol, but they did not see him. Once he had to dive in order to avoid the searchlights. Finally he came to the rock. The others were waiting for him. holding on to the rock with their hands, keeping their heads above water, with such thoughts as: "Are we on time? Oh, faith! One minute we are saved and - one minute we are lost." On the minute, there was the boat, another minute and we are in it. We are saved. Ten minutes later the whole island is alarmed; too late! We are saved.
R.J. MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
BOARD OF ASSOCIATE 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
E. E. THIEMEYER, Missouri
DAVID E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
THE STUDY CLUB DEPARTMENT
IN the autumn of 1927 we made a considerable change in the Study Club pages of THE BUILDER. For quite a number of years before that they had been used for series of articles of a nature that could hardly be described as elementary. In short, from 1921 up to 1927 the material used in this department was in no way essentially different in character from the general articles and papers published in the body of the magazine. In the years preceding that a supplement had been published first under the heading of the "Correspondence Circle Bulletin." The title was varied somewhat in different years, but the substance was much the same. From 1915 to 1921 a series of elementary lessons in Freemasonry were published (the greater part of which has been since republished in book form) which very fully covered the whole ground. Research never comes to an end, but the boundaries of elementary teaching in every branch of knowledge are not very extensive and do not change very much; obviously from the very nature of things.
This ground having been once fully covered it was a natural development to proceed into more advanced subjects until at last it became apparent that the separation of the articles thus labelled was a purely arbitrary distinction. For this reason a radical change was proposed. It was sought to make the department really accord once more with the elementary character of Study Club work, but as it was absurd to cover the ground once more when perfectly adequate material was readily available, the new idea was to make it of assistance to those who sought to organize and conduct Study Clubs.
We have reason to believe that the material that has been published since 1927 has been helpful to many, but again it has come to an end. In one way it has been very disappointing; those interested have on the whole taken, but have not given. Had Study Club leaders and members more generally kept us informed of their activities, there would probably have been a sufficiency of new ideas to have maintained the value and interest of this department. However, while disappointing we can hardly say this was wholly unexpected.
While these considerations had for some time made the utility of continuing this part of the work a matter of doubt, the final decision to discontinue it was reached quite suddenly. Bro. Hungerford, who took over the work from Bro. Thiemeyer, had also found that a change in his other affairs made it impossible for him to devote as much time to it as had been expected, and there being no one else in sight to undertake it the decision was made to drop it, at least for the time being.
But as we said when the change was made before, this is not a final decision, it is experimental. We are no less interested in elementary work than before, and will publish any useful material dealing with it that comes to us. We will even resume the regular department if there is any real demand for it; for in this, as in everything else, we are at the disposal of the members of the Society.
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MASONRY AND PEACE
CIVILIZATION is a tremendously complex thing, so much so that no analysis or conspectus of it can be anything but schematic and partial. If we liken it to a living organism, and the men and women who form part of it to the individual cells that form our bodies then it is as hard for us to see all the inter-relations of the Society in which we live, as we can imagine it would be for a single cell to appreciate its function in the organic whole of which it is a part.
The analogy is capable of being worked out to a considerable extent without straining it too much. Society has evolved as the organism has, the development has not (except to quite negligible extent) been the result of planning or foresight, but in the main has been a following of lines of least resistance.
War is not a natural and inevitable outcome of organized society. It is true that war is built upon, and affords an outlet for man's pugnacity, aggressiveness, and desire to "take a chance," but it is not the only outlet for these instincts, and as a matter of fact we find that the most primitive races of mankind are not war-like. They do not lack courage, they frequently indulge in fighting, and often enough kill each other, but this is not the same thing at all as war. It begins without specific motive and ends when the combatants are tired.
Roughly speaking - under all the reservations alluded to above - war does not emerge in the history of the race until men have become so far civilized as to accumulate property. As soon as the idea and the fact of property appears (or as it may be called in another aspect, capital, accumulations of the results of individual labor which enable the individual or the group to tide over periods of scarcity without distress) there appears the by-product of civilization - war, or organized robbery. For there is no doubt whatever that war in its earliest forms is nothing more than this. And while this element recedes somewhat as civilization advances, yet even up to quite modern times all wars were expected by the participants to pay for themselves. The armies lived off the country invaded, and enriched themselves by plunder. Of course it was a glorious game of chance, where the forces were at all evenly matched. Where they were not, the aggressors were frankly seeking to get something for nothing, while the defenders tried to prevent them to the best of their ability.
As long as wars were fought with comparatively small armies, and at comparatively small cost, it was possible to indulge in them frequently, and in many races a war-like spirit became inbred. But concurrently with that other men developed different outlets for their instincts and energies. But underneath the skin, in all civilized peoples, is that quarrelsome, pugnacious, aggressive animal which we find in the primitive races.
Now our civilization has undoubtedly come to a critical period, a parting of the ways. Spengler and other pessimists believe it has passed its highest point, and that from now on it will relapse again into barbarism. While we cannot say that our civilization is really greater than others which have preceded it, and have disappeared, it does have certain characteristics that have never appeared before, and which present quite new problems.
So far as previous civilizations were concerned, in their war-like aspect we find that without exception their means Of defense were greatly superior to their weapons of attack. This is one tremendous difference, for in our case means of attack, of destruction, have already developed beyond any possibility of adequate defense, and the growth of this discrepancy is continuing.
In the second place our civilization has developed communications to an extent that till recently was not only unimagined but would hardly have been conceivable. This has two consequences, potentially it adds enormously to the power of attack in war, that is, increases its destructiveness, and actually, it has led to an interdependence between different states to a degree scarcely realized, even by the acutest observers. Civilized countries are now so connected by thousands of fibres and veins of trade and credit, and the whole system is so delicately balanced, that any disaster to one part is felt in a hundred unsuspected ways by all the rest. For one country to strike at another is indirectly to strike at itself.
The pressing problem, on which the future of the world depends, stands before us now. Is there any solution? Are there enough people awake to the fact that there is a problem? The cynic and the pessimist are with us always, with their continual refrain, " There have always been wars, and there always will be wars. Human nature cannot be changed."
But even if we grant the latter statement, it is certain that circumstances can change, that they have changed. Hitherto there have been two ways of acquiring wealth, creating it by labor, or taking it from those who have created it. Wars, until modern times, were profitable in the same sense that gambling is profitable. The gain of one was the other's loss; but the gain was great and in a sense easy - and certainly exciting. But bitter experience has now proven that under modern conditions no one can gain, and so far as the excitement is concerned, it is now at too high a pitch, and too continuous, for normal people to find any pleasure in it.
We have as a matter of fact entered a new world, and we have come into it with an incongruous baggage of old habits, old fears and old traditions. Pride and fear and habit. The problem is not a material one, it is psychological. We need a change of heart. We need to accustom ourselves to the idea that it may be as well to try taking some risks for peace.
Behind the statesmen of the different countries are their peoples. They cannot go further than they are sure of support, and among those from whom they should certainly find support are members of the Masonic Fraternity. For here is an international organism. Without force, without external controls, Freemasonry unites as brethren men of different countries with an intangible but very real tie. There is no need to repeat that the Craft cannot act collectively as an Institution, but the influence of Masons as individuals each in his own circle would be incalculable. On which side is it going to be cast ?
* * *
THE WORSHIP OF THE LETTER
ONE of the most marked instances of the tendency in American Masonry to run to seed in pure legalism is the complex decisions and rulings which have grown up about the sacred principle of the Secrecy of the Ballot. This is commonly supposed to be a Landmark, and is treated as if it were an important end in and for itself.
We shall not attempt to say whether or no it is a Landmark, until some definite agreed meaning is assigned to that term. According to the definition offered by Mackey it certainly is not one. The ballot box was introduced first into lodges as a natural and obvious mechanism for securing real unanimity in the choice of Candidates, and obviating any suspicion of moral pressure upon individual members of the lodge in making that choice. Later, having come into universal use, it was regulated by Grand Lodges. Being thus a creation of Masonic statute law it is subject to modification, and even, in theory, to repeal. It is not the ballot that is a Landmark, but the unanimous consent of the brethren.
In itself then it is not an occult symbol, a divine commandment, or a fundamental principle of Masonry, it is simply a practical means to a very practical end. As soon, therefore, as this practical end is forgotten, and the procedure made into a fetich or magical rite, all kinds of absurdities arise, absurdities in some cases sufficiently ridiculous to be the cause of overwhelming laughter to the unprejudiced observer, were it not for the grave, even intolerable injustices that may proceed from them.
The secrecy of the ballot is intended - or was intended - to protect the objecting brother; to give him full freedom to object to a Candidate without fear or favor. The secret is his, not the lodge's, and while it may for quite secondary reasons be better as a general thing that he should keep it to himself, to visit all the severity of Masonic discipline upon his head should he inadvertently reveal it is a travesty of justice. A striking case in point is recorded in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for 1928.
A brother cast a black ball in the ballot upon an application for initiation. Whether by collusion does not certainly appear (though it is suggested in the report of the Committee on Appeals) the Wardens and the Master in turn declared the ballot clear. When the brother protested that the ballot was incorrectly reported, on the grounds he could have for doing so, that he had himself voted adversely, he was charged with violating the secrecy of the ballot, and sentenced to suspension.
The Committee, in reviewing the case, having first come to the sensible and just conclusion that the sentence and verdict should be set aside, was prevailed upon, for considerations not stated - probably the sacro-sanct nature of the Ballot - to reverse this decision, thus upholding the unjust action of the lodge. As we cite this instance merely to illustrate the absurdities into which this adoration of the letter of a severely practical regulation may at any time lead its devotees we have nothing to say about the Master and Wardens of the lodge, guilty either of the grossest carelessness or else, in the language of the Committee, of a "most heinous offense" against the spirit and purpose of the law, and a violation of the really sacred trust placed in them as officers. But this brings out a comparatively recent development of the ritual of voting, namely, that only these three officers are permitted to inspect the ballot. In a past generation it was the established usage, after the official examination, to invite any brother who wished to do so, to satisfy himself that the report was correct. Had this old usage and safeguard been retained such a case as this would never have arisen. But we insist that in common sense and fairness the secret of the ballot is the objecting brother's secret, and for him to reveal his vote is clearly quite a different matter from a like action by anyone who voted favorably.
* * *
WILLIAM HENRY PIERCE
FROM the Chicago Masonic Chronicler we learn of the death of Bro. William Henry Pierce on January 6. It is probable that at the least two out of three of the many readers of the Chronicler always turned first to the page on which appeared the weekly contribution from the "Hired Man," under which pseudonym Bro. Pierce was wont to hold forth his homely and penetrating philosophy of life veiled in anecdotes and illustrated by a whimsical humor all his own. Bro. Rapp, the Editor, thus expresses himself on the departure of his old friend and co-worker:
"Our good friend and co-laborer, William Henry Pierce, passed from earth January 6. The tenement of flesh which had housed his gentle spirit is now mingled with the dust in Oakridge cemetery. A multitude of personal friends will mourn his departure, but a much larger circle of acquaintances, who knew him only as the "Hired Man" and gained their knowledge of his personality through reading what he wrote for this column, will feel that they have lost a friend A commentator of great acuteness and interesting quality is gone.
"It has been evident for many months to his intimates that Brother Pierce's thoughts were dwelling much on the translation from earthly existence to the life eternal, and that he was preparing himself for the inevitable change that he felt was not far away. Many things he has written in the past year or two have revealed to our readers the trend of his thought. To us nothing among his contributions reveals his state of mind more poignantly and pathetically than the following, which appeared in The Chronicler of February 23, 1929:
"'When my father, in 1895, built a house on Latrobe avenue in Austin he planted four lilac bushes on the lot, one in front of the house and three in the back yard. The one in the front of the house and the one beside the north fence in the back yard never did well, the first never having more than three or four blooms on it at once and the other perhaps a dozen. But the two near the south fence in the back yard were marvels of fragrance and beauty every year, being profuse bearers of magnificent blooms. The spring of 1900 was a very early one. Father died on April 28 of that year, and the lilac bushes were in bloom, so we took the blossoms to the cemetery with us and placed them above him, as we knew he would wish, for he loved them. Six years later, on May 11, 1906, we laid Little Bill beside grandpa. Again the lilac bushes were full of blooms, and these we carried with us, for they were Little Bill's special pride. The year 1912 was cold and backward. On June 6, when my mother died, the lilac bushes were again loaded with their beautiful flowers, and again we took them to Oakridge.
" 'It will not be long now until the lilac bushes will be in bloom once more.'
"In consequence of Brother Pierce's death, a few weeks previous to lilac time, which he thus set as the limit of his life, the "Hired Man" column will be discontinued when accumulated matter of his writing has been published."
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GUSTAV STRESEMAN AS A FREEMASON
By Bro. Wilhelm Fluhrer. Translated from the Eklektisches Bundesblatt by Bro. Jacob Ruehl, Illinois.
DR. GUSTAV STRESEMAN, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, only became a Freemason in his later years, although even in earlier life he concerned himself with Masonic questions. Indeed when only twenty years old he wrote an essay in which he gave a clear exposition of Masonic thought. As a member of the student organization ''Neo Germania," in Berlin, he undertook the editorship of the Allgemeine Deutsche Universtats Zeitung, founded by Konrad Kuster, the organ of the "Allgemeinen deutschen Burschenbund" [General German Society of University Students], and in this journal published a synopsis of a work by Bro. D. Bischoff, Freimaurerei und Menschentum [Freemasonry and Mankind]. In this review, he among other things, adopted and stressed this statement by Bro. Bischoff:
A man must never think of himself alone, he should not regard himself merely as an individual, separate from the community; nor yet as meaningless or minute part of a great machine. On the contrary he must be convinced of the reality of the mission he has to fulfill in advancing the culture and refinement of humanity. A mission which pertains to every man, high or low, in conformity with and to the extent of his ability. The moment that all men fulfill this duty a great part of the present social problems will be solved. In the unity of an ethical will is to be found a basis for a just apportionment of material goods, which will lead to real human happiness; the first step to which is the equal sharing by all in the benefits of our highly developed civilization.
The thought of human brotherhood was ever with him. He was never a partisan, and always stood for the rights of the working classes. He worked for a reconciliation of capital and labor. As a statesman he emphasized the duty of the state to care for and protect the weaker, thus naturally receiving the support of the workers.
At last in May, 1923, he found his way into the lodge. In the great temple of the Gross National Mutterloge, "zu den Drei Weltkugeln," the Bundeshaus, he was initiated by the lodge "Frederick the Great." Later he received in regular course the degrees of Fellow and Master. In 1928 the Grand National Mother Lodge elected him as an honorary member, an unusual distinction, and one which betokens the estimation in which his truly Masonic work was held. He was rejoiced when the nine German Grand Masters met in Conference in the autumn of 1927 to consider a new agreement for working together, after the Union of German Grand Lodges of 1922 had split into three parties.
Streseman's death is a heavy loss to the world, but particularly to German Masonry, in which he worked for the removal of the particularistic tendencies which hamper it, and because he sought to carry into the profane world in actuality what in the silence of the temple he had seen to be true and good and beautiful.
As is well known, Streseman had a great deal to do with bringing Germany into the League of Nations, and thereby making the chances for the preservation of peace in Europe much brighter than they had been. The following extract from his first speech in the League Assembly is worth recording here:
"I hold that no country that belongs to the League of Nations thereby surrenders any of its national individuality. The Divine Architect of the world has not created mankind as a homogenous whole. He has given them their mother tongue as the sanctuary of their soul He has given them countries with different characteristics as their homes. But it cannot be the purpose of the Divine world order that men should direct their supreme national energies against one another, thus ever thrusting back the general progress of civilization. He will serve humanity best who, firmly rooted in the faith of his own people, develops his moral and intellectual gifts to the utmost, thus overstepping his own national boundaries, and serving the whole world, as has been done by those great men of all nations whose names are writ large in the history of mankind."
He was himself one of the great men of whom he spoke, and doubtless his name will be recorded as one who stood and showed the right way when the nations of the earth stood, as they are still hesitating, at the parting of the ways. Throne, the old, well trodden road that leads to destruction, the other a new and difficult path that gives hope of leading to life and peace.
* * *
THE INTERNATIONAL MASONIC ASSOCIATION
THE Consultative Committee of the International Masonic Association held its Autumn meeting at Barcelona in Spain in order that its members might participate in the Spanish-American celebration that took place there in September last year. The Bulletin of the Association has just come to hand in which an account of the proceedings is given.
It will be remembered, perhaps, by some of our readers, that a new edition of the Association's Annual or Year Book was published in 1928, the first since 1923. In this edition information was given about a number of Grand Lodges not generally recognized as regular, and some criticism was directed against the I. M A. in consequence. As a result of this some discussion arose at this meeting of the Committee. It was suggested that the Grand Lodges and Orients of the world be classified as hitherto by continents, and that under each continent should be a triple classification containing (a) members of the I. M. A., (b) Grand Lodges of unquestionable regularity, and (c) other organizations.
To this it was objected that the I. M. A., or its Committee, would in effect have to sit in judgment on this difficult and tangled subject of recognition, a position entirely foreign to its purpose and constitution. It was proposed that two categories only be made, perfectly clear and innocuous; (a) members of the Association; (b) non-members; coupled with a statement that inclusion in the list implied no judgment in regard to regularity either for or against. An amendment to this was offered, that it should be shown with what other Grand Bodies each one had official relations.
Another proposal was made, to the effect that in any territory over which a member body of the Association had jurisdiction, no other body should receive mention except by the desire of such member.
As a result of the debate it was finally decided by motion that the Annual is a reference work solely, and should contain information about all bodies in order to be complete. To this a rider was added that wherever a member body existed it should be consulted in regard to non-member bodies in the same territory, but that final decision remains with the Committee.
In our opinion this was a wise decision. It is easy enough for any Mason to obtain information about Masonic bodies recognized by his own Grand Lodge, but it is exceedingly difficult to find out anything about others. The Annual of the I. M. A., as it has been compiled in the past, is the only publication attempting to give complete information for the whole world, of organizations claiming to be, or calling themselves, Masonic. While there exist everywhere good brethren, with the makings in them of inquisitors and heresy hunters had they the power, who would prevent the dissemination, if they could, of any information even of the existence of unrecognized Masonic bodies, yet such information cannot possibly do any harm. And for Freemasons to suppress information and burk knowledge is a ridiculous inconsistency. We trust therefore that the I.M.A. will continue to give the fullest and most complete information possible about every Grand Lodge, including the point of its relations to others, for from this alone it will be possible to make a prima facie judgment of its character and position.
The next Convert or general meeting of the Association is to be held in September, 1930, in Belgium. It is hoped that the studies in Masonic fundamental law begun some years ago will be continued.
The Bulletin also contains a biographical notice of the late Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Italy, Ettore Ferrari, world known sculptor and architect, who in recent years has suffered so severely under Fascist persecution. There is also an account of the dedication of a monument to the memory of the late Isaac Reverchon, Grand Master of the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina. A warning is inserted in regard to the alleged Grande Oriente Italiano at Florence, pointing out that no organization functioning openly in Italy can be regular.
Edouard Plantagenet concludes his article on Le bases do droit Maconnique (Bases of Masonic Law) by a brilliant criticism of the illogicalities and inconsistencies of the various systems of "Landmarks." He claims that the only document of universal application is the "Charges of a Freemason" in Anderson's Book of Constitutions.
* * *
IN the Zirkelcorrespondence a Bro. Bolle of Potsdam, according to the Hamburger Logenblatt, recently made the following statement:
"The Grand National Lodge of Freemasons of Germany is a Christian Institution which shall educate its members in the sense of the traditional teachings of the Order. . .
"The goal of the Order is not ethical, it is religious . . .
"In the pure religious educational work lies the difference between the essence of our Order and the spirit of the Old Landmarks to which non-Christian Masonic Lodges adhere . . .
"What to them [the non-Christian] is the goal of their Masonic work, is to us only one of the avenues by which to reach the Masonic goal."
The Hamburgher Logenblatt comments as follows:
"One must be thankful for this plain language. Indeed they use the right name for their organization: a 'Christian Order.' Now, even the L,udendorffs may be satisfied, and can stop their attacks upon the Grand National Lodge because it not only rejects the Humanitarian Lodges, it also refuses to deal with any other Masonic Lodge in the world.
"We all see in our Masonry the goal of a higher ethical education and religion is a means to reach this end. However, the Grand National Lodge does not acknowledge an ethical goal, it only strives for a religious goal! Then again the amiability of which we have heard so often: 'Non-Christian Masonic Lodges.'
"But of course Ludendorf maintains of the Grand National Lodge that it also artificially produces Jews. We Humanitarian Masons do not find anything in our Lodges of an un-Christian doctrine. It is impossible not to find in the German people, in their culture, and therefore in our work, the foundation of Christianity. Therefore, our lodges cannot be branded as unChristian Lodges, or better; Jewish Lodges. Whether our goal stands far behind the Grand National Lodge and is only a means to the real Masonic goal, is not our purpose to determine, we leave that to the judge of all mankind. 'He shall examine my deeds, but my belief - no, that I do not believe.' In conclusion one more citation from Bro. Bolle: 'The Grand National Lodge, with modesty, is assured of its being indispensable for saving German souls.' Being modest and indispensable for seeking German souls then God help the 69,078,000 German souls who do not belong to the Grand National Lodge. They are massa perditiortis [a crowd of the lost]. Till now, there was but one ‘exclusive soul-saving church’ – the Roman Catholic. Now we have an exclusive soul-saving Masonic Lodge, the Gross Landesloge of Germany.”
Chronicle and Comment
A Review of Masonry the World Over
Dual Membership Proposed in Connecticut
Among the Grand Lodges that are considering this important question, that of Connecticut is also to be numbered. At the last Annual Communication M. W. Bro. Robt. S. Walker discussed the subject at considerable length, and pointed out that it was now permitted in three jurisdictions bordering on Connecticut. Two statements were made which were not quite accurate. One is that there is no prohibition of plural membership outside the United States excepting in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Unfortunately most Canadian Grand Lodges have followed this American innovation; though in some of them dual membership outside the jurisdiction is permitted. We are under the impression too that the Australian Grand Lodges, or some of them, have followed American usage in this matter rather than the British.
The second statement referred to is correct so far as it goes, but gives an inaccurate impression. As statements in the same form have been made elsewhere it is worth emphasizing that, except for a very early attempt - in Anderson's first Book of Constitutions - to limit membership in the London lodges (a provision that apparently was never effective and never enforced. English Masons have always been free to belong to as many lodges as they eared to join and pay dues in. So that to say that plural membership "is now permitted," or as Bro. Walker put it, has prevailed "for many years" in England, is not an adequate statement of the facts. This, however, is merely in the interests of accuracy, and is not here important in itself. The important thing is that the suggestion was well received and the Committee on Jurisprudence reported an amendment to the Constitution to give it effect, which report was adopted by the Grand Lodge.
Large Lodges and Small
The question of dual membership was raised by M. W. Bro. Walker as a sequel to a valuable discussion on the size of lodges. By a comparative table he showed how the large lodges tend to increase by a constantly accelerated ratio, as compared with smaller ones.
The disadvantages of the large lodge, in Bro. Walker's view, are first the obvious ones of the difficulty of coping with the quantity of "work," and the dilution of Masonic spirit that is almost inevitable in a huge aggregation. But specifically he pointed out that in a large lodge the great majority were debarred from any hope or opportunity of filling the offices of the lodge, and were thus led to seek an opening elsewhere for their activities. This is very true; it is a laudable ambition to become Master of one's lodge, and where lodges are of reasonable size every brother able and willing will have an opportunity to attain this position of honor and service.
It is, however, rather curious that in other quarters there is a tendency to insist that there are too many lodges, and that there should be consolidation and mergers. There is little doubt that this is in line with social and industrial tendencies in the United States, and that American Masons in the mass are unconsciously affected by it. When to this trend is added the effect of unwise or inadequate financial methods in lodges it seems to become irresistible. Under present conditions it cannot be too strongly emphasized, that any lodge that cannot meet its normal expenses from dues is improperly managed.
The Henry L. Palmer Lodge of Milwaukee
If every large lodge in the United States could capture the secret of Henry L. Palmer Lodge much of the misgivings that serious observers feel in regard to the tendencies apparent in the American Craft would be dissipated. The following is taken from the lodge bulletin, the Templegram, of some months back. The membership of the lodge is composed of very much the same elements in much the same proportions as are to be found in the larger lodges of most American cities. They are far from neglecting the social side of Masonry but neither do they neglect the other aspects as is too often done. Speaking of the action of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin the Templegram said:
"In contrast to the attitude of Palmer Lodge on this subject, it is evident that the Grand Lodge is not yet impressed with the urgency and need of Masonic Education. The usual, about 2 1/2 cents, per capita allowance was granted to the Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research, but a very nominal amount for the establishment of a Wisconsin Grand Lodge Library was denied. Henry L. Palmer Lodge No. 301, F. & A. M., continues to hold the rather unusual distinction of spending more for Masonic Education than does the Grand Lodge for the entire balance of over three hundred lodges in Wisconsin. This, to some, may appear to be a strange relationship, but it has the very decided advantage of leaving the kind and character of Masonic Education in the hands of the individual lodges The right of individual lodges to govern their own affairs, has always been a strong point in Wisconsin's Masonic affairs. With the continuous increase in the number of the Wisconsin Masonic lodges asking to be placed on the mailing list of our publication in order that they may profit from our own way of 'doing things' is a very hopeful sign that we are functioning somewhat like the leaven in the loaf. We are quite satisfied to serve in this role and, no doubt, are slowly but surely creating a sentiment which will ultimately bring a real Masonic harvest."
The Masonic Service Association
Last month we gave a resume of the report of the Annual Meeting of the Masonic Service Association held in Chicago last November. In the November-December issue of the Grand Lodge Bulletin of North Dakota we find the following account of the meeting by M. W. Bro. Walter H. Murfin, who attended as official representative of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota As it supplements the report above mentioned in a number of particulars we give it here in full.
"It is extremely difficult to put down on paper my exact impressions of the recent meeting at Chicago of the Masonic Service Association, for the very simple reason that it is hard to analyze just what the situation is. As a member of the committee to which was allotted the main work of digesting the past and providing a program for the future, I was permitted to get in on the ground floor where practically all of the work of the meeting was accomplished. This committee was headed by Grand Master Sturges of Connecticut and included the grand masters of Massachusetts, New Mexico and Utah, Past Grand Masters Vanderlipp of New Jersey, and Poteat of North Carolina, Lively of Texas and Murfin of North Dakota, and Brother Carl H. Claudy of the District of Columbia. Never have we had the privilege of working with a group of men more in earnest. Everyone thoroughly understood the problems before us, knew the difficulties with which the association is confronted and from noon until after midnight gave the best that was in each of them to the end that the association might live and continue to function with increased efficiency. Time and experience alone will tell whether or not the ends sought will be accomplished.
"Stated briefly, the association decided to continue the monthly Short-Talk Bulletins and to limit itself to that so far as any definite educational program is concerned, but to maintain itself as a service agency in rendering assistance whenever called for in assisting member grand lodges with their individual educational programs in any manner possible, and of course, being ready to function in time of disaster. It was also voted to hold a special meeting of the association at Washington in February at the time of the Washington Memorial meeting in the nature of an educational conference and in which non-member grand lodges will be invited to participate. It is hoped that as a result, interest will be aroused in some of these jurisdictions with a resulting increase in membership.
"Financially, it was decided to cut out all of the frills and a system of fees on a sliding scale was adopted with a maximum per capita of three cents as against four cents last year and five cents previously. The executive secretary will be employed on a part-time basis, but the office will be kept open continuously and he will always be available for service to the Craft.
"As to North Dakota's future connection with the association: Notice has already been served of our intention to withdraw our membership, so we are fully protected. The writer's individual reaction, however, is that final decision in the matter should be held in abeyance at least until after the Washington meeting. The grand master and grand secretary will be present at that time and should be able to judge as to whether or not there is any valid reason to hope that the association can continue to live and be of any real service to the craft in America. We are convinced that well informed brethren everywhere realize that the death of the association would be nothing short of a catastrophe to the fraternity, but we are not blinded to the fact that it can justify its continued existence only by proving its ability to function and serve with efficiency.
"In Grand Master George R. Sturges of Connecticut we are confident that we have a chairman of the executive commission of wonderful character and ability and who will insist on the association working if there is any work in it. Our private opinion of the man is that there will be no sidestepping of issues as they arise, that no excuses for failure will be tolerated and that the Craft will be kept informed as to what. is going on. Brother Carl H. Claudy is the new executive secretary for the present at least. Our impression of him is most favorable. He is filled with enthusiasm and has a thorough knowledge of the situation and its taking hold of the fob with a determination to yank the association out of the doldrums and put it on its feet. Personally he has a most engaging personality and one cannot help loving the chap. May success attend his efforts."
Injunction Against Negro Masonry in Colorado
The Negro Masonry of the United States is afflicted by clandestinism. Two rival Grand Lodges in Colorado, both claiming lawful descent from the Prince Hall Lodge, took their dispute, very foolishly, into the courts. The Grand Lodge of Colorado, A. F. & A. M. then intervened with the result that a sweeping injunction has been issued against both the Negro bodies forbidding them to use any of the names, titles or emblems usually associated with Freemasonry.
Prussian Masonry abhors the Jew as American Masonry abhors the Negro, but it does not seek to suppress by legal action the so-called Humanitarian lodges in Germany which admit Jews and other non-Christians.
Foreign Relations of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky
The Committee of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky charged with external relations reported at the last Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in favor of recognizing and exchanging fraternal representatives with the following foreign obediences, the Grand Lodges of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland (Grand Lodge Alpina) Jugo-Slavia, Finland and Spain, and also the Grand Orient of Spain. The report was adopted.
These recommendations seem to have been made very largely, if not entirely, on the basis of the investigations made by M. W. Bro John H. Cowles, as the following letter indicates:
"To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, F. & A M., of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Very Dear Brethren:
"It has been my privilege, and from it I have derived much pleasure, profit and information, to visit and associate with leading Masons in many countries of the world.
“Upon written and verbal authority of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, F.&A.M., of Kentucky, and also acting on my own responsibilities as a Past Grand Master, I have investigated the regularity of many Grand Lodges with which the Grand Lodge of Kentucky was not specifically in relations of amity.
"Several of these investigations I have presented to that peerless correspondent of our Grand Lodge, Past Grand Master William W. Clarke, who recommended, and the Grand Lodge adopting his recommendation has established, fraternal relations with quite a number. I am very proud of this action of our Grand Lodge.
"Many Grand Lodges of Masons in the world have problems confronting them, difficulties to surmount, obstacles to overcome, that are colossal compared with the conditions in our country. Their methods and ritual may differ some from ours, but they are actuated by the same motives and possess the same fundamentals as we do. They need encouragement and moral support, and I repeat that I am proud that our Grand Lodge is so generous in extending the grip of Brotherhood to so many of these Masonic powers.
"We must not boast of Masonry being universal - found everywhere on the globe - unless we make it a fact. Since the Grand Lodge session (October, 1928), I have made further investigations, and now I unhesitatingly recommend, and I hope with the approval of Past Grand Master Clarke, who is himself quite familiar with world Masonry, that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F & A. M., enter into mutual relations of amity and exchange representatives with the following Grand Lodges of Symbolic Masonry …
"I assure the Grand Lodge that I have taken every precaution, looked thoroughly into the organization of each, and am satisfied that they require a belief in God, have the Great Lights (Bible, Square and Compasses), are sovereign and independent, and adhere to the Land Marks as they understand them.
JOHN H. COWLES, P. G. M "
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The Pressure of Ritual Work
Just a year ago THE BUILDER had an editorial article under this head which was suggested by Bro. Joseph E. Morcombe, in the Masonic World of San Francisco, of which journal he is the editor. None of our own readers took the matter up, as we had hoped might be done, but recently Bro. Morcombe has returned to the charge by publishing a letter from the Grand Secretary of California, Bro. John Whicher, to M. W. Bro. W. A. Sherman, P. G. M., whose address to the Grand Lodge of California six years ago furnished the text for the original discussion. Bro. Whicher's letter is here given as a valuable contribution to a very important subject:
"In the December issue of The Masonic World, Brother Joseph E. Morcombe reprints and comments with approval a portion of your Bulletin No. 1, published and distributed to our lodges in 1903. The excerpt is referred to and made the text of an editorial in THE BUILDER for February of this year, under the caption of 'The Pressure of Ritualistic Work.' The particular portion of your bulletin quoted was as follows:
"It is the opinion of your Grand Master that in these times of rapidly increasing membership the ritualistic work of the lodge should be separated from the executive; that while the Master should be held to accountability for the character of degree work, yet his energies should be devoted more largely to the development of fraternal relations among the members - in short, to do those things that will make his lodge a vital force for service and understanding in the community.
"The editor of THE BUILDER expresses his opinion that your suggested method could hardly be adopted in working the American ritual, which is so different from any that has ever been adopted elsewhere in the world. But it does show that such a plan is practicable, going on to state that it is not uncommon nor unusual for Masters to call their Wardens to the East to confer degrees, and even to request the lay members to officiate in the degree work. The sequence of promotion, as usual in our lodges, is objected to by this editor. And rightly so, because it tends, from bottom to top, to stress ritual and ceremonial and to obscure the other functions of the perfect lodge, and the larger the lodge the more ability is required in its executive head for it to function as it should - a need that is too often lost sight of. The editorial closes with this pertinent observation, that 'something ought to be done to stem the drift of American Masonry away from the practice of intimate friendship and brotherly love.'
"I am pleased and heartened to note that the little seed sown by you six years ago is apparently bearing fruit. I sincerely wish that you would water it and encourage its growth by further preachment. Every day I see the crying heed for a reform in our practice of requiring Masters of lodges to be first as ritualists and second as executives. The ritual is necessary; it ought to be guarded and fostered and taught in its purity as we know it. But it is not all of Masonry. Indeed, it may be said that it is the warp of Masonry, and without the woof the fabric of our institution is not complete - the fabric cannot be finished without both the warp and the woof.
“We have a concrete - and I am tempted to say, a humiliating - instance just now of a newly organized lodge of this jurisdiction being denied the privilege of selecting as Master one of the outstanding Masonic students of America, for the sole reason that he was unwilling to memorize and repeat the words of the ritual. And this scholarly gentleman is one who, above all the brethren of his lodge, and above most of the members of the entire jurisdiction, is peculiarly and particularly qualified to give hills lodge "good and wholesome instruction" concerning the history, the traditions, the legends and the esoteric doctrines of Freemasonry. Yet under our law, which requires the Master of a lodge to be able to repeat, parrot-like, certain words in a certain sequence, this Masonic scholar is not eligible to preside over a lodge.
"There is no inherent law in Freemasonry that demands or even suggests that the Master of a lodge should personally impart the esoteric lessons of the degrees. Basically, Masonry requires that the Master shall be of good morals, true and trusty, a lover of the whole fraternity; one who can and will teach his brethren the dignity and importance of Masonry; one to whom the burdened heart may pour out its sorrows; one whose skill in our laws and customs and usages will enable him to conduct the affairs of the lodge in a manner to reflect credit and honor upon his brethren and the community in which they live. He should be a man to whom his fellows may point with pride as their representative, and stand between the lodge and the public at large as the embodiment of the principles and teachings of our ancient institution.
"The Master may now, under our law, call upon any Mason, whether he be warden or layman, to confer degrees, he being responsible for the ritualistic skill of his proxy. And I submit to you that there can be no valid reason why we should continue to require the Master of a lodge to memorize certain words as a condition precedent to his being permitted to assume the duties of that very important office.
"I firmly believe that the opinion expressed by you as Grand Master was sound, and that if we should revise our laws and permit the brethren to select as Masters the men of outstanding character and learning and executive ability, irrespective of their skill as ritualists, not only Masonry but the communities in which lodges exist would be benefited thereby."
Bro. Morcombe comments on this as follows:
"Here, as always, Brother Whicher has the courage oft his convictions. Backed by his knowledge of the Craft, and able to distinguish clearly between the loose ideas of a careless time and the enduring principles of Masonry, he points the way of right going as among the divergent paths of error. He sees, as many others are seeing, that the insistence upon mere verbalism as sole or chief qualification for a Master is the cause of a decadent leadership. The qualities that are elsewhere demanded as all important are in Masonry regarded as secondary in value, if not altogether negligible.
"Past Grand Master Sherman was perhaps in advance of his time when, six years ago, he made the suggestion referred to. But it was a living idea, and will not be forgotten nor lost from the consciousness of the Craft. Sooner or later, whether in the jurisdiction of California or elsewhere, there will be wisdom to discern the worth of this suggestion, and by its means to redeem Masonry from the appalling mediocrity of mere wordiness."
No New Italian Freemasonry
The Wiener Freimaurer Zeitung has the following item in a recent issue:
The rumors current about peace between Masonry and Mussolini arose in consequence of a correspondence from Paris, which, was based upon false information. After an investigation we have come to the conviction that there is absolutely no sign of peace between Mussolini and Masonry. The fact that the two names, Frosini and Palermi are mentioned supports this conviction and is against the reliability of the above rumors. Of Palermi we know that he has stood aloof from all Masonic activity for years. Frosini is hardly known to us. Of him we know only that he some years ago issued a patent to the irregular Danish "Grand Orient," which may be the cause of the rumors of a reconciliation of Italian Masonry and Mussolini. Mussolini himself in a speech denied these rumors. Said he:
"The Lateran-agreement was opposed by two parties, firstly by the Temporalists and secondly by Freemasons, who wanted to perpetuate the conflict. The Italian government can defend itself against such attacks and it is really childish to believe that the Fascist government would welcome a new Freemasonry to fight Clericalism. The hopes of some foreigners will remain hopes only in so far as the Italian State is concerned."
An Old Story Revised
A paper in Antwerp, The Metropole, publishes the following news item from Italy on Mussolini and the persecution of Masons:
Mussolini could only then come to a reconciliation with the Vatican after having annihilated the Masonic Order. King Humbert already in 1895 had made a motion for a reconciliation. He had given orders for to accomplish this to Prime Minister Crispi who asked for a respite. After a few days Crispi reported that he had laid the question of reconciliation before the Grand Master of the Grand Orient, who told Crispi to tell the King the following: "On that day when the King of Italy makes an attempt for a reconciliation with the Holy See we shall bring all Italy in motion against him [the King]. The King was very much angered on account of this answer, and dropped the matter entirely.
This story appears every now and then, but that it is true as told is quite incredible. While it is possible that Crispi may have made such a statement to the King in regard to the result of any attempt at a reconciliation with the Vatican, that it should have been presented as an ultimatum from the Masonic Order is quite impossible. But anything serves an anti-Mason,
The Pope on Polish Masonry
In die Drei Hinge of November, 1929, is an account of the Pope's latest pronunciamento against Masonry in Poland The item is as follows:
In an address to a group of Polish Pilgrims to the Holy City the Pope spoke vehemently against the growing influence of Masonry in Poland, which he branded as a militia of hell. He said: "One must be on guard because there is so much of perfidy, of danger and denunciation. The enemies of good, which the Lord branded as the powers of hell, are entering Poland. The Masonic Order which works its injurious influence upon religion, and in civil life, has not omitted Poland, and is now trying to extend its work upon you, which is destructive to your inheritance of your faith. If your religion, and your healthy life as citizens is to be preserved, these treasures must remain inviolable."
The Pope concluded with a summons for unity, that the powers of hell do not get the upper hand. “Human forces are not strong enough against these enemies, we therefore must pray to God.”
The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which include postage, except when otherwise stated. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. It may happen, where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
THE NEW MORALITY. By Durant Drake. Published by the Macmillan Co. Cloth, Table of Contents sit and 359 pages. Price $2.50 net.
THIS book, very interesting and very readable, is an honest but rather superficial attempt to show a way out for modern civilization from its present moral confusion.
The author views the supernatural sanctions of morality with suspicion and disfavor. If he were Bertrand Russell, your reviewer could understand such an attitude because that gentleman holds ethical doctrines which would win warm approval in Moscow and Leningrad. He is a revolutionary in thought. But Dr. Drake in my opinion is nothing wilder than an evolutionist, and might be expected to value the corroboration of the Divine Will for ethical principles which represent what ninety-five per cent of intelligent Christians unreservedly accept.
The author should produce evidence for the questionable, though calmly stated, assertion that "morality is far older than religion." (p. 5.) Reasons should be given for a statement of such great importance, or it should be expressed in a cautious and tentative fashion. Then again, he says "justice and mercy and kindness and courage are virtues anyway." ( p. 7. ) Who told him so? The Bolshevist has a code of ethics quite at variance with the ethics of Dr. Drake but the former is an unbeliever; the latter I take to be a Christian of the Liberal type, who is thinking out his position, and in the reaction from the Puritan complex of his forefathers is inclined to regard the value of the terms, God and religion, as purely emotional. But no Christian can rest in that condition. God must be realized as the source of all things, the Author of Life, and above all the Arbiter of conscience, the standard of right and wrong - a Gad whom we see revealed, as far as moral perfection is concerned, in Jesus of Nazareth. Either that, or be discarded altogether. It is in this doing away with the sanctions of religion that our author's morality may be regarded as new. Even so, he appears to be haunted with a desire to form an alliance with religion. "It still contains much that is of the greatest value for us and for the future." In the author's eyes religion henceforth is to combine the functions of courier, guide, and publicity agent, or be half of morality but to possess no authority. It must not dictate.
The truth of the matter is that the author is an empiricist who is rather afraid of experiment. He views with dismay the present moral laxity in social and political life, and to steer civilization into safe waters he would reimpose upon it practically the whole of Christian ethics - minus its religious sanctions. There would be some notable concessions, however, to modern laxity - an easy outlet to the unhappily married, a recognition and regimentation of the practice of birth control, and sympathetic judgment and treatment of f laming youth. But a new commandment (to offset these concessions) is added to the decalogue, "Thou shalt not drink." The reviewer is nevertheless glad to testify that nowhere has he seen the case for prohibition more temperately stated and discussed than in these pages.
Much is made of the fact that the modern world has changed, and is changing, so rapidly. The inventions of applied science, the industrial revolution, the growth of class-consciousness among the workers, the Great War, the widening of international relations, the awakening of racial consciousness among the peoples of the Orient - these problems are noted and treated with considerable knowledge and force. But one is compelled to meet the claims for the New Morality with the Scotch verdict, not proven.
After all, Christian morality is a coherent series of principles applicable to human life. These principles have been applied through ages of civilization. Their elasticity and adaptability to various conditions and to diverse races are a common place of history. Why change them now, or call them by a new name? What is happening today is that in an age of transition moral forces have been somewhat deafened and bewildered by the multitude of voices calling this way and that. But moral hearing will become clear again; nervous poise will return. A new orientation will take place; a new application of Christian ethics will be made.
The author illustrates his theme from the experience of the Renaissance. He speaks of the Pagan revolt which was associated but by no means identical with that movement. It is a happy illustration, for Christian morality re-asserted itself and in spite of a divided Christendom has remained the guide of civilization until our own day. It is hard to believe that Christian morality is an exploded force, that it is even exhausted, that it requires either to be whittled down, or otherwise tinkered with, or given a new name. The sole requirements are that it be applied more widely and its claims vigorously re-asserted.
I am not sure whether on page 265 the writer is quoting from a former work of his own, or ventilating the views of the Federal Council of Churches. Whichever be the case I regard it as a very noble utterance eloquently summing up what I have been laboring to educe:
"Try to be really Christian in business and you may discover the Cross to be no longer an antiquated symbol, but a present day reality. Face the vested interests of your own town, the owners of wretched house property, the sweaters, the men who live by the shame of women, the publicans, all who grind the face of the poor, and you shall know the fierce joy of being persecuted for Christ's sake. Attempt the stupendous task of making the message of Christ a reality to people of another race and civilization, try to Christianize international relations and interracial contacts, and you shall find that there is enough to call forth the entire energies of a full-blooded manhood and womanhood.
"This demand for adventure will not be satisfied until the religion we practice is something like the religion we profess, until we are applying it to the most difficult questions of modern social life, as well as in our private lives and in our homes. But when we do this we shall rediscover the glory of the Christian faith. It will be something for which we are glad to live and something for which we shall be willing, if necessary, to die."
F. G. V.
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EAST AND WEST OF JORDAN. By Albert Field Gilmore. Published by the Stratford Publishing Co. Table of Contents, profusely illustrated, index, vi and 191 pages. Price $3.25.
THE purpose of this slender volume, as stated in the foreword, is to relate the author's experiences and record the impressions received by him during a trip to Palestine, Syria, and Egypt in the spring of 1927; and this purpose is effectively carried out. The reader lays down the book with two clear conceptions in his mind, one of Palestine and Syria as they appeared to the author (Egypt is merely his taking off ground ), the other of Dr. Gilmore himself.
The main portion of the book deals with Palestine, which impressed the author in three ways - geographically; as the land of the Old Testament and the Gospels; and as entering, under the guidance of Britain as mandatory for the League of Nations, upon a new and interesting phase of its age-long history. Geographically, the features that struck the traveller were the small site of this country which has played so decisive a part in human development and the regularity of its physical divisions. Palestine appeared to the New Englander, accustomed to the great distances of America, as a country which could be surveyed in almost its entirety from one or other of its lofty heights. Such a survey would reveal the physical division of the land into three clearly-marked strips running from north to south - the coastal plain on the west, the great hill-range which forms the backbone of Palestine in the center, and the submarine trough of the Jordan valley, descending into the Dead Sea 1300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, on the east.
Small as it was, the country was vitally interesting, however, as the scene of most of the events of Jewish history narrated in the Old Testament and of the earthly career of Christ. Here were Hebron where Abraham buried Sarah in the Cave of Macpelah, here the vale of Elah in which David fought with Goliath, here Gilboa with its memories of Saul's defeat at the hands of the Philistines and Gideon's "midnight victory over the Midianite host." Here again was Nazareth of Galilee where the pre-ministry days of Jesus were passed, here was Cana, or the Arab village which occupies the supposed site of Cana, where the first miracle was performed, these were the ruins of the synagogue of Capernaum in which Christ taught and healed, and these the stones of the very steps up and down which He must have passed to and from worship. This was the aspect of the land which most impressed the author. His real guide-book was his Bible. True, he notes events subsequent to the procuratorship of Pilate; somewhat dimly appreciates the extension of Roman civilization to this Eastern country, especially to the region of the Decapolis; and remembers that this was the scene of the first clash between Islam and Christianity in the seventh century, the objective of the Crusaders at the end of the eleventh, and the land in which Napoleon's destiny was decided at the close of the eighteenth. But although these facts were known to his mind they appear to have made little impression upon his imagination or his emotions. They were hardly visible to him.
But if, while the Holy Land of the Bible is clearly presented, medieval Palestine is dim and misty, the land becomes visible again to the reader as it was when Dr. Gilmore traveled through it in the spring of 1927, a land of many clashing races and religions, depopulated and rendered comparatively barren by centuries of strife and Oriental misgovernment, in which the British mandatory administration was striving to maintain peace and order, to promote material development, and to prepare the country for an independent existence of its own, a land which the Zionist movement was seeking to remake the homeland of the Jewish people. Dr. Gilmore's appreciation of this movement and of the economic conditions of its success or failure is shrewd and penetrating. A hasty visit to the French mandatory district of Syria gave material for a brief but interesting description of Damascus, "the most ancient city in the world," and completed the ground covered by the trip.
The places described and the topics treated in the book have been the theme of many works, and perhaps the chief interest of the present volume lies in its revelation of the author's personality. As Dr. Gilmore takes us hither and thither and records the impressions made on him by the various scenes and the reflections to which they gave rise, the reader comes to regard him as an actual fellow-voyager in the world of motor ears and walking tours, not that of print and photographs, and to form an idea of his character as one does of fellow travellers. The conception that arises is of a Protestant New Englander thoroughly acquainted with the Bible and somewhat dominated mentally and imaginatively by that intimate knowledge of the Scriptures. One detects a keener interest in spots connected with the Bible narrative than in those famed in post-scriptural history and an unconscious feeling of resentment when the traveller finds that subsequent events have overlaid the actual topography of Bible times with the accretions of a later development. The Samaritan celebration of the Passover on Mount Gerizim is far more sympathetically treated than the ceremonials of the Orthodox and Roman Churches which were the product of the Roman and mediaeval development of Christianity. Between the Samaritans and the author there is the bridge of the Old Testament, between him and monk and patriarch, the gulf of the Reformation. And yet it is clear that Dr. Gilmore has conscientiously tried to travel with open mind, to seek the good in Moslem and mediaeval; the attitude noted is largely unconscious; to him in his innermost mind Palestine is the land of the Bible, as it is to most of us.
There arises, too, a feeling that the author has not been able to get away from himself and the thought of his own country in the fashion which produces the best travel books. The nostrils that are offended at the Eastern odours of the streets of Jerusalem and Damascus have not forgotten the sanitated townships of New England. One feels that Dr. Gilmore is regarding his tour, again in all probability unconsciously, not as a great adventure or as a great experience, but as the means of acquiring information which will enable him to do more effective work on his return home. One senses the feet that he is not just soaking himself in his temporary environment but is preparing a course of sermons and addresses. This is particularly the case when one stands with him in the vale of Elah or beside the Sea of Galilee. In the former instance Dr. Gilmore closes a vivid description of the scene and the incident with the remark "David's victory stands to this day as an example of the triumph which supreme faith in God ever wins over the bragging claims of evil," and after describing the moonlit scene by the Sea of Galilee and the boats putting out for the night fishing, he intrudes a couple of platitudes on the persistence of the basic industries and the constant food supply provided by Providence which transport us from the moonlight of the sea shore to the lamplight of the meeting house.
But, though somewhat prone to preach and unconsciously bound in by training and environment, Dr. Gilmore impresses the reader as being essentially candid and fair-minded, and as having the very rare anad valuable characteristic of being open to conviction and not afraid to change a preconceived opinion in the light of facts. His fair-mindedness and intellectual honesty are especially noticeable in his discussion of the French mandate in Syria, where conditions as he saw them and the comments of those who had a more intimate acquaintance with the country led him to revise his view that the French had acted with unnecessary severity, and of the British mandate in Palestine with its deep appreciation of the loyal way in which the mandate is being administered and of the improvements that have already resulted therefrom, with the wise comment that if action undertaken on behalf of others may lead to an occasional mistake, criticism from those who bear no share in the burden would be entirely out of place. Such a spirit as this is as admirable as it is rare, and arouses in the reader a keen desire to meet the writer and chat viva voce over the events and impressions of his tour to the "East and West of Jordan."
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ARTICLES DE PARIS: A BOOK OF ESSAYS. TV Sisley Huddlestone. Published by the Macmillan Co. Table of Contents, xiv and 207 pages, price $2.25,
AS might naturally be expected in this contrary world of ours the familiar essay, having been invented by a Frenchman, Montaigne, has turned out to be peculiarly adapted to the literary expression of the English character and language. The French genius is too social, too neat and formal, perhaps also slightly over sarcastic to be perfectly at ease in this particular medium. There is no word in the French vocabulary which is the exact equivalent of the English "home" and the familiar essay is essentially the literature of the home. It is the product of a man seated comfortably by the fireside in his own den chatting lightly with a friend, outlining an episode, sketching a character, giving an impression of a favorite author or book, following some random train of thought, or recalling a scene which has struck his imagination. To pick up a new volume of familiar essays is to be admitted to a new intimacy, to form another literary friendship. And this will be the pleasant fortune of the reader into whose hands may fall Sisley Huddleston’s Articles de Paris.
The author has the wide range of interest, the power of appreciation, the sympathetic touch and charm of expression which distinguish the finished essayist. On whatever topic he chooses, the magic of Ninon de Lanclos or the madness of Guy de Maupassant, the quaint religious sects of revolutionary France or the toy balloons sold in the streets of Paris, a house that can be turned always to face the sun or Clemenceau's political testament, he can talk easily and attractively. And in the selection and treatment of his themes Mr. Huddleston conforms to the canon of the familiar essay. The subjects arise naturally of themselves as they would in familiar converse. "A strange thing happened to me today as I was taking a bock in the cafe X ____ ," "What do you think of Clemenceau's little sketch of Demosthenes?" "Have you read Herriott's 'Dens la Foret Normande?" "Were you at the unveiling of Maupassant's monument, and what did you think of the minister's address?" "I see in the papers that the vendange promises to be unusually excellent."
Some such conversational banality as these seems to have set the author going in a little monologue on whatever topic has cropped up. And in the handling of the theme there is the sympathetic touch, the power of putting the reader en rapport with the writer's emotion that preserves the feeling of personal contact in friendly conversation. If, in the style, a fastidious ear may occasionally detect a tendency to overindulgence in alliteration, that is only a friend's little idiosyncrasy - some people prefer an extra lump of sugar in their tea.
In an essay of A. V Lucas certain persons try to decide which one of the Essays of Ella they would wish preserved if all but a single essay were destined to perish in some great catastrophe. Naturally, the "Embarrassed Eliminators" will fail in their impossible task. But if I were asked the same question in regard to the Articles de Paris I should answer unhesitatingly, "By Running Brooks." In six brief pages Mr. Huddleston has given us the story of a country walk with the various emotions that its environment and incidents aroused, little sketches of scenery, a delightful interlude, an idea of a philosophy of nature, and done it without the least sense of overcrowding, nay, with the spaciousness of the whole wide out-of-doors. I am looking forward to many a pleasant chat with Mr Huddleston in the future on Leconte de Lisle, the Almanac, Broadcasting, and Boulevard Trees; but I think I shall rarely take the volume from the shelf without wandering at his side "By Running Brooks." E. E. B.
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POLK: THE DIARY OF A PRESIDENT. 1845-49. Edited by Allan Nevins. Longrnans, Green and Co., New York Cloth, illustrated index. 412 pages. Price, $5.00 net.
ON consulting Who's Who in America we find enough information about Allan Nevins to assure us that he is fitted for the task he essayed in editing the diary of James K. Polk, who is known to brethren of the Craft as one of the eleven Masonic presidents of the United States.
Mr. Nevins made an excellent record for himself at the University of Illinois (A.B., 1912, A.M., 1913) and has also achieved a reputation in literary circles through his work in the New York newspaper field and as an author of several books. He is now professor of history at Cornell University. With these facts before us, we can proceed with a hasty examination of the work in hand.
American Freemasonry is indebted to William M. Boyden, Librarian of the Supreme Council, 33d, A.A.S.R., S. J., Washington, D. C., for the best compilation of facts concerning Masonic Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Signers, to emphasize the title of the book giving the information. The limitation of the Diary to the years 1845-49 denies us a picture of what President Polk thought of the Fraternity in his younger days, for he was made a Mason in 1820 and received the Capitular Degrees in 1825. His Masonic activities in Nashville in 1840 are also unrecorded in the present work, but we do read of the ceremonies in which he participated in Washington, D. C., on Saturday, May 1, 1847, when the cornerstone of the Smithsonian Institution was laid. Among other things, Polk wrote:
About twelve o'clock a large procession, consisting of the military, Masons, the order of Odd Fellows, and citizens appeared at my door….Delegations of the Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania and Maryland were present, as also a large number of the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows of the District of Columbia.
Brief as the Masonic references are - though I have not piloted them in their entirety, as Masons should add the volume to their libraries in order to have the full account - the book is of much interest for other reasons. There are innumerable references to other giants of the period, many of them Masons, and such will be recognized by the Masonic student. The outstanding events of the administration were the War with Mexico, 1846-48, and the gold rush to California, 1849, both of which are rich in Masonic anecdote and enduring history. Sam Houston looms large in the pages of the book; he was the first president of the Republic of Texas, and later Senator from the Lone Star State after it became a part of the Union. Houston- and General Andrew Jackson were brothers in arms in the Indian campaigns of an earlier day, long before either had any political aspirations, for both were soldiers first and politicians afterward Houston presided over the Convention at which the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was formed, at which Jackson was elected as first Grand Master.
Another Mason whose name we meet is that of Major General Wm. J. Worth, whose remains lie buried at Fifth Avenue and Broadway in New York, where thousands pass daily, utterly oblivious to the monument which has graced the busy corner since 1857.
California and Oregon are mentioned often during the period; as early as 1846, before the United States acquired title to the Golden State, Benton of Tennessee is mentioned as having "agreed that no foreign power ought to be permitted to colonize California, any more than they would colonize Cuba." The Pacific Northwest comes in for mention, for "Col. Benton in the course of the conversation stated the fact that the British Hudson's Bay Company had now twenty forts on Fraser's River."
This was Colonel Thomas H. Benton, of Tennessee, whose nephew in later years was destined to become Grand Master of Iowa 1860-62. In his capacity as a colonel in the Union Army, the nephew, named after his famous uncle, commanded a brigade in Arkansas, and saved Albert Pike's library at Little Rock from destruction. This became the nucleus of the splendid Supreme Council Library at Washington. The story of this incident is told in the Iowa Grand Lodge Bulletin [July, 1925, pages 110-11].
Obviously, our interest in the book is more Masonic than general for as its pages are turned, a panorama of Masonry's eventful history passes before us. John Quincy Adams brings recollections of the bitter Anti-Masonic period; let it be said that Mr. Nevins has also edited Adams' Diary, of which more must be said on a later occasion. Adams' bitter opposition did not weaken the determination of men like Henry Clay (Past Grand Master of Kentucky) and Lewis Cass (Past Grand Master of Michigan) to remain true to the Fraternity, for they were made of sterner stuff. Yet with all of this Masonic appeal, which is recognized throughout the work like the overtones to a beautiful symphony, the reader unfamiliar with the part that Masons played in olden time will find the pages of the Diary instructive and fascinating. They reveal the thought, spirit and soul of the period in which great things were initiated, one cannot leave the book without renewed hopes for the welfare of our country and a strengthened faith that this land of opportunity has a foreordained place in the council of nations. The great men it has produced cannot be denied a position of honor and achievement in the history of human kind. J. H. T.
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WHAT IS FREEMASONRY? MASTER MASON DECREE: By Silas H. Shepherd. Published by the Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research. Paper, 31 pages.
THE Committee on Research, whose animating spirit is Bro Shepherd himself, manages to accomplish wonders on the exceedingly modest grant made for this purpose by the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin. The present publication is another addition to the now long list of useful pamphlets that it has put out, most of them by Bro. Shepherd. It is a guide to the study of the symbolism of the Third Degree, and, though it is naturally largely a compliance , it is very well arranged for its purpose. A list of references is appended for more advanced study.
THE QUESTION BOX
MASONRY IN THE CIVIL WAR
While glancing through the January issue, which arrived today, I noticed in "Historical Notes on Masonry in the Civil War," in the second column of page 12, it states that the Grand Master of Michigan would not recognize as "regular" Masons those soldiers of Michigan made in an army lodge in Mississippi working under the "jurisdiction of Indiana" during the Civil War. And on page 7, in the sketch of "George W. Baird: Sailor, Man and Mason," that he, an American, a native of Washington, D. C., received all his degrees in Tolerancia Lodge, No. 4, of Lisbon, Portugal, within a week, and three years later, affiliated with a California Lodge, transferring later to Hope Lodge in Washington, D. C. That he received the first fourteen degrees of the Scottish Rite in Portugal.
Also on page 215 of "Recollections of Thirteen Presidents" by John S. Wise, published by Doubleday, Page & Co., 1906, he tells the story of McKinley being made a Mason in the Virginia Lodge at Winchester during the Civil War. Can some Ohio brother tell us how and when McKinley affiliated with an Ohio Lodge?
This is a very interesting and profitable point for study and discussion.
ARTHUR H. VAIL, Pennsylvania.
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AMERICAN MASONRY IN THE WORLD WAR
The following letter was received recently by Bro. Irwin, and it is so interesting that we asked Bro. Howard's permission to pass it on to readers of THE BUILDER,
Dear Brother Irwin:
I have just received the copy of your article in which you relate something of my activities, especially in regard to the founding of Saxonia Lodge, No. 1, and Liberation Lodge, No. 8.
I hasten to congratulate you for the well-written and readable manner in which you have presented to the Masonic world, and future writers, the motives that actuated me in my efforts to better the conditions that beset the Craft during the World War. As you so well state, there are occasions - and the World War was one of them - when our American system of Freemasonry signally fails to meet the need of the time; it is on such occasions that we need members in the Craft who are endowed with sufficient vision to see the proper thing to do, and then possess initiative to go ahead and do it. I make no claim of such vision, but I did realize what was needed, thought out how we might make some effort to meet that need, and then simply went ahead and tried to do it. That is all there was to my activities. I then found it (to found an international lodge) the correct thing to do, and I still feel that way about it. And now that you have come along, with your data from sources that I never knew of (extracts from various publications and writers) and speak in such a complimentary tone of my activities, I am even more convinced that I was trying to do and did do the proper thing. I was criticized at the time, I'll admit, and by high authority, too, but just the same, results then and since seem to vindicate my judgment. Again, I wish to thank you for your clear-cut illustration of my international outlook during the World War and since. If there is any one thing that should be thoroughly international in scope and range it is the institution of Freemasonry.
I will now speak of other phases of your article in an attempt to clear up one or two small doubts that I note. On page 301 you speak of a rumor that came to you concerning the Masons in attendance on the occasion of the forming of Saxonia Lodge, No. 1. Let me say that the rumor of only commissioned officers being present is not the fact; there were members present who were not officers; just who, I am at this time unable to say, but I recall them being present, It was the physical size of the after-smoking room alone that prevented us from having all members of the Craft on the ship present; simply no other place to meet, and we were forced against our wishes to limit the number present to the capacity of the smoking room. That may have been the occasion of the rumor that you mention.
I was in Europe two years ago, and was informed that Liberation No. 8 was making good progress. Another time I shall endeavor to plan my itinerary so as to visit the lodge and see for myself how the "infant" I aided in founding has grown. In speaking of progress and growth in Masonic lines in Europe one must always bear in mind the fact that it is not in numbers, as we in America are so given to thinking of, it is the quality. Also remember that the population is predominantly Roman Catholic, and also that frequently governmental opposition is encountered.
To speak more personally. I made a long trip a couple of years ago through Portugal, all around the Mediterranean, Greece, Turkey, Roumania, Russia, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Italy, Austria, Germany, Holland, England and so on. Needless to say I made it my business to encounter as many Masons in the various lands as I possibly could (the more prominent the affairs of the particular nation the better), and in that way met with some exceedingly interesting experiences. For instance, in hastening to Damascus to meet with the various Palestine and Syrian lodge officials - with the four members of the New York Grand Lodge - I met two automobiles of them at a famous spring in the Lebanon Mountains. My guide and chauffeur was a bright young Arab, with a limited knowledge of English. The Masters of the four Damascus lodges made themselves known to me, and while little actual conversation could be held, I assure you it was a most novel and interesting experience to me. They sent a note by my guide to some gentleman in Damascus, and I assure you I certainly was well taken care of in that city. For one thing, as you know, an Arab with his house is the most secluded thing in the world to a westerner. I mean the soul of an Arab and the interior of his house. Well, I was treated to a visit to the interior of Sheik Somebody-or-other's house, and let me tell you that it was by far the finest home that my eyes have ever beheld. When you hear of Oriental splendor, let me say that your wildest imagination will give you but a poor idea of the reality. But he didn't let me see his harem! Got a couple of interior pictures, though.
As I look back over the past to recall the impressive moments that have come my way, I seem to ever think of the night, when in Jerusalem, I was called to the East, and invited as a visiting Grand Lodge official to assist the Master in conferring the third degree, in the lineal descendent lodge of King Solomon. This ceremony was performed far more impressively than we do in any American lodge; at least any lodge that I have ever visited. It was not merely well done, it was a work of ART. Of course, one can not, under the surroundings of that place, do other than feel a sense of awe and reverence. That ceremony doubtless made a much deeper impression on me than it did on the candidate that was raised. I shall carry with me through life the most pleasant memories of that occasion.
Again, at Athens the son of a local 33rd - I never could spell Greek names anyway - guided me out to Eleusis and to the ruins of the Temple where the various initiates to the Eleusinian Mysteries lived. Many were the indications of past glories and relics of the work of the long ago visible to anyone that knew what to look for. Unfortunately I did not have the time to do the research that I would have most liked to do.
Couldn't meet a solitary Mason in Italy. But met a few most interesting men in Austria. Only a few Masons, however, could I meet in Germany. Perhaps time did not permit. In England I was treated to a dinner by one of the important lodges, and had to speak before them; something I dislike very much to do. Since coming to New York have had to speak but twice, once at Jonkeer Lodge in Yonkers, and once some other place. That fairly well covers my story to date.
I passed through St. Louis last September, but again my time limit would not allow me the opportunity to call at your office and meet you. Another time I will do so, for I have long since promised myself the pleasure of meeting you.
Oh, yes, by the way, I have been told, when in Paris, and other places, too, that my activities in connection with Liberation, No. 8, and the attendant success of that lodge in meeting the need which called it into being, brought sharply to a head the idea of a truly international Masonic body, and that today there is in existence an association at Geneva, Switzerland, closely connected to the present League of Nations. If I was in any way instrumental in bringing that body into being, and I know it strongly affects world conditions today, then I assure you I feel I have made my contribution to the betterment of the world. I wish you to know this; and I also wish you to know how grateful I am to you.
Alsa C. Howard,
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Since you advertise yourselves "an open forum for all the Craft," I am wondering if you will answer a question for a new subscriber and a neophyte in Masonic research.
A Masonic public speaker, who claimed to have a deep knowledge of things, recently made the statement to me that the Fraternity originated from a military order of some kind. I told him I always understood that it was an outgrowth of a purely Operative Masons' gild, but he replied he thought Operative Masonry played but a small part. Which of us is right?
Also can you advise me what book of Masonic history I should read? I would prefer one that contained no special pleading, but approached the subject in a purely scientific manner in an honest attempt to ascertain the facts. It seems to me that what we need is scholars such as those who have done so much for the Bible with higher and lower criticism, so that now we know more about the Bible than at any time in history.
In regard to Masonic histories there is considerable choice. The two principal histories in the English language are those by Albert Mackey and R. F. Gould. The latter is the most impartial of the two, although it is not now in print and can only be obtained secondhand.
However, both these works are voluminous and in a number of volumes. To begin with, it would be preferable to start on one of the single volume works. There is the Concise History of Freemasonry by Gould, and the recent work by Haywood and Craig is eminently readable, and very accurate and just. We might also mention the just published work of Bro. J. Hugo Tatsch, Masonry in the Thirteen Colonies, though this, as its title indicates deals only with American Masonic history. There are a great number of other Masonic histories of greatly varying worth. Usually they are less valuable the older they are.
In regard to the first question, your informant is undoubtedly quite mistaken. It is an old theory of the origin of the Masonic Fraternity that it was derived from the crusading orders, especially the Knight Templars and Knights of Malta. Those who hold this theory ignore the rivalry, and even hostility, that existed between these two orders, which makes it historically a rather absurd position to take that they together had anything to do with the institution of Freemasonry. There is no doubt whatever that Freemasonry has descended from a craft organization of the Middle Ages. Further back than that, we cannot go with any reasonable assurance.
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WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT
There was copyrighted in Germany in 1928 a book entitled Die Freimaurerei; ihr Ursprung, ihre Geheimnisse, ihr VVirken. (Freemasonry; Its Origin, Its Secrets, Its Activities), published by Alexander Duncker, Weimar. The author is Gregor Schwartz-Bostunitsch. His effort is, among other things, in the nature of an expose of Masonry and its secrets. Chiefly, however, it is Jew-baiting and anti-semitic propaganda.
On page 295 the author gives the names of several "of the most prominent men who were Freemasons" at about the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Among these is the name of Wilhelm von Humboldt.
A letter written to the author, in care of his publisher, asking for substantiation of the statement that Wilhelm von Humboldt was a Mason, brought an immediate reply, from which the following is quoted in translation.
The late Ludwig Keller, a man of renown, a high official in the lodge and an investigator in the field of the history of the order, says in his book Freemasonry, [vol. 463 of the series Aus Natur und Geisteswelt, published by B. F. Teubner, Leipsig, 1918, the edition edited by Dr. Schuster - the latter likewise is a Freemason and a scholar in history] P. 74,
" . . . King Frederick William III . . . after 1806 placed the government of his country into the hands of men whose Masonic-mindedness must have been known to him . . . (There follow the names of von Stein, Hardenberg, Schoen, Scharnhorst, Boyen) . . . while Wilhelm von Humboldt, descending from a family of Freemasons, and on most intimate terms with the leaders in the movement of the new German humanism, was placed, 1809, in charge of the ministry of church affairs and education."
Mr. Schwartz-Bostunitsch next quotes from page 18 of a recent book, The Freemasons, by "a Viennese Freemason, Eugene Lennhoff," and published by the Amalthea Publishing House (Vienna IV, Argentinierstr. 28), as follows:
Wilhelm von Humboldt says, "If we want to give a name to an idea that can be discerned throughout history in constantly more expanding form, then this is the idea of humanitarianism, the effort to remove the boundaries which prejudice, and one-sided views of all kinds have established among men, with the intention of creating hostilities among them, and to designate all mankind irrespective of nationality, religion and race as being a great tribe whose memo hers are closely related as brothers, as a whole constituted for the purpose of establishing the unobstructed development of inner power."
"Finally," our author, Mr. Schwartz-Bostunitsch, again quotes Keller (op. cit. pp. 96 and 97), "it [Masonry], conforming to its traditions, has the custom of erecting monuments to the great men kindred to it in spirit, by naming lodges after them Thus, in addition to the names of renowned rulers and statesmen, the names of Plato, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Comenius, Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Humboldt, etc., occur frequently as lodge designations in all countries. . . "'
Naively my correspondent concludes, "With these citations your esteemed inquiry is exhausted." The italics are mine. His evidence that Humboldt was a Mason is also, therefore, exhausted. Exhaustion results in weakness. But as the evidence desired, the reader of these citations may "take it or leave it." The writer chooses not to take it.
B. A. E., Ohio.
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THE RITUAL OF THE OPERATIVES
I should very much like to procure a copy of Dr. Carr's Ritual of the Operative Masons which was published some fifteen or more years ago at Owosso, Michigan, by the Tyler-Keystone Publishing Co. If any reader of THE BUILDER has a copy he wishes to dispose of, or knows where one may be found, I should be greatly obliged to hear from him.
N. W. J. HAYDON, Canada.
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