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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 5 - number 6
THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES AND RITES
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ASSISTANT EDITOR "THE FREEMASON," LONDON
Many writers, and especially those of the Craft, have called attention to the resemblances between the rites of the Ancient Mysteries and those of Freemasonry. Indeed, those resemblances have given rise to much speculation, and it has been suggested by more than one writer that such resemblances are more than accidental Some of us have long been convinced that Freemasonry, if we may not say that it was historically descended from the instituted Mysteries of antiquity, it at least perpetuates their ministry among us.
The Eleusinian Mysteries - those rites of ancient Greece and afterwards of Rome, of which there is historical evidence dating back to the seventh century before the Christian era bear very striking resemblance, in many points, to the rituals of both Operative and Speculative Freemasonry- As to their origin, beyond the legendary account put forth, there is no reliable trace. Like most great human institutions they grew out of a real human need, to which they ministered, else they could not have held sway for so many ages.
In the opinion of not a few writers an Egyptian source is attributed to them, but of this there is no positive proof though we may infer as much, remembering the influence of Egypt upon Greece. There is a legend that St. John the Evangelist a character honored and revered by Freemasons was an initiate of these mysteries. Certainly, more than one of the early Fathers of the Christian Church boasted of his initiation into these Rites. Even St. Paul was influenced by them, to the extent, at least, of using some of their imagery, and even some of their technical terms, in his Epistles.
The series of articles, to which I have the honor thus to call attention, is one of the first attempts so far made to give a detailed exposition of the ceremonial of the Mysteries of Greece in English. As such they have an interest to Masons, but also to students of antiquity in general, and if the field were familiar, as it is not, these articles would be worthy of special interest for the new materials brought forward- Brother Wright, I need hardly say, is a careful, painstaking, and thorough student, as readers of THE BUILDER can testify, and among his many services to the Craft this study will not be reckoned the least.
Such a writer needs no introduction, but I have much pleasure in emphasizing the importance of these researches in ancient lore, because they make a real contribution to our knowledge. -Joseph Fort Newton.
THE ELEUSINIAN LEGEND
THE legend which formed the basis of the Mysteries of Eleusis, presence at and participation in which, demanded an elaborate form or ceremony of initiation, was as follows:
Persephone (sometimes described as Proserpine and as Cora or Kore) when gathering flowers was abducted by Pluto, the god of Hades, and carried off by him to his gloomy abode; Zeus, the brother of Pluto and the father of Persephone, giving his consent. Demeter (or Ceres), her mother, arrived too late to assist her child or even to catch a glimpse of her seducer, and neither god nor man was able, or willing, to enlighten her as to the whereabouts of Persephone or who had carried her away. For nine nights and days she wandered, torch in hand, in quest of her child. Eventually, however, she heard from Helios (the sun) the name of the seducer and his accomplice. Incensed at Zeus she left Olympos and the gods and came down to scour the earth disguised as an old woman.
In the course of her wanderings she arrived at Eleusis where she was honourably entertained by Keleos, the ruler of the country, with whom and his wife, Metanira, she consented to remain in order to watch over the education of Demophon, who had just been born to the aged king, and whom she undertook to make immortal.
Long was thy anxious search For lovely Proserpine, nor didst thou break Thy mournful fast, till the far-fam'd Eleusis Received thee wandering.
Unknown to the parents Demeter used to anoint Demophon by day with ambrosia and hide him by night in the fire like a firebrand. Detected one night by Metanira she was compelled to reveal herself as Demeter, the goddess. Whereupon she directed the Eleusinians to erect a temple as a peace offering and, this being done, she promised to initiate them into the form of worship which would obtain for them her goodwill and favour. "It is I, Demeter, full of glory, who lightens and gladdens the hearts of gods and men. Hasten ye, my people, to raise hard by the citadel, below the ramparts, a fane, and on the eminence of the hill, an altar, above the wall of Callichorum. I will instruct you in the rites which shall be observed and which are pleasing to me."
The temple was erected but Demeter was still vowing vengeance against gods and men and because of the continued loss of her daughter she rendered the earth sterile during a whole year.
What ails her that she comes not home? Demeter seeks her far and wide; And gloomy-browed doth ceaseless roam From many a morn till eventide. "My life, immortal though it be, Is naught!" she cries, "for want of thee, Persephone Persephone !"
The oxen drew the plough but in vain was the seed sown in the prepared ground. Mankind was threatened with utter annihilation and all the gods were deprived of sacrifices and offerings. Zeus endeavoured to appease the anger of the gods but in vain. Finally he summoned Hermes to go to Pluto to order him to restore Persephone to her mother. Pluto yielded but before Persephone left she took from the hand of Pluto four pomegranate pips which he offered her as sustenance on her journey. Persephone, returning from the land of shadows, found her mother in the temple at Eleusis which had recently been erected. Her first question was whether her daughter had eaten anything in the land of her imprisonment, because her unconditional return to earth and Olympos depended upon that. Persephone informed her mother that all she had eaten was the pomegranate pips in consequence of which Pluto demanded that Persephone should sojourn with him for four months during each year, or one month for each pip taken. Demeter had no option but to consent to this arrangement, which meant that she would enjoy the company of Persephone for eight months in every year and that the remaining four would be spent by Persephone with Pluto. Demeter caused to awaken anew "the fruits of the fertile plains" and the whole earth was reclothed with leaves and flowers. Demeter called together the princes of Eleusis Triptolemus, Diocles, Eumolpus, Polyxenos, and Keleos and initiated them "into the sacred rites most venerable into which no one is allowed to make enquiries or to divulge; a solemn warning from the gods seals our mouths."
Although secrecy on the subject of the nature of the stately Mysteries is strictly enjoined, the writer of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter makes no secret of the happiness which comes to all who become initiates: "Happy is he who has been received, unfortunate he who has never received the initiation nor taken part in the sacred ordinances, and who cannot, alas! be destined to the same lot reserved for the faithful in the darkling abode."
The version of the legend given by Minucius Felix is as follows:
Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres by Jupiter, as she was gathering tender flowers in the new spring, was ravished from her delightful abodes by Pluto; and, being carried from thence through thick woods and over a length of sea, was brought by Pluto into a cavern, the residence of departed spirits, over whom she afterwards ruled with absolute sway. But Ceres, upon discovering the loss of her daughter, with lighted torches and begirt with a serpent, wandered over the whole earth for the purpose of finding her till she came to Eleusis; there she found her daughter and discovered to the Eleusinians the plantation of corn."
In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Persephone gives her own version of the incident as follows:
"We were all playing in the lovely meadows, Leucippe, and Phaino, and Electra, and Ianthe, and Melite, and Iache, and Rhodeia, and Callinhoe, and Melobosis, and Ianeira, and Acaste, and Admete, and Rhodope, and Plouto, and winsome Calypso, and Styx, and Urania, and beautiful Galaxame. We were playing there and plucking beautiful blossoms with our hands; crocuses mingled, and iris, and hyacinth, and roses, and lilies, a marvel to behold, and narcissus, that the wide earth bare, a wile for my undoing. Gladly was I gathering them when the earth gaped beneath and therefrom leaped the mighty prince, the host of many guests, and he bare me against my will, despite my grief, beneath the earth, in his golden chariot; and shrilly did I cry."
On the submission of Eleusis to Athens, the Mysteries became an integral part of the Athenian religion, so that the Eleusinian Mysteries became a Panhellenic institution, and later, under the Romans, a universal worship, but the secret rites of initiation were well kept throughout their history.
The earliest mention of the Temple of Demeter at Eleusis occurs in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which has already been mentioned. This was not written by Homer but by some poet versed in Homeric lore and its probable date is about 600 B. C. It was discovered a little over a hundred years ago in an old monastery library at Moscow, and now reposes in a museum at Leyden.
Eleusis was one of the twelve originally independent cities of Attica, which Theseus is said to have united into a single state. Leusina now occupies the site and has thus preserved the name of the ancient city. Theseus is portrayed by Virgil as suffering eternal punishment in Hades but Proclus writes concerning him as follows:
Theseus and Pirithous are fabled to have ravished Helen and to have descended to the infernal regions: i. e., they were lovers of intelligible and visible beauty. Afterwards Theseus was liberated by Pericles from Hades, but Pirithous remained there because he could not sustain the arduous attitude of divine contemplation.
Dr. Warburton, in his Divine Legation of Moses, gives, as his opinion, that Theseus was a living character who once forced his way into the Eleusinian Mysteries, for which crime he was imprisoned on earth and afterwards damned in the infernal regions.
The Eleusinian Mysteries seem to have constituted the most vital portion of the Attic religion and always to have retained something of awe and solemnity. They were not known outside Attica until the time of the Median wars, when they spread to the Greek colonies in Asia as part of the constitution of the daughter states, where the cult seems to have exercised a considerable influence both on the populace and on the philosophers. Outside Eleusis the Mysteries were not celebrated so frequently nor on so magnificent a scale. At Celeas, where they were celebrated every third year, a hierophant, who was not bound by the law of celibacy, as at Eleusis, was elected by the people for each celebration. Pausanias is the authority for a statement by the Phliasians that they imitated the Eleusinian Mysteries. They, however, maintained that their rendering was instituted by Dysaules, brother of Celeus, who went to their country after he had been expelled from Eleusis by Ion, son of Xuthus, at the time when Ion was chosen commander-in-chief of the Athenians in the war against Eleusis. Pausanias disputed that any Eleusinian was defeated in battle and forced into exile, maintaining that peace was concluded between the Athenians and the Eleusinians before the war was fought out, even Eumolpus himself being permitted to remain in Eleusis. Pausanias, also, while admitting that Dysaules might have gone to Phlius for some cause other than that admitted by the Phliasians, questioned whether Dysaules was related to Celeus, or, indeed, to any illustrious Eleusinian family. The name of Dysaules does not occur in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, where are enumerated all who were taught the ritual of the Mysteries by the goddess, though that of Celeus is mentioned:
She showed to Triptolemus and Dioeles, smiter of horses, And mighty Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of people, The way of performing the sacred rites and explained to all of them the orgies.
Nevertheless, according to the Phliasians, it was Dysaules who instituted the Mysteries among them.
The Pheneatians also had a sanctuary dedicated to Demeter, which they called Eleusinian and in which they celebrated the Mysteries in honour of the goddess. They had a legend that Demeter went thither in her wanderings and that out of gratitude to the Pheneatians for the hospitality they showed her, she gave them all the different kinds of pulse, except beans. Two Pheneatians Trisaules and Damithales built a temple to Demeter Thesuria, the goddess of laws, under Mount Cyllene, where were instituted the Mysteries in her honour, which were celebrated until a late period and which were said to be introduced there by Naus, a grandson of Eumolpus.
"Much that is excellent and divine," wrote Cicero, "does Athens seem to me to have produced and added to our life, but nothing better than those Mysteries by which we are formed and moulded from a rude and savage state of humanity; and, indeed, in the Mysteries we perceive the real principles of life, and learn not only to live happily, but to die with a fairer hope." Every manner of writer religious poet, worldly poet, sceptical philosopher, orator all are of one mind about this, far the greatest of all the religious festivals of Greece.
(To be continued)
Two caterpillars crawling on a leaf,
By some strange accident in contact came;
Their conversation, passing all belief,
Was that same argument, the very same,
That has been "proed and conned" from man to man,
Yea, ever since this wondrous world began.
The ugly creatures,
Deaf and dumb and blind,
Devoid of features
That adorn mankind.
Were vain enough, in dull and wordy strife,
To speculate upon a future life.
The first optimistic, full of hope,
The second, quite dyspepsic, seemed to mope.
Said number one, "I'm sure of our salvation."
Said number two, "I'm sure of our damnation;
Our ugly forms alone would seal our fates
And bar our entrance through the golden gates.
Suppose that death should take us unawares,
How could we climb the golden stairs?
If maidens shun us as they pass us by,
Would angels bid us welcome in the sky?
I wonder what great crime we have committed
That leaves us so forlorn and so unpitied.
Perhaps we've been ungrateful, unforgiving;
'Tis plain to me that life's not worth the living."
"Come, come, cheer up," the jovial worm replied,
"Let's take a look upon the other side;
Suppose we cannot fly like moths or millers,
Are we to blame for being caterpillars?
Will that same God that doomed us crawl the earth,
A prey to every bird that's given birth,
Forgive our captor as he eats and sings,
And damn poor us because we have no wings?
If we can't skim the air like owl or bat,
A worm will turn 'for a' that."'
They argued through the summer; autumn nigh
The ugly things composed themselves to die,
And so, to make their funeral quite complete,
Each wrapped him in his little winding sheet.
The entangled web encompassed them full soon;
Each for his coffin made him a cocoon.
All through the winter's chilling blast, they lay
Dead to the world, aye, dead as human clay.
Lo! Spring comes forth with all her warmth and love;
She brings sweet justice from the realms above;
She breaks the chrysalis, she resurrects the dead -
Two butterflies ascend encircling her head,
And so this emblem shall forever be
A sign of humility.
- Joseph Jefferson.
By picking English out of Russian type with medical tweezers the Red Cross editor of the "American Sentinel" manages to furnish the American soldiers in the Archangel district with a four-page weekly paper of U. S. news.
THE FRATERNAL FORUM
EDITED BY BRO. GEO. E. FRAZER, PRESIDENT, BOARD OF STEWARDS
Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
Joseph C. Greenfield, Georgia.
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia.
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky
Joseph Barnett, California.
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin
H. P. Burke, Colorado.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
John Pickard, Missouri.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
C. M. Sehenek, Colorado
R. M. C. Condon, Michigan.
P. E. Kellett, Manitoba.
Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois.
John A. Davilla, Louisiana.
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama
Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia.
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Denman S. Wagstaff, California.
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
Dr. G. Alfred Lawrence, New York.
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
Asahel W. Gage, Florida.
Julius H. McCollum. Connecticut.
Contributions to this Monthly Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of polities, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided the purpose of the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions of leading Masonic students- The contributing editors assume responsibility only for what each writes over his own signature- Comment from our Members on the Subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Question Box Department.
A resolution was last year introduced at the Annual Communication of one of our American Grand Lodges to limit the constituent lodges of that Jurisdiction to a maximum of 400 members. The resolution is to be disposed of at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in question this month.
The committee to whom the matter was referred inquired of the Society to ascertain whether or not the subject had been acted upon in any of the other American Grand Jurisdictions and we, in turn, submitted the question to the several Grand Secretaries from whom it is learned that no such legislation has ever been enacted in any American Grand Lodge.
Believing that the opinions of our Contributing Editors would be of value to the above committee in framing their recommendation to their Grand Lodge and that our members would also be interested in reading a discussion of the subject, we submitted to the Editors the following question:
QUESTION NO. 12
"Should the several Grand Lodges enact legislation limiting the size of subordinate lodges? If so, what should be the maximum number of members?
"If you are against such restrictions, and favor large lodges, what are your reasons therefor?"
Doubts Advisability of Grand Lodge Legislation Better Results to be Derived from Small Lodges.
The weight of opinion in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts favors smaller lodges. I question the advisability, however, of legislation limiting the membership of lodges. We have no such legislation in this jurisdiction and I am reasonably sure that it would not pass if proposed.
In the Grand Lodge Proceedings of Massachusetts for 1916 Grand Master Melvin M. Johnson gives a most excellent discussion of the matter, which follows:
I have long been of the opinion that many of our lodges are altogether too large, and that better Masonic and equally good financial results would be obtained if there were more lodges, with smaller membership. You may be interested to learn that the average membership of lodges in Massachusetts is higher than in any other jurisdiction in America with the single exception of the District of Columbia, which being compact and having no country lodges is really not comparable. The only lodges in that District having less than two hundred members are the seven last chartered lodges. Consequently the average membership in the District is high, viz. 339. This is more comparable with metropolitan Boston. The average membership of our Districts No. 1 to No. 7 inclusive is 355. Because of peculiar conditions we must lay these figures aside and compare ourselves with other jurisdictions having both city and country lodges. Of them all, our average membership is the highest, or 260. There are only five other jurisdictions having an average membership of over two hundred, namely, Rhode Island, 247; Pennsylvania, 244; Connecticut, 236; New York, 229; and New Jersey, 209. Twenty other jurisdictions in the United States average between one and two hundred, and twenty-two others less than one hundred. The average lodge membership for the whole United States is 124. Our average, therefore, is more than twice the average membership of all lodges in this country. This is unhealthy growth. That does not mean that a lodge of two hundred and sixty members is by any means necessarily too large. One hundred and forty-three of our lodges, or more than half, have less than that number. Only fifty-seven of our lodges have as small a membership as the average of the whole United States.
It is hard to say that there is any fixed number of members which should not be exceeded. Conditions vary in different places. It is, however, always true that where the membership is so large that each member present can not know all the others, and where only a very small percentage of the members can ever have the opportunity of serving the lodge in official capacities, the interest of the members lessens and each individual member feels less responsibility for the welfare of the lodge and for the exercise of the duties and responsibilities of Masonry as well. It is a practically universal rule that the smaller the membership the larger percentage of members attend the meetings.
Elephantiasis is a disease equally injurious to an animal, a human, or a lodge. Many lodges, however, are afflicted with it. Let us see the result. One lodge initiated 66 last year, and another 64. Another, with a membership of nearly 500, raised 46. Another, with a membership of over 500, admitted 40. Another, with a membership of over 700, admitted 56. Another, with a membership of over 450, admitted 40. In one of our cities with a population of nearly 38,000 where there is a single lodge having a membership of over 600 (which admitted 40 last year) the sentiment against the establishment of a second lodge is so strong as to be preventive. In another city with a population of nearly 17,000 where there is a single wealthy lodge with a membership of about 550 (38 being admitted last year) there is a similar sentiment preventing the establishment of another lodge.
There is another city in the Commonwealth having a population of over 25,000 where there is no lodge at all, and the establishment of a new lodge there has been prevented by the adverse action of two lodges in an adjoining city, each one of which has a membership of over 400. If but one of these neighboring lodges had declined its objection could be overruled by the Grand Master, but the Grand Constitutions prevent his issuing a dispensation for the formation of a new lodge in this city of over 25,000 inhabitants, without a lodge, because of two objections in an adjoining community. In this particular case ten lodges have joint jurisdiction over this virgin territory, yet the objection of two of them absolutely vetoes the petition for a dispensation, and neither the Grand Master nor even this Grand Lodge, as the Constitutions now stand, can consider the wisdom of the objection. I have not examined into the present instance nor do I attempt to pass upon its merits. But the power granted to two lodges out of ten to retard the proper development of our institution, as an abstract proposition, is wrong. I believe it is time that the rule should be relaxed for the good of the whole Fraternity. What is even much more necessary is the creation of a sentiment in favor of more and smaller lodges where the brethren may be more united, may be thrown into closer fraternal intercourse, may have more opportunity to serve, and where the tenets of our institution can better be inculcated.
If it be argued that for financial consideration large lodges must be built up, the complete answer is that no other jurisdiction in the whole Masonic world (save only the District of Columbia) averages such large lodges as does Massachusetts, and certainly other jurisdictions are prosperous and successful. We have no conditions in this regard which are peculiar to this Commonwealth. Even Michigan, which shows us the anomaly of one single lodge of 2,184 members and five others of over 1,000 members, averages throughout the state only 182.
The tendency of great lodges is to lessen rather than to enhance the Masonic development of each individual member. The accomplishments of Masonry have never been gauged by financial considerations. When these become the criteria, then it is time to halt and to recast our activities, for then the grand aims and purposes of our Fraternity are sure to be obscured. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary,
Grand Lodge Legislation Inadvisable.
Answering your question as to whether or not the several Grand Lodges should enact legislation limiting the size of subordinate lodges, I must say that I do not feel very competent to give an authoritative opinion upon this subject or go into any detailed discussion of it. My impression, however, is that they should not.
Our law provides (as I understand is the fact in most of the jurisdictions) that where a new lodge is proposed its organization must be assented to by certain of the lodges next nearest. In case of a division of a lodge this rule would oblige the new organization to have the consent of the old. This seems to me all that is necessary. There is a very general sentiment among the craft in opposition to large and unwieldy lodges, a sentiment which to me seems to be growing. There is sufficient difficulty in some localities in holding the brethren of a lodge together and keeping up that spirit of harmony and fraternity without which a lodge organization is valueless. Any such dissension ought not to be encouraged by educating the brethren to look forward continually to a time when the lodge may be split. In some instances it will result in undue solicitude on their part to increase their membership to a point where, under an iron-clad law, they will be compelled to divide. In addition to this, I think the question of when a lodge is large enough and when another ought to be organized can well be left to the good judgment of the constituent lodges. No hard and fast rule ought to be made. There are times and places when a lodge can hold a very large membership to advantage and without inconvenience, and others where half the membership ought to be divided. It is a subject over which Grand Jurisdictions ought not to assume the authority.
H. P. Burke, Colorado.
* * *
Average Attendance Better in Small Lodges.
My voice is in favor of small lodges and by this I mean not exceeding 200 in membership. My reasons are:
1. A better comraderie will thereby be obtained and preserved. In such a lodge it is possible for every brother to know not only the face but the character and disposition of every other and even something of the personal difficulties and troubles with which he may have to contend. He can also rejoice with him in the good fortunes that may befall him. A situation like this begets real brotherhood.
2. Now that organized relief of the distressed is done chiefly through the instrumentality of Grand Lodges, it is no longer necessary for this purpose that lodges should be large.
3. Where initiations are so numerous as they must be in large lodges, little or no time is left for the development of the social or study side of Masonry.
4. In every large lodge the proper caution in admitting members can not be observed. This must necessarily be left almost wholly to the investigating committees.
5. Finally, I believe the average of attendance in small lodges is better than in large ones.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
* * * A Matter to be Determined by the District Deputies and Concerned Members.
I am only qualified to express an opinion with regard to conditions in England and Canada, which are somewhat different to those in the United States. As far as I am able to ascertain, however, the average strength of lodges in England, Canada and the United States is about the same; in each of these three countries the average membership is about 120, so that, as far as numerical conditions are concerned, these countries are on practically the same footing.
I believe that excessively large lodges are undesirable for the reason that many of the members have little or no opportunity for ever having a hand in either the work or the administration. Further, in large lodges, all the available time at the regular meetings is taken up by the routine work and the conferring of degrees, and none is available for lectures, addresses and discussions, and so great a part of what I consider as the most valuable teachings of the Order will be neglected.
With regard to legislation on the subject, I do not consider that the size of subordinate lodges should be limited by the Grand Lodges, for the reason that such a law would be in the nature of an innovation, and I believe that the fewer changes of this sort made in the Constitutions, the better. Laws such as this tend to hold apart the various jurisdictions rather than to unite them by the bonds of fraternal affection.
I believe that each case should be considered on its own merits by the District Deputy and the brethren concerned. If necessary steps could then be taken for the organization of a new lodge from the membership of that already in existence.
C. C. Adams, Ontario.
* * *
Give to Each Member an Equal Chance to Become Master of His Lodge.
I have had this subject under consideration for some time and have discussed it with a number of brethren and it is my firm conviction that subordinate lodges should be limited to a membership not to exceed 400.
Let us extend to every well-informed and zealous Mason a reasonable chance to become Worshipful Master of his lodge.
The results of my conversations on this subject lead me to believe that a vote of the Craft would be almost unanimous in favor of restriction.
R. M. C. Condon, Michigan.
* * *
Too Much Grand Lodge Legislation.
I am firmly convinced that the size of lodges, save as to a minimum, is a matter with which Grand Lodges should not interfere. We legislate far too much and leave too little to our lodges along several lines. I do not especially favor large lodges but see no harm in size.
Virginia has several lodges of more than five hundred members and they are all good lodges. One of the three to which I belong, and in which my membership is most active, has nearly four hundred members and is noted for its harmony and good feeling. In it there are no quarrels and there is never a contest, even of the most friendly sort, for office. We talk privately among ourselves until we ascertain which member is approved by the largest number of the active members, exclude all to whom there develops any antagonism, and elect unanimously. Our law requires an opposing candidate for each office and our Tyler fills that position. Jos. W. Eggleston, P. G. M., Virginia.
* * *
A Virginia Brother Who Favors Small Lodges.
Personally I am not in favor of large lodges, nor are the majority of the brethren of the Grand Jurisdictions under which I have been affiliated, those of England, Ireland and Scotland.
Can there be any Masonic comfort in a lodge of say four hundred to five hundred members? Can there be any real sociability? Can there be a close brotherly love amongst such a number? Can a member of such a lodge know all the others as he should ? I think not. Lodges of from 50 to 100 members fulfill the best traditions of the Craft in promoting good fellowship and if lodges were of this size, and sat down together after the labors of the evening, even if the repast consisted only of a bottle of "pop," some bread and cheese, and a smoke to follow, it would give the opportunity, lacking during lodge hours, of becoming acquainted one with another, the result would be that each lodge would become a family of itself and we would be less troubled with the unaffiliated Mason.
A brother joins a lodge of over 100 members; he probably knows less than a dozen, and even them he can only look at in lodge because, of course, silence must be observed. He is conscious that he stands little or no chance of ever being elected to any office, and after listening to the same ceremonies for a couple of years, feeling himself a stranger in the lodge, and of little importance save when the dues are being collected, he begins to stop away, and send his dues, followed in the course of time by his resignation. What is there to induce him to remain?
However, let him feel, as he assuredly will in a small lodge, that he is an integral part of the lodge, give him the opportunity of spending a social hour with his friends and making new acquaintances, and I am a poor prophet if we do not keep him with us.
This is certainly a more reasonable course to pursue than the habit of reviling him, legislating against him, and trying to coerce his attendance in a lodge which he does not find interesting or its members congenial. The popularity of the Shrine is a tacit acknowledgment that we feel the want of a social side to our ceremonies, and this social element can only permeate every member when the lodge is kept within numerical bounds.
New members in small lodges soon become assimilated and a part of the whole, look forward to promotion to office, and take a lively interest in the work of the lodge.
I have been a member of large and small lodges and have found more of the real spirit of Freemasonry in a little country lodge in Ireland, where seldom more than twenty or thirty were gathered together, than in any lodge of which I have ever had the pleasure (often the pain) of visiting. Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
* * *
Candidates' Individual Acquaintances a Factor.
This Grand Jurisdiction has only five lodges whose membership rolls number over four hundred. The matter of restricting the lodges to the number of members they might admit has never been considered.
Personally, I would be opposed to such action because I feel that the Grand Lodge should not interfere in the internal government of a lodge to that extent, as I find that many applicants, by the question of individual acquaintance, are largely biased in their selection and are prone to seek connection with lodges in which their close friends hold membership.
John A. Davilla, Grand Secretary, Louisiana.
* * *
Enforce Existing Laws Rather Than Enact New Ones. In my opinion Grand Lodges should not interfere in the matter of lodge membership. Lodges have inherited an inalienable right to make their own membership. It follows that they may, rightfully, "unmake" their membership, or place their own limit on the number of members.
The Grand Lodge may arrest a charter, or oblige a lodge to bring to trial an offending member which, I think, is going far enough.
Masonry, like creeds, Nations and segregations of all kinds, is more in need of executing existing laws than of making additional ones. It is the failure to execute a law that leads too often to the enactment of another. We have an example in the recent Constitutional Amendment providing prohibition, substituting it for temperance. There have ever been laws in every State to punish drunkenness, but they have not been executed.
While trouble may arise in some instances from a large membership, a limitation by the Grand Lodge might result in mischief in other cases it is easy to see that it might work injustice in many cases.
A lodge may now limit its own membership by a provision in its by- laws, but it is at liberty to change that by-law, which it could not do if prohibited by the Grand Lodge.
Generally there are ambitious members in every lodge who would like to get into the lime-light, and these are the members who are apt to find reasons for the organization of another lodge, and they usually have a following this is the ever-present cause for loss of membership in a large lodge.
Finally, limiting the membership by Grand Lodge action would, in my opinion, be an innovation in the body of Masonry, which we all, at our installation as Master, have promised to oppose.
George W. Baird, P. G. M., District of Columbia.
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Make the Limits of Lodge Membership Bear Some Ratio to the Total Membership of the Grand Jurisdiction.
The fixing of an upper limit of membership in lodges is a question that mainly concerns large communities. In small communities there is sometimes the opposite tendency a tendency to form two small lodges instead of one strong lodge. Grand Lodges have been more concerned with this latter phase than with the former. And any consideration of the former should be associated with a similar attention to the latter.
The personal acquaintances of members with one another is the very basis of a lodge. In small communities, where some membership is drawn from considerable distances, it is difficult for all to know one another, when the membership approximates 100; when it approaches 200 the upper limit is usually reached. When, in large communities, the membership reaches several hundred, the individual is apt to be lost in the crowd and manifestly it is impossible for most of such members ever to hold office, a reasonable duty as well as a desirable ambition.
On the other hand small lodges are at a disadvantage in such matters as Masonic relief.
In any such proposed legislation it would be more appropriate, instead of choosing some arbitrary number, to make the limits of lodge membership bear some ratio to the Grand Lodge membership, that is, to the whole body of Masonry in a Jurisdiction. And the average lodge membership in that Grand Jurisdiction might form a mean between the two extremes. For instance, a Grand Jurisdiction of 400 lodges and 60,000 members represents an average membership of 150 to the lodge, and such an average might form a working basis as between unwieldiness and weakness.
Joseph Barnett, California.
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Large Lodges, Properly Managed, Can Do More Than Small Lodges.
I believe that the question of limiting the size of subordinate lodges is something that it would be advisable to go slow with.
First of all, it has to be noted that this is a Grand Lodge legislation that is contemplated. Would it not seem more reasonable and proper for legislation of this kind to come from the subordinate lodge itself rather than from the Grand Lodge? A great many are of the opinion that we have too much of this restricting legislation, from above, on questions which should be decided altogether by the subordinate lodge.
There is naturally a great deal to be said in favor of a small lodge, and just as much to be said in favor of a large lodge. There is considerable danger in a large organization if care is not taken the danger of the membership losing that close, warm, fraternal feeling, which is appreciated in all lodges and which it is hard for them to lose in a small lodge where each individual member knows each other member.
When an organization gets beyond a certain size, it is better to have the membership limited rather than have that cold, stranger- like attitude to develop through the members not knowing one another well enough and not coming in closer touch with one another. From my own observation, however, I believe that it is possible to avoid this state of affairs. In fact, I believe that a large lodge can be organized for carrying out Masonic work in a broader field and a bigger way than is possible in a small lodge. A large organization of that kind can start out to do things that a small organization could not think of attempting. By means of proper organization the members can be kept together and a spirit of "esprit de corps" and good fellowship can be developed in the large organization to probably as great (if not greater) extent than in the small organization.
Unless a lodge figures on planning to carry out something more than just a mere working of degrees and meeting together in the lodge room in a perfunctory and formal sort of way, it had better not be ambitious for a large membership. But with the other conditions it seems to me from my observations that the larger the membership the more effective can the organization become. Let me repeat again though, that I do not think it is a matter that Grand Lodge should legislate on at all.
P. E. Kellett, P. G. M., Manitoba.
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A Lesson from the Bee Hive.
I gladly comply with your request for my opinion as to the advisability of the Grand Lodges limiting the size of constituent lodges. But I would suggest that the lessons taught by the Masonic symbols or emblems are more worth while.
Take for instance the Bee Hive. Many truths may be learned from it. It is an appropriate symbol of a Masonic lodge. The hive of bees has to solve the same question as to the proper size of a working unit. There is no fixed law, arbitrary and regardless of circumstance, limiting the number of bees in a hive. When there becomes too many, under all the existing conditions, there is a swarm formed which starts a new unit. If outside hands interfere with this local method of reducing the number, or if they too greatly divide the hive and arbitrarily reduce the working unit, the work is interfered with and impeded.
In the same way, it seems to me, the members of the lodges are the best judges of their own welfare. If they want smaller lodges they can dimit into them; if they want larger lodges they can consolidate.
You ask if I am "against such restrictions and favor larger lodges, what are my reasons therefore I am against such restrictions, but I do not favor larger lodges. I believe that such restriction is an outside interference. I believe in local self-government. This is a question that pertains to the members of the constituent lodges and with which others should not meddle.
We read in the Book of the Law about a land of milk and honey; these foods are good to the taste, but does not the beauty of that country come rather from the fact that they are both produced without interfering with, preying upon or living off of anything else? The bee in taking his honey from the grove does not interfere with the fruit, but actually increases the yield. Would it not be well for our Grand Lodges to ever work with our lodges, encourage them and help them, and scrupulously avoid interfering with or raising an outside ruling hand in purely local matters.
Is not the experience of freedom worth more than a life well- governed by another? Is not the school of local self-government and freedom one of the constituent lodges' most valuable functions In asking your question you use the term "subordinate lodge." Would it not be better to not only call them but keep them "constituent lodges" ? Asahel W. Gage, Florida.
* * *
Not Favorable to Grand Lodge Legislation but Prefers the Small Lodge.
In answering this question I find my personal preferences for a small lodge brought into conflict with my objection to Grand Lodges enacting any legislation that divests the membership of the right to decide upon their own numbers. Or perhaps this is not a "conflict."
No Grand Lodge that values the respect of its members, I should think, would undertake to legislate upon the size of subordinate bodies, upon which it must depend for its existence, any more than it should undertake to legislate what the members should eat for breakfast or what kind of shoes they should wear. The locality and conditions with which the lodge is surrounded, as well as ability to bear its financial burdens, can be taken into consideration and acted upon more intelligently by the members themselves than by the Grand Lodge. Large lodges unquestionably lose men of the spirit of fraternity in the bigness. But the biggest lodge of all is that universal lodge we call the world and we believe in that so we say!
The chief questions to be considered in this inquiry are (1) the material side and (2) the spiritual side.
1. In large cities, financial conditions alone, under our system of building great temples and making outward display that attracts membership, sometimes make it imperative in the interests of economy to have the number of lodges confined to a few large ones. Of course there need not be any loss of interest in the individual in all this, if devoted officers are chosen who are still at heart working Masons. I have seen very large lodges in which clubs and committees performed all the social good-fellowship of the small ones; in which a visitor was welcomed and made acquainted, or a candidate as thoroughly instructed as in the small ones.
2. Out I prefer the small lodge because it is nearer to that individual ideal which makes the true freemason and upon which our whole structure rests. one history of my own lodge, of which I had the honor to be the 112th Master, convinced me of the supreme spiritual value of a small membership. In its pioneer days members sometimes came from hunting trips hundreds of miles to attend what was then a brotherhood of such virile stripe that they wrote into our first constitution and laws the Masonic principles upon which the nation is founded; selected a seal that no Mason in the world could fail to recognize; founded works of brotherhood that in these days would be called sociological affairs.
As time progressed and our membership became larger we took to building and owning property in keeping with our dignity, diverting much of our energy to business details connected therewith. We followed the old church lottery idea to raise money. The "Masonic Lottery" became a stench to the Craft. Members who were devoted to the same ideal of national solidarity we have in the Masonic Service Association of the United States, were denounced as mere politicians and withdrew broken-hearted.
Today about two-thirds of our membership never come to lodge, while the other third is earnestly striving to hold onto Masonic ideals and at the same time wrestle with the incubus of Lodge Temple Debt. The smaller the membership, the easier it is to meet and do active Masonic work.
I do favor Grand Lodges making it easier for new lodges to obtain charters. It would then be possible for half a dozen Masons, with a determination to do something more to serve their communities than grind out candidates, to get together in tyled lodge and lay their plans for individual work and service.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * *
Advocates Large Lodges.
In union there is strength and the larger the unit the stronger and more stable it is. From the four London lodges forming the Grand Lodge of England in hilt, what a united power for good are its innumerable ramifications, extending to the uttermost parts of the world, and yet constituent elements of our harmonious whole the Masonic Order!
The larger the lodge membership made up of suitable material (and none other should be selected) the greater its potentiality for a wider field of Masonic activity of a higher quality. A lodge with a large membership has also a wider field for the selection of officers of greater ability who can thus accomplish more and better work; its sphere of social and benevolent activities is widened; it has greater financial stability; can be maintained more economically and is enabled to exert a greater influence within the community or civic and patriotic righteousness.
Dr. G. Alfred Lawrence, New York.
* * *
Large Lodges a Matter of Unavoidable Evolution.
I am decidedly opposed to the Grand Lodge of any jurisdiction legislating to limit the number of members that any subordinate lodge may have. While I do not question the legal right of the Grand Lodge to pass such legislation I do not think it has the moral right. Such legislation would seem meddling with the rights of the subordinate lodge.
Contrary to the Implication carried in the second section of the question I hold no brief for the large lodge but consider it a matter of evolution which cannot be helped not by legislation at any rate. Even were I in favor or such a law L can see that local conditions would have much bearing on the matter and it would be impossible to state a maximum which would be suitable to all lodges in the Jurisdiction and on the other hand were a deferent maximum established tor different conditions there would be trouble brewing right away. No doubt conditions which would apply in Nebraska would not apply in Connecticut. Let me illustrate what I mean by different conditions. My own lodge, Adelphi No. 63, was the second one formed in New Haven, being instituted in 1823. The reason for asking for a charter is set forth as "there being one lodge of one hundred and fifty members on which your petitioners frequently find it impossible to attend in consequence of their numbers" and "that your petitioners believe that many of our valued citizens are deterred by the numerous situation of said lodge from requesting membership," etc. This shows on the face of it that in 1823 Hiram No. 1's one hundred and fifty Masons were all, or a very large percentage, attending lodge regularly while today there are in New Haven seven lodges with a membership of more than 4,200 or an average of six hundred apiece and except when the K. and F. degree is worked we are not troubled with overcrowding. This is easily explained as in 1823 lodge meeting and church were about all the attraction to be had, while now movies, theatres, all sorts of activities keep one occupied so that lodge is not the main attraction. We can thus draw a parallel to the comparison of 1823 and modern times by a comparison of the remote country lodges and those in the populous cities.
The main objection to the large lodges as I take it is the fact that the members in general do not know each other as well as those of the smaller lodges and the true Masonic spirit does not permeate the lodge so thoroughly. This is probably so in the main but as nearly if not all the large lodges are city lodges would they know each other any better even though split into smaller lodges always remembering that they would be city lodges? It is one of the penalties of living in a city that we don't become acquainted with those with whom we meet day in and day out in business, church or lodges in as intimate a way as do our country brethren.
Then again when the lodges reach the maximum, what then? Is it to be that when some fine character desires to become a member of a particular lodge because all his friends and associates are there the lodge says "nothing doing, you'll have to apply elsewhere" or will it have a waiting list? When our past masters' sons become of age are they to be sent to some other lodge ?
We are told that in life's journey we must either progress or slide back; there is no such thing as standing still. A certain amount of work if good for a lodge, it impresses the candidate and also refreshes the memory of those on the side lines and I believe legislation declaring that when a lodge reaches a certain limit it must quit work until some one dies is bad.
Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut.
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Suggestions Invited from Lodge Officers and Members of the Society.
The question raised is important to the development of American Masonry. The Blue Lodge is the foundation of all Masonic enterprises. It would seem to be of the greatest importance that the Blue Lodge should operate as a social unit; not as a Chamber of Commerce for a community, nor as a charitable machine, still less as a degree mill for the preparation of candidates for the so called "higher degrees." It is by no means clear that a large lodge may not develop the social qualities of its members just because the size of the lodge enables the brethren to maintain satisfactory quarters, and to operate through a variety of committees and projects that give each individual member a chance to select work to his own liking.
I should like very much to have the officers of several of the larger lodges of each jurisdiction send in to the offices of the National Masonic Research Society such a description of their individual lodges as will enable us to prepare an article on lodge organization. Particularly I should like to have each member of the Society who has had experience with forms of lodge organization add his own contribution to the discussion of this question by sending in a short letter which can be published in the Correspondence department.
George E. Frazer, President. Board of Stewards.
THE LARGEST LODGES
We are indebted to the Masonic Life Association of Buffalo New York, for a copy of the Masonic Directory for Buffalo, which they publish annually. What interests us most is the list of large lodges. This list shows the most remarkable development from year to year. It is not many years since for the first time an American lodge reached a membership of 1,000. Now there are 55 with a membership exceeding 1,000 and the 55 have a total membership of about 85,000.
The list is as follows:
- Palestine Bulletin
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN No. 29
DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC STUDY
Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with the papers by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
Division I. Ceremonial Masonry.
A. The Work of the Lodge.
B. The Lodge and the Candidate.
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps.
E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical Masonry.
B. Working Tools.
Division III. Philosophical Masonry.
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative Masonry.
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions.
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
5. Official Duties and Prerogatives.
B. The Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of Candidates.
3. Initiation, Passing and Raising.
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical Masonry.
A. The Mysteries--Earliest Masonic Light.
B. Studies of Rites--Masonry in the Making.
C. Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
D. National Masonry.
E. Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
I. Biographical Masonry.
J. Philological Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Haywood, who is following the foregoing outline. We are now in "First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding each installment, will be given a list of questions to be used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committee will have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings and the brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately preceding each of Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to different brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the lodge routine) should be transacted--all possible time to be given to the study period.
After the lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers thereto.
(Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the lodge should make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner. 4. Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and all brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their lodge study meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from interested brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely clear to them, and the Services of our Study Club Department are at the command of our members, lodge and study club committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON "WORKING TOOLS OF A FELLOW CRAFT"
I What are the working tools of a Fellow Craft? How have you explained them to yourself ? What is their meaning in your understanding now ? Why do you always think of goodness, holiness, heaven, God, as being above you ? What is the difference, in your judgment, between morality and righteousness ? Do you think of your ideal of your own life as being above and beyond you? If so, what efforts are you making to attain to that ideal ? May this not be one of the suggestions in this working tool of the plumb?
II What do you mean by "a hero"? How can a man erect himself above himself ? What influence has the memory of Washington, Pike, Jefferson and Lincoln had for you ? In what way may a true Mason be a hero to his friends ? his family? his race ?
III What do you understand yourself when you use the word "level"? Do you really believe that you are equal in all ways to every other individual? Is every other individual equal to you in all ways? If there are fundamental differences between you and other individuals, just what is the nature of these differences ? What do you understand by "pride" ? "superciliousness" ? In what way are all Masons on a level with each other? What becomes of your pride when you sincerely stand in a lodge room on a level with your brother countryman ?
IV How would you explain the meaning of the square when that symbol is used as one of the working tools of a Fellow Craft? How can the sense of manly pride and the feeling of equality be joined together in your own experience ? Do you really use your gifts to help your brethren, and to help others in this world? How can a healthy man use his own strength to help those that are ill ? How can a learned man use his learning to help those that are ignorant ? How can a man who has money really help those that have little or no money? Should we not try to help others in Such a way that they do not even know that we are helping them? How should parents help their children? How should teachers help their pupils? How may the Master and officers of a lodge help the members of that lodge without their knowing it? What is meant by not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing?
V What is your understanding of the ashlar symbolism ? What is meant by saying that a profane man, using the word in a Masonic sense, is but like a rough block of stone ? Is not an ignorant, unclean, profane, dishonest, unbrotherly man like an unshaped piece of rough rock from the quarry? If you know of such a man how can you help him to become a man more square, cultured and brotherly? What is the Masonic Fraternity as a whole now doing, in your own honest estimation, to help this whole world to cease to be a wreck of a world? Is not this present world but a great crude piece of rock in your eyes ? What can our Fraternity do to help make this living human race more square with the everlasting laws of life, righteousness, health, happiness and God? Which are you, in your own lodge -a rough ashlar or a perfect ashlar ? What do you do with the members of your lodge who make trouble? Do you grow impatient with them, or do you help them? You see that all these questions are designed to lead Masonic students to understand that Freemasonry tries to help us in our daily lives.
Level, p. 442; Plumb, 570; Square, p. 708.
Vol. IV The Working Tools, p. 264. 1919
PART IV WORKING TOOLS OF A FELLOW CRAFT
I The candidate is handed three symbolical tools at a certain place in the Second degree each of which is intended to teach him some truth concerning the art of right living. There is no need that any man be mystified by these simple emblems for their meaning lies upon the surface, clear and plain to the plainest man in the fraternity.
The plumb is just a tool, such as carpenters and masons now use, a kind of hint or suggestion visualized before one's eyes, which says to us, "there is such a thing as an up and down in human experience." Because of the way our minds are it helps us to remember that there are always those who stand above us in character or achievement and that there is always One who stands above us, not in lonely pride, but in goodness and sincerity.
We often say that such and such a man is "righteous"; what do we mean by that expression? We mean that he has, as it were, a picture before him of what God Himself wishes him to be; when he tries his best to be that he mounts, as we express it, to a higher level, and that is ever a noble and manly thing to do. The word "rectitude" suggests, in itself, a picture of the plumb-line for it is a word that means "high up." Every Mason is called to live a life of rectitude; for that reason we hold before him the picture of Hiram who, in his sublime faithfulness to duty, proved himself one who lived on high levels indeed.
II It is fortunate for us Americans that in our history we have many men who "stand high" in our estimation; and they should, for they are a constant inspiration to us to climb to a loftier plane of living, for,
"Unless above himself he can erect himself, How poor a thing is man!"
Lincoln was one of those men, also Washington, Pike, Jefferson, and many others; merely to look at the picture of Lincoln recalls to us the fact that in each of us there are the possibilities of living a similar life. And what a life it was of simple manliness, of honesty, democracy, and a great reverent trust in God! To use the Masonic plumbline partly means, then, to keep before us the memory of these kingly men in order that their example may help us to take our own measure.
III The level teaches a similar lesson for it pictures to us the duty of democracy. To "meet" upon the level is not enough; we must remain there. He who looks with disdain on one fellow Mason must do either of two things - he must prove that fellow unworthy of the fraternity or he must himself get out; for superciliousness is one of the ultimate crimes against fraternity. God Himself must hate a man who raises his eye-brows when he sees someone who has little talent or no money.
There is such a thing as equality when the word is used in one sense; there is no such thing when it is used in another sense. We must endeavor to understand the words if we would understand the teachings of the level. No two men are or ever can be identically equal in their talents; one man can sing and another can't; one man is successful in business and another can never be; after a man has grown and developed his faculties he finds that many of his faculties, long out of use, will not revive. And it is certain that some men, even in the eyes of God, are better in morality than others, else moral distinctions would mean nothing. But all men are equal in this, that they belong to the same race, have the same blood in their veins, breathe the same air, live on the same earth, and have the same mighty Father who loves each individual in His own way according to that particular individual's needs. It is this latter equality which men more and more need to have kept before them for many seem to forget it. A "high-brow" Mason is a contradiction in terms. We are all on a level in the lodge room because individual peculiarities are there forgotten; we remember only that we are fellows, that is, fellow men.
IV As for the square that is one of the symbols which is so filled with mysteries and endless suggestions that a student may well despair of surprising its meanings out of it. But let us link this emblem up to the preceding and think of the square as a combination of the plumb and the level, for the very figure suggests that; one arm is perpendicular, and one is level. What, then, may it mean to us in this way of looking at it ! It may mean that there is a duty upon each man to climb into strength. knowledge, and wisdom as far as he can, though his fellows remain far beneath him in such things; and then that he can turn about and use those gifts in behalf of his less fortunate brethren. Let him that has knowledge share it with other Masons, too busy to study; let him that can speak, speak to them that can't talk on their feet. This is a high level of brotherhood indeed but it is not above our reach as Masons, if only we can ever take Masonry seriously. Looked at from without it is nothing but child's play, furbelows, gee-gaws, and feathers; lived from within, it is one of the noble types of life, always blessed of God, who is Himself a Father that delights to find His sons living together as brothers.
V The Rough Ashlar, a symbol which may be studied in this same connection, is, in daily parlance, a crude chunk of stone wrested from the mother rock in the quarry. Such is only the promise of a stone fit for the builder's use. A Perfect (or complete) Ashlar is that same stone dressed and squared and ready to be fitted into the building. The interpretation is perfectly obvious. There are some men who, in the sight of God, are mere masses of human material unfit for any immediate use; such are the men who use profanity, who tell smutty tales, who gossip about their fellows maliciously, who teach blasphemous religious doctrines, and who hate other persons; what use can he make of such men ? Think that out.
The Perfect Ashlar of a man is merely a human being who has found himself, who is educated for his own life work, who is clean in body and spirit, who loves rather than hates, and who has a great reverence for Him who loves straight clean men.
To keep one's eyes fixed on those men of the past who were heroes indeed, heroes in heart: to remember that we are all frail and that we are each one an essential part of the human race; to dedicate one's own victories and talents to others, to share with them one's possessions, every kind of possession; and lastly to remember that a man isn't fit for life, even in God's sight, until he becomes fit to live a truly human life, all this, in brief, seems to be, the sermon preached to us by the Ashlar and by the Working Tools of the Fellowcraft.
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN DISCONTINUED UNTIL SEPTEMBER
In accordance with our usual custom the Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of THE BUILDER will be discontinued during the months of July and August, and resumed with the September number.
Practically all of the lodges and study clubs that are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study" close down during these months and in order that they may resume their studies with the current instalment in the September issue of THE BUILDER we have adopted the custom of discontinuing the Bulletin for the two months mentioned.
We should like to hear from all lodges and study clubs who have adopted the study plan, whether they are following THE BUILDER'S course of study, or some other, and also from members of the Society in communities where the study plan is not in effect but where there might be a prospect of some activity alvong this line when the regular lodge communications are resumed in the Fall.
If every member of the Society who is interested, either individually or otherwise, in the systematic study of Masonry as now being conducted in THE BUILDER will communicate with the Secretary's Office they will receive information that will be useful to them in their studies.
MY BOOKS BEFORE ME IN A ROW
My books before me in a row, straight-trunked and lofty, rise,
As do the forest friends I know unite the earth and skies.
The book, the maple and the pine -
How like are all these friends of mine!
They stand upon the common soil, among the common things,
Amid the dust, amid the toil, the city's echoings-
And yet their mounting branches look
Upon the heavens, tree and book.
Who pauses by a giant tree and sees its giant length
And never feels its majesty, made stronger by its strength? -
So does the volume lift the man
The universe to scan.
Who reads a rime of Tennyson, a bit of Bobby Burns,
Nor looks where stars their courses run, some simple lesson learns?
The magic of the three-foot shelf
Shall lift the man above himself.
With Stevenson who walks the way and reads his limpid lines
But hears the melodies that play forever in the pines -
But long like Stevenson to reach
The sweetness of our English speech?
The lesser poets (not in art but in a world's renown)
So may they also lift the heart above the earth of brown -
The minor poets, if you will,
Who sing the major measure still.
Here stands a little London guide, a shilling guide in red;
Where Dickens dwelt and Goldsmith died a pilgrimage it led.
So has it power, too, to raise
Our vision from the common ways.
And here are simple tools of trade utilitarian;
We labor in their grateful shade, these adjuvants of man.
Here stands the sturdy old Roget,
Familiar servant, good and gray.
And, near at hand, the Book of Books, the counsellor and priest,
To which the mind forever looks in famine or in feast,
The one philosophy to test
The truth and purpose of the rest.
And here are children of mine own, not fitted to inspire;
Yet who the pangs of birth has known, the sacrificial fire,
But loves their lisping words to hear
And holds his children very dear?
The glad companions of the day, the solaces of night,
They stand beside me all the way, by sun or candle-light.
And it is good to have them so -
By books before me in a row.
- Douglas Mallock, in American Lumberman.
There is Godness in the flower,
In the tempest, in the breeze,
In the sweet refreshing shower,
In the lightning, in the seas.
There is Godness in all matter,
Worlds by it their courses go,
'Tis the life, the force of nature
That its product cannot know.
The women knitters of America have made more than 10,000,000 garments for the troops in France.
Music is well said to be the speech of angels. - Carlyle.
AMERICAN GRAND LODGES AND FRENCH MASONRY
BY BRO. SAMUEL H. GOODWIN, P. G. M., UTAH
There's nothing constant in the universe,
All ebb and flow, and every shape
That's born bears in its womb the seed of change."
The action of Grand Lodges with reference to French Masonry, and the change of front on the part of many Masons toward the same subject, are in line with the assertion of Ovid, quoted above. If there is one thing on this earth of ours intimately connected with humanity that is above the reach of change, we for one, know not in what quarter of the globe to search for it.
This is especially true of everything which exhibits life. The fundamental law of growth implies and involves change. Deterioration and death follow where this law ceases to operate.
That Poet saw clearly and truly who wrote:
"Weep not that the world changes - did it keep
A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep.
No thoughtful student of Masonic history can pursue his subject very far, without fronting the fact despite the insistent claims of perfervid banqueters and some others to the contrary that Masonry has responded, and still answers to the same law.
To one who holds that there must be no "variation, neither shadow cast by turning" from the line laid down by our Masonic fathers, it is only necessary to point to the Code of his own Jurisdiction, and to customs and usages which prevail in his own lodge and which are of quite recent origin to find both the prophesy and the warrant of further changes. And when we are solemnly warned against making any "innovations in the body of Masonry," we may well regard such admonition as being relative, only, for what part of this "body" is untouched by Change!
Because certain customs and jurisprudence were quite satisfactory yesterday, or a generation, or a hundred years ago, affords no reason for assuming that the ultimate was reached at that time, or that yesterday's readjustments will meet all future requirements.
Masonry is a living thing. It has to do with living beings who pass their lives in environments which change over-night. If it is to rise to its opportunities under such conditions, it cannot remain insensible to, or be untouched by, the currents which sweep men ever onward in the line of their destiny. Masonry, we should not forget, is a means to an end, not an end of itself. It is an institution calculated to help man toward the goal: it is not itself the goal. If these things be true; if Masonry is to be a real help to man and not be as so much impedimentia to be added to his other burdens, it must have flexibility and adaptability. Otherwise, it may as well be laid away in a glass case, with other mummies, where the dust of the ages may hide it from sight, for its day and generation are of the past.
It may safely be said, we think, that no period in the world's history has witnessed so many, or such radical changes as the period between August 1st, 1914, and November 11th, 1918. Again and again men declared that a world war was simply out of the question; inconceivable; impossible. When it came, the same false prophets predicted with no less confidence that it could not go beyond three months six months, at the outside, because the nations would be bankrupt and exhausted in that length of time. But the war ran into the fifth year, thereby giving added emphasis to their assininity. And the war upset about every standard, and rendered untenable nearly every position hitherto accepted and occupied by men. With such a general and radical upheaval and shifting of about everything that man had considered established, it could hardly be expected that Masonry should remain untouched by this world- cataclysm. Nor did it by any means escape. One, and not the least important, of the effects of the war upon Masonry, is seen in a hitherto unknown willingness on the part of many Grand Lodges and Masons to consider the status of French Masonry in the light of facts revealed by the world's greatest holocaust.
In what follows an attempt is made to exhibit, under a rather crude classification, the action and present position of the several American Grand Lodges, so far as these are shown by the Proceedings at hand. In some cases no record of action had since the reception of the request for recognition from the Grand Lodge of France, July, 1917 has been available. In such instances, the Grand Bodies have been placed under the head of "No Action Taken." Information concerning the action of two Grand Lodges Rhode Island and Wyoming was derived from Masonic publications, other than the Proceedings, as these have not yet reached us. Aside from these matters, the scheme adopted is self-explanatory.
1. Grand Lodges which have recognized both the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of France. These number five. In the order of date of action, they are:
Louisiana, February 5th, 1918.
New Jersey, April 17th, 1918.
Iowa, June 11th, 1918.
California, October 9th, 1918.
Minnesota, January 21-22, 1919.
It should be noted here, that while formal recognition was extended to the Grand Lodge of France, only on the date named by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, the interdict against the Grand Orient was rescinded, and this, if we understand correctly New Jersey's position, places the Orient on practically the same footing as the Grand Lodge of France.
2. Grand Lodges which recognized the Grand Lodge of France, only, and either took no action at all with reference to the Grand Orient, or refused recognition to that Grand Body. Our records show that there were six of these, viz:
Texas, December 4th, 1917.
District of Columbia, December 17th, 1917.
South Dakota, June 11th, 1918.
Nevada, June 12th, 1918.
Oregon, June 14th, 1918.
Rhode Island .. ..
In connection with the last named Grand Lodge, we have only the statement of a Masonic publication that "Rhode Island recognized France." Oregon removed "the inhibition resulting in the prevention of our brethren now in France from visiting French lodges. . ." This would place that jurisdiction under the next head, as well. And while Nevada did not formally recognize the Grand Orient, she certainly did so inferentially, for the Grand Secretary reports that the "Masonic Bureau for the Allied Armies" which is neither more nor less than a committee appointed by the Grand Orient with its headquarters in the Temple of the Grand Orient "has served us by raising a Fellow Craft of our Ely Lodge No. 29, to the Degree of a Master Mason in a duly recognized lodge in France." This would place Nevada, practically, in Class No. 1, above.
3. Grand Lodges which did not formally recognize either of the Grand Bodies of France, but which did give permission to their members to visit French lodges. These number eleven and fall under two heads:
(a) Those which restrict this privilege of visitation to lodges under the obedience of the Grand Lodge of France. There are four of these:
Florida, January 15th, 1918.
Philippine Islands, January 22nd, 1918.
Georgia, May 1st, 1918.
Indiana, May 28th, 1918.
(b) The other seven Grand Lodges permit their members to visit lodges of both of the French Grand Bodies. these are:
New York, September 10th, 1917.
Kentucky, October 16th, 1917.
Alabama, December 5th, 1917.
*Utah, January 15th, 1918.
Colorado, May 1st, 1918.
North Dakota, June 18th, 1918.
Wyoming, September 11th, 1918.
It is barely possible that Indiana belongs under "b" rather than under "a." The wording of the resolution granting such permission is not clear to us, on this point. Were it is: "Resolved: That any member in
(*At the 48th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Utah, January 21-22 1919 the Grand Lodge of France was recognized, and the interdict against the Grand Orient was rescinded. This places Utah in Class "1," above, its action being similar to that of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.)
good standing of a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Indiana is hereby permitted to visit and hold Masonic intercourse with any lodge or member of a lodge operating under the Grand Lodge of the country in which said lodge is located." The matter would depend upon the measure of exactness with which the words "Grand Lodge of the country," are used. If intended to be exact, then visitation would be restricted to lodges of the Grand Lodge of France. In as much as the Grand Orient of France was not mentioned in the list of Grand Lodges and Orients presented at the time for consideration, we think that Indiana is properly placed.
4. Grand Lodges which took a more or less decided stand against any measure of recognition being accorded either of the two Bodies under consideration. There are four of these, to date. They are:
Missouri, September 20th, 1917; Sept. 20th, 1918.
Connecticut, February 6th, 1918.
Virginia, February 12th, 1918.
Wisconsin, June 11th, 1918.
5. Grand Lodges which considered the matter, but postponed action without, apparently, being committed definitely to one view or the other, on the merits of the question. There were eleven of these:
Massachusetts, June 13th, 1917.
Arkansas, November 20th, 1917.
North Carolina, January 15th, 1918.
Tennessee, January 30th, 1918.
Oklahoma, February 28th, 1918.
Maine, May 9th, 1918.
Nebraska, June 5th, 1918.
Washington, June 11th, 1918.
Vermont, June 12th, 1918.
Idaho, September 10th, 1918.
Illinois, October 8th, 1918.
It is rather difficult to word a heading which will do justice to the position of all the Grand Lodges listed under this division. In some cases, the discussions evoked were shot through and through with dogmatism and bitterness. If definite action had been taken, there can be little doubt where such Grand Lodges would stand. In other instances, as for example, Massachusetts and Maine, and some others, there was more of the kindly, and what we should characterize as the Masonic spirit manifested, though perhaps on a test vote, these would stand with the others. However, as already intimated, our tabulation is approximate, only.
6. Grand Lodges in which the subject appears not to have been mentioned, or only incidentally so, at the Communications indicated by the dates. Here we have thirteen Bodies, as follows:
Delaware, October 4th, 1916 Not mentioned.
Mississippi, February 13th, 1917 Not mentioned.
Ohio, October 17th, 1917 Not mentioned.
West Virginia, November 14th, 1917 Not mentioned.
Maryland, November 20th, 1917 Not mentioned.
South Carolina, December 12th, 1917 Not mentioned.
Pennsylvania, December 27th, 1917 Not mentioned.
Arizona, February 12th, 1918 See statement following this list.
Kansas, February 20th, 1918 Not mentioned.
New Hampshire, May 15th, 1918 Not mentioned.
Michigan, May 28th, 1918 See statement following.
New Mexico, October 18th, 1917- See statement following.
Montana, 1916 Not mentioned.
Of this list, the Grand Lodge of Arizona "recognized" the "Masonic Bureau for the Allied Armies," which, as noted above, is only a committee, and a committee composed of members of the Grand Orient of France, and appointed by that Grand Body. We are somewhat at a loss to understand just how much our Arizona Brethren meant by this action. It would seem to be a tacit recognition of the Grand Orient of France, but perhaps our Brothers did not mean it to be such.
The Grand Lodge of Michigan appropriated $200.00 to be used by the same Bureau in its fine work for the soldiers. This, of course, does not commit the Grand Lodge of Michigan, or show a leaning toward the Grand Orient, any more than a similar contribution to the general fund that was recently gathered, a part of which was to be administered by the K. C., would indicate Roman Catholic predilections.
To summarize: The foregoing list shows that of the 50 Grand Lodges named, 22 gave some measure of recognition to French Masonry. Of the remaining 28, four were avowedly opposed to any form of recognition though two of the four have recognized that other Body in France, a part of whose strange story is told below 11 considered the subject, but postponed action; in 12, the matter was not mentioned, and two expressed themselves only so far as concerns the "Masonic Bureau for the Allied Armies."
THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AND REGULAR GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE AND THE FRENCH COLONIES
In preparing the following statement of facts, the writer has assumed that others, like himself, have been not a little puzzled by the dearth of definite information concerning the initial steps leading to the organization of the National Grand Lodge of France, the number and character of the lodges composing it, and the reasons which led to the hasty action of the Grand Lodge of England in recognizing it. To these matters we propose to devote a little space.
1. The Formation of this Grand Lodge. It appears that this Grand Lodge originated in the action, not of three lodges, or of two, or, really, of even one lodge, but of a small company of Masons who had but lately (viz., two days previous to the organization) seceded from the Grand Orient of France.
The leader in this movement was one, Dr. Ribaucourt, who, for some three or four years previously, had been endeavoring to "found" something, of which he should be the head, while still retaining his membership in the Grand Orient of France. But that is a different though not an entirely separate story. On the 3rd day of November, 1913, Dr. Ribaucourt resigned his membership in the lodge, "Les Amis du Progres," and two days later November 5th, ". . . he constituted himself and other seceding members of a Grand Orient lodge 'Le Centre des Amis,"' into a Grand Lodge, of which he became Grand Master.
It should be noted here, that this action was taken by these Brethren, not as members of lodges for they had withdrawn from the lodges in which they formerly held membership but as a body of Masons. Of course this was not without precedent. This fact, apparently, had not been brought to the attention of the Pro Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, for in his announcement of his recognition of this new Grand Lodge to the Grand Lodge of England December 3rd, 1913 he said: "A body of Freemasons in France . . . have united several lodges as the Independent and Regular National Grand Lodge of France and of the French Colonies." As we shall presently show, at the moment of this announcement a month after the organization of the new Grand Body there was, at the very most, but one lodge under its obedience. Just here it may be well to mark the dates, in the procession of events, for they are most illuminating. On the 3rd of November, 1913, Dr. Ribaucourt resigned his membership; November 5th he constituted the new Grand Lodge, as indicated above; at once application was made to the Grand Lodge of England for recognition; on November 20th, the Pro Grand Master of England (in the absence of the Grand Master), issued his edict recognizing the National Grand Lodge of France; December 3rd, 1913, the Grand Master apparently made the action of the Pro Grand Master his own, and, in a "message from the throne" announced to Grand Lodge what had been done. (Recognition of Grand Lodges under the English Constitution lies with the Grand Master, and only incidentally is brought before Grand Lodges.)
The course pursued by these seceding members of the Grand Orient of France is similar to that of those Brethren who, in 1910, withdrew from what is now the York Grand Lodge of Mexico, and soon after, erected a Grand Body of their own. In this connection it should be borne in mind that a lodge, once created by a higher power, belongs to that obedience, till, by constitutional action of the Body which created it, it has been released, or erased from the roll. The members of a constituent lodge may all withdraw, the lodge still exists, legally, and is still under the jurisdiction of the body which chartered it (unless Constitutional enactment provides otherwise), and its effects are the property of the Grand Lodge which gave it being. This is illustrated by the action of the Grand Lodge of England through its District Grand Lodge with reference to those lodges whose membership all withdrew to form the present Grand Lodge of Queensland. The name, number, property, lodge all belonged to, and were taken possession of by the Grand Lodge of England.
So, when Dr. Ribaucourt formed himself and his seceding colleagues into what they were pleased to call a Grand Lodge, no one of them represented any lodge, for there was no lodge in existence, nor were they members of any lodge. It appears that as soon as this inchoate assemblage of Masons had declared themselves duly constituted into a Grand Lodge, they proceeded at once to issue their first charter creating a constituent lodge, and named it, we believe, "Le Centre des Amis" thus using the name of the lodge of which the larger part were formerly members. In this action we have an interesting and rather unusual situation. These seceding Masons from the Grand Orient first constituted themselves into a Grand Lodge, and then a charter was granted by themselves, to themselves, thus creating their first constituent lodge ! And it was this lodge of Topsy-like antecedents that the Pro Grand Master of England, as noted above, characterized as "several lodges." We can hardly wonder that the kaleidoscopic changes indicated above should have a distressing and disturbing effect upon the vision, or that one should appear to be three or more !
2. Some Facts Concerning the Lodges of this Grand Body. Under ordinary circumstances in this country, great care is usually exercised by our Grand Lodges in assuring themselves of the "regularity" of the constituent bodies which unite to form any new Grand Lodge. This is especially true of several American Grand Lodges which have recognized the Grand Body under consideration. It is not our purpose to comment on the origin or history of the several constituent lodges under the obedience of the National Grand Lodge of France. Information is not at hand to enable us adequately to do this. our purpose is the simple one of noting a few salient facts in connection with two or three of these lodges, because this course will help us the better to appreciate the character of the National Grand Lodge.
Enough has been said, perhaps, concerning number 1, of these lodges. But the second lodge, generally named in connection with the organization of this Grand Lodge the impression being given that it was one of the "several lodges," which united to form the Body we are considering was the "Loge Anglaise No. 204," of Bordeaux.
This lodge has had a most interesting history, which does not particularly concern us in this connection. It may be noted here, however, that "Loge Anglaise No. 204" was organized at Bordeaux, on Sunday, April 27th, 1732, by several English sea captains. In those early days, charters were not necessary, and three Masons duly assembled for the purpose, could constitute a lodge. Of this lodge it is said that it ". . . was founded under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England." Its career was somewhat tempestous, and its independent spirit not infrequently brought it into conflict with superior authority. But, for 110 years it appears to have gone along with a fair degree of unanimity and success under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France. In view of the fact that this lodge has been loosely claimed as one of the lodges which united with others to form the National Grand Lodge of France, it may be well to note certain circumstances which finally led Loge Anglaise No. 204 into the fold of the new Grand Body.
A matter of Ritual, in use in the lodge "Le Centre des Amis," came before the Council of the Grand Orient, and later, in June, 1913, before the Annual Convention of the Grand Orient. The governing body used its authority, to the extent even so the aggrieved parties declare of cutting off debate, and not permitting the lodge to be heard. In such discussion as was had, and in its general attitude, the only support which came to Le Centre des Amis, was that given by Loge Anglaise No. 204. From this time and incident there developed something of an understanding between the two lodges, and a desire and purpose to co-operate in securing certain results. Later, came the events noted under "1" above, recognition of the new organization, by the Grand Lodge of England, coming on November 20th, of that year. six days later, November 26th, Loge Anglaise "resolved that all correspondence with the Grand Orient should be broken off." At its next meeting, December 3rd, 1913, ". . . the lodge officially severed its connection with the Grand Orient, and resolved to co-operate with the 'Loge Centre des Amis.' " This, be it noted, was 13 days after the National Grand Lodge of France had been recognized by edict, issued by the Pro Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England. Formal official notice of the action of the lodge was not given, however, until January 1st, 1914, on which date Loge Anglaise announced its decision to the Masons of France in a "Manifesto."
From the foregoing brief statement it will be seen that not till more than 40 days after the National Grand Lodge had been recognized by the Grand Lodge of England, was there a second lodge under its obedience, and this lodge was the one at Bordeaux Loge Anglaise No. 204.
The Junior Grand Warden (Bro. Edmund Heisch) of the new Grand Lodge tells us that, "Early in 1914, certain English Freemasons resident in Paris, members of English lodges, made application for permission to form a lodge under the obedience of the National Lodge." This permission was granted, together with a charter, and on June 20th, 1914, "St. George's Lodge" was duly consecrated, the Junior Grand Warden becoming its first Master. Thus, the third lodge under the obedience of the National Grand Lodge came into existence, more than seven months after recognition had been accorded by the Grand Lodge of England.
"Liberation Lodge No. 8" of this obedience, has an interesting story, and one that is significant of the general character of the body under consideration. Briefly, it appears that certain American soldiers while on shipboard, on their way to France, discussed the matter of forming some sort of a Masonic organization upon their arrival in that country. In fact the question had been considered while they were still at American Lake. Upon reaching France the discussion was renewed, and a Washington Mason called a meeting at which further consideration was given the subject. At the second meeting of these brothers they learned that already "steps were being taken to form a lodge for American soldiers." On October 20th, 1917, the Washington Brother and others attended a meeting called to further this movement, which was presided over by one J. Hennessy Cooke, one of Lloyd's agents, and a member of an English lodge, who informed them that already a petition for a charter had been sent to the National Grand Lodge. At a later meeting, the charter was presented and read, and by a majority vote, it was decided to go forward and establish the lodge. This accordingly was done, and on December 8th, 1917, the Junior Grand Warden of the National Grand Lodge consecrated "Liberation Lodge No. 8" with the aforesaid J. Hennessy Cooke as Master.
In February, 1918, "Britannica-Lodge" was created by the National Grand Lodge, this being number 9 of the lodges on its roster.
Of these nine lodges, seven are English-speaking, and use the "Emulation Working." The other two, probably, use the "Rectified Scottish Rite," as it was insistence upon the use of this Ritual that led to the difficulty between Lodge Le Centre des Amis and the Grand Orient. But the matter of Ritual, apparently, is of less importance in France, than it is in America, for Brother Heisch tells us that "The Constitutions of the new Grand Lodge have been so framed as to permit the lodges under its obedience to practice the rituals of any Grand Lodge with which the National Grand Lodge is related an essential condition being that those Rituals are practiced without alteration."
To us the very large predominance of the Anglo-Saxon element in these lodges is most significant. It occurs to us this moment that if that principle, of which we hear much through the press of the self determination of the peoples, in matters of government and boundaries, along lines of linguistic and racial cleavage should be applied to the Masonry of France, the Grand Body under consideration would cease to be the "National Independent and Regular Grand Lodge of France and the French Colonies," and would take its proper place as a District Grand Lodge, under the English Constitution! And this suggestion receives some color of support from the Pro Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England. In his announcement Grand Lodge (Quarterly Com., Dec. 3rd, 1913) of the recognition of the National Grand Lodge the Pro Grand Master enumerated "The obligations which will be imposed on all lodges under this new Constitution," under six heads. The sixth and last reads: "Only those Brethren who are recognized as true Brethren by the Grand Lodge of England will be received in lodge." We may be at fault, but that statement seems not to consort well with the notion of a "National," and an "Independent," and "Regular" Grand Lodge, supreme and untrammeled in the exercise of its sovereign powers within the limits of its own jurisdiction!
3. The Recognition of the National Grand Lodge by the Grand Lodge of England. The expedition with which negotiations were carried forward to a satisfactory issue in this matter, has often been remarked. In fact, we alluded to it under "1" above. But there are some interesting incidents connected with those negotiations, which we do not remember to have seen brought together.
As already noted, Dr. Ribaucourt organized himself and his seceding colleagues into a Grand Lodge on November 5th, 1913. On November 20th the Pro Grand Master recognized this newly created Body, as a just and legally constituted Grand Lodge. But how could the necessary preliminaries be attended to in so short a time' of course, the distance between London and Paris is not great, but traveling and discussions take time. We do not propose a solution to this problem, but simply note certain phases of it.
Following the "message from the throne" already referred to which dealt with this subject, the Pro Grand Master, of the Grand Lodge of England added "a few words of explanation." He told Grand Lodge that "The agreement with this newly constituted body of French Freemasons is the result of prolonged and difficult negotiations (emphasis ours) in which two well-known brethren have been devoted and skilful intermediaries." "Prolonged!" We have seen that but 15 days elapsed between the organization of this body and its recognition. Is it to be understood that these brethren were negotiating with the members of Le Centre des Amis, while they, and the lodge of which they were members, were still under the obedience of the Grand Orient, and that possibly, by suggesting the certainty of securing immediate recognition, differences were intensified till bonds were snapped asunder by secession? We do not say that such was the case, but less than 15 days seems to us to be a very short time in which to carry on "prolonged" negotiations.
And these two English Brethren: these successful "intermediaries," who held "no official positions," and who did this work, "not as a matter of duty" (the Pro Grand Master is again our informant) "but from disinterested devotion to the Craft" did they understand that they were going forward with the tacit approval of Grand Lodge ? The fruits of their "prolonged" efforts were accepted and acknowledged, at all events. And could their labors have been "prolonged," unless their beginning antedated the rupture between some of its members and the Grand Orient of France?
In his "message from the throne," the Grand Master of England referred to the brethren who had organized the National Grand Lodge as being "resolved to uphold the true principles and tenets of the Craft," and further, that they were "pledged to adhere to those principles of Freemasonry which we regard as fundamental and essential," and that in consequence of these facts, "I have joyfully assented to the establishment of fraternal relations and the exchange of representatives."
We know what is required by the Grand Lodge of England when a new Grand Lodge is to be erected in one of the Colonies of the Empire, where Masonry is already established, but we do not know what it regards as essential principle of regularity when the applicant for recognition is outside of the territory of the Empire. To be sure, there is Article XII, of the "Old Regulations," of 1721, approved by Grand Lodge, in that year, which states what is the composition of Grand Lodge, and Article VIII of the same "Regulations" which brands as "Rebels," any ". . . Set or number of brethren" who "shall withdraw or separate themselves from the lodge in which they were made Brethren .... without a Dispensation from the Grand Master or his Deputy." Of course, the fact that recognition was Immediately granted the brethren who seceded from the Grand Orient of trance, is evidence enough that these regulations are not now operative, or at all events, do not control action, where the Bodies considered are outside of the Jurisdiction or the Grand Lodge of England. And it would seem that it is not necessary that there should be a fixed number of lodges uniting to form a new Grand Lodge, or any lodges at all- as in the case of the National Grand Lodge- as a prerequisite to recognition. American Grand Lodges are usually very careful on these scores. It is generally held by them that there must be at least three lodges, which have been regularly constituted by a recognized authority, and that the applicant for favors must be supreme within the Jurisdiction over which it proposes to hold sway. We say, these are generally held to be necessary. Of course, there are many departures from this standard, even by some of our most conservative Grand Bodies. As tor example, the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and the Grand Lodge of Virginia, and some others which have recognized the National Grand Lodge of France, which, as we have seen, was composed of members who had their Masonic birth in the Grand Orient of France an organization absolutely tabooed by these Grand Lodges and, as we have also seen, had not so much as one lodge to bless itself with at its inception, and only one, when it was recognized by the Grand Lodge of England. It would appear from this, that the Grand Lodge of England (and a few American Grand Lodges) does not take into account any of these matters when weighing the claims of an applicant for recognition.
Another statement by the Pro Grand Master when feliciting Grand Lodge on the auspicious advent of the National Grand Lodge is of interest in view of later developments, the significance of which we have tried to indicate under "2,' above. He said: You will permit me, I am sure, to express my own deep satisfaction that the privation of Masonic intercourse with Frenchmen in France, which has for so long caused us so much sadness, is now at an end. Now that there is a body of Frenchmen, a body which I do not doubt will grow very largely," &c. Of course, the Pro Grand Master could not foresee that the Body which came into existence in consequence of the "prolonged' negotiations carried forward by the two "intermediaries," already referred to, would become as we have seen - an English Body, in practically everything but name, with most of its lodges bearing English names, and at this time, seven of its nine lodges, English-speaking, using English Work. Apparently, the "body of Frenchmen" referred to by the Pro Grand Master, is still confined, mainly, to Lodges 1 and 2, on the roster of the National Grand Lodge, viz., Lodge "Le Centre des Amis," of Paris, and "Loge Anglaise No. 204," of Bordeaux.
Such are some of the facts concerning the organization of the National Grand Lodge of France, the constitution and character of some of its constituent lodges, and the recognition of this Body by the United Grand Lodge of England.
NOTE: For the benefit of any who may desire to "check up" the foregoing statements, the following list of authorities is given, as being the chief sources of information:
1. An article entitled, "National Independent and Regular Grand Lodge of France and the French Colonies," by Edmund Heisch, J. G. W. of that Grand Body. "Transactions, ' Authors' Lodge No. 3456, volume I, (1915), pages 269-275.
This article has an added value, in that it embodies a quite full statement by the Grand Secretary of the National Grand Lodge, G. L. Jollois.
2. An interesting bit of the history of the Lodge of Bordeaux, under the caption: "The loge Anglaise No. 204' of Bordeaux," by the same author as the preceding article. "Transactions," Authors' Lodge No. 3456, volume II, (1917), pages 203223.
3. An article, "Freemasonry in France," in pamphlet form, by Wm. Preston Campbell-Everden (1918). This brochure, of some 26 pages, is by a P. M. of "Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343," under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of France. The author has written works on several Masonic subjects, and he here gives us some illuminating facts in concise form.
4. A letter from Brother D. H. Johnston, of the Grand Jurisdiction of Washington, written from "Somewhere in France,' in December, 1917, and enclosing a letter from one, J. Hennessy Cooke. Proceedings of Washington, 1918, pages 213-216.
A careful reading of Brother Johnston's letter will leave no doubt on the score of that brother's zeal, and even less concerning the restricted area of his Masonic knowledge. We have touched upon the contents of both of these letters in our review of Washington, for 1918.
5. Proceedings of the United Grand Lodge of England, Quarterly Communication, December 3, 1913.
He’s a great big, willing Brother with a heart like to the ox,
He would put big things “across” but here comes the paradox
For he finds himself “at ease,” something holds him on the sly,
There’s a “landmark” in the way that he can’t-get-by.
And the Craft at large is bound, there’s an unseen cable tow
That is binding tothe past, though the urge would prompt to go;
There’s too oft a ling’ring round, - when they would in progress vie, -
Some old weird, landmarky thing that they can’t-get-by.
But to make this old world over, “bariers” must “be burned away,”
Masonry must melted be fo the all-wold Bother day;
It is coming, almost here, and its spirit must defy
Every old opposing thing that it can’t-get-by(?)
- Bro. L.B. Mitchell, Michigan
The American Red Cross has provided 250,000 articles of clothing for returning Italian prisoners.
SOME SOURCES AND SYMBOLISM OF OLD GLORY
BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER, CHINA
THE flag which is today presented and raised is not a mere piece of bunting designed to attract the eye or adorn the landscape. It is a great national emblem, expressing the traditions and ideals of earth's mightiest democracy and appealing to the deepest emotions of every patriotic American. More than that our flag has a history and an historical significance, of which far too little is generally known. But, thanks to the encouragement offered by our patriotic societies, groups of our people here and there have seriously taken up "flag study." Now "flag study" is a branch of heraldry and heraldry of sphragistics. And so the study of our flag in the light of its history leads us into several interesting fields where the horizon is broadened and the view inspiring.
What are the elements of our flag, or of any flag for that matter? Are they not (1) its colors and (2) its figures?
Joseph Rodman Drake, the first poetic panegyrist of old glory, sang in rhapsodic verse, recalling the first lines of "Rule Brittania,"
"When Freedom, from her mountain-height,
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there:
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure, celestial white
With streakings of the morning light.
"Flag of the free heart's hope and home
By angel hands to valor given;
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome
And all thy hues were born in heaven.'
A later bard, (2) in language equally ornate, sings
"From the dyes of battle gory,
Foam and wave of ocean's glory
And the stars that tell thy story
Freemen fashioned thee."
But these hues the red, white and blue which the one poet said "were born in heaven" and the other takes from nature, are in fact found in many other flags e.g. the French, the Dutch, the Russian and even the Chinese. And have you not noticed them in the Union Jack? If not do so, for thereby hangs an interesting historical chain.
THE RED CROSS
In this fateful time when the Red Cross emblem is omnipresent, one is much interested to find that it may rightfully claim a kinship to our own. While the Cross itself is an universal symbol the red cross appears always to have been a Christian emblem. The story of Constantine's vision of that flaming cross in the sky may have been mere legend but modern scholars "are agreed that the sacred monogram was in fact employed by Constantine on the shields of his soldiers as a sort of magic to secure the help of the mighty God of the Christians. " (3)
The same figure a red cross in a white field flourished in the days "when knighthood was in flower." Spenser, describing in his "Faery Queene" the accoutrements of his knightly hero, says
"Upon his breast a bloodie erosse he wore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord."
Such also was the standard of the crusaders, particularly the Knights Templar, who organized in 1118 to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. It was such a banner, afterward known as the "Cross of St. George," that Richard Coeur de Lion, England's Crusader king, received from George Bishop of Cappadocia, later made patron saint of the kingdom. Such was the beginning of what Thomas Campbell calls
"THE METEOR FLAG OF ENGLAND"
By the time of Edward II (1327) it had become the recognized English standard and remained such for nearly three centuries. As the ensign of Henry VII, it was planted on the shores of what is now Canada by Sebastian Cabot in 1497 the first European flag to float over the soil of North America. And is it not fitting that this ensign of chivalry should reappear in modern times as the emblem of humanity? As early as 1830 Bishop Baraga, a Roman Catholic missionary, carried a red cross flag in his work among the Indians of western America. Florence Nightingale, nursing the victims of the Crimean war in 1854, was a source of inspiration to Henri Dinant, the young Swiss physician, who some years later, after his experiences on the battle field of Solferino in 1859, conceived the idea of an international organization devoted to the special purpose of mitigating the horrors of war. The outcome of his efforts was the Geneva Conference of 1864, participated in by the representatives of fourteen nations, which adopted as its watch-words "Humanity" and "Neutrality" and as its emblem that which also supplied its name the red cross in a white field.
It was Clara Barton who introduced the Red Cross into America. She had unconsciously served it throughout our own Civil War but it was not until after its close, when she went to Europe for rest that she heard of the organization. Observing its achievements in the Franco-German war of 1870 she resolved to devote her efforts to securing her country's adhesion to the Geneva Convention. It was not until 1882 that she succeeded but, like certain other organizations-the Masonic Order and the Y.M.C.A.-which originated in Europe, the Red Cross had its greatest growth after transplantation to America. Incorporated by Act of Congress in 1900 and reincorporated in 1905 the American Red Cross became the mightiest non-governmental factor in the late world war while in time of peace its emblem is the omnipresent herald of social service on a colossal scale. (4) Truly when the League of Nations is formed its flag should be the Red Cross in a white field.
THE "BONNIE BLUE FLAG"
There was another crusader standard borne by a brave and hardy people who have contributed much to the making of our own nation. This was the "bonnie blue flag" of Scotland, consisting of the white cross of St. Andrew in a blue field,-a flag which seldom met defeat and never conquest. Under it Robert Bruce, addressing the assembled Scots at the break of that fateful day of Bannockburn, uttered those fiery words which the genius of Robert Burns transformed into a Scotch Marseillaise, beginning
"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots wham Bruce has often led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!"
In 1606, after James VI of Scotland had become James I of England, these two historic standards were combined in token of the union of the kingdoms. To the red and white of St. George's banner was added the blue of St. Andrew's; and the red, white and blue, thus for the first time appearing in a single flag, became known as the "King's Colors." (5) This was the flag under which our country was chiefly colonized. It was the flag which the Maytiower flew and which our colonial ancestors carried in all their wars including King William's, Queen Anne's, George It's and the French and Indian. As a young lieutenant, George Washington rendered his first military service under that flag with General Braddock's ill-fated expedition against Ft. Du Quesne. In all their history the colonists had followed no other flag than the "King's Colors." What was more natural than that they should embody the same colors in their new banner of independence ?
But what of the stars and stripes? How came they to find a place in our flag? Drake, you will remember, tells us that
"Thy stars have lit the welkin dome."
But no flag with which our Revolutionary fathers had been familiar ever contained stars and stripes. The only figures in the older flags were the crosses and these were retained in the earliest revolutionary flags even so late as January, 1776, scarcely a half year before the Declaration of Independence, when a flag was hoisted over General Washington's headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts, with thirteen stripes, one for each of the revolting colonies, but still with the united crosses of St. George and St. Andrew in a blue field.
A flag containing thirteen red and white stripes and a red cross appears (6) to have been used by the East India Company as early as 1704 and some have thought that it furnished the suggestion of the stripes in our flag. If so it affords one more example of Asiatic origins.
In the colonial banner of Rhode Island there were thirteen stars in a blue field and some would trace to that source the stars of our flag another honor for the smallest commonwealth.
But one fact seems clear: The stars and stripes were never combined in any single flag until they appeared in one designed and used by General Washington. Just when this was accomplished, remains a disputed question.
In the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is a famous painting by Emanuel Leutze which represents "Washington Crossing the Delaware," and in the prow of the boat which bears the great leader, floats "the star spangled banner." Of course that picture was painted long after the event, for the artist belongs to a recent generation (1816-1868); but there are reasons for believing that in this respect he followed those who were contemporaries of the event. Charles Wilson Peale, (7) the soldier painter, commanded one of the companies which recrossed the Delaware on Christmas day, 1776, and participated in the battle of Trenton of the day following. Later he painted a picture of "Washington at Trenton" in the background of which is a flag of thirteen white stars in a blue field.
Colonel John Trumbull was one of the most famous of early American painters. He was General Washington's aide during the operations around Boston and later was with him again "not long after his success at Trenton." (8) The battle of Princeton was only one week after, and Colonel Trumbull painted a picture of that battle showing the stars and stripes in action. Thus the present figures of our flag appear in these two leading engagements, as represented by contemporaries, directly under the eye of the commander-in- chief.
He seems to have been quite as closely identified also with the circumstances which culminated about a half year later, in the official adoption of those figures by Congress. In the spring of 1776 Washington visited Philadelphia and we are told (9) that, in company with Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, George Ross, a member of the Continental Congress, and Betsey Ross, widow of the latter's nephew, he worked out the details of the new nation's flag. Only in September, 1917, it was my privilege to linger for a time in the little two story building on Arch street, in the city of brotherly love, where Betsey Ross kept her upholstery shop and her three distinguished visitors gathered to discuss with her the designs for a new national emblem. It is interesting to note in passing that the means for purchasing and preserving those historic premises came largely from ten cent contributions, mostly by American school children, and that a fund is now being raised to purchase the surrounding property and convert the whole into a memorial park. I am glad to be able to provide the opportunity for the names of members of the present graduating class of the Shanghai American School to appear on the roll of honor of this patriotic enterprise.
On June 14,1277, the Continental Congress
"Resolved, That the Flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white" with "13 stars white in a blue field."
As no other details are prescribed it is evident that the author of this resolution assumed that the arrangement and location of these figures would be understood and that implies a flag already in existence doubtless that designed by Washington with the aid of Betsey Ross. It seems clear, therefore, that the "father of his country" had a very direct part in the making of its flag and particularly in the union of the figures the stars and stripes which afford its most distinguishing features.
Now it happens that those are also the figures of the Washington family coat of arms. In the church of St. Mary the Virgin, hamlet of Great Brington, Northamptonshire, are the tombs of several Washingtons, among them Lawrence, who died in 1616 and was a grandson of another of that name who, in 1539, received a grant of Sulgrave Manor in the same shire, having migrated there from Lancashire. (10) These tombs are marked by an inscription bearing this Washington coat of arms; argent two bars, and in chief three mullets (stars). They are also carved on a sun dial found near the Washington home in the adjoining hamlet of Little Brington and were naturally carried by two grandsons of Lawrence Washington who emigrated to Virginia in 1657, one of whom (John) was the greatgrandfather of George Washington. And it was in this cherished heirloom that, so far as heraldic records have disclosed, the stars and stripes were first combined in the same shield.
The objection (11) that General Washington himself never referred to this device as a source of our national flag seems to me without force. The man whose innate modesty forbade him to remain (12) in the hall of the Continental Congress, though a member, after his name had been so much as mentioned for the post of Commander-in- Chief; and who shrank later from the mere suggestion that the national capital be located near his Virginia home, would have been the last to draw public attention to the fact that the figures of our flag are those of his ancestral coat of arms. But that the one suggested the other seems to me too obvious for argument.
The stars and the stripes thus united originally symbolized at first the same fact the union of thirteen states. And this connection lasted for a considerable time after the first new states were admitted. For each one a new stripe, as well as a new star, was added to the flag. But it soon became apparent that these additional stripes, if continued, would widen the flag unduly and spoil its symmetry. A compromise was finally reached by which the number of stripes was restored to thirteen while a star was added for each new state. Thus the stripes permanently symbolize the original states while the stars represent the ever expanding union.
And what a wealth of symbolism and historic allusion lies back of this chivalry, the crusades, heraldry, the exploration and colonization of the new world, the union of English-speaking nations, the struggle to make and keep North America Anglo-Saxon, the preservation of Anglo-Saxon ideals of liberty and law, the defense of the rights of small nations these are the ideas perpetuated and preserved in the evolution of our flag. And the mighty conflict now closing has opened a new chapter in its history. For within recent months the stars and stripes have been raised for the first time over St. Paul's Cathedral, flown from the mastheads of British vessels, carried by American armies through the streets of the world's metropolis amid thundering plaudits of a grateful populace and borne with resistless courage over the bloody fields of Chateau Thierry and the Argonne.
Scion of knightly standards, cousin of Red Cross emblem, symbol of triumphant democracy, prophecy of a world wide ensign, Old Glory floats today over the soil of defeated Germany, but it floats even there in mercy. A German newspaper recently said of our army of occupation,
"The generosity of the Americans is spoiling our children."
For as President McKinley declared, in speaking of the Philippines,
"Our flag has never waved over any people save blessing."
And in the words of Clinton Scollard,
"Nor stripe nor clustered star has ever shone
Save but for freedom, for the broader birth
Of liberty the dearer, clearer dawn
Of brotherhood on earth.
Wave then, O banner! May thy mission be
To heal the grievous wounds, the woeful sears,
Triumphant over wrong and tyranny,
Beloved Stripes and Stars!"
(1) The occasion of this address was the raising of a flag presented by the American University Club of China to the American School at Shanghai.
(2) George Sterling.
(3) Warvelle, Constantine the Great (1915) 7.
(4) Judge Lobingier is Field Representative of the American Red Cross in China and was recently decorated with the Service Button and presented with Service Certificate of the Red Cross, "in recognition," wrote Manager Cutler of the Insular and Foreign Division, "of the loyal service you have rendered to the American Red Cross and to the nation during the war." Editor.
(5) Journal of American History, 11.
(6) Preble, The United States Flag, 220,221.
(7) THE BUILDER, II, 200.
(8) Goodrich, History of the United States, 244. Cf. THE BUILDER,
The statement in a recent number of the Geographic Magazine (XXXII, 297) that Trumbull "left the colonies while Washington was before Boston and was abroad for seven years," appears to be incorrect.
(9) Canby & Balderston, Evolution of the American Flag.
(10) Lodge's "Washington," I, 30-32 note. The family seems to have been of Swedish origin. See Review of Reviews (Feb., 1919), 202.
(11) Journal of American History, 13; THE BUILDER, II, 227.
(12) Goodrich, History of the United States, 198.
THE PROBLEM OF THE LARGE LODGE
The problem of the large lodge is one with which many Grand Masters have had to contend during the past year and more because of the hundreds of young men knocking at our doors who were eager to receive their degrees before leaving for overseas to teach the Hun his lesson. Many of the larger lodges found it necessary to hold meetings for work nearly every day in the week in order to keep their trestle boards partly cleared for other work in prospect. The larger the lodge the more nunlerous grew the applications at each regular communication, and in addition to having to take care of their own candidates many were called upon to do work for other lodges within and without their several Grand Jurisdictions. Even in normal times nearly every large lodge finds it necessary to devote at least three or four meetings each month to the conferring of degrees, and at their regular communications the entire evenings are usually taken up by the reception of and balloting on petitions and the examination of candidates for advancement, until but little opportunity is offered for sociability and the getting-together of the members, or enlightenment upon Masonic subjects.
Being aware of many of the various phases of the subject with which Brother Schoonover has had to meet during his term as Grand Master the editor has prevailed upon him to give to the readers of THE BUILDER the following editorial.
A further discussion of the subject will be found in the Fraternal Forum department of this issue of THE BUILDER.
EVIDENCE accumulated from many sources, during the year goes to prove the inherent difficulties of the large lodge. In many ways the large lodge fails, as a Masonic institution. It tends to become a highly centralized business institution. Its members, even after many years, become acquainted with but a fraction of the total roster. On funeral occasions the attendance is a handful, except in cases where the deceased brother was prominent in financial or political circles. Of sociability it has little except that which is purely formal. The reception of petitions becomes a burden. Witness the reception of 68 petitions in one evening by one of our lodges this year. The conferring of degrees obsesses the officers like a night-mare. Observe the announcement of one lodge that it would start to work on a certain day at 12:01 a. m. and close at 11:59 p.m. - with a temptation to set the clock back to conform to the law, so that the lectures might be given.
My correspondence file will prove every allegation I have made. It will reveal a lodge under the practical domination of a Secretary whose acts at least laid him under suspicion that his principal Masonic ideal was to perpetuate himself as Secretary at a salary of $1200.00 per year (another $1200.00 of salary being received from other "Masonic" bodies), and who, perhaps unthinkingly, was willing to besmirch the reputation of this Grand Lodge for fair dealing by insisting upon lodges in sister jurisdictions paying over their full fee for courtesy work. Why? Our sister jurisdictions feel in their hearts that it was so that he might make a good financial showing and perpetuate that salary.
Letters requesting permission to ballot upon petitions in groups have come to me. The conferring of sixteen degrees in the twenty-four hour session above referred to is, to my mind, an absolute travesty upon Masonry. No matter if the lodge was crowded with work, and trying to satisfy the ambition of brethren in khaki to receive their degrees before "going across" - I am not questioning the good faith of the lodge or its officers, for they were trying to meet a strenuous problem and could only do so in a wholesale way.
That such procedure should be necessary is but a symptom of the same disease which permeates our Fraternity too much. Elephantiasis - overgrowth - top-heaviness - these are the definitions attributed by some of my eminent friends over the country.
Our good Brother Pitts, of Palestine Lodge in Detroit, with 3,000 members, insists that the large lodge offers more to its membership than the small lodge, and under his energetic and unselfish leadership they have pretty nearly made good their opinion by their conduct of affairs. Contrast this situation with the average of 500 to 1,000 membership in Iowa and it is not to our credit, to say the least. And when it came to a discussion upon the floor, Palestine Lodge discussed, and if I remember correctly, asked the Grand Lodge of Michigan to permit, breaking it up into several groups, to be designated as "Palestine No. 1, No. 2, etc." They needed more degree teams.
This is only one of many remedies that have been proposed. I told the Master of the Lodge with the 68 petitions to ballot upon in one evening that I could not and would not relieve him or his lodge of the responsibility of passing upon the petitions one by one. To practically repeal the ballot law, by permitting joint balloting would not cure the evils, I am sure.
The advocates of the large lodge, and there are many such, base their opinion largely upon three affirmative propositions: (a) the opportunity to build a Masonic structure in the lives of our cities which, conforming to the city club idea, can theoretically perform a real Masonic service even in the highly congested life of the city which is worthy of the dignity of the Fraternity and wield an influence which will support the better side of civic institutions; (b) that in the large lodge there is an opportunity for a wider selection of officers, thereby attracting the men of larger abilities; (c) the greater per capita economy of doing things by means of which the large lodge can afford commodious and even luxuriant quarters at high rentals and meet the other necessary "overhead" expenses. They also advance at least two negative propositions: (a) that if a Grand Lodge attempts to legislate upon the subject in a restrictive way it is an "innovation" upon the body of Masonry; (b) that if restriction should be accomplished it should be done by the voluntary division of the lodge, by a "swarming off" process which will result in the formation of new lodges out of the parent lodge.
As I am, frankly, opposed to the large lodge, several answers to the above contentions occur to me. Even if the reasoning under (a) is true, it does not convince me that lodge activities of that particular kind are either necessary or in conformity with the real purposes of Masonry. Friendship and Brotherly Love are two of the most potent characteristics of a Masonic lodge pictured in the ideal, and I have never found that the club life of a great city was anything more than a poor substitute for the real thing as defined Masonically. In (b) it is true that the membership of the large lodge necessarily includes men of affairs and men of high mental attainments. But it is the remote case where men of such exceptional attainments as they refer to occupy the chairs. Why? Because the "line" system prevails, and a man who is by education and executive ability preeminently equipped to lead a lodge will not ordinarily accept the seven years of apprenticeship imposed upon those who would preside. When we bring the discussion down to the level of per capita economy we must also assume responsibility for the decreased efficiency of the lodge from the true Masonic standpoint. To clinch the argument, it is as it seems to me only necessary to point out that with anything like Masonic harmony prevailing, a group of small lodges, perhaps the groups which were once integral parts of the large lodge, could by cooperation and union of their resources perform any social or club function which a large lodge could.
The negative propositions advanced by those who believe in the large lodge are to be found equally unsound. The answer to the innovation argument is that the large lodge is itself an innovation; such cumbersome groups of brethren unacquainted with each other were never contemplated as Masonic. And the "swarming off" process, even when voluntalily attempted, as a rule, removes from the original organization only the fifteen or twenty brethren constitutionally necessary for the formation of a new lodge. A real division of the large lodge has never been accomplished within my knowledge.
To bring together the principal objections to the large lodge that form the real indictment, let us mention (a) the tendency to lay stress upon the business activities and the ritualistic work to the exclusion of all others; (b) the absence of real sociability and acquaintance among the members - the extent of this lack exhibiting itself in the indifference to a brother's welfare and a failure to love him enough to wish to follow him to his last resting place; (c) the wastage of all the energies of the officers in the degree mill, so that they have no opportunity or vim to perform other functions equally or even more important for the advancement of the causes for which our Fraternity should stand; (d) the large lodge gives the average member no opportunity to participate in its activities, all the time being taken up by routine work to the exclusion of addresses or lectures even if talent is available for this source of inspiration; (e) the Masonic development of each member is necessarily restricted; (f) even the opportunity to participate in the ritualistic work of the lodge is confined to a very small proportion of the total membership; and the pathway to the stations is too narrow for the progress of more than the few; (g) the individual member therefore feels a very small sense of responsibility for either the lodge or Masonry in general. As opposed to these things, the small lodge facilitates acquaintance, uses a larger proportion of its membership in the various activities, thereby generating the desire to know and the desire to serve in the hearts of all, promotes good fellowship, gives a more nearly equal chance for each member to become Worshipful Master (the ambition to preside over a lodge is a just and honorable one), and finally, the percentage of attendance in the small lodge is far higher than in the large one.
With those brethren who criticise our Grand Lodges for too much legislation I am inclined to agree, and the practical side of this question has been a matter of some concern. Various suggestions have been received. Some have felt that if we introduce a system of District Deputies these brethren could by persuasion and help bring about a voluntary readjustment of membership which would prove beneficial, and there is much weight to the argument. Others have proposed that it be made easier to form a new lodge, but I fail to see wherein our system in this respect could be materially simplified. The abolition of the system of line officers in the local lodges as has been done in this Grand Lodge might prove a help, and perhaps a law making an immediate past Warden ineligible for election would accomplish this result.
It has seemed to me, however, that the outright division of the large lodge into as many units as would make each lodge no larger than 200 members would be the only way in which to accomplish a uniform result. Perhaps to aspire to uniformity is wrong. But if each large lodge were to arrange its Past Masters in an alphabetical list, its Wardens likewise, and divide each list into the number of groups necessary for compliance with the general rule, and then alphabetically arrange and divide the brethren of the lodge in like manner, securing to all past officers their rights and honors and making provision for an equitable division and use of the lodge property, there should be no insuperable difficulties involved. Automatically, when any one of the groups of 200, now of course independent lodges, would reach a membership of 400 it would again divide. No lodge would be obliged to cease working and no injustices would be done; in my opinion.
There is still another phase to this whole problem, and I find that another remedy finds its advocates. If, instead of dividing up large lodges, we should make group working - i.e. the conferring of degrees upon more than one candidate at one time, perhaps limiting the number to seven - legitimate, we might remove the objections to the large lodge, insofar, and only insofar, as congestion in the degree mill is concerned. Advocates of this plan advance the argument that the conferring of degrees upon classes has proven eminently successful in the Scottish Rite, and point to the higher efficiency of the individuals in the degree teams as more than offsetting the disadvantage which immediately occurs to some of us, insofar as the impression upon each candidate is concerned.
Have I made this review of the subject sufficiently explicit to justify the statement that we have here a problem which is vital, and worthy of our most careful study? Recommendations concerning the immediate settlement of the problem I shall not attempt. Put I do most earnestly recommend that a Commission of three or five members, chosen from some of our smaller lodges, join hands with three or five other brethren who are members of large city lodges to study this question in all its aspects, and make report at our next Annual Communication. The Commission should study the reports of the Special Deputy Grand Masters for this year, revealing as they do so clearly conditions in Iowa Masonry as they actually exist. They should advise with the brethren of other Jurisdictions who have given thought to this problem. They should consult with the Nebraska Commission appointed to review this subject, and who, I presume, will have a report at their June third Annual which will be available. The inquiry should be conducted in a brotherly spirit. If it can not arrive at a majority conclusion which will be acceptable to this Grand Lodge, then they should by all means recommend some practicable method of dividing responsibility in the large lodge, so that the necessary lodge functions may be carried out to the glory of Masonry. If the large lodge refuses to admit that it has any disease, then the representatives of the smaller lodges will have to diagnose the case for themselves, and apply some sort of a remedy to bring the larger lodges in harmony with the ideals which are at present largely the possession of the country lodge.
MASONRY IS THINKING
Masonry is to be congratulated upon the attempt of the Grand Masters and Representatives in attendance at the Cedar Rapids Conference last November to awaken the more thoughtful and earnest members of our Fraternity to the absolute necessity for action if the Institution of which we are all so proud, though temporarily humiliated, is to hold the place it should occupy among the great forces for good in America.
In this great world in which all movement is directed, wisely or unwisely in its direction, forward, we can not stand still, clinging to outworn theories and dead conditions and still hope to live on indefinitely. Conservatism is a good thing when it leads to holding fast that which has proved itself founded on enduring principles. Ultra-conservatism is not a good thing, for it clings to that which time has made a dead weight or a useless burden upon human progress.
Let me say seriously that the Cedar Rapids Conference was the most important event that has engaged the attention of thinking Masons in America within a century - it stands in that importance along with the union of 1813. Its results are not all realized yet; Masonry has been set to thinking; it has broken the chains of the despotism of Masonic superstition, so to speak, that has for so long bound her devotees to the rock of disunity - of division of effort. Men will feel freer to take progressive action. They will not be afraid of having their loyalty to Masonry questioned because they may advocate the advancement of its columns in conformity with the spirit of the times. The results to follow will not all develop at a bound, but they will follow.
Let us be conservative still, but with reason in our conservatism - not blind adherence to a past that can only bear us down whereas we must rise or eventually pass into decadence, the beginning of an inglorious end as a great Institution. D. Frank Peffley.
BAITING AND BANTERING CANDIDATES
Altogether too many candidates present themselves at our doors expecting to be made sport of - that the ceremonies are to be characterized by fun and frolic, if not by farce and buffoonery. Part of this is gathered from the comic papers, part from idle jest, and part, I regret to say, from the insinuations and pretended intimations of brethren. Part of this can not be helped, but certainly that part which comes from the thoughtless remarks of our brethren themselves can, and ought to be, prevented. Little does the average candidate dream that he is about to receive serious and solemn instruction; that he is, by symbolism, to be taught a moral philosophy based upon monotheism, the belief in one God, the Creator, Preserver and Benefactor of the world and all therein contained, and developed to the climax of teaching that greatest and most expansive concept which God has permitted the mind of man partially to comprehend - the immortality of the soul. With no admixture of sadness, but with all the joys of righteous and happy living do we embellish the symbolisms by which we develop and unfold this moral philosophy to the candidate. How unlikely indeed are we to succeed in our service to him if, even though the surroundings savor only of dignity, the candidate momentarily expects sudden mirth at his expense. How much more our teachings will sing into his heart and mind if he has no thought except that he is to be received as a gentleman into the company of gentlemen; nay more, as a neophyte into the company of those who are about to take him by the right hand and call him their brother. Bantering and baiting of candidates is all wrong. It injures the reputation of Masonry; it decreases our opportunity of service to the candidate; it reacts upon the thoughtless brother who utters the ill-timed jest; it lowers the moral tone of all concerned.
- P.G.M. Melvin M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
Two million dollars of relief will be distributed in Poland by the Red Cross during the next five months.
The divine essence itself is love and wisdom. - Swedenborg
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
WANTS TO BORROW MASONIC BOOKS
A California brother writes to ask if we can put him in touch with some brother Masons near his home who will be willing to lend him some Masonic books.
We feel very sure that if any California brother who has books to lend reads this notice, he will be glad to write us. We shall at once communicate with the brother making this request and get them together through correspondence.
We have suggested to this brother that he make his appeal for the loan of books to his Grand Secretary. A Masonic Research Committee has been in existence in California for several years and possibly some preliminary steps have already been taken to inaugurate traveling Masonic libraries in that Jurisdiction such as we now have in Iowa and several other Jurisdictions.
We have made a further suggestion that a few of the earnest brethren of the lodge get together and introduce a motion at the next regular meeting to appropriate $25.00 or so toward the purchase of a few volumes as a foundation for a lodge library. The writer was instrumental in introducing several such resolutions in the lodge in which he was raised and never met with the least opposition in the matter even when he asked for an appropriation to be used in having bound thirty-two years' Proceedings of his Grand Lodge, and another appropriation for the purchase of a set of the Encyclopaedia Britanica.
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PROBABLE EXISTENCE OF SECRET SOCIETIES IN EARLY CHRISTIAN TIMES
What is the origin of the words "cowan" and "Pleyel" ? Were Jesus Christ and any of his disciples Freemasons ? Were any of the early Christians, or any great Romans or Greeks, Freemasons ? Please name rulers and prime and other ministers of Europe who are Freemasons. J. B. N., Texas.
A cowan was originally one who, in some unlawful fashion, learned the trade secrets of Operative Masons without himself being a member of a lodge. In present-day use a cowan is a man who thinks he knows the secrets of the Fraternity without being a member.
Pleyel was the author of a tune to which the dirge used in the Third degree is sung.
Neither Jesus Christ nor any of his disciples were Freemasons in any sense of the word. Early Christians, many of them, probably belonged to secret societies, but none of these societies was a Masonic society in our modern sense of the word; they were probably secret fraternities wherein men banded together to protect themselves against oppression.
It is utterly impossible to name the rulers and prime ministers of modern Europe who are Freemasons - if any brother can send in a partial list which is authentic, we shall be very grateful. H. L. H.
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RAVENSCROFT'S THEORY OF THE COMACINE MASTERS
What is your opinion of Brother Ravenscroft's theory of the Comacine Masters and the Roman Collegia as described in THE BUILDER several months ago?
The Roman Collegia were trades-unions, the members of which protected themselves against oppression: these organizations had many of the features which we now have in Freemasonry. For this reason we may very justly think of the Roman Collegia as holding an important place in the evolution of these secret fraternities out of which modern Freemasonry has evolved.
For a great many years Masonic scholars found a gap in the story of this evolution immediately after the break-up of the Roman Empire: they were obliged to take a leap over two or three centuries to the medieval craft gild. Brother Ravenscroft and other scholars have devoted much time to bridging over this gulf, and it is the opinion of the editors of THE BUILDER that Brother Ravenscroft has given the most reasonable account of the development of builder's trades and gilds during the two or three centuries immediately preceding the dissolution of the Roman Empire. H.L.H.
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PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND WELFARE MISSIONS IN THE CIVIL WAR
While reading in the March number of THE BUILDER of the obstacles thrown in the way of the committee appointed by the Grand Lodge of New York to organize war relief for our men in the Army and Navy serving in Europe, it occurred to me that I had seen an account of a similar experience encountered by the Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. This account is in Mr. L. E. Chittenden's Recollections of Mr. Lincoln, and is as follows:
If seventy-five thousand volunteers were suddenly called into active service in the swamps and marshes of the South, subject to the diseases incidental to constant exposure in a new climate, together with the casualties of battle, it was obvious to everybody except the Surgeon General of the Army that the ordinary resources at his command would be wholly inadequate to preserve their health or secure their comfort. The recent experiences of European nations in war, which had availed themselves to the fullest extent of the assistance of private organizations, to supplement the deficiencies of a better service than our own, had demonstrated the great value of such organizations, if any proof be needed. As if by a common impulse, the charitable and benevolent of all the loyal states contributed large sums of money, and organized that magnificent charity, now well-known in history by its excellent work in saving lives, the Sanitary Commission. Dr. Bellows, of New York, accompanied by equally eminent citizens from other large cities, proceeded to Washington and tendered their organization, with its abundant resources and supplies already accumulated, to the War Department for the use of the Army. In the regular course of such human events their offer was referred to the bureau of the Surgeon General of the Army. To their surprise and confusion their offer was rejected with undisguised contempt. They were told, in substance, that they were interfering with matters which did not concern them, about which they knew nothing; that the Department was able to perform its own duties, and wanted none of their assistance. In short, they were figuratively turned out of the office and told to go home and attend to their own affairs, for their volunteered assistance was an annoyance, the repetition of which would not be tolerated.
The indignant mortification of these eminent citizens may be imagined. They had previously supposed themselves engaged in an honorable public service - they were told now that they were impertinent intermeddlers with matters beyond their sphere. Upon one conclusion they were agreed: they would shake the dust of the War Office from their feet, go home, and supply their comforts directly to the soldiers, without the endorsement or intervention of the fossils of that department.
They were about to depart from the Capitol when some happy thought or fortunate suggestion turned their minds to Abraham Lincoln. They called upon him and related their experience. He "sent for" the Surgeon General. A request for his immediate attendance at the Executive Mansion was one which even that exalted official did not think it prudent to decline. "These gentlemen tell me," said the President, "that they have raised a large amount of money and organized a parent and many subordinate societies throughout the loyal states to provide the soldier with comforts, with materials to preserve his health, to shelter him, to cure his wounds and diseases, which the regulations of the War Department do not permit your office to supply - that they offer to do all this without cost to the government or any interference with the action of your department or the good order and discipline of the army, and that you have declined this offer. With my limited information I should suppose that this government would wish to avail itself of every such offer that was made. I wish to have you tell me why you have rejected the proposals of these gentlemen."
Had the President realized the cruelty of confronting an old bureau officer of the War Department, encrusted with all the traditions of "how-not-to-do-it," suddenly and without previous opportunity to frame an excuse, with the hard, inflexible sense of such a question, he would have been more merciful. The officer was confounded. He could only mumble some indefinite objections to outside interference with the management of the War Office, and claim that the Department could take care of its own sick and wounded,in short, his attempts at excuse were failures. "If that is all you can say," remarked the President, "I think you will have to accept the offer, and co-operate to the extent gf your ability with these gentlemen in securing its benefits to the Army." Bureaucracy struggled against common sense no longer. The Sanitary Commission was the greatest, the most active charity of the War. Tens of thousands of saved lives, of naked men clothed, of wounded men sheltered and made comfortable, had good reason to bless the name of Abraham Lincoln, whose common-sense secured for them the benefits of such an invaluable organization.
Doubtless a fuller report of this interesting incident may be found in some history of the Sanitary Commission, though I doubt if it will be more authoritative than this by Mr. Chittenden, who was auditor of the Treasury during the War and whose recollections are among the most readable and reliable of all reminiscences of our greatest President.
C. A. Snowden, Washington.
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SOME HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS TO HIGH PRIESTS
Having noted the troubles of Companion C.B.G., of Indiana, in the January issue of THE BUILDER, I can sympathize with him and offer to him and other High Priests who have been called upon to preside over listless Chapters the result of my own experiences.
When I was elected to the High Priesthood of our Chapter; I followed three predecessors none of whom had been able to confer the degrees and who had to depend upon past officers to do this work for them. Our Chapter had lapsed into about the same state as described by our Indiana Companion. We often failed of a quorum, and there was very little interest manifested by the members.
I made myself profficient in the entire work of the degrees and qualified to take any station so that I could prompt or correct any errors of the subordinate officers and required of my appointees promises to learn their parts and to attend all meetings. We made it a point to open on time, get through our business and work as early as possible and avoid late hours.
Whenever there was no degree work I endeavored to create a discussion on Masonic subjects and to get as many interested in the discussions as possible. I also made it a point whenever I met a Companion on the street or elsewhere to remind him of our meetings and urge him to be present.
Our attendance soon began to increase, our work to improve and the members took a new interest in the affairs of the Chapter. We materially increased our membership during the year.
I believe that good degree work, promptness in opening, dispatch in the transaction of business and the avoidance of late sessions are most essential in all Masonic bodies if a good attendance is to be desired and an interest maintained.
H. C. Butler, North Carolina.
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MASONIC AFFILIATIONS OF PRESIDENTS JEFFERSON AND ADAMS DOUBTFUL
In the April issue of THE BUILDER it is stated that Presidents Jefferson and Adams were both Masons, Jefferson being raised in Lodge Neuf Souers, Paris. I have some printed matter of that lodge, with rosters, but Jefferson's name is not mentioned. Sereno Nickerson was positive that Jefferson was not a Mason.
The name of John Adams is on three lodge lists, either of which would fit the President, but while a candidate for President, Adams denied being a Mason. I do not believe either of the Adams were Masons.
Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District of Columbia.
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PROMINENCE OF MASONRY IN THE 17th CENTURY
Concerning the same subject discussed in your answer to the query of R.H.A., Nebraska, in the Question Box Department for November, I ran across the following in Sadler's "Masonic Reprints and Revelations":
The Library of Trinity College, Dublin, possesses a copy of the Tripos of Midsummer, 1688, which was discovered and published by Dr. Barrett in 1908 . . . in his "Essay on the Earlier Part of the Life of (Dean) Swift" . . . and this Tripos contains notable evidence of Freemasonry in Dublin in 1688.
The Tripos begins thus, "It was lately ordered that for the honour and dignity of the University there should be introduced a Society of Freemasons, consisting of Gentlemen, mechanics, porters, parsons, ragmen, hucksters, divines, tinkers, knights, thatchers, cobblers, poets, justices, drawers, beggars, aldermen, paviours, sculls, freshmen, bachelors, scavengers, masters, sow-gelders, doctors, ditchers, lords, butchers and tailors, who shall bind themselves by an oath never to discover their mighty no-secret, and to relieve whatsoever strolling distressed brethren they meet with, after the manner of the Fraternity of Freemasons in and about Trinity College...."
In the epilogue, the orator makes rueful reference to the results of his afternoon's work, saying, "I have left myself no friend.... If I betake myself to the Library, Ridley's ghost will haunt me for scandilising him with the name of Freemason . . . the Freemasons will banish me their Lodge . . . I take my leave."
The foregoing remarkable quotations demonstrate that the Fraternity of Freemasons was so well known in Dublin in 1688 that a popular orator could count on his audience catching up allusions to the prominent characteristics of the Craft. The speaker was addressing a mixed assemblage of University men and well-to-do citizens, interspersed with ladies and men of fashion, who had come together to witness the chief University function of the year. His use of the theme proves that the Freemasonry known to him and his audience was conspicuous for its secrecy and benevolence. We can fairly deduce, too, that membership in the Craft was not confined to Operatives, or to any one class. Otherwise the catalogue of incongruous callings would be without point.
The importance of such public notice of Freemasonry in 1688 can hardly be overrated. The instances of what may be called public mention of our Brotherhood before 1700 can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They are practically confined to the entries in Elias Ashmole's diary, 1646 and 1682; Dr. Robert Plot's diatribe in the "History of Staffordshire," 1686; Randle Holme's observations in the "Academie of Armory," 1688; and Aubrey's memoranda of the preparations for Sir Christopher Wren's Acceptance in 1691. The evidence that the upper classes of society in Ireland were well acquainted with Freemasonry and its tenets before William of Orange landed there will come as a surprise. But the proof is beyond cavil and, coming from an unsympathetic outsider, is akin to that of Dr. Plot and quite comparable to it in historical value.
N. W. J. Haydon, Ontario.
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A LETTER FROM THE HEATHER HILL MASONIC CLUB
February 16th, 1919.
Mr. Wildey E. Atchison, Ass't. Sec'y.,
National Masonic Research Society,
Dear Brother Atchison: -
Your letter of Oct. 19th, 1918, to hand just a few days ago. I can explain the delay in receiving it by telling you that you addressed me wrong as I am in the 13th Engr's. Ry. U. S. Army, and you addressed me in the 15th. It must have been a misprint as The Heather Hill Masonic Club is strictly a 13th organization as it was born in our Camp at Borden, England, and has ever been under the watchful eyes of this Regiment ever since. I just received the third copy of THE BUILDER about four days ago and have never received any of the copies that you said we had been put on the mailing list for.
I have delayed answering your letter until I had seen the most of the boys that belong to the Club and as we are scattered around quite a bit it took some time, but I wanted to get the expression from the majority of the members before I answered, although it was hardly necessary as every one of them had almost the same thing to say.
On January 23rd we had what we consider one of the grandest meetings of its kind that was ever held anywhere in all the world. It was the anniversary of the eighteenth month since the original members of the Regiment left the U.S.A. That made it the day that we put on our third service stripe and we held an open meeting for all Masons in the A.E.F. and we had them from all over this part of France, some of the brothers coming from a distance of ninety miles in autos and as it was a very chilly night you can guess that we had to do our very best to make them feel well paid for their trip and some of them that came the farthest were the loudest in their praise of the treatment they received. We had Colonels, Lieut. Colonels, Majors, Captains and Lieutenants, until when one looked over the room one almost thought that it was a gathering of Sam Browne Belts exclusively, but as we were meeting on the level very little attention was paid to rank.
In all we had members from thirty-eight States and the District of Columbia totaling 236 Masons who registered and there was a good many that did not register, very likely forgetting it in the excitement and the pleasure at hand. Just to tell you that we spent a very pleasant evening is not saying very much and so I will have to leave the rest to your imagination. But as a great many of the brothers spoke about it at the time the historical significance of the meeting, which is the only one of its kind that has ever been or ever will be held, I expect, in the lifetime of any of us that attended this one, viz: a Masonic Club meeting held just outside of the gates of the city of Verdun, even though the city is only a mass of ruins at the present time.
For the records of the Research Society I will enclose you a copy of the Register by States and the number of members present from each one and also a copy of the program which we had printed in Paris for the evening's entertainment.
We as a club have no way of thanking Grand Master Schoonover for the generous contribution of $500.00 that he sent to us. At first there was a moment of breathless surprise from all the boys and then a feeling as if one wanted to shout for joy in the thought that we had been so substantially remembered by men of such nationwide reputation in the Masonic world. It came just at a time when we were debating as to how best to raise funds for the grave stones for our other two departed brothers, and a part of this fund was very quickly put to that good cause.
We were originally a small bunch of twenty-seven lonely brothers in a strange land, who were drawn together by the spirit of Freemasonry to hold a meeting for the purpose of forming some kind of a club where we could get together on a social basis and help one another. Consequently we met on the top of a hill adjoining our camp and as it was thickly covered with both English and Scottish Heather we very quickly decided on a name, and by a unanimous vote we adopted the beautiful Scottish Heather as our emblem. Since that time we have grown to a membership of about 350 members and have adopted one French orphan, have our by-laws and officers, and when we are where we can do so, we hold regular weekly meetings.
Nearly all of the commissioned officers of the regiment are members of the Fraternity and of the Club and enjoy meeting with us whenever it is possible for them to do so.
We are greatly in hopes that the Regiment will be allowed to return to Chicago intact and to be mustered out there and we hope to have a big meeting and banquet in some lodge room and confer what we call the 34th and 35th degrees on some past master or other worthy brother, and at the same time perfect a plan by which we can keep our Club alive and hold yearly meetings somewhere and not die with our discharge from the Army.
States and membership represented at the open meeting of the Heather Hill Masonic Club, held at Verdun-sur-Meuse, France, Januarv 23. 1919
Alabama 4 Montana 3
Arkansas 6 Maryland 1
California 3 Michigan 5
Colorado 5 New Jersey 1
Florida 1 Nebraska 3
Georgia 1 New Hampshire 1
Idaho 1 Oregon 1
Illinois 50 Ohio 6
Indiana 5 Oklahoma 8
Iowa 27 Pennsylvania 9
Kansas 46 South Dakota 1
Kentucky 2 Tennessee 4
Louisiana 1 Texas 5
Maine 1 Utah 1
Massachusetts 2 Virginia 1
Minnesota 3 Washington 1
Missouri 6 West Virginia 2
Mississippi 3 Wisconsin 7
District of Columbia 1 Wyoming 2
Serg't. A. G. Wyant, Secretary,
Co. B. 13th Engrs. Ry. A. E. F.
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A COSMOPOLITAN LODGE MEETING
A unique lodge notice has been sent to us by a Philippine member of the Society. Our brother calls our attention to the various nationalities represented, stating that among them are Americans, Filipinos, Spaniards, Englishmen, Scotchmen and "a Kentuckian." We wonder if the representatives of the twelve Grand Jurisdictions each insisted upon using the "work" of their respective Jurisdictions. If they did so and were afterward treated in the same manner by the members of the local lodge as is a certain brother we have in mind who occasionally tells the Iowa brethren "how he used to do it in Colorado," we are certain that the "fourth degree" was a very interesting one.
The lodge issuing the notice is "Mactan Lodge No. 30, F. & A M.," Iocated at Cebu, Cebu, P.I.; the date March 5th, 1919, and the occasion "Stated Meeting and Third Degree." The line-up is as follows:
Master Walter A. Smith, Past Master,
Cosmos No. 8, Manila, P. I.
Senior Warden William R. Giberson, Past Master,
Cebu No. 1106, Cebu, P. I.
Junior Warden Theodore H. Robinson,
Victoria-Columbia No. 1, B. C.
Senior Deacon John Moran,
Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
Junior Deacon C. E. McAdams,
Prairie No. 546, Missouri.
Senior Steward Samuel J. Wright,
Ionic No. 254, Kansas.
Junior Steward M. E. Clelland,
Southern Cross No. 6, Manila, P. I.
Chaplain Henry U. Umstad,
Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
Organist E. M. Hayward,
Zetland No. 525, E. C., Hongkong.
Tyler Victorino Reynes,
Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
M. P. Alger, Remsen No. 677, New York.
L. S. Boggess, Anderson No. 90, Kentucky.
Dr. W. R. Martin, Khuram No. 112, Minnesota.
Carter Johnston, Corregidor No. 3, Manila, P. I.
William E. Crowe, Salsbury No. 411, Indiana.
H. P. Strickler, Lents No. 156, Oregon.
S. Frazer, Manila No. 1, Manila, P. I.
A. R. Furrer, Perla del Oriente No. 1034, Manila, P. I.
L. J. Francisco, Corregidor No. 3, Manila, P. I.
E. A. Kingcome, Wellington No. 301, England.
Santiago Franco, Makabugwas No. 48, Tacloban, Leyte, P. I.
Dr. N. T. Deen, Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
J. Clayton Nichols, Past Master, Mesa No. 55, Colorado.
Joseph Parrot, St. Johns No. 9, Manila, P. I.
J. J. J. Addenbrooke, Laflin No. 247, Wisconsin.
* * *
A MASONIC MEETING WORTHY OF EMULATION
In that part of the Grand Jurisdiction known as the Big Horn Basin the Masons have established the custom of holding joint communications in which all the lodges located in the basin are invited to participate. At these joint communications candidates are initiated in each of the three degrees and the work exemplified in full. At the close of the work a program is carried out which includes the discussion of subjects of Masonic interest.
The general management of the meetings is under the direction of a Masters' Club which arranges the program and assigns to each lodge its particular part. The officers of this Club also pass on the quality and efficiency of the work as done by the different lodges. The program of our meeting held on March twentieth is appended.
Big Horn Basin Lodges
A. F. & A. M.
Basin, Wyoming, March 20th, 1919
Afternoon Session, 4 P.M.
Opening Greybull Lodge No. 34
Music by Quartette
Conferring Absarokee Lodge No. 30
Catechetical Lecture Absarokee Lodge No. 30
Music by Quartette
Long Lectures Greybull Lodge No. 34
Closing Greybull Lodge No. 34
Dinner, 6 P. M. at Antlers Hotel.
Evening Session, 7 P. M.
Music by VanSlyke Quartette
F. C. Degree
Opening Cloud Peak Lodge No. 27
Conferring Malta Lodge No. 17
W. S. Lecture Cloud Peak Lodge No. 27
Catechetical Lecture Malta Lodge No. 17
Closing Cloud Peak Lodge No. 27
M. M. Degree
Opening Shoshone Lodge No. 21
Conferring Temple Lodge No. 20
Catechetical Lecture Temple Lodge No. 20
Long Lectures Shoshone Lodge No. 21
Closing Shoshone Lodge No. 21
Lunch will be served at the lodge hall immediately after closing.
E. J. Sullivan, Toastmaster
Address of Welcome S. Skovgard
Temple Lodge No. 20
Response Guy Gay
Malta Lodge No. 17
Address A. K. Lee, Dep. G. M.
Masonry and the Reconstruction Era Paul Moss
Greybull Lodge No. 34
Masonry, Ancient and Modern M. H. Smith
Shoshone Lodge No. 2t
Problems of Rapid Growth C. G. Caldwell
Absarokee Lodge No. 30
The Brotherhood of Masonry Rev. Wm. Gorst
Cloud Peak Lodge No. 27
Announcement of Awards
S. Skovgard, Wyoming.
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GETTING AWAY FROM THE DEGREE MILL GRIND
Herewith is a clipping from a little magazine published by the Hollenbeck Lodge of Los Angeles, Calif. We are very glad to print this because it shows that one more lodge is awakening to the urgent necessity of Masonic study. Masonic study has not much to do with solving problems of Ancient History but it has much indeed to do with the awakening of our Fraternity to its present day mission and obligation.
A great many of our members have at different times asked to have different things in Masonry explained. Why do we do so and so? What is the meaning of this or that? What are Masonic traditions, and how are they handed down? Most of us are too ignorant or too lazy to look them up for ourselves, but we have several Masonic scholars in Los Angeles who have studied on the subjects, and are able to talk on them in a very interesting manner. Now, my suggestion is that we get up a series of lectures or talks by as many as we can of these men for the benefit of the members of Hollenbeck Lodge, and any other Masons in good standing, who desire to attend. I personally suggest that it might be well to have a dinner at six o'clock on our stated meeting nights, and charge those who attend thirty cents each to cover the expense, then at 6:30 have the talk for thirty to forty-five minutes, preceding the business session. I would like to get an expression from the different ones what they think of it. We might, if it seems to meet with the approval of enough to make it worth while, have our first dinner and talk on the stated meeting night of May. Let us hear from our membership, and if they want these dinners and talks, I feel sure we can arrange to have them.
M.A. Bresee. Los Angeles, Calif.
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