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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 11 - number 2
On Making a Mason at Sight
WE addressed to a number of well informed brethren this question: "Do you consider it legitimate, in view of ancient Masonic usages, laws and landmarks, for a Grand Master to Make a Mason at Sight?" Below are printed a number of the replies, along with two or three items added by Ye Editor. Other views and reviews of this question will be welcomed, possibly for future publication; it is a problem that cuts deeply into the principles of Masonic jurisprudence, for it opens up the very much mooted question of a Grand Master's prerogatives. A number of discussions of the theme will be found in back numbers of this journal.
AS you have qualified your question, I answer, unhesitatingly, No! There is no ancient Masonic usage, or law, or landmark of which I have any knowledge, that either authorizes or justifies the Making of Masons at Sight.
The so-called "prerogative" of the Grand Master, to Make Masons at Sight, is certainly not a "landmark", for, as far as I am aware, it does not now belong to Grand Masters (universally), and never has belonged to them, and besides, the Grand Master is a "modern invention." S. H. GOODWIN, Grand Secretary, Utah.
OF QUESTIONABLE PROPRIETY.
It may be legitimate, in view of usage or express Masonic law in certain Grand Jurisdictions, for a Grand Master to Make a Mason at Sight--but it is of very questionable propriety. Every candidate should pass through the portals of Masonry as all have done who have gone this way before. The scrutiny of investigation and ballot should not be relaxed for anyone. Acquaintance and experiences with scores of Grand Masters convince me that they are not sufficiently infallible to be permitted to exercise such a "prerogative."
The framers of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Iowa evidently realized that some among its coming Grand Masters might be prone to err, and expressly provides "a limitation upon any prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons otherwise than in the manner prescribed by law, and in a regularly constituted Lodge." FRANK S. MOSES, P. G. M., Iowa.
IT IS LEGITIMATE.
If, when publishing the symposium, you would make it clear that this phrase really means conferring upon some eminent citizen, who has signified his desire to join us, an honorary membership in our Order generally, in "an occasional lodge," called into being for that object alone, then I would say that it is a legitimate privilege of the office of Grand Master--to be exercised with the discretion we expect from such a trusted officer.
It is true that the conditions attendant upon this action in the eighteenth century no longer exist. Our Order has become popular and honorable, so that we no longer need to scramble for "some nobleman to act as Grand Master." But there still are noble men, whose earlier years contained no opportunity--possibly no inclination--to knock at our doors. Why should we not recognize their services to humanity as do the universities; leaving to their own choice their honoring some constituent lodge by affiliating with it?
N. W. J. HAYDON, Associate Editor, Toronto.
LEGITIMATE IF CORRECTLY INTERPRETED.
If "to Make Masons at Sight" be understood as meaning that a Grand Master may take a profane aside privately and make him a Mason, I should unhesitatingly say it was against the general trend of opinion and tradition among Masons in all countries and all times so far as we have record; although power to do so has been claimed, and probably at times exercised, by holders of certain High Degrees.
If, however, the phrase be taken in the sense that a Grand Master may summon a sufficient number of Masons, and with them form a lodge, and in that lodge initiate a candidate without the regular formalities of investigation, it is within his right, as in so doing he only exercises in one case the general dispensatory powers that inhere in his office, where not specifically limited by constitution or statute.
The Grand Master is the sole inheritor of the powers once common to all Master Masons, and in an institution founded on antiquity such a traditional right ought to be maintained, and exercised in special cases where the character and position of the candidate, and the general circumstances, combine to make it appropriate and beneficial to the Craft.
R. J. MEEKREN, Associate Editor, Quebec.
DOUBTS THE PROPRIETY.
A Grand Lodge, undoubtedly, has power to make its own laws; if it sees fit to delegate its authority to its Grand Master, then the acts of its Grand Master are legal until disapproved by the Grand Lodge.
There seems to be no question as to whether the Ancient Landmarks permitted such power, provided each individual case met with the general approval of the Craft; however, it must be remembered that the ceremony of today is much different from that of two hundred years ago.
Your question does not involve the question of "propriety," which I think of even more importance than "legitimacy." Personally, I do not favor the "Making of Sight Masons," believe no particular good results therefrom, and that the recipient of such honors later regrets the manner in which he received the Degrees. If the "Making at Sight" consisted in the simple waiver of ballot by the Grand Master, it might serve a useful purpose, but most Americans look on special privileges and autocratic power as anything else than Masonic.
RAY V. DENSLOW, Associate Editor, Missouri.
THE PRACTICE IS QUESTIONABLE.
Grand Masters have no inherent rights and no prerogatives not expressly delegated to them by Grand Lodges. To be made a Mason, one must go through the forms and ceremonies and travel the road that all others have traveled before him. There are no short cuts; equality demands that none receive special preference. If Masons were ever Made at Sight, as we now understand the term, in the eighteenth century, the practice certainly has no place in American Masonry today.
I note that Pennsylvania is one of the states claiming Making at Sight as a prerogative of the Grand Master. And yet a regulation provides that a Mason Made at Sight does not become a member of the lodge he may be made in but must apply by petition and be regularly elected. This is a curious situation.
If one seeks to invest Grand Masters with romantic ideas as to the antiquity of their office and to further invest them with prerogatives that the Grand Masters of Orders of Knighthood and crowned heads once exercised, then one would insist our Grand Masters had such power. But this is hardly the right conception. Nor can we be sure that before Dermott's time the instances of degrees being conferred in "occasional lodges" was identical with "Making at Sight." Dermott, of course, had no more authority to incorporate his reference to the matter than you or I, unless the practice had existed.
I should say the practice is questionable and if it were not, present day conditions would be better served by Grand Lodges forbidding--as many of them do--the thing in their Jurisdictions. A. L. KRESS, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania.
IT IS SOMETIMES NECESSARY.
If we look into the history of the Masonic organization we discover that the Grand Master within the Masonic sphere had almost supreme power, being in a sense a Masonic monarch. He had the undisputed right to act for the Craft and in the name of the Craft in any affair not contrary to the ancient landmarks. A man having the proper qualifications and recommendations might have become a Mason at heart, but be so situated that passing through the Rites would be burdensome. A man of great distinction might be so involved in public affairs of particular interest to Masons that initiation would not be easy. A Grand Master contemplating the case and desiring to honor the individual, whom he knew was of Masonic mind and who had made a verbal or regular petition, might assume the right to declare such a candidate "a Mason at Sight," providing the candidate of his own free will had made some form of a petition and promised obedience.
With the proper avowal of the candidate, the Grand Master possesses full authority to convene seven or more brethren in an occasional lodge and to confer the Degrees. He may then dissolve the lodge. All this would be within the bounds of the ancient Landmarks. Cases of this kind demonstrate the right of the Grand Master to himself do what he has the power to delegate by dispensation, and the fact that a Grand Master can grant a dispensation or revoke it shows that the power proceeds from the Grand Master. In this sense the Grand Master is supreme in his power.
Making Masons at Sight has never been a common practice, nor should it be. That the right has never been abused reflects great credit upon those who have been chosen to preside over our Grand Bodies. Instances of Making Masons at Sight by order of the Grand Master are akin to instances where universities exercise the right to grant honorary degrees upon those found worthy and well qualified, save for the fact that a Mason is always a full Mason, once so declared (unless he lose his status by expulsion or otherwise), and that there is no such thing as an honorary Mason. ARTHUR C. PARKER, Associate Editor, New York.
NOT ILLEGITIMATE, BUT
While it is not inconsistent with ancient Masonic usages, laws and landmarks for a Grand Master to Make a Mason "at Sight", yet it is poor policy to do so.
It is poor policy for a Grand Master to exercise this obsolescent prerogative since it sets at naught the lessons of equality, which is supposed to be one of the fundamental principles of Masonry, inculcated at the closing of every American lodge by one of our great symbols, the Level.
It is an injury to the Mason so made as it deprives him of the experience and knowledge which is his due and which comes to him only in passing through the Degrees. Former President Taft, who was so made, is reported to have expressed his regret that he did not receive his Degrees in the regular way.
Under ancient conditions, it is conceivable that an architect or sculptor arising to eminence in an out of the way locality, where there was no lodge, might be Made a Mason "at Sight" by a Grand Master; but the necessity no longer exists in this age of rapid intercommunication.
Grand Lodges should legislate on this matter and limit the exercise of this prerogative except in the rarest of instances and only when, for some reason, it is impossible for the recipient to follow the usual course. CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, Editor The Master Mason, California.
IT IS LEGITIMATE.
Making a Mason at Sight seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate use of the power and prerogative vested in the office of Grand Master. We must always remember that there is such a thing as the Grand Master's prerogative clearly implied, if not explicitly stated in the Old Constitutions. That is to say, the powers of a Grand Master inhere in the office; they are not conferred and cannot be limited by Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge chooses the incumbent of the office, that is all.
There is no question that a Grand Master has the right to create a lodge by dispensation and to dissolve the same at his will and pleasure. There is no question that a Grand Master has the right to summon a particular lodge at any time and to preside therein. A Mason is Made "at Sight," or "in an occasional lodge" (a phrase of equivalent meaning), in a specially summoned regular lodge or in a lodge specially created for that purpose.
The only debatable feature about it is the Grand Master's dispensation waiving the usual formalities of the ballot. This I take to be within the dispensing powers of the Grand Master. In my opinion the dispensing power of a Grand Master is limited only by the Ancient Landmarks. I fail to see that the usages concerning the ballot, though to a large extent the common law of Masonry, can properly be called landmarks. So far as usage is concerned, the practice can be traced in organized Masonry back to 1731.
It only remains to be said that Making a Mason at Sight is an extraordinary use of an extraordinary power, usually held in reserve and never to be used except on extraordinary occasions. Should a sufficiently extraordinary occasion arise, it seems to me to be perfectly legitimate for a Grand Master so to use it. FREDERICK W. HAMILTON, Grand Secretary, Mass.
IT VIOLATES THE PRINCIPLE OF EQUALITY.
The views held by the individual Mason on this question will be controlled by his view of the general body of old statutes and customs of the Craft. The practical question for present day Masonry is not so much what did the Craft do three hundred years ago, as it is, What is the spirit and genius of twentieth century American Masonry?
Personally, I am no stickler for the letter of the Masonic law. By this I mean, that if we follow the letter of the original law, many practices in modern Masonry are indefensible. Most Grand Jurisdictions in America have accommodated the original statutes to their own conditions. This being true this old practice, which had its practical purpose, ought to be approached in the modern spirit. Our only defense of this practice of Making a Mason at Sight is as an honorary measure. Now, this is a delicate matter, the conferring of this unique honor on any living man.
Too often the temptation is to honor politicians and financial givers The honors that have been conferred under this particular landmark fall almost entirely under these two heads. Consequently the ancient intent has been replaced by a totally different purpose.
Masonry prides itself that every member is traveling upon a highway along which every other good and worthy brother has traveled before him. Yet this practice violates that very assertion.
Masonry prides itself that it regards no man for his worldly wealth or honors, and that it regards the internal and not the external characteristics of a postulant. No man should obtain Masonic light along any other path than that which bears the footsteps of the vast host of Craftsmen.
It is a prerogative that most Grand Masters rightly regard as obsolete and refrain from using. Their common sense controls them and they decline to become parties to a virtual relinquishment of the outstanding glory of the Institution, namely, its fundamental principle that "we meet upon the level, and we part upon the square."
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania.
IT IS AN ANCIENT LANDMARK.
The matter of the propriety and legality of Making a Mason at Sight appears to be a perennial topic for Masonic discussion, and there have been many earnest advocates upon both sides of the question.
The consensus of opinion is that it is one of those procedures which are lawful, but not expedient, except under extraordinary conditions. There can be no doubt as to its legality within those Grand Jurisdictions whose constitutions expressly include it among the "prerogatives of the Grand Master," and it would also appear to be proper and legal in any other Grand Jurisdictions whose Constitution does not expressly forbid it.
The prerogative of the Grand Master to Make Masons at Sight is enumerated by Mackey as the eighth of the Ancient Landmarks. The work "Landmark" indicates something which is unchangeable, immutable. Neither this Landmark, nor any of the others, can be repealed or considered as "obsolete". The injunction rests upon us all to "carefully preserve in their integrity the Ancient Landmarks." Dermott (True Ahiman Rezon) says: "The R. W. Grand Master has full power and authority to make, or cause to be made in his presence, Free and Accepted Masons, and such making is good."
Every Grand Lodge, however, possesses the inherent right to determine for itself whether it is, or is not, expedient for the Grand Master to exercise this ancient prerogative at this time, and many have decided in the negative. Probably much of the criticism of the exercise of this prerogative by a Grand Master has arisen through misunderstanding of the procedure followed by the Grand Master on such occasions.
THE CEREMONY IS DESCRIBED.
If it were only a brief, almost instantaneous action, practically only the utterance of a mere fiat of the Grand Master, similar to the creation of a knight in the days of chivalry, where the King simply struck the soldier on the left shoulder with a sword, saying: "I dub thee knight," then this procedure could be very justly criticised and condemned. But it is not done in this perfunctory and informal manner. On the contrary, the obligations are given, the secret work fully explained, the working tools and the apron presented in the usual manner, and the Charge delivered. The only feature lacking is that the ballot may be omitted, but as such a Mason must become affiliated later, he then must pass the "scrutiny of the ballot", thus completing all the usual formalities.
Mackey says: "The Making of a Mason at Sight is a technical term, meaning the power to initiate, pass and raise candidates by the Grand Master in a 'Lodge of Emergency,' or as it is called in Anderson's Book of Constitutions, an 'Occasional Lodge,' specially convened by him and consisting of such Master Masons as he may call together for that purpose only, the Lodge ceasing to exist as soon as the initiation, passing and raising has been accomplished, and the brethren dismissed by the Grand Master."
The right of the Grand Master to constitute new lodges "under dispensation" has never been questioned, nor the right of such lodges to legally confer the Degrees, and yet such lodges are the mere creatures of the Grand Master, for it is within his power at any time to revoke the dispensation and dissolve the lodge. It should follow that with such power to thus enable others to confer the Degrees and make Masons by his authority, but out of his presence, the Grand Master has also the right to congregate seven or more Masons with himself and cause a Mason to be made in his presence, or in his sight, dissolving such "Emergency Lodge" when the work for which it was convened is accomplished. FRANK W. HENDLEY, P. G. M., Ohio.
IT IS THE LODGE'S RIGHT TO SELECT ITS OWN MATERIAL.
The question of Making Masons at Sight has often been discussed and there still remains difference of opinion as to whether it should be done, and even whether a Grand Master is not exceeding his authority in so doing.
The prerogative of Making Masons at Sight is given in the eighth landmark in Mackey's list, and is so regarded by a very large percentage of Masonic jurists. The opinion of the writer is that all the so-called prerogatives of a Grand Master are not vital fundamental principles of Freemasonry, but are usages and customs which ought not to be set aside without very careful consideration and due deliberation, but that they are not of such vital importance as to be considered as unalterable landmarks.
I have been unable to find any reference to the Making of Masons at Sight earlier than the mention made in Dermott's Ahiman Rezon. The third edition contains the following regulation:
"Apprentices must be admitted fellow crafts and masters only here, unless by dispensation from the grand master."
A note to the above regulation reads:
"This is a very ancient regulation, but seldom put in practice; new masons being generally made at private lodges; however the right worshipful grand master has full power and authority to make, or cause to be made in his worship's presence, free and accepted masons at sight, and such making is good. But they cannot be made out of his worship's presence, without a written dispensation for that purpose. Nor can his worship oblige any warranted lodge to receive the persons so made if the members should declare against him or them; but, in such case, the right worshipful grand master may grant them a warrant and form them into a new lodge." (Page 109 Ahiman Rezon --American edition 1805; from 3rd London ed.)
It is evident that the custom has plenty of precedent to entitle it to be considered an established usage, yet it has been productive of such severe criticism that very few Grand Masters ever attempt to exercise it. The prerogatives which Grand Masters may lawfully claim by virtue of long established usage are many and in this particular case conflicting with other equally well established usage. It is even a more definitely established custom which has been written into the laws of most jurisdictions that no man can be made a Mason until after due inquiry and the ordeal of the ballot. Making Masons at Sight is a disregard of this very important law', and most Grand Masters are eager to see all the laws enforced and would refrain from using a prerogative which would conflict with so vital a usage as the right of a lodge to determine the fitness of the material in its jurisdiction.
The fact that very few Masons have ever been made at sight would indicate that there is very little danger of its being used to any extent. One distinguished brother who was so made a few years ago has publicly announced that if he had known just what it meant at the time he would have insisted on taking the same course as all others take.
SILAS II. SHEPHERD, Chairman Masonic Research Committee, Wisconsin.
[EDITOR'S NOTE]--In connection with Bro. Shepherd's reference to Mackey it will be in place here to quote a paragraph from Mackey's disquisition on his list of landmarks as published in Vol. II, The American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry (1859) where, on page 235, he says:
The prerogative of the Grand Master to Make Masons at Sight is a landmark which is closely connected with the preceding one. There has been much misapprehension in relation to this landmark, which misapprehension has sometimes led to a denial of its existence in jurisdictions where the Grand Master was perhaps at the very time substantially exercising the prerogative, without the slightest remark or opposition. It is not to be supposed that the Grand Master can retire with a profane into a private room, and there, without assistance, confer the degrees of Freemasonry upon him. No such prerogative exists, and yet many believe that this is the so much talked of right of "Making Masons at Sight." The real mode and the only mode of exercising the prerogative is this:
The Grand Master summons to his assistance not less than six other Masons, convenes a lodge, and without any previous probation, but on sight of the candidate. confers the degrees upon him, after which he dissolves the lodge, and dismisses the brethren. Lodges thus convened for special purposes are called "occasional lodges."
This is the only way in which any Grand Master within the records of the institution has ever been known to "Make a Mason at Sight." The prerogative is dependent upon that of granting dispensations to open and hold lodges. If the Grand Master has the power of granting to any other Mason the privilege of presiding over lodges working by his dispensation, he may assume this privilege of presiding to himself; and as no one can deny his right to revoke his dispensation granted to a number of brethren at a distance, and to dissolve the lodge at his pleasure it will scarcely be contended that he may not revoke his dispensation for a lodge over which he himself has been presiding within a day, and dissolve the lodge as soon as the business for which he had assembled it is accomplished. The Making of Masons at Sight is only the conferring of the degrees by the Grand Master, at once, in an occasional lodge, constituted by his dispensing power for the purpose, and over which he presides in person.
ONE OF THE GRAND MASTER'S CHIEF PREROGATIVES.
"Do you consider it legitimate, in view of ancient Masonic usages, laws and landmarks, for a Grand Master to Make a Mason at Sight?"
The above question which you submit to me could be answered in one word, but I take it that what you want is, not only my opinion, but my reasons for holding that opinion.
For nearly half a century I have held the conception of the structure of Masonry as follows:
Masonry is the Brotherhood of man, under the Fatherhood of God. Its government illustrates this by the Craft choosing from among there own number one to be Grand Master. That one has absolute power, which power is freely given to illustrate the absolute power of God. Thus our Grand Lodges are at one and the same time, each a perfect democracy self-governed through an absolute autocracy.
That, in ancient times, it was always considered a prerogative of a Grand Master to Make a Mason at Sight, or to be more definite, to make a Mason by the exercise of his own will, is not to be disputed.
I hold that a Grand Master has prerogatives which no man or body of men can take away. This is one of the chief of them.
It is sometimes argued in these modern times that as a Grand Lodge makes a man Grand Master, it has the right to define his powers. Were it not that ours is a peculiar institution with no parallel, this might be true, but to put this idea into action would be to degrade ours, the oldest and most dignified of organizations known among men, into the level of modern societies without number. It would no longer be ancient Masonry. Virginia Masonry holds that, once chosen and installed, a Grand Master has powers inherent in the office, antedating the organization of Grand Lodges, which cannot be denied him. Disputed as it sometimes is, the fact remains that Masonic organization existed before 1717, else where did those "four old lodges" come from ?
True, previous to that time no records, save in Scotland, were kept, and we must rely on tradition. Tradition always has some foundation in fact and is frequently more reliable than written history.
Tradition sustains the statement that for ages it was customary for the Masons to meet in General Assembly once a year for the express purpose of choosing a Grand Master. In England this was done at York, from which fact the opposition to the innovation of the organization of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717 arose.
So that since Grand Masters have existed before Grand Lodges, the latter have no right to abrogate any power inherent in the office.
Freely granting that Grand Masters have the prerogative under discussion, which has frequently been exercised here without dispute, I, when Grand Master, on being asked to Make a man a Mason at Sight, refused. My reason was that under modern conditions it was not, nor perhaps would ever again, be necessary. I made the man, an officer of the army then in Cuba, a Mason by the following process:
He being well known by a large part of the membership of one of our lodges, I gave that lodge a special dispensation to entertain and act on his petition at a special communication called for the purpose, of which meeting and its purpose every member should have notice. I attended the communication and took part in his regular initiation, passing and raising.
St. Paul said, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient." The power does exist, but should not be exercised, unless occasionally for the sole purpose of maintaining the prerogative. JOSEPH W. EGGLESTON, P. G. M., Grand Treasurer, Virginia.
NOT PROPERLY A LANDMARK.
This interesting "prerogative" does not occur often, and in the interval we are likely to forget the details. It is wrongly named; it is not ephemeral as its name intimates, but is, in reality, but an abbreviation of the service. The postulant receives all the esoteric service, and is required to post up on the monitorial part later. Many earnest, enthusiastic Masons have thought that the process eliminates interesting, or important, parts of the work, and have been much opposed to it. But, instead of it being in the class of miracles which enabled Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead, it is but a "prerogative" which enables the Grand Master to abrogate the Constitution, by-laws and installation services, which we are obliged to abide by.
Our first impressions are the most enduring; on our admission to an E. A. Lodge we are led to believe that all good brothers and fellows have gone this way before, and we believe that all who follow will follow the same way.
This prerogative of the Grand Master has never been disputed, and time has sanctioned it; but its adoption as a landmark is debatable. We are obliged to bow in submission to Landmarks, but we are at liberty to question the authority of a modern Mason to coin Landmarks. Bro. George Fleming Moore Past Sov. Grand Commander of the A. A. S. R. S. J., records Lord Lovell's making a Mason at Sight of the Duke of Lorraine and the Emperor of Germany as early as 1731; and in 1766 the Duke of Gloucester was made a Mason at Sight; and a year later the Duke of Cumberland enjoyed the same honor; and, in this country, the prerogative has been extended only to very distinguished personages. It would be, we think, interesting to know the origin of the prerogative. In the installation of the Master of a lodge, he is required to agree that no man, nor body of men, are at liberty to make innovations in the body of Masonry. The by-laws of every lodge provide that the character and eligibility of every petitioner shall be examined by a committee, after which the lodge shall set in judgment on the petitioner, and these by-laws are scrutinized and ratified by the Grand Lodge; and yet, in his prerogative, the Grand Master is at liberty to abrogate these very important points:
"Consistency, thou art a jewel."
IT IS ATTRIBUTED TO MACKEY
This Landmark came into our Constitution from the writings of the very distinguished Brother Mackey, who lived long after "the original plan of Masonry" was formulated, and, in the mind of the writer, it is out of place. A dictionary definition of the word will tell us that it comes from the two words "land" and "mark," and is a mark to designate the boundary of land: a fixed object, as a stone or a tree; a ditch; a heap of stones by which the limits of a farm or town or other portions of territory may be known and preserved; but a sailor's definition is "any elevated object on land which will guide a seaman."
The eighth Landmark of Mackey says:
"There has been much apprehension in relation to this Landmark, which apprehension has led to a denial of its existence in jurisprudence where the Grand Master was perhaps, at the very time substantially exercising the prerogative, without the slightest remark or opposition.
"It is not to be supposed that the Grand Master can retire with a profane into a private room and there, without assistance, confer the degrees of Freemasonry upon him. No such prerogative exists, and yet many believe that this is the so much talked of right of 'making a Mason at Sight.' The real mode, and the only one, of exercising the prerogative is this:
"The Grand Master summons to his assistance six other masons, convenes a lodge, and, without any previous probation but on sight of the candidate, confers the degrees upon him, after which he dissolves the lodge and dismisses the brethren . . . . "
We trust we are not going too far when we say that the name of this ceremony, "on sight," is wrong, or that it is not proper to call it a Landmark as it is so evident an innovation.
Human nature has never changed. Our thoughts of today have been the thoughts of countless thousands. What comes to us easy is, and ever has been, less appreciated than what we earn by effort. The distinguished individual who is made a Mason by this wonderful "sight" method realizes the compliment, but he will not respect it so much as if he had been inducted into the Order in the regular way.
Mr. Cleveland said "a public office is a public trust," and we think the principle applies as much to a Grand Master as to any municipal office bearer. That Grand Master has made all the promises any Master has made, upon installation, and has sat in judgment on the by-laws of lodges. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M., District of Columbia.
"MASONS OUGHT TO BE ON THE LEVEL"
Your symposium requests opinions regarding the Ancient prerogative of the Grand Master to Make Masons at Sight. Is there really such a prerogative sufficiently firmly established as to constitute a Landmark of the Order in the American Rite? Ought there to be such a power resting in the office of Grand Master, or any other man? If so, what limits ought to be set to it ? Supposing such a power to exist at present, is it now limited at all or can the Grand Master, if he so wills, invite in all his friends without regard to their eligibility under the laws, such for instance, a cripple or a woman? Must he have these parties initiated in the regular ritualistic manner or can he simply communicate the secrets and give the party a certificate that he is now a Freemason? Whatever may have been conditions in former times, we doubt if there is now any necessity existing in the Order today to Make Masons at Sight.
This is far more applicable to other Rites than the regular American, or what is known as the York Rite. At one time there were several Rites which existed in a great measure on paper. The Grand Master originated the Rite and bestowed his official privileges on whom he pleased or thought worthy. He could make a man an Inspector General with authority to establish working bodies and communicate doctrines and secrets according to his own will. Or it was quite possible for the grand council of an institution so formed to authorize men to pass their authority on to others. Here the entire Order would consist of such Masons made solely by certificate and seal and communication of passwords and signs, its objects being purely political or educational.
In our own Rite, at this period, and here in the United States, we can see no necessity or use for such a prerogative, but to show off. In some ways such a prerogative resembles the pardoning power of the Governor of the state. It is a privilege on the part of the officer to set aside the laws of the institution either governmental or fraternal and substitute in their place the will and wisdom of the particular officer. In the case of the law of the land, the legislatures create so many unjust and foolish laws that it is almost necessary that there exist a power of some kind that can interpose and prevent in a measure the harm and injustice they might work. The power placed in the hands of the ordinary Governor makes a farce of the laws, in nearly every case. He thinks it in his right to commute or annul every sentence that the courts pronounce. It is a very expensive job to detect and arrest criminals; a still more expensive and difficult job to indict and convict them; and after this is done the Governor makes all this expense useless and waste.
OUR LAWS NEED REVISION
We are of the opinion that there ought to be somewhere in the Order a power that could arrest and set aside some of our own foolish laws, and prevent their harmful effect; but there does not seem to be any chance to vest such a power save in the matter of annulling the laws made and provided for admitting and instructing Masons. Of all these laws there is none more salutary than that one requiring a month's delay or consideration of a petition; two months would be better than one. This would not only be sufficient to prevent bad material, but would enable men to avoid mistakes in identity which cause used so many black balls and consequent injustice and ill feeling. In every case where this prerogative has been exercised in recent years, it was prompted by vanity and it implied that the initiatory ceremony in itself was of the nature of an imposition-which the illustrious candidate was thereby enabled to avoid-instead of an honor and something very desirable. The valuable thing is thus made subservient to the financial consideration even though it be the eleemosynary view of it. The illustrious gentleman thereby made a Mason is expected to raise the Order in the estimation of the people in the city or town, just as the Royal Family adds to the social importance of the Order in England. We believe Masons ought to be on the Level as well as on the Square. Grand Masters should hold Masons more honorable than any outside the Order. The man who is led to think that he confers an honor on Masonry by coming into it, should be at once undeceived and never encouraged in the notion. R. C. BLACKMER, Missouri.
FAR WESTERN MASONRY OPPOSES.
The doctrine that a Grand Master may Make a Mason at Sight has never been popular in the Far Western lodges of the United states, where the level of all men before the Masonic altar is insisted upon as an undeniable Landmark of the Craft. It appears to be foreign to the genius of the Fraternity, as understood by the Far Western mind, and arguments in support of the doctrine have always been regarded as specious rather than convincing and as bearing all the marks of having been composed after the fact, and as a defense of the act itself. Civilized man knows almost intuitively what is right and what is wrong, even if he cannot explain in so many words how he knows it. Similarly, the great body of Masons in the Far Western states feel that for any Grand Master to set aside the rules of the Fraternity to such an extent as to deprive members of a lodge of their right to vote upon an application, and further to make a farce of the examination as to proficiency before advancing a candidate from degree to degree, is contrary to the traditions.
Craftsmen who are well acquainted with what Dermott wrote on this subject, who know that the Duke of Lorraine, the Duke of Newcastle and several members of the British Royal Family have been given all the degrees at once, and who are told in Mackey's Encyclopedia that William Howard Taft, John Wanamaker, Charles W. Fairbanks and Admiral Schley have been made "Masons at Sight," do not change their opinions because of the noteworthy character and standing of these men. When Mr. Taft, then President-Elect of the United states, was thus dignified by a Grand Master, there are many Masons who recall the wave of what was closely akin to resentment that was observable in the lodges throughout the country, and in lodge discussions like criticisms were noted at the action of a Grand Master last year in making a Protestant Episcopal Bishop a Mason in a similar manner. As long ago as 1870, the Grand Lodge of Nevada, at the time composed of leading men of all professions and students of Craft history and jurisprudence, all of them raised in other jurisdictions and thus fairly reflecting the views of American Masonry, felt called upon to adopt a resolution on this question, in which it said:
"It is the sense and the opinion of this Grand Lodge that the Grand Master does not possess and ought not to exercise the prerogative of making Masons at sight, and that the only way in which any man should be allowed to approach the sacred altar of Masonry is by regular petition to an organized lodge, a report thereon after due inquiry, and a favorable ballot." (See Reports of the Grand Lodge of Nevada, 1870, pages 159; 163.)
IT IS A "STRANGE DOCTRINE"
Time has not altered this opinion in the Grand Lodge of Nevada, nor has any neighboring Masonic jurisdiction displayed leanings toward a contrary view. However ingenious the arguments in favor of Making Masons at Sight may be, most of the leaders of the Craft in this part of the country agree with Robert Freke Gould when he terms it "strange doctrine" (History, Volume II, Page 467.)
GRAND MASTER PERCY IS QUOTED
Past Grand Master A.O. Percy, who ruled over the Craft in Nevada a quarter of a century ago and represented then and now the views of Masonry in the West, holds that the doctrine is wrong. "There should be no distinction between candidates for Masonry," he said, in discussing the question. "If it were otherwise and men of prominence could have the way smoothed for them, profanes would soon consider that our order was seeking to shine, so to speak, by reflected glory, and the dignity of Masonry would be lowered. I have never believed that Grand Masters should make Masons at sight."
"Time was," says Past Grand Master Henry W. Miles in a note to the writer, "when the accolade was given upon the field of battle, but even then the probationary period as page and esquire had been served. If the dignity of Masonry is to be bestowed at sight, the privilege of investiture should only be exercised by Grand Masters of supereminent attainments, men excelling in discriminative powers and of distinctive achievement. Even then the power should be charily used. Better to let all travel the rugged path to the coveted goal."
Brother Miles, it will be observed, questions the advisability of Making Masons at Sight, rather than the authority of a Grand Master in the matter, and Past Grand Master Walter E. Pratt takes a similar view. Says Brother Pratt:
"The right of a Grand Master to Make Masons at Sight has been so long recognized as to be beyond dispute, but it is a practice that by frequent use would become offensive. A Grand Master has no rights excepting the rights of his own Grand Lodge and a Grand Lodge may narrow its own boundaries of authority at any time in conformity to the Ancient Landmarks."
BRO. SILAS E. ROSS OPPOSES
Past Grand Master Silas E. Ross, who has just closed a year of great distinction in the Grand East, does not believe in the doctrine, aside from the specific prohibition in the decisions of the Grand Lodge of Nevada. In discussing the subject he said:
"The two points involved are first the question of 'Is this an act of your own free will and accord?' and, second, the right of ballot. If an individual wants to become a Mason, the solicitation must be upon his part. If he has not initiative enough, he is not worthy of the honor to be conferred. If he is not willing to submit to the same ordeal as his brethren, he is not good material for a Masonic lodge. Making Masons at Sight deprives the individual member of his Masonic right to choose his own associates. For these reasons I do not believe that Making Masons at Sight would be of any benefit to the individual concerned or to the membership of the Fraternity at large. Should this practice become general, it would, in my opinion, tend to make the membership less studious and there would be a lack of appreciation of the valuable tenets of the order. Very often it would lead to internal friction in the subordinate lodges."
ORIGINATED WITH DERMOTT
Gould in his History considers that what he calls "this strange doctrine" is founded upon Dermott's assertion, but possibly Dermott may have copied it from some other and older writer. However, as the matter stands the first assertion of the right to waive for any person the tradition of applying and being regularly reported and voted on in lodge is found in Dermott's statement. In the operative lodges (see under "Making a Mason" in Clegg's Mackey's Revised History) the applicant had to apply and be made in a lodge. But aside from the traditions of the Craft, the by-laws of every lodge in the United States distinctly specify the steps that a candidate must take. He must apply to a lodge for the Degrees, his application must be reported on by a committee, and then it must be voted upon at a stated communication of the lodge. It is true that in the matter of dispensations a Grand Master has large latitude and in Nevada he is empowered to permit balloting upon an application without reference to a committee, but the laws of the Grand Lodge usually designate the particular matters in which he may exercise the dispensatory power.
The weight of opinion, in short, seems to be that the right of a Grand Master to Make Masons at Sight is at least dubious, but that, even admitting he possesses such right, it is injurious to the Craft to exercise it. DAVID E. W. WILLIAMSON, Associate Editor, Nevada.
IT IS A JUST PREROGATIVE OF THE GRAND MASTER
You ask if I consider it legitimate, in view of ancient Masonic usages, laws and landmarks, for a Grand Master to Make a Mason at Sight.
The reasons for the answer to this question cannot be given within a few words. They involve an extensive historical study. Such a study has satisfied me that the Making of Masons at Sight is the prerogative of the Grand Master of which he cannot be deprived without his consent. This power practically is now rapidly becoming obsolete. In Massachusetts it has not been exercised since September, 1827. It is a prerogative, the existence of which should be recognized. No Grand Master, however, who is fully appreciative of his responsibilities ought to exercise this prerogative except under such very extraordinary circumstances as amount practically to absolute necessity.
Had the responsibility for the exercise of this prerogative seemed to me less I should, when Grand Master, have thus made a Mason of my honored father who, though of unimpeachable character, dared not apply for the degrees at his residence (and he scorned the subterfuge of applying elsewhere) because of personal antagonisms arising out of politics and because of his uncomprising and strenuous battles in behalf of moral and religious questions, such as, for instance, total abstinence.
There are a few Jurisdictions where through peaceful, though nevertheless revolutionary action the Grand Master has been degraded to a constitutional officer and has surrendered all of his prerogatives including this one. These jurisdictions have failed to follow the maxim of Vaux that "Freemasonry is a law unto itself." They have unwisely cast aside the advice of the great leaders of the Craft, such as Drummond, who cautioned against regarding the ideas of Masonic Government as derived from the principles of Civil Government.
The Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, in September, 1827, Made a Mason at Sight in the Body of Columbian Lodge. It is referred to in the printed Proceedings of our Grand Lodge for 1871, on page 58, where Judge Gardner, then Grand Master, says that it was the only case in Massachusetts. He was wrong.
On Jan. 31, 1757, the Grand Master called a special communication of the Grand Lodge and the following is a part of the record:
"Our Right Worshipful G. M. acquainted the Lodge that the occasion of this meeting was for to make Capt. Harry Charters, Capt. Gilbert McAdams, aid de Camp Doctor Richard Huch & Mr John Appy, Secy. to the Earl of Loudoun with Mr. John Meivill, Masons, (who came to town from Marblehead with Bro. Lowell on purpose to be made a Mason) which the lodge unanimously agreed to.
"Our Right Worshipful G. M. appointed Bro. Richard Gridley to make the above Five Gentlemen Masons, who were made enter'd Prentices & Pass'd Fellow Crafts."
The Grand Master also exercised this prerogative again in 1758 as shown in our first volume of printed Proceedings, page 55. In other words there have been three occasions when it was done in Massachusetts.
On page 138 of the printed Proceedings of our Grand Lodge for 1871 you will find the report of the committee of our Grand Lodge on this very subject. MELVIN M. JOHNSON, P. G. M., Massachusetts.
[EDITOR'S NOTE]--The Report in Massachusetts Grand Lodge
Proceedings for 1871 reads as follows:
The next point in the order of our arrangement is that of Making Masons "at sight." Your committee had supposed that this subject had long since been disposed of and definitely settled to the satisfaction at least of the Fraternity of this country, and they confess to some surprise that it should have been reopened for discussion by any Grand Lodge in our Masonic confederacy. That there was a time in the history of Masonry when such "makings" were lawful and proper, is indisputable. But as early as 1663 a regulation was adopted by our English Brethren, "that no person of what degree soever, be made or accepted a Freemason unless in a regular Lodge," and at the reorganization of the Fraternity, in 1717, a regular Lodge was declared to be a Lodge "legally authorized to act by Warrant from the Grand Master for the time being"; and still later, in 1753, it was ordered that "no Lodge shall ever make a Mason without due inquiry into his character," or confer more than one degree upon the same candidate at the same meeting, without a dispensation from the Grand Master. And as due inquiry into the character of the candidate could not be made before his name had been submitted to the Lodge, it was subsequently decreed that "no person shall be made a Mason without a regular proposition at one Lodge, and the ballot at the next regular stated Lodge," without a dispensation from a proper authority. This closed up the irregular manner which had previously existed, of making Masons at haphazard, or without the precautions and limitations essential to the prosperity and security of the Institution. Lodges were deprived of the privilege which they undoubtedly at one time possessed, of Making Masons at Sight, or without previous proposition and due inquiry. This restriction, however, has been somewhat modified by the modern practice of evading its severity through the dispensation of the Grand Master, authorizing the calling of a special meeting by summons bearing the name of the candidate to be balloted for at the opening, and if admitted, to proceed at once with the making, giving the three degrees on the same evening. This course is within our own experience, and comes as near Making Masons at Sight as ingenuity can devise. It calls into exercise the extreme power of the Grand Master, who undoubtedly may, by virtue of the ancient prerogative of his office, make or order to be made in his presence, and in a regular Lodge, regularly summoned, and for a special and emergent purpose, a Mason at Sight, dispensing with the previous proposition and due inquiry; he assuming the entire responsibility of the act. Cases of this kind have from time to time occurred in various parts of Europe, and they are not without precedents in our own country. One only has ever occurred within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, and that is so fully described in the letter of the Grand Master to the Grand Lodge of Nevada, that your committee need not recite the circumstances under which it occurred, nor do they deem it necessary to pursue the subject further.
JOHN T. LAWRENCE IS QUOTED
[EDITOR'S NOTE]--One of the most succinct studies of the question in English is found in Bro. John T. Lawrence's By-Ways of Freemasonry, published by A. Lewis, London: On 18th February, 1909, Most Worshipful Brother Hoskinson, Grand Master of Ohio, exercised an alleged prerogative of the Grand Master by making Mr. W. H. Taft a Freemason "At Sight." What the exact course of procedure was is immaterial to the somewhat important question that was raised. It is sufficient to say that Mr. Taft escaped a good deal that ordinary persons have to contend with, including the ballot, and it seems, according to one American Masonic journal, he "climbed over the wall," leaving a somewhat obvious inference to be made; and, according to another, he "penetrated the holy of holies by means of a subterranean." It may be left to the present writer to suggest that there is yet a third way of getting into the Temple, and that is through the roof--when Brother Tyler is nodding.
For the most part, however, the American Masonic press denounced the proceeding as unconstitutional; and some journals, having regard to the exalted rank of the gentleman selected for the exercise of the prerogative, employed terms much more uncomplimentary.
Many of the writers of Masonic antiquities agree in conceding the right of the Grand Master to Make Masons at Sight as a landmark. The present writer (Masonic Jurisprudence, p. 8) refers to the alleged landmark, and the most recent exercise of the prerogative he has been able to hear of in this country was as far back as 1796. In England, therefore, the question has scarcely excited any attention. In America it is different, and the incident referred to was not the only occasion which had called for serious discussion, and a few historical notes may therefore be desirable. The first four instances are on the authority of Mackey.
In 1731 Lord Lovell, being Grand Master, "formed an occasional lodge at Houghton Hall, Sir Robert Walpole's house in Norfolk," and there made the Duke of Lorraine, afterwards Emperor of Germany, and the Duke of Newcastle, Master Masons. In 1766 Lord Blaney, who was then Grand Master, convened "an occasional lodge" and conferred three degrees on the Duke of Cumberland. In 1787 the Prince of Wales was made a Mason "at an occasional lodge," says Preston, "for the purpose, at the Star and Garter, Pall Mall, over which the Duke of Cumberland (Grand Master) presided in person." And in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, VIII, p. 41, there is an account of the usurpation of the alleged prerogative by the Provincial Grand Master of Lincoln, but this case scarcely goes so far as the one under discussion, for it amounted to an unauthorized use of the dispensing power.
INSTANCES ARE GIVEN
In the United States instances have been frequent. There are a number of cases of Making Masons at Sight in the records of the Grand Lodge of New York, but the power was not frequently exercised. The last time was by Grand Master Robert D. Holmes, who reported to the Grand Lodge in 1867 that he had Made Hon. James T. Brady a Mason at Sight, on account of his great personal merit. It has also been pointed out that there is a recent precedent in Ohio for the Making of a Mason at Sight, such a course having been pursued in 1892 in the case of the late Governor Asa S. Bushnell, when Grand Master Levi C. Goodale conferred the three degrees upon him in one day. Precedents in other states are not wanting. In the year 1898 John Wanamaker was Made a Mason at Sight by Grand Master Wagner of Pennsylvania. The making of Admiral Schley, by Grand Master Small of the District of Columbia, in 1899, caused widespread discussion. It was reported that all of the three degrees were conferred in full form on Admiral Schley, and a similar course was pursued a few years later when Governor Foster M. Voorhees was Made a Mason in the Opera House at Elizabeth, before an assemblage of a thousand Masons, by the Grand Master of New Jersey. Still more recently, Vice-President Fairbanks was similarly honored by the Grand Master of Masons in Indiana. There are probably many more cases.
Now let us examine the legal question involved. The statement that it is an unconstitutional practice and an illegal usurpation of prerogative, may be dismissed. It is not pretended that the Constitutions have anything to do with it. The Grand Master, himself a landmark, existed before Constitutions, and, as far as this country is concerned, the Constitutions have left the Grand Master's prerogative severely alone--in fact, Grand Lodge would itself have been guilty of a usurpation if they had attempted to limit it, or even define it. Public opinion is a far more effectual safeguard of the proprieties than the whole statute book. In some jurisdictions, however, the Grand Master's prerogative has been to some extent defined, and the following extract--Article IX of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Colorado, adopted in 1861, which defined the powers of the Grand Master--contained the following:
"It is his prerogative to make Masons at sight, and for this purpose he may summon to his assistance such Brethren as he may deem necessary."
This continued as a part of the Constitution until the revision in 1875, a period of some fourteen years, when Section I of Article IX was adopted as follows:
"The Most Worshipful Grand Master shall have and enjoy all the powers and prerogatives conferred by the ancient Constitutions and the usages and landmarks of Masonry."
The next revision, adopted in 1903, retained the above as Section I of Article VII. If this right be expressly reserved to the Grand Master by Constitution, there is little more to be said, beyond the obvious corollary that the acts of one Constitution do not concern any other. But even then the admission that a Constitution could confer this power infers that it could also take it away--in fact, disposes completely of any contention that it is a landmark.
IT IS A LANDMARK
The writer contends that it is a landmark. A landmark, to quote from Jurisprudence once more, is a claim or a practice that has never been seriously disputed, that has existed from a period beyond living memory, that has never suffered modification, that helps to define the Order and is part of its essence. This may not be exhaustive, but it goes some way. And when the Grand Master, by himself or by commission, selects some worthy person and admits him to the Order, he is only doing what probably King Solomon did before him. As to the innovation which has been read into the transaction, may it not be that the machinery of the ballot and the superincumbent ritual are in reality innovations?
The American press was much concerned at the thought of the possibilities involved in all this, but we may point out that the person so distinguished is not thereby a member of any lodge, nor could any lodge be compelled to receive him as a joining member, and in such a case the only way in which he could acquire any Masonic standing whatever would be by being made an officer of the Grand Lodge. At least under the English Constitution, for Article II defines membership of Grand Lodge in such wise that it would appear as if a Grand Lodge officer, present or past, maintained his membership of Grand Lodge irrespective of being a subscribing member of a private lodge.
How were persons admitted to the Fraternity in ancient time? There was undoubtedly a period when admission was simply by selection of a superior officer. As to the wisdom or otherwise of an active use of the prerogative, the writer offers no opinion. But undoubtedly, if it is a landmark, the Grand Master is quite justified in such occasional exercise of it as may serve to keep it from falling into desuetude.
HUGHAN IS QUOTED
The substance of this chapter appeared in The Freemason of 10th July, 1909, and in the issue of the following week Bro. William James Hughan, Past Grand Deacon, the distinguished Masonic historian, forwarded his own views on the subject, which, by his permission, we append:
"I should like to add to the remarks made by Brother the Rev. J. T. Lawrence, M. A., as to 'Making Masons at Sight,' that the Grand Master of Ohio was fully justified in the course he took in regard to the admission of President Taft. As Bro. G. F. Moore (Editor of the New Age) was one of the first to point out, Article X of the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Ohio reads as follows: 'It is the Grand Master's prerogative to make Masons at sight, and for this purpose he may summon to his assistance such Brethren as he may deem necessary.' Brother Moore also states that 'The outside criticisms and objections are without merit so far as the particular case is concerned' (the New Age, New York, March, 1909).
"Personally, I question if such an action would be tolerated on this side of the Atlantic, because of the numerous facilities offered for initiation in the ordinary way, and especially as our Rulers have so long refrained from exercising such powers."
The New Temple at Davenport, Iowa
By BRO. ALBERT F. BLOCK, Iowa
IN the ordinary course of events the Masonic history of any community begins with the establishment of the first Masonic lodge. If the town is one destined to thrive, one or more of the various affiliated organizations eventually appear and ultimately more Blue Lodges will be constituted. But before many of the affiliated Orders are formed some room in the town has usually come to be known as the "Masonic Hall." These Orders naturally come to be housed in the same location and before long the affiliated bodies own their own home.
New bodies are added as the years roll by and soon there commences to grow up in one or more of the bodies a feeling that the work of that body is hampered by lack of space in the old quarters. Either their floor space is too cramped by reason of small rooms or meetings have to be held at extraordinary times in order that all bodies can do their work.
This is the critical period in the building history of the Masonic bodies of any city. If at such a time one body, finding itself larger and consequently more cramped in its hall space, and richer and consequently better able to build a separate building for itself, is permitted to break away from the others and do so, from that time no Masonic Temple will ever house all of the Masonic Orders of that city.
In Davenport, Iowa, the establishment of Masonic bodies was normal, with the immaterial exception that one of the lodges established here is no longer in existence, until the time came when one of the bodies, having twice the membership of the next largest, owned two building lots near the center of the city where it expected to build a separate building for its own private use.
Three matters were brought to the attention of this particular body. First, that it would be selfish for them to separate from the rest of the bodies; I second, that each of the bodies felt as much I cramped as the largest one did; and third, that if all of the bodies combined in the erection of one | large temple, in which they could be given facilities that no one of them could afford singly, that temple would be at once a solution of all their troubles, a pleasure to each member of the Craft, and a credit to the Order and to the community.
The question naturally then presented itself whether the bodies could build such a temple as could accommodate all of them. The difficulties being mainly financial, it was first necessary to determine what such a temple would cost. Architects refused to make any estimate without having a definite plan before them and accordingly they were instructed to prepare the plans for such a temple. Many plans were drawn and many were presented to the Temple Board until finally one was found acceptable to all.
Then a general meeting of the Craft was called at which the proposed plans were thrown on a screen and explained by the architect who was present in person for that purpose and each member was requested to submit any suggestions in writing. When the plans were re-drafted to comply with the valuable suggestions thus procured, estimates were made as to the probable cost of construction. When the figures were presented the plan of financing was still to be worked out.
HOW IT WAS FINANCED
At this time attorneys were employed who communicated with members of the Craft in other cities where new Masonic Temples had been lately erected, to ask for their plans of financing; and when these had been received and compared and the best parts of each selected, a corporation "not for pecuniary profit" was organized under the same Iowa statute which gives corporate existence to most church organizations in this state.
But with the "not for pecuniary profit" feature there was combined the principal feature of most business corporations - that of issuing stock. Two kinds of stock were authorized: one, a voting stock; and the other having no right to vote and being non-incomebearing, issued only as evidence of their proportionate ownership, and retirable under certain conditions. Of ten thousand shares authorized, with a par value of one hundred dollars each, only seventy were voting shares. This was in order that seven of the local Masonic Orders might have representation on the Board of Directors of the Building Association, ten of such voting shares being purchased by and issued to each of such bodies. Each body holding voting stock was to be entitled to elect a Director to represent that particular body on the Temple Board.
The other authorized shares were such that they might be owned and held by the seven incorporating Masonic bodies and such other affiliated organizations as might be located in Davenport; but no stock can be held except by a local Masonic, or affiliated, body.
POSTERITY MUST HELP PAY
The design of the Temple Board was not merely to build for the present, but for the future as well, and therefore it was deemed just to build such an edifice as would be greater than could be paid for at present in order that posterity should pay its own share of the building expense. The plans were enlarged accordingly and, by way of passing on to future members their share of the expense of establishing such a temple, three provisions were made: first, that the non-voting stock should be retirable after five years; second, for the issuance of registered 4 per cent first mortgage bonds payable six months after the death of the registered holder or in 1960 certainly; third, an issue of 6 per cent bonds on which were bought by the Davenport Clearing House as a temporary financing arrangement pending the sale of the "Old Masonic Temple Building" and the completion of the subscription of the 4 per cent bonds. It is contemplated that the 4 per cent bonds shall be retired as they mature; that the 6 per cent bonds shall be retired when they have served their purpose; and that the non-voting stock shall be retired when it becomes possible to do so; so that ultimately there will be no obligation outstanding except the seventy shares of voting stock.
The plan was accepted when presented. Each body in the city invested its every available dollar in stock. Every Mason who could afford to, and some who could not, bought 4 per cent bonds. The Temple was built.
From the bottom of its great concrete footings to the top of the highest Flagstaff, it is thoroughly modern in every way. In the basement is a beautiful dining room large enough to seat twelve hundred at once, adjoined by a kitchen having the equipment of the most modern hotel; and large store rooms and pantries, with facilities for direct delivery of foodstuffs. The dining room has a floor suitable for dancing, so it can be converted into a ballroom, using the same platform for the dance orchestra as is used for entertainers while the room is being used as a dining room.
In front of this dining room on the same level is a large billiard room, containing ample space for ten billiard tables, flanked by a large card room on one side and a ladies' rest room on the other.
NO FIRE ESCAPES NEEDED!
On the next floor above, which is the grade level, is a beautifully decorated and lighted lobby large enough to lay out a tennis court on its floor. On each end of this lobby is a passenger elevator and a stairway leading to upper and lower levels. On the street side of the lobby are five large doors, the purpose being to build large enough stairways, elevators and exits to comply with all requirements of building laws, so that the exterior of the building need not be disfigured by fire escapes. On the other side of the lobby is the Gothic room, decorated in the old Baronial style, and equipped with a pipe organ and a modern stage with scenery hung vertically, all lighting of the room being controlled by a switchboard in the wings of the stage. This room is used by the local chapter R.A.M., the Knights Templar, the Eastern Star, and the Grotto, and is designed to seat six hundred persons without extra chairs on the floor.
Leading from the lobby, on either side of the Gothic room, is a corridor to the rear of the building. A thoroughly adequate cloak room is the first opening off of the west corridor; and south of that is the lounge, in which Masonic and other periodicals are kept at all times. Further back of the lounge we find the card room where skat and chess hold sway.
On the east corridor, the first doorway opens into the offices of the building. Here the Secretary of the Temple Board, the Recorder of the Scottish Rite Bodies, and the Recorder of the Shrine have modern offices with large vaults and a Directors’ room. All of the telephones in the building are controlled through a switchboard in the office; and across the corridor are two telephone booths for the use of who may need them.
Further south, along the east corridor, is a large ladies' parlor, with a second ladies' rest room connected.
Over the offices on a mezzanine floor is a large committee room; and over the cloak room on the opposite side of the building is a writing room.
THE FEATURE BOOM IS DESCRIBED
On the next floor above is the floor of the main auditorium, which is the feature room of the building. This great room is so constructed that although it will seat twenty-five hundred or more in a semi-circular arrangement around an arena large enough for Grotto or Shrine Patrols to drill on, nevertheless there is in it no pillar or other obstacle to obstruct complete view of the stage from any seat; and while Shumann-Heink's softest tones were audible in all parts of the room, there was no echo from Sousa's Band at its greatest volume.
The projection booth at the rear is fully equipped to throw either moving or still pictures on the silver screen which is hung from steel cables winding on a drum in the attic.
On the east side of the stage is the great electric pipe organ large enough to give any desired effect; while on the west side is the choir loft.
The stage is as well equipped as any in the country, having a large floor and all scenery hung vertically and counterbalanced, a complete switchboard designed to give all desired lighting effects, and which may be locked for the protection of meddling fingers. There is also so complete a complement of dressing rooms that Mme. Pavlowa's company was not cramped.
This room was designed for De Molay, Grotto, Shrine and Scottish Rite ceremonials, the main requirement being no pillars to obstruct the view from any seat of a large auditorium. The pillars were avoided by the use of large cantilevers to support the roof over this great room.
Under the rising tiers of seats on each side of the auditorium are the two Blue Lodge rooms, the Doric on the west side and the Egyptian on the east. These are also used for sessions of other bodies, whose membership is not so large as to require the Gothic room. By setting the floors about six feet lower than the level of the auditorium floor, good dignified ceiling heights have been attained, and these two rooms are beautifully decorated and furnished.
In connection with each is a suite of ten other rooms designed to give space for everything necessary in connection with Blue Lodge work. From the corridor one enters a cloak room off of which is a wash room and toilet, from the cloak room one enters the Tyler's room, off of which are the preparation room and the lodge room. The Tyler's room is only half as high as the lodge room, and out of it a stairway leads to a floor over the rooms previously described on which are a projection room and a music room, which is separated from the lodge room only by a screen, and four committee rooms.
THERE IS AN UNSEEN TEMPLE
The foregoing description tells of only the visible parts of the building, but one knows of the existence of large unseen rooms, where equipment and paraphernalia are stored for all kinds of ceremonies; knows of a room full of mysterious electric equipment, glittering switches, bubbling batteries, buzzing motors, numerous dials unintelligible to the visitor and an elevator switch with a startling way of suddenly announcing that it is on the job and lifting great loads.
The visitor sees no open windows, but still he doesn't ask for fresh air, because it is always there, so he doesn't stop to wonder where in that building are concealed twenty-six great fans that can make a complete change of atmosphere in an hour; and he is always warm, so he doesn't consider the battery of three smokeless boilers in the sub-basement, busily turning coal dumped through one hole in the alley pavement into ashes to be lifted through another; and heat to warm the fresh outdoor air distributed by the fans.
Outwardly the building is marvelous. The style of architecture is not one of the classical five, but is nevertheless pleasing to the eyes. The Davenport Masons have seen a vision and carved it in stone.
The house of teaching by symbols, it is a symbol in itself. Uniting all of the bodies under one roof, it symbolizes that the work was wrought with peace and harmony prevailing.
The words "Let there be light," carved in the six-ton lintel over the main entrance, offer the only possible cure for the unrest which has had such a prominent place in the addresses of Grand Masters for the past five years.
The building is nearly a perfect cube.
Attaining strength and beauty by straight severe lines, it symbolizes the power and beauty of the simple thoughts of Masonry.
The outward appearance of the building creates an optical illusion such as to make the building appear smaller than it really is. The visitor, upon entering, marvels that all of its spacious halls can be enclosed within the building he first viewed from without. In this the building symbolizes the revelations that come to the student of Masonry.
“THERE IS LIGHT"
The building has some just claims to distinction. It is the largest Masonic building in Iowa. The chandelier in the main auditorium is the largest indirect lighting chandelier on the continent, it having been said of this great fixture by some descendant of Jonathan Swift that it should have been labelled "40 hommes 8 chevaux." The rank and file of the Craft in Davenport helped design the building and helped to finance its erection.
The Craft in Davenport are proud of their new temple. When they decided to build it was suggested that they build for posterity. From then on the question never was, "How can we do it's" but "How shall we do it?” It was done by Davenport Masons. Both the architects and the building contractors were born and raised in Davenport.
In selecting the architect, the Board sought a local man who was a member of all the bodies, and fully capable of designing the temple desired. The architect showed no hesitation in deciding which symbols should be used in decoration. He simply used them all.
What has been said above would be incomplete without a mention of the first requirement - the money with which to build. There is an old recipe for chicken pie which begins, "First get your chicken." The first indispensable for a new Masonic Temple is a man ready, able and willing to induce the individual members of the Order to subscribe. This brother is the authorized salesman of Masonry.
Some cities call in an outside organization to raise funds. This may be necessary in some rare cases. But most cities will desire to emulate the example of the brethren of Burlington, our sister Iowa city, where, with only a few exceptions, every member of the Order has a part of his or her estate invested in the new temple, and where twenty-seven months after the temple was dedicated, the last cent of indebtedness was paid off and a substantial amount was on hand in the sinking fund to meet the retirements of stock due as the holders might die. The Burlington brethren say this is the work of one man and for that reason one sees on the wall in the lounge of their temple a bronze plate bearing the name of George Joseph Holstein. Truly this man must have heard and understood something of charcoal and clay, which must ever be the principal elements in the construction of new Masonic Temples!
We are building our home on eternity's shore
While we dwell in our structure of clay
We are shipping materials onward before,
With the close of each hastening day.
We are sending the thought that the spirit has wrought
In the wonderful glow of the brain,
And the timber is grown from the seeds we have sown
Mid the shadow of sorrow and pain.
We are building our home on a beautiful street,
While we dwell in the by-way of fears
And the roses that bloom there so pure and so sweet
Must be watered and nourished by tears.
And the light that shall shine in a glory divine
Must be formed in the darkness and gloom
And the foundation laid in the cloud and the shade
Of the path that leads down to the tomb.
We are building our home in the valley of life
By the side of eternity's sea,
And the work that we do mid the scenes of earth's strife
Shall decide what that home is to be.
Every thought leaves its trace on that wonderful place,
Every deed, be it evil or fair,
And the structure will show all the life lived below,
All the sinning and sorrow and care.
We are building our home; may the angels of light
Bring us wisdom where ever we stray
That the Mansion Eternal be fashioned aright
And the sunlight of truth be its day.
May the rainbow of love form its arches above,
And the river of peace murmur by,
And the spirit be blest by the glimmer of rest
We have sent to our home in the sky.
* Can any reader tell us if this is an accurate copy and who may be the author?
THE LEGEND OF THE QUATUOR CORONATI
BY BRO. GILBERT W. DAYNES, Associate Editor, England
THE fame of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research of England, so often referred to in The Builder, has caused many brethren to inquire as to the significance of that strange sounding name; such brethren will discover an abundant reply to their inquiry in Bro. Daynes' essay, his first contribution to this journal, but not to be his last, for he is now a permanent member of our staff. Such brethren as are also interested in the subject of Masonry's Patron Saints, and more particularly the Holy Saints John, will find here set forth one important chapter in the history of that dedication.
ON the 28th November, 1884, the Most Worshipful the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, in response to a petition from nine brethren, all eminent in the literature of Freemasonry, granted them a warrant of constitution. The name selected for the lodge, thus constituted, was "The Quatuor Coronati Lodge," a name which had never before been selected for a similar purpose. The adoption of this name by a lodge, which has by its steadfast exertions become the foremost lodge of research in the world, and, by means of its Correspondence Circle, attained a universality which is only equalled by Freemasonry itself, naturally creates in many a desire to know more concerning the Legend and subsequent history of the Quatuor Coronati, Saints whom the Masons in the days of Medieval Operative Masonry must have held in the utmost veneration.
The Legend of the Quatuor Coronati in its inception was purely Italian, and it was from that country that the knowledge of these Saints must have spread to Germany, England and elsewhere in Europe. As Bro. A. F. A. Woodford has so truly said, "With all Legends, as Time runs on, the story itself becomes confused and hazy, and criticism has often a hard crux set it to make that plain and consistent, which through the lapse of years has lost in correctness what it has gained in picturesqueness." This certainly applies to the story of the martyrdom of these Saints, which has appeared in various forms; and considerable confusion has arisen because nearly all the accounts deal with two sets of persons, as well as with two different places far apart from each other.
Much concerning the Legend may be gleaned from the Arundel MS., which is in Latin. This valuable MS. has found a resting place in the British Museum, and dates from the twelfth or, at the latest, thirteenth century. In addition to the Arundel MS. there are two other MSS. which may be mentioned, viz., a Greek version by Porphyrius, a philosopher, and another Latin version known as the Petrus MS. This last-named MS., at its close, refers to the Greek version, and all three MSS. belong to the same traditional family. The two latter MSS. were selected by the Bollandist editor, when attempting to disentangle the Legend of the Quatuor Coronati for that, still incomplete, magnum opus on the lives of the saints, known as the "Acta Sanctorum," commenced by Father John Bolland, a Flemish Jesuit, in January, 1643.
The Legend, as set forth in these MSS., may be thus briefly summarized. During his reign, Diocletian, Emperor of Rome, journeyed to Pannonia so as to be present whilst the various metals were quarried from the rocks in the mountains in those parts. Having assembled the workmen in metals, the Emperor Diocletian discovered amongst them four artificers possessing wonderful skill in the art of carving, or--more literally-stone squaring. Their names were Claudius, Castorius, simphorianus (Sempronianus, according to Porphyrius and Petrus MSS.), and Nicostratus. These craftsmen were secretly Christians, and invoked the aid of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the work they undertook as sculptors. They proved most skilful in the art of carving, and gave much delight to the Emperor by the manner in which they carved an image of the sun, with his chariot, chariot horses, and everything appertaining thereto, from one enormous stone from the metal of Thasos. As a consequence the Emperor received these four craftsmen, and Simplicius--an artisan who worked with them--with great joy, and gave them orders to hew certain columns, or capitals of the columns, from the porphyry. Now Simplicius, who was a Gentile, was not successful in his work, and kept breaking his carving tools. Claudius, however, took all these carving tools and said, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ let this iron be strong, and fit to work with"; and after this Simplicius carved well and properly with his tools. On account of this, Simplicius, after receiving instruction from Claudius in the elementary truths of Christianity, became converted. The five then visited Bishop Quirillus, who was in prison at the time, and Simplicius was duly baptized by him.
They returned to their work, and, as a result of the skill displayed by these craftsmen, Diocletian offered to give them riches and presents provided they would first cut out from the mountain of porphyry images of Victory, Cupids and other statuettes, but especially an image of Aesculapius. The craftsmen did all that was required of them with the exception of the image of Aesculapius, and submitted their work to the Emperor Diocletian, who noticed their omission to carve the image of the God of Health. He then told them to go and make this image and also fashion lions pouring water, and eagles and stags and other likenesses. Again they completed everything commanded of them except the image of Aesculapius.
Desiring to see the work done by the various workmen, Diocletian ordered everything to be brought into a public place. The image of Aesculapius is noticed by the Emperor to be missing. Diocletian is then informed by the philosophers, who were apparently instructors of the workmen, master sculptors or builders, and who were very jealous of the five craftsmen, that the favored craftsmen were Christians, and that they were not obedient to his commands, having declined to carve the image of the god Aesculapius. The Emperor ordered the culprits to be brought before him, and demanded the reason for their refusal. Claudius, acting as spokesman, answered that an image of that most wretched man they would never make, for it was written, "they that make them are like unto them, and so are all those who put their trust in them." At first Diocletian looked leniently upon the sculptors, who had thus disobeyed him, but after the philosophers had obtained other sculptors to carve an image of Aesculapius to the entire satisfaction of the Emperor, the five craftsmen were again accused by the philosophers of being heretic Christians.
THE WORKMEN ARE ORDERED TO BE TRIED
Diocletian, incensed at their disobedience rather than at the fact of their being Christians, ordered a certain Tribune, Lampadius, to try them. The Tribunal having been prepared in the same place before the Temple of the Sun, Claudius, Castorius, Simphorianus, Nicostratus and Simplicius were brought before Lampadius with their accusers. The Tribune ordered them to worship the sun god, but they steadily flatly refused, saying, "We do never worship the work of our own hands, but we worship the God of Heaven and Earth, who is the everlasting Ruler and Eternal God, the Lord Jesus Christ." Lampadius thereupon ordered them to be put into the common prison. After a few days they were again brought before Lampadius, who tried in vain to persuade them to sacrifice to the sun god. They, however, remained firm and constant in their faith, and after a third hearing, after having been shown various kinds of tortures, Claudius said, "We fear not terrors, nor is our purpose broken by soft words, but we fear everlasting torments. For let Diocletian Augustus know that we are Christians, and will never depart from his worship."
Lampadius ordered them to be stripped and beaten with scorpions, but, whilst still in the judgment seat, was seized by an evil spirit, and tearing himself, expired. The news enraged the Emperor, and he ordered coffins of lead to be made, and the five were ordered to be shut up alive therein, and cast into the river. The order was duly carried out on the sixth day of the Ides of November (the 8th November, according to our present reckoning), by a certain citizen named Nicetius, who sat by Lampadius as an assessor. The Bishop Quirillus heard of it in his prison, and, being deeply grieved, died the same day. The year is a little doubtful, and the authorities vary between A. D. 298 and 302.
Shortly after this, the Emperor journeyed from thence, that is, Pannonia, to Syrme, and after forty-two days a Christian named Nichodemus raised the coffins containing the bodies of the five craftsmen and placed them in his own house. FOUR SOLDIERS WERE EXECUTED
After being in Syrme eleven months the Emperor Diocletian entered Rome. He at once commanded that a temple to Aesculapius should be built in the Baths of Trajan, and an image made from the squared stone. Upon the completion of the work he ordered that all the soldiers, and particularly the militia of the city, should offer incense with sacrifices whenever they came to the image of Aesculapius. There were, however, four wing officers (cornicularii) of the city militia, who resisted the order, being Christians. Upon their disobedience being reported to the Emperor, he ordered them to be put to death in front of the very image they refused to worship, with strokes of the plumbata, a scourge with thongs weighted with leaden balls. The death of these four soldiers occurred exactly two years after the death of the five craftsmen. The bodies of the four soldiers were ordered by Diocletian to be cast into the streets to the dogs. After lying there five days, Sebastian with the Bishop Melchiades, collected the bodies by night, and buried them in a cemetery on the road to Lavica, about three miles from the City of Rome, where many other holy men were already buried. Subsequently, in A. D. 310, upon becoming Pope, Melchiades ordered that the anniversary of the death of the four soldiers should be observed under the names; of the holy martyrs, Claudius, Castorius, Simphorianus, Nicostratus and Simplicius, as the names of the soldiers were unknown, and their deaths had occurred upon the same day of the year, viz., 8th November, but two years later. Also, the Pope bestowed upon these four soldiers, or milites, the title of Quatuor Coronati, or Four Crowned Ones. The names of these four martyrs appear to have been unknown until the ninth century, when, it is said, by the grace of God they were revealed as being Severus, Severinus, Carpophorus, and Victorinus.
As indicated at the commencement of these notes, the whole matter has been complicated by the fact that to the details of the martyrdom of the sculptors have been added those of a second set of martyrs. The five sculptors, or stone-squarers, and the four milites have, in consequence, frequently been mixed up and confusion thus created; but as Bro. R. F. Gould has rightly said, "the 4 Officers instead of the 5 masons have become the patron saints of the building trades, while the occupation of the 5 has survived under the name of the 4."
WHAT DOES "CORONATI MEAN?"
The precise meaning of the term coronati has been the subject of considerable speculation on the part of Masonic students. Some authorities think that the word coronati is a corrupted form of the military term cornicularii. Others suggest, however, that the four unknown cornicularii received a posthumous honour or promotion at the hands of the chronicler, and became known as coronati, the higher class of decorated soldier in the Roman army, and immediately above that of the cornicularii. This latter is a very feasible suggestion, when one remembers that by the use of the word coronati the crown of martyrdom is also implied.
The martyrdom of these two sets of saints is referred to, in many early martyrologies, from A.D. 400 onwards; and also in various breviaries down to and including the authorized version published by Pope Pius V by a Bull dated July, 1568. The accounts in these MSS. vary considerably, and add to the uncertainty of the real facts. It has been suggested that the almost immediate acceptance of the Quatuor Coronati as duly recognized canonical saints may be due to the fact that they were members of a trade organization, but satisfactory proof of this has still to be furnished.
In the Isabella Missal (circa 1497) although the five sculptors are mentioned in the commendation prayer, yet only four appear in the illumination on that MS. These four represent the original four, Claudius, Castorius, Simphorianus, and Nicostratus, and they are depicted with the emblems of masonry, viz., square, plumb rule, trowel, and gavel. The missing one is undoubtedly Simplicius, who joined the other four on becoming a Christian, and was martyred with them. Besides, the illuminator could not well have put more than four figures into his picture, which was to commemorate those saints, who were collectively known by the name of "Quatuor Coronati."
In the time of Pope Honorius I (A. D. 625-638) there was in existence at Rome, on the Caelian Hill where the Temple of Diana had formerly stood, a noble church, in the form of a basilica, bearing the name of the Quatuor Coronati. Some say that the Pope built it and dedicated it to these saints. During the Pontificate of Leo IV (A. D. 847-855) the remains of the five sculptors and the four milites are said to have been removed from a cemetery on the Lavican Way in which they had long reposed to an oratory beneath the altar of the church on the Caelian Hill just referred to. The four milites were placed in two marble sarcophagi, and on either side in two other sarcophagi were deposited the remains of the five sculptors. This is recorded on the inscription of Leo IV, in the church over the left stairs leading to the oratory. The church was destroyed in the great fire of Robert Guiscard in A. D. 1084, but restored by Pope Paschal II in A. D. 1111. The church was again restored by Pope Urban VIII in A. D. 1624 and exists to this day. being known as the Church of the Quattro Incorronati. The change in name is accounted for by the fact that the word coronati of classical and Medieval Latin, and the word incorronati of the modern Italian mean precisely the same, viz., "Crowned Martyrs."
WHERE WERE THE SCULPTORS BURIED?
The MSS. previously quoted from describe the burial of the four cornicularii in the cemetery on the Lavican Way outside Rome; but how the five Pannonian sculptors, martyred in that country, and retrieved from their watery grave by Nichodemus, came to be reinterred near Rome, and in the same cemetery as the four cornicularii with whom they have been confused, has never been explained satisfactorily. It may also be mentioned that the site of this cemetery is still unknown, notwithstanding the persistent searches of antiquarians and others.
From those early times when associations of workmen in different trades were formed, the Quatuor Coronati have been the patron saints of the building fraternity in Italy and elsewhere. In Florence the gild of smiths, carpenters, and masons, during the fifteenth century decorated with a group of statues representing the Quatuor Coronati, one of the niches on the exterior of the northern wall of the Church of Or San Michele, the church of the trade gilds of that city.
(To be Concluded)
THE REGIUS POEM VERSION OF THE QUATUOR CORONATI LEGEND
BELOW is a transliteration of the Regius Poem version of the Quatuor Coronati legend, or the "Four Crowned Martyrs." The version begins at line 497 and extends to line 532. The poem was written, so it is believed, in England, about 1390 A. D., and is the oldest Masonic document in existence.
Pray we now to God almyght,
And to hys moder Mary bryght
That we mowe keepe these artyculus here,
And these poynts wel al y-fere,
As dede these holy martyres fowre
That yn thys craft were of gret honoure;
They were as gode masonus as on erthe schul go,
Gravers and ymage-makers they were also.
For they were werkemen of the beste.
The emperour hade to hem gret luste;
He wylned of hem a ymage to make,
That mowgh be worscheped for his sake;
Suche mawmetys he hade yn hys dawe
To turne the pepul from Crystus lawe.
But they were stedefast yn Crystes lay,
And to here craft, withouten nay;
They loved wel God and alle hys lore
And weren yn hys serves ever more.
Trwe men they were yn that dawe,
And Iyved wel y Goddus lawe;
They thoght no mawmetys for to make,
For no good that they mygth take
To levyn on that mawmetys for here God,
They nolde do so, thawg he were wod,
For they nolde not forsake here trw fay,
An byleve on hys falsse lay.
The emperour let take hem sone anone,
And putte hem ynto a dep presone;
The sarre he penest hem yn that plase,
The more yoye wes to hem of Cristus grace.
Thenne when he sye no nother won,
To dethe he lette hem thenne gon;
Whose wol of here lyf get mor knowe,
By the bok he may hyt schowe,
In the legent of scanctorum
The names of quatuor coronatorum.
By BRO. C. C. HUNT, Deputy Grand Secretary, Iowa
I HAVE just taken my examination in the lecture of the Third Degree and am now ready to go on.
Which way had I better take ?" asked a young Mason recently.
"What do you mean by 'which way'?" he was asked.
"Why, I don't know. I understood I had the choice of two ways to go on, after taking the Third Degree."
"Go on where? Where do you want to go? By the 'choice of two ways' you must mean that you have a goal and that either way will take you there. What is the goal you seek?"
"Why, I hadn't thought of that particularly, but I suppose it must be the Shrine. Isn't that the top in Masonry ?"
"No, my Brother, it is not. The top in Masonry is an accomplishment and not a degree. But even if some Masonic degrees could be considered higher than others, the Shrine has no claim to any such distinction. It is not a Masonic degree in any sense of the term and does not pretend to be. It has been called 'the playground' for Masons, giving as it does opportunity for recreation and play, after the serious work of the Masonic degrees. It doubtless has a function to fulfill, but it is by no means a goal, and it is a great mistake to consider the Masonic degrees a means to reach such a goal.
"Even if we grant all that has been claimed for the Shrine, it is no more to be considered a goal of Masonry than is the school playground a goal of the classes therein. What would you think of a boy who thought of his class room work as merely a means to the playground? All pupils of the same school are entitled to use the playground at proper times and under proper restrictions without regard to the books or subjects studied in the school, and the question of whether he shall take arithmetic or geography, reading or spelling, history or literature, is determined without reference to the playground. Possibly it might be well to take all these subjects in order to obtain a well grounded education.
"So it is with the York and the Scottish Rites of Masonry. Neither is to be considered a way to the Shrine. Each is to be considered on its own merits; and many Masons take both. They are no more to be considered as furnishing a choice of two ways to the same goal than would be the subjects of history or philosophy in a course of study. Neither is antagonistic to the other, but on the contrary, each supplements the other. Remember, however, that the degrees you have already received are of the York Rite, and it may be well for you to become thoroughly grounded in the work of this Rite before taking the other. A jack-of-all-trades never becomes prominent in anything, and it is better to have well grounded knowledge of one subject than a superficial knowledge of many things.
"While eventually you may find it desirable to seek additional degrees, you should remember that you can never outgrow the degrees of the lodge. The additional degrees will be found useful only as they enable you to obtain a better understanding of those you have already received. If they cause you to forget your lodge it would be better had they never been taken.”
Order of the Eastern Star's Educational Campaign In Tennessee
BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PUBLICITY COMMITTEE, GRAND CHAPTER, O. E. S., TENN.
RECOGNIZING that public education is perhaps the most important national Interest today, the Worthy Grand Matron of the Order in the State of Tennessee, Mrs. Felix G. Ewing, has initiated a vigorous campaign to raise the educational standard, particularly in rural communities:
Tennessee stands forty-fourth in the fourty-eight commonwealths of the United States. T h e coordination and cooperation of the forces of the Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., the Royal Arch Masons, the Knights Templar, the subordinate lodges of the F. & A. M., with the subordinate chapters of the O. E. S., will eventually win the battle against illiteracy.
The following suggestions were made to the subordinate chapters as a first step in the campaign:
No. 1 - Each chapter to devote the time of one of its early stated meetings to a general discussion of the subject of education, the Worthy Matron in advance of the meeting to appoint one or two speakers who can deal with it.
No. 2 - At the meeting, a special committee on education to be appointed, the duties of this committee to be:
(a) To ascertain the number of schools within the jurisdiction of the chapter, with the number of pupils attending each school, the number of teachers, the number of annual days school time, and if possible, ascertain the number of children not attending any school.
(b) To confer with the superintendent of education having these particular schools in charge, to ascertain in what direction in his opinion, the influence of the chapter can best be directed.
(c) The apportionment of the schools within the chapter's jurisdiction among a sufficient number of sub-committees to insure a personal visit to every school, at least once in each two months.
(d) These sub-committees to report at each stated meeting as a regular order of business the condition of the schools in their charge, with any suggestion for their improvement which may be apparent.
(e) To seek a conference with the Worshipful Master and Wardens of the Masonic lodges in their immediate jurisdiction offering their assistance in such educational work as the lodge may have in hand, and to endeavor to coordinate the two.
(f) The same offer of assistance to be made to any chapter of Royal Arch Masons which may be within their territorial limits.
(g) The sub-committee to cooperate with any Parent-Teacher's Association which may be in existence, or, if none, to attempt an organization of that sort.
(h) The Worthy Matrons to write the Worthy Grand Matron at the end of each three months what has been done, what progress - made
MEMBERS ASKED TO KEEP IN TOUCH
All the chapters and all the members of the chapters are asked to keep in touch with the schools. In this way, we believe, the work will develop and avenues of usefulness suggest themselves. It is our present ignorance of the conditions of the schools, their need and their insufficiency, which is at the root of our troubles.
To enable the Order to act intelligently the school superintendents of each county in the state were asked to give the following information:
"The number, name and location of all one teacher schools, and the name and address of the teacher.
"The number, name and location of all two teacher schools, and the names and addresses of the teachers.
"The number, name and location of all three teacher schools, and the renames and addresses of the teachers.
"The number, name and location of all high schools, and the name and address of the principal of each high school, and the names and addresses of all teachers in such schools.
"The names and addresses of your county board of education, designating the chairman of such board.
"The name and address of your county supervisor of schools.
"If you can do so, will you please furnish with this data, the number of pupils enrolled and attending each school in your county' This is also of great importance in our proposed work. We are also anxious to find out, if it be possible, how many children there are in the different counties, who are of school age, and yet who are not, and probably never have been, attending any school. Will you give us your hearty cooperation in this effort to help the educational work in Tennessee, and will you make the first step in that cooperation, the sending to me, this much desired and important data, within the next ten days - so our work can begin immediately?"
Different localities are arranging different methods and mans for work. Almost every subordinate chapter has appointed an educational committee. These committees have familiarized themselves with the measures of the Sterling-Reed Bill and are undertaking this work with great earnestness of purpose
The Order of the Eastern Star stands for the following:
1. A Federal Department of Education with a Secretary in the President's Cabinet.
2. More generous support, through appropriations and improved legislation.
3. A minimum school term of eight months for each county, well trained teachers for each school, and living salaries for all teachers.
4. Thorough investigation of all unsatisfactory conditions in regard to the illiteracy of each county.
5. For a fuller understanding and hearty cooperation at all times with county superintendents of education, teachers and Parent-Teacher's Associations.
6. For frank statements, just demands, and offers of helpfulness to county boards of education and county courts.
7. For the active participation of each subordinate chapter of the O. E. S. in our state in such plans as are adapted to their localities.
The Worthy Grand Matron, Mrs. Felix G. Ewing, and the Worthy Grand Ruth, Mrs. Frances Haun, have made a round of official visits to a large number of chapters in the state, and the Worthy Grand Matron is planning to visit every chapter in the interests of the educational movement before the close of the year.
MUCH HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED
Enthusiasm and interest are displayed everywhere. Much practical work has been accomplished. The compulsory attendance law is being enforced more thoroughly than ever; funds have been raised to replace a burned schoolhouse; a domestic science department has been fully equipped; books for libraries have been given; teachers' salaries have been supplemented; one chapter has pledged a thousand dollars towards the building of a new schoolhouse; clothing, books and shoes have been supplied for needy children; and other social service work undertaken which will make possible the attendance of children at school. Two chapters have been largely instrumental in raising a school from a two-year to a four-year high school; and the whole movement has engendered a community school spirit that speaks well for the accomplishment of the purpose of the campaign.
House to house canvasses are being made in some centers in order to find out if any children of school age are not attending school, and for what reason. This has done much to establish a cordial relationship between the parents and those calling.
As means for publicity an educational program will shortly be broadcasted from Nashville; and it is hoped that the moving picture shows may be made a medium for extending the appeal for intelligent interest in this important subject.
County superintendents are showing the greatest cooperation on the ground that no better service can be rendered the Southland than the blotting out of her illiteracy. This also applies to the principals and teachers in the schools, together with clergy and ministers in all communities.
The campaign has been instrumental in making large additions to the ranks of the Order and the cordiality and enthusiasm with which it has been received are most encouraging to the state officers.
STATISTICS OF THE ORDER AT END OF 1924
Compiled by BRO. C. C. WOODS, Missouri
FOREIGN GRAND LODGES
Historical Sketch of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, Scotland
(From an account published by the lodge itself)
ONLY a half dozen lodges in the world can vie with Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, in historical interest. Ancient it is, and venerable, like some ivied cathedral, and revered by Masons the world over as one of the fountainheads of the Craft. Robert Burns and Rudyard Kipling have been among its poets laureate, also James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, friend of Christopher North, and author of lyrics as sweet as the heather. Among other illustrious names affiliated with this lodge may be mentioned Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener and Lord Haig.
"To her ranks has come such a phalanx of the great and good in every field of human activity, as might well make her the envy of the proudest sister in the land. Her brightest names are not hers alone, but Scotland's, and among them are many that posterity will not willingly let die."
ST. JOHN'S CHAPEL is of unique antiquarian interest from the traditions associated with Lodge Canongate Kilwinning and with the site of the Chapel.
The lodge is one of the very few which holds its Annual Festival on St. John the Baptist's Day corresponding with the Summer Solstice, and its bright red clothing and apt motto both pointedly refer to the dawn of the day in the East and ancient sun worship. As the sun never sets but to rise again, so, according to the oldest forms at every communication, the work is closed, but the lodge is never closed--only adjourned. The Chapel is probably the oldest Masonic lodge Chapel in the world.
The lodge preserves the ancient Scottish arrangement of the interior, having the Master's and Warden's chairs at the three points of a triangle, the Master's chair forming the apex. This is the correct and most ancient form of arrangement of a Scottish lodge, corresponding with the so called Higher Degrees, and also with the Continental Masonic systems, but differing both from the English and the American systems.
The traditions of Canongate Kilwinning, as an operative body, begin with the building of Holyrood Abbey and Palace, when, by royal warrant, skilled builders and Craftsmen were brought from all parts of the country to assist in the work. The Abbey was founded by King David I. in 1128 for the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, and dedicated to the Holy Rood or Cross brought to Scotland by his mother, the pious Margaret. The Cross was called the Black Rood of Scotland. The lodge was practically identified with the religious foundation of the Abbey, till the growing Burgh of Canongate outside the walls of Edinburgh became of sufficient importance, amid the religious struggles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to confer rights of freedom of trade apart from the protection of the Church. The trade societies of the Burgh never owed any allegiance to Edinburgh, and the somewhat arrogant attempts made by the trades of the latter occasionally to exercise control in the Canongate invariably led to indignant repudiation.
The Canongate Masons, however, while dating their corporate privileges from King David's charter to the Canons of Holyrood, and the constitution of the Burgh of Canongate, and being entirely separate from and independent of Edinburgh, identified themselves with the general body of Freemasons in Scotland in 1677, five years after the Parish Church was transferred from the Abbey. In that year they accepted a warrant from Mother Kilwinning, which was at the time --as the Head, though in influence only the second, lodge in the Kingdom--exercising the functions of Grand Lodge. Mother Kilwinning had a traditional connection, similar to that of Canongate, with the skilled ecclesiastical builders and architects of the time.
Like several other lodges in England and Scotland, and owing to the incompleteness or absence of documentary evidence of earlier existence, our precedence thus runs conventionally from a much later date, 1677, than the real inception of the lodge warrants. In respect of its constitution at so early a date as a purely speculative lodge, independent of and uncontrolled by any trade organization or incorporation, it takes rank as one of the very oldest existing lodges. It is one of the few which cannot, and does not, produce to candidates or anyone else any "charter or warrant of constitution from the Grand Lodge of Scotland." Grand Lodge, indeed, was formed under its hospitable roof, and one of its members, William St. Clair of Rosslyn, became first Grand Master Mason of Scotland.
During recent years the lodge premises have been greatly enlarged and improved, providing new cloakroom and lavatory accommodation, increasing the size of the Refectory, as well as adding a large museum between the Chapel itself and the new St. John street frontage, designed to harmonize with the older part of the building.
In 1916 the lodge acquired an adjoining building, hitherto used as a wood turner's factory, and entering off Old Playhouse Close; and during the present year (1924) they have procured a building to the south of the lodge, which will be available for extension of the present premises at an early date.
The old entrance to the lodge by St. John's Close can now be used at any time. It gives access to a storeroom or scullery and to an arched vault in the basement. There is a caretaker's house of room and kitchen, etc., on the top flat, while on the middle flat, to which access is obtained by a turreted staircase, is the old kitchen of the Tenandries restored. The pillars on either side of the door between the old kitchen and the Secretary's room are from the old council chambers in Leith. The fireplace now disclosed was formerly covered up by masonry and partitions.
The lodge possesses an interesting museum, containing many unique articles connected with the Craft, and in the lodge room there is an organ built in the year 1754, probably the oldest organ in Scotland, and the only existing organ on which the songs of Robert Burns were played in his presence.
The roll of members includes the names of men famous in history, literature, law, medicine, and other spheres--men who have helped to make our country and empire.
THE POETS LAUREATE OF THE LODGE
1787 Robert Burns (Caledonia's Bard)
1835 James Hogg (The Ettrick Shepheid.)
1836 William Hay (The Lintie o' Moray).
1842 E.W. Lane, M.D.
1846 Francis Nicoll.
1850 James Marshall.
1851 N. J. Mansabuis.
1853 William Pringle.
1860 Anthony O'Neal Haye (Author of "Poemata." Editor of the "Scottish Freemason Magazine").
1872 Captain Lawrence Archer.
1879 Bryan Charles Waller, M. D., of Masongill.
1880 Andrew Stevenson, M. A. (Author of "The Laureate Wreath," etc.).
1887 Charles H. Mackay.
1890 Wallace Bruce (Author of "The Old Organ," etc.)
1897 Charles Martin Hardie, R. S. A.
1899 Alexander Anderson (Surfaceman).
1902 T. N. Hepburn (Gabriel Setoun).
1905 Rudyard Kipling.
1909 Stewart Home.
1918 Joseph Inglis, W. S., P. M.
1920 T. S. Muir. M. A.. P. M.
1922 Allan McNeil, P. M.
1923 John B. Peden, P. M.
One of the most interesting features about the lodge is the list of its Poets Laureate, and more especially its connection, when the office was instituted, with Robert Burns.
Burns was entered Apprentice on 4th of July, 1781, in Lodge St. David's, Tarbolton, Ayrshire (about a month after the two lodges, St. David's and St. James, in that town had been united). He was then in his twenty-third year, and from that date until his death he was a most enthusiastic member of the Craft, paying regular attendance at, and identifying himself with, the lodges in every place where he happened to be for the time.
On the reconstruction of Lodge St. James, about a year after his initiation, he identified himself with that section, and in 1784 was elected Depute Master of St. James. The meetings were, at the time, held in a public house, which is now in ruins, scarcely anything but the bare walls standing.
Burns often presided over the lodge, a fact to which he refers in his poems.
He was an affiliated member of Lodge St. Andrews, Dumfries, No. 179. The mallet and an apron of that lodge used in his time are in possession of Grand Lodge. It is not Burns' own private apron.
He was affiliated in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning on 1st of February, 1787, and was elected and installed Poet Laureate of that lodge on 1st of March, 1787. The lodge, containing, as it did, the elite of the bright and learned of Edinburgh society and some of the foremost spirits in Scottish life of the time, welcomed Burns with whole-hearted enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm found tangible expression, not only at meetings, but also in supporting and assisting the preparation of the first Edinburgh edition of his works.
The fact of the inauguration of Burns as Poet Laureate was, some time ago, finally and judicially established after an elaborate and exhaustive inquiry by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which possesses the well-known historic painting representing the scene, painted by Bro. Stewart Watson, and presented to Grand Lodge by Dr. James Burness, the distinguished Indian traveler and administrator, and a distant relative of Burns through his ancestry in Kincardineshire, from which Burns' father migrated to Ayrshire.
The lodge possesses an actual Master Mason's apron of Burns' Mother Lodge, used at the time when he was initiated, and presented by Bro. McGavin, Past Substitute Master, the descendant of one who was present.
James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, succeeded Robert Burns as Poet Laureate in 1835. A special meeting of the lodge was held at the Cleikum Inn, St. Ronan's, Innerleithen, when he was initiated into the Craft, and sang to the assembled brethren his own song--"When the Kye Come Hame." The names of Alexander Anderson (Surfaceman), Wallace Bruce, T. N. Hepburn (Gabriel Setoun), and Rudyard Kipling appear in later years.
A REMARKABLE ALTAR
By BRO. N. W. J. HAYDON, Asso. Ed., Canada
CONNAUGHT Lodge, Mimico, owns as unusual a piece of furniture as is to be seen, probably, in Ontario. This is an altar, designed and partly built by the skillful hands of Bro. Joseph Nevin, who is also a brother of the Operative Art, being an "Honors Man" of the City and Guilds Institute, of London, England.
This altar is built on the design of a tower and porch to a cathedral. It is made of oak, and is entirely symbolical in its detail and finish, being twenty-four inches square at its base and thirty-three inches high. At each corner is a diminishing buttressed pier, set at an angle of 45d; these reach up to about half its height and, above them, the corners are cut in blocks like maple and the leather of bird's-eye maple, inlaid with three rosettes of oak, each carved with an eight-petalled rose, the buttons being silver coins smoothed and engraved with the square and compasses. On the edge, outside the apron, are five seven-sided, tapering spires, one at each corner and one in the center of the eastern side, which has at its apex the cardinal points and a weathercock pointing towards the east for "a favorable wind."
In the east, south, and north sides are set three-light windows of gothic design, inlaid with colored glass. The reveals of the windows are in ashlared blockstone design, with gothic arches containing the correct number of stones, the keystones being carved in the shape of a coffin. Around each arch is a moulded label course, surmounted at its center with a carved square, plumbrule and level.
In the west side appears a doorway, with three steps as an approach to a door in gothic style, whose hinges are of the fleur-de-lis pattern. It bears a "Sanctuary Knocker" of brass in the shape of a demon's head, with horns, serpent's tongue, a ring in its mouth and eyes that, by some peculiarity of the maker's art, appear to look right at you, whether you stand in front or on either side. This doorway is recessed and, in the angles, appear the staves - emblems of authority, while around the opening appear block-finished ashlars. The upper half is a gothic arch of twelve stones and a keystone carved with a fleur-de-lis.
Above this door is a window of five lights of lances design, inlaid with colored glass, and so arranged that each arch has one-half struck from a common center and all are within the bounds and touching one common circle. This is surmounted by an arch containing fifteen stones and a keystone inlaid with pearl and carved with the usual lettered circle.
The altar is lighted electrically from within which makes a very pleasing effect. There is also in this lodge a choir rail, built of oak by the same brother, and designed as a colonnade with gothic arches. It is supported by twelve columns, one of which is peculiarly twisted in the turning. This rail is fitted with special electric lamps, of a color suitable for the Master Mason ceremony and displays much original thought, skill and ingenuity in the making, so as to meet the service required of it.
(Written for the Dedication of Masonic Temple in Moncton, N. B., Aug. Z5, 1924)
O. Eternal God, mighty in power, of majesty incomprehensible, look graciously on Thy servants who lift up their hearts unto Thee. Thou who madest the earth and gayest man understanding; suffer us by Thine help to build to Thine honour. In Thine infinite WISDOM have patience with our imperfections. In our pitiable weakness make perfect Thy STBENGTH; and O. ineffable BEAUTY, leave us not ashamed. Instruct our tongues to frame Thy Word aright. Make attentive the ears that would catch Thy voice and in faithful breasts do Thou find for Thyself repose. Encourage those who walk in darkness here to lean upon Thine Arm. By Thine Own Hand raise us out of all disaster that, in the Middle Chamber of Thy Sacred Presence we may rejoice to behold Thy Face. O, Thou Master of Workmen, Thou Builder of Mansions, Thou Giver of Life. Amen.
Channing Gordon Lawrence,
Grand Chaplain, New Brunswick.
Great Men Who Were Masons
By BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD. P.G.M., District of Columbia
THERE are few men, few Masons, in our history who have figured so prominently and yet so modestly as James Otis. We learn that he was a Mason from The Freemasons' Monthly Magazine published by that brilliant Massachusetts Grand Secretary and editor, Charles W. Moore; in his Volume XIX for 1860, page 133, he says:
"James Otis, of Revolutionary renown, the distinguished lawyer and orator, was a frequent visitor to the Grand Lodge. At the quarterly communication of October 12, 1753, he appeared as the Senior Warden of the 'second lodge.' Afterwards, his name is enrolled among those of visitors, in 1753, 1754, 1758, 1759, 1760, 1761, 1765, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1773, and 1774. He was a pall-bearer at the funeral of Grand Master Gridley, and served on a committee of the Grand Lodge on that occasion."
James Otis was born on what was called Great Marshes, now West Barnstable, Massachusetts, Feb. 5, 1725; and died at Andover, May 23, 1783. He was graduated at Harvard in 1743, having taken the College Course, studied law in Boston, and was admitted to the bar in Plymouth, where he began practice. Later he moved to Boston to take advantage of the better opportunities there.
Otis was a thinking man with a habit of tireless industry. As early as 1760 he published his famous essay The Rudiments of Latin Prosody with a Dissertation of Letters and the Principle Harmony in Poetic and Prosaic Composition. This title indicates his classical and philological tastes. It was his knowledge of languages that enabled him to find the exact word for his idea; though he became famous as an orator he was never in the least theatrical.
While Judge Advocate General in 1761 he delivered a masterly argument on "Whether the Persons Employed in Enforcing the Acts of Trade Should Have the Power to Invoke Generally the Assistance of All the Executive Officers of the Colony." He soon resigned his office as Judge Advocate General because he considered the "Writs of Assistance" to be illegal and refused to argue them further. He was then employed on the other side and produced a profound impression; the judges evaded giving decisions and the Writs, though secretly granted at the next term, were never executed.
Otis was elected to the Legislature, where his eloquence soon placed him at the head of his party and won for him the title of "The Great Incendiary of New England."
In 1765 he moved that a congress of delegates be called from the several Colonies. The adoption of this proposal resulted in a congress held at New York in October of that year, with Otis as a member. He was authorized to prepare an address to the House of Commons. In the following May he was elected Speaker of the Provincial House. When Charles Townsend’s plan of taxation had passed in the British Parliament, the Massachusetts House sent, in 1768, another circular letter requesting the Colonies to unite on some suitable measure of redress. When Governor Bernard required this letter to be rescinded Otis made a speech which was pronounced by the friends of the British Government to be "the most violent, insolent, abusive, and treasonable declaration that perhaps ever was delivered." The House refused to rescind by a vote of 92 to 17.
In the summer of 1769 Otis discovered that the Commissioners of Customs had sent accusations against him to England to charge him with treason; immediately he inserted an advertisement in the Boston Gazette denouncing them. The next evening he met Mr. Robinson, one of the Commissioners, in a coffee house; an altercation occurred in which Mr. Otis was struck on the head with a blunt instrument, leaving a gash; this is thought to have been the cause of his dementure later on. In the action instituted against Mr. Robinson he was awarded damages of 2000 pounds, but declined to receive the money since Mr. Robinson had made an "humble written apology."
Mr. Otis retired, on account of his health, but was again chosen a Representative. But he was forced to retire permanently because of mental derangement. His death was brought on by a stroke of lightning which struck his house at Andover.
During his derangement he had destroyed nearly all his papers. He had published a pamphlet on The Vindication of the Conduct of the House of Representatives, 1762; The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted, 1764; and Considerations on Behalf of the Colonists, 1765.
A VOCABULARY WANTED
THE American Craft stands just now in need of a new vocabulary. With the official adoption of the principle of Masonic Education by so many Grand Lodges, brethren so engaged are hard put to discover a means of describing what they are aiming at. "Research" is used, but it suggests something scientific, or antiquarian, something very heavy and dull. "Study" is unpleasantly reminiscent of school and college. "Education" itself suggests study, classes, teachers, text-books and other high brow paraphernalia. Of course there are very few Masons who desire to make a scientific study of Masonry, or who would care to go to school again; nevertheless they may desire to learn what Masonry is, how to practice it, or manage it, how to enjoy it. He will lay us all under obligation who makes us the Rift of a new vocabulary by which to describe such desires and such needs.
THE STUDY CLUB
Studies of Masonry in the United States
By BRO. H. L. Haywood Editor
PART VI BEGINNINGS IN MASSACHUSETTS
A READING of the various books in which some discussion is made of the beginnings of Masonry in Massachusetts will show that for many years the subject has lain in much confusion, due partly to a lack of data, partly to the average writer's habit of accepting without critical examination things said by a predecessor. If this confusion has to a large extent been cleared up, so that the subject now stands forth with comparatively clear outlines it is principally due to a remarkable book, already frequently quoted in these studies: The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, by Bro. Melvin M. Johnson, P. G. M., Massachusetts. As already stated by the present writer in a review published in THE BUILDER, October, 1924, page 316, the chief value of this work is that it is based on original records, and that these records have been subjected to a critical scrutiny, by virtue of which fact it may be accurately described as a new departure in writing the history of the Craft in America.
Bro. Johnson's work covers the period from the traditional beginnings up to and including 1750. During that period Boston was the cultural and commercial capital of New England, and one of the two or three most important cities on the continent. A reader will find a detailed history of the city from 1630 to 1880 in a magnificent work in four volumes: The Memorial History of Boston, edited by Justin Winsor; Boston; 1882. The period during which Freemasonry was organized in Massachusetts is covered in Volume II, in which, on page 439, is the following succinct description of the population and general characteristics of the Boston of that time:
"The appearance which Boston in the middle of the eighteenth century presented to a visitor was one of thrift and substantial prosperity. It had much the air of some of the best country towns in England. The marginal lines had not materially changed, as Price's plan of 1743 shows, and the territory of the little peninsula sufficed, with but slight changes, until the new movement in life began early in the present century. The population had increased chiefly by process of natural laws, unaided by any extensive immigration or influx from the country. When the small-pox broke out in 1722, it was estimated that the town contained about twelve thousand inhabitants. Twenty years later, in 1742, there were about eighteen thousand and the number scarcely exceeded twenty thousand in 1760. This stationary character of the population aided no doubt in the preservation of local characteristics. In the valuation of 1742 there were reported to be one thousand seven hundred and nineteen houses, and one hundred and sixty-six warehouses twelve hundred of the population were widows, a thousand of them being set down as poor; and there were one thousand five hundred and fourteen negroes in town. Peter Faneuil had just presented Faneuil Hall to the town; and there were standing, besides the Town House and Province House, ten meetinghouses of the prevailing faith, three edifices of the Church of England, a French, a Quaker, and one Irish or Presbyterian meeting-house. There was a work-house and an alms-house, a granary and four school-houses."
THE CALENDAR, OLD STYLE AND NEW
It was in such an environment that Massachusetts Masonry made its beginnings some time during the first quarter of the eighteenth century, and in order to understand its course of development that environment will need to be kept constantly in mind. Also the reader needs to remember that prior to 1752 the Old Style calendar was still in use. The general oversight of this fact has caused so much confusion in Masonic, histories it will be useful here to quote Bro. Johnson's explanation of Old and New Style calendars:
"Much confusion has arisen over dates from January 1 to March 24, inclusive, prior to 1753, because to and including the year 1752 the first day of the new year was March 25 instead of January 1. Consequently old style March 24, 1750, for instance, was the day before March 25, 1751; and January 1, 1750, was the day after December 31, 1750, and not the day after December 31, 1749. In many commentaries on early Masonic matters as well as upon matters of general history this distinction has been overlooked, with resultant confusion. Accuracy of dates has been attempted herein, and for clearness both old and new style have been indicated. For instance, March 24, 1750/51, means the day before March 25, 1751. At the time that day was officially known as March 24, 1750."
In going back to the origins of American Masonry Bro. Johnson made use of eight various sources of information:
1. Official Lists of Lodges.
These lists, often engraved, were issued at various times by the English and Irish Grand Lodges. The two best books on these lists were written by Bro. John Lane: Handy Book to the Study of the Engraved. Printed and Manuscript Lists of Lodges of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of England (Moderns and Ancients) from 1723 to 1814 with an Appendix and Valuable Statistical Tables; and Masonic Records, 1717-1886; the former was first printed, London, 1889; the latter, London, 1886. A second edition of the Records was published in London, 1895.
2. The Constitutions.
Under this head are included all the Old Manuscripts, but more especially the edition prepared by Dr. James Anderson, first published in London, 1723. It was this book that Benjamin Franklin brought out in Philadelphia, 1734.
3. Records and Account Books.
Under this head come the record books of the Grand Lodge at London beginning under date of June 24, 1723; Liber B, Philadelphia, beginning June 24, 1731; original records of the First Lodge in Boston, evidently begun in 1738; the original records of the Masters' Lodge in Boston, with the first record under date of Dec. 22, 1738; records of St. John's Lodge at Portsmouth, N. H., begun Oct. 31, 1739; minute book of Tun Tavern Lodge of Philadelphia, with the first entry dated June 28, 1749; a journal written by Benjamin Franklin July 4, 1730; and the record of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Boston beginning April 13, 1750.
4. Manuscripts of the Period.
In this classification are included the original petition for the constitution of the First Lodge in Boston; the original petition for the constitution of the First Lodge in New Hampshire; the Beteilhe Manuscript; the Baron's Letter; and The Pelham List. The Beteilhe Manuscript is so called because it was written by Francis Beteilhe. He was made a Mason in the First Lodge of Boston, July 24, 1734, was made its secretary some time prior to June 23, 1736, and was "appointed or reappointed Grand Secretary by Provincial Grand Master Tomlinson on June 24, 1737." Also he was evidently secretary of the Masters' Lodge, for its records from Jan. 2, 1738/9, to and including Aug. 7, 1739, are in his handwriting. The Manuscript named for him opens with a copy of the petition for the constitution of the First Lodge under date of July 30, 1733. Peter Pelham was made a Mason Nov. 8, 1738, in the First Lodge, of which he became secretary Dec. 26, 1739, and so remained until Sept. 26, 1744, when his son, Charles, made a Mason in the First Lodge, Sept. 12, 1744, succeeded him. Charles Pelham remained secretary until July 24, 1754, or afterwards. It is from these two brethren that the Pelham List takes its name.
5. Newspapers of the Period.
The Boston News-Letter, first published April 17, 1704; The Boston Gazette, launched Dec. 14, 1719; The New England Courant, first published Aug. 17, 1721; and The New England Weekly Journal, March 20, 1727, are among the important Massachusetts sources. Benjamin Franklin and his brother had much to do with these early journalistic adventures.
6. The Pocket Companion.
The first Pocket Companion was printed in London by E. Rider in 1735. In its first and subsequent editions it was used as a kind of popular textbook of Freemasonry, and so remained until it was superseded to a large extent by Preston's Illustrations of Masonry.
7. Preston's Illustrations of Masonry.
The first edition of this famous book was published in London, 1772. For nearly a century it was easily the most popular Masonic book in existence. Many portions of its historical chapters stand in need of careful revision, but for all that it is one of the necessary sources of Masonic history. The Masonic bibliophile will find it useful to possess himself of Bro. Silas H. Shepherd's complete bibliography of Preston.
EARLIEST LODGES WERE "ACCORDING TO ANCIENT CUSTOM"
Prior to 1721 it was "legal" or "regular" for a group of Masons, working by "inherent right", to form themselves into a lodge, without charter or other official instrument. Such lodges were known as "time immemorial", "spontaneous", sometimes as "occasional", and frequently as "St. John's Lodges." After the Grand Lodge at London adopted its new regulation in 1721, covering the forming of a lodge, these independent Masonic bodies had to become regularized. All the extant evidence justifies us in believing that there were such independent lodges in the American Colonies prior to 1733, a fact already adverted to in a previous chapter on the beginnings of Masonry in Pennsylvania.
Such lodges, as well as those that later came into existence, "duly and regularly constituted" met under conditions very different from those now obtaining. They were more or less migratory, meeting from place to place, sometimes in private residences; summons for a lodge meeting were carried from house to house by the tiler; and records were usually left with the secretary, who kept them at his own home. Because of this free and easy way of managing their affairs, lodges oftentimes kept few or no records of their activities; and frequently such records as were kept became destroyed or were lost.
Grand Lodges were in the same case. The Mother Grand Lodge at London was organized in 1717, but its contemporaneous records were not kept until on and after June 24, 1723. The first Grand Lodge in Massachusetts was organized in 1733, but the still existing contemporaneous records begin of date July 13, 1750. An excellent description of this state of affairs is found in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, for 1871, page 338:
"Our society conducts its affairs very differently now from what it did formerly. Prior to 1776 the Grand Lodge of England had no apartments of its own. Its meetings were held in taverns and halls, while the Grand Secretary's office followed the calling of that officer, and the papers, archives and records intrusted to him were liable to loss, decay and mutilation. They were undoubtedly preserved as well as possible, considering the fact that they followed the person of the Grand Secretary, and were subject to such care and supervision as he bestowed upon his own papers and documents, in his own office.
"The same was true of the Grand Secretary's office here. It was at the house of that officer, or at his place of business, as was most convenient, and the papers and archives were packed away in a box or trunk, rarely opened. The Provincial Grand Lodge met at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, the Royal Exchange, at Concert Hall, or at such other place as was most convenient, and had no hall or home to resort to. Under these circumstances, we are indeed fortunate in finding any of our original papers preserved.
"In the inquiry we are making, it is necessary to keep in mind the great difference between the systematic manner in which our affairs are now conducted, and the loose, unmethodical way in which Masonry was carried on during the last century, especially between 1733 and 1770."
The majority of lodge meetings, as suggested above, were held in taverns, which were not then what they afterwards became, but were social, intellectual, political and literary centers to which members of the best classes were accustomed to repair. A chapter could be written, if space permitted, on the influence of tavern life in early Massachusetts Masonry. Some hint of this, along with valuable information concerning the more prominent taverns of the period between 1733 and 1750, was given by Bro. Charles W. Moore in his The Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, 1860, page 131:
"During the period anterior to 1750, it is probable that the Grand Lodge met about thirty times, sometimes at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, and sometimes at the Royal Exchange Tavern. In 1735, 'The First Lodge' (the present Saint John's) was removed to the Royal Exchange by leave of the Grand Master; and on the 15th February, 1750, a 'second Lodge' was constituted, to be held at the same place. On the 7th of March following, the 'third Lodge' was formed, its meetings to be holden at the White Horse Tavern; but afterwards, during that year, it was removed to the Bunch of Grapes.
"The Bunch of Grapes Tavern was 'in King Street, just below the Town House, 1724'. Its site was that now occupied by the New England Bank, on the corner of State and Kilby Streets. It was kept by William Coffin in 1731, and by Col. Joseph Ingersoll in 1764-9. King Street became known as State Street in 1784.
"The Royal Exchange Tavern stood on the late site of the Columbian Bank, on the corner of State and Exchange Streets-now occupied by the Merchants' Bank building. The quarrel between Benjamin Woodbridge and Henry Phillips, 1727, resulting in a duel and the death of the former, occurred here. The event caused a good deal of excitement at the time. The tavern was then kept by Luke Vardy. "The White Horse Tavern, 'at the South End, 1724,' was nearly opposite to where Hayward Place now is. Its landlord in 1760-4 was Joseph Morton.
"On 'Fryday, April ye 13th, 1750', a quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge was held at the Royal Exchange Tavern, R. W. Thomas Oxnard presiding. From this date to that of January 27, 1775, inclusively, one hundred and fifty-one meetings--regular, special and festive--took place. The records designate the places where eighty-five of them were held. Until the summer of 1767, the quarterly and other business sessions were generally held at the Royal Exchange; and afterwards, until the breaking out of the revolutionary war, at the Bunch of Grapes."
THE BRETHREN MADE MUCH OF FEASTS
In consonance with the sociable tavern atmosphere in which they worked was the great importance attached by our early brethren to their annual and semiannual feasts, and to their public processions. Feasts were held on either or both of the St. John's Days, all plans for the festivities being in the hands of the stewards. When the great day arrived the brethren, each in his liveliest costume, gathered at the lodge room or at the home of the Grand Master or Worshipful Master. The whole day and most of the night was devoted to the festivities, except for the few hours necessary for lodge or Grand Lodge business. The public procession attracted the attention of the entire town, for the brethren went forth in all the variety of their regalia, preceded by "French horns", and followed by the dignitaries in carriages.
In the same essay from which quotations were made just above, Bro. Charles W. Moore gives us a little glimpse into these activities and at the same time furnishes a record of the feasts celebrated by Grand Lodge on St. John the Baptist Day and on St. John the Evangelist Day:
"In 1751, on the 12th of April, 'it was Voted, That the next St. John's Day should be celebrated out of Town; upon which our Rt. Wors. Bro. Price made an offer of the use of his House at Manotomy, [now West Cambridge,] which was accepted.' The record states further that 'Monday, June ye 24th, 1751, the Brethren went in Regular Procession to the House of Mr. Richardson in Cambridge, 'Bro. Price's House at Manotomy being Incumber'd by sickness,' where a Grand Lodge was held for celebrating the day.'
"Within the period now under notice, embracing twenty-four years, the festival of Saint John the Baptist was celebrated at the Grey Hound Tavern in Roxbury, in 1752, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759, 1761, 1764, 1767, 1768 and 1770; at the British Coffee House in King Street in 1762; at 'The George Tavern on Boston Neck,' afterwards called 'The King's Arms Tavern,' in 1763, 1769, 1771, 1772 and 1773; and 'at the house of Bro. Gardner at Roxbury,' in 1765.
"The feast of St. John the Evangelist, during the twenty-four years, was observed at the Royal Exchange Tavern in 1751, 1758 and 1759at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern in 1752, 1753, 1762, 1764, 1765, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773; at Concert Hall in 1756, and at the British Coffee House in 1760 and 1761.
"These festivals might have been celebrated, also, in the years here omitted; but if so, the fact is not recorded."
BOOKS AND REFERENCES
For the general period covered by the present chapter see the bibliography appended to the Study Club for last October, page 314. For a description of the Boston of 1700-1750 see The Memorial History of Boston, Including Suffolk County Massachusetts, edited by Justin Winsor; Boston, 1882; Vol. II. On the calendar see Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, Johnson; New York, 1924; page 42. On original sources see Ibid, page 28 flf. On Francis Beteilhe and the Beteilhe Manuscript see Ibid, page 36, and various references in index; also Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for 1871, page 288. On Charles and Peter Pelham and the Pelham List see Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, pages 290, 293; also consult index. On Boston newspapers see The Memorial History of Boston; VoI. II, page 387 flf. On "occasional" or "time immemorial" lodges see Johnson, page 47; The Freemasons' Magazine, 1844, page 163. On lodge records see Massachusetts Proceedings, 1871, page 338; Johnson, page 372; The History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould; Philadelphia, 1889, Vol. IV, page 242. On taverns see The Freemasons' Magazine, Charles W. Moore; 1856, page 162; 1860, page 132. On feasts and processions see Ibid, page 132; Johnson, pages 137, 187, 223.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
Why is it so difficult to ascertain the exact facts concerning the origins of American Masonry? What sets Bro. Johnson's book apart from most of the studies of that field? Give a description of social conditions in Boston during the early half of the eighteenth century. In what way do you suppose, did this environment influence Freemasonry What is meant by the Old Style calendar? When was the New Style begun?
What are the various sources for a history of American Masonry? Do Grand Lodges now publish official lists? If so, where? What is meant by "the constitutions"? What part do they now play in Freemasonry? What record and account books does your own lodge keep? How are these preserved? Is your lodge keeping a history?
What is meant by Masonic Manuscripts? What was the Beteilhe Manuscript? The Pelham List? Name some early Boston newspapers. What use have they as sources of Masonic history? What was the Pocket Companion? Who was William Preston? What book did he write? When was it published? Have you ever read it?
How did lodges come into existence prior to 1721? What were such lodges called? How does a lodge now come into existence?
How did early lodges keep their records? Where did they meet? How did the early Grand Lodges keep their records? Describe one of the early taverns. What is meant by St. John's Day? What is the date of St. John the Baptist Day? St. John the Evangelist Day? Why are the two Saints John the Patrons of Freemasonry? Does your own lodge hold feasts on either of these days? Do you believe that Freemasons should indulge in public processions? Who had charge of the social festivities of early American lodges? How are the social festivities managed in your own lodge? Do you believe that all such festivities should be in the hands of the lodge stewards?
BOARD OF EDITORS
Editor‑in‑Chief - H.L. HAYWOOD
LOUIS BLOCK, Iowa
ROBERT L. CLEGG, Ohio
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
C. C. HUNT, Iowa
CHARLES F. IRWIN. Ohio
A.L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
R. J. MEEKREN, Canada
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, New York
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
JESSE M. WHITED, California
DAVID E. W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
HAS A GRAND MASTER THAT "PREROGATIVE"?
THE plain Mason who has read the symposium on "Making a Mason at Sight" printed on the first page of this issue will probably feel that the whole subject is something of a mystery - just as he feels about medicine when doctors disagree. If we offer our own interpretation of that mystery it is not to complete or perfect what is so well said by the competent brethren who have contributed to the symposium, but rather to suggest a clue by which a reader may find the basis of agreement underlying their various opinions, among which there is apparently so much disagreement.
Grand Masters existed before the Fraternity adopted laws to declare or define their powers. The purpose of such laws is necessarily to guide Grand Masters in the exercise of their authority and the performance of their duties; in other words, those laws are rules, rules to define the actions of Grand Masters.
It is conceivable that a Grand Master might be called upon to perform an almost innumerable variety of acts. If the laws are too general, too abstract, do not define a sufficient number of possible acts, if they leave too much to the discretion of a Grand Master, the Grand Master necessarily becomes a despot. In such a system Grand Lodge would become a shadow, or cease to be. The Grand Master - like the too ambitious French king who said "I am the state" - would say, "I am the Grand Lodge! I am Freemasonry!" In the nature of things such a state of affairs would be impossible because Freemasonry is not the kind of organization that could be so governed.
On the other hand, if nothing is left to the discretion of the Grand Master, if every possible act, or occasion, or emergency, or contingency, or decision, or problem, or eventuality is dealt with by our laws, or so attempted, then Masonic law will break down of its own weight, too cumbersome to be applied, like the ancient Rabbinical laws that tried to tell a man how many yards he could walk on the Sabbath, how to dress himself, how to trim his beard, how many pins he could stick in his coat.
Under the most detailed and elaborate set of rules some cases are certain to arise not contemplated by the makers of the rules. How can such emergencies be met ? Clearly, only by leaving to the constituted authorities just the amount of discretionary power necessary to meet them.
It is this principle that underlies a number of the "prerogatives of the Grand Master." Those "prerogatives" presuppose that no number of laws can possibly be framed to meet every possible contingency, and therefore power is left with a Grand Master to act according to his own best wisdom. Not otherwise can the Craft equip itself to meet emergencies.
The "prerogative" (the term is not happy) to "Make a Mason at Sight" is one case in point. Under normal conditions the rules and regulations covering the conferring of degrees are perfectly satisfactory; but it may be that in some special and peculiar case those rules would be found wanting; it might be that a qualified petitioner would be so situated as to make it impossible for him to "travel the usual path." If so, the Grand Master very properly exercises that authority inherently belonging to him for just such a case.
The authority to Make a Mason at Sight inheres in the office of Grand Master, just as does the authority to meet any other kind of emergency. Whether any given case is such as constitutes an emergency, and justifies a Grand Master in the exercise of his authority, that is a separate question, necessary to be decided according to the merits of the case in question. The fact that of all the hundreds of Grand Masters who have governed the forty-nine American Grand Lodges during these many years so few have exercised this prerogative would indicate that such emergencies almost never occur. Such being the case it is incumbent upon a Grand Master who does venture to exercise his authority to Make a Mason at Sight to make plain to the brethren of his jurisdiction how that one particular case was just such an emergency as could not be met except by the exercise of the prerogative.
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THE SPRIG OF ACACIA
THE Grand Lodge of New York adopted a new funeral service for Masons at its last Annual Communication, a ceremony to meet the present mood concerning death, and one in which the time hallowed words of the older formularies are mingled with phrases of living speech. In so doing it entered a path that other Grand Jurisdictions are also preparing to find for themselves, each in its own fashion, and by way of response to a quiet demand. The New York brethren succeeded in making a revision without iconoclasm, retaining the spirit of the old in language of the new, and that is wise for it is a subject about which every man has tender feelings.
Some time back Winnifred Kirkland wrote an essay on "The New Death" to show that with a changed outlook on life and the world we approach our departure from it with other hopes and fears than those experienced by our fathers. It may be. It is certain that we have won freedom from many needless superstitions. But even so death remains, a bittersweet adventure, a letting go of the land for a voyage to one knows not what "passage to India."
Our beloved friend, Cassius Keyser, who has himself of late been drawn perilously near to the everlasting farewells, published a while ago a meditation on the great theme to make us all see that what is most precious in life receives much of its preciousness from the fact that it will have an end; that life has its richer meanings by virtue of the limits eternally set about it.
The same thought, with more pathos in it, and less hope, clung to William Morris all his life long. The urge of vitality within his tireless body, and all the pressure of the great dreams and hopes clamoring within him for expression, made death for him all the more regrettable, and touched with an unutterable pathos every joy he knew. In all his labors, he felt like those
"Who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss
Midmost the beating of the steely sea,"
while the sense of how fleeting all things are as men toil their way across the earth made him
"Grudge every minute as it passes by,
Made the more mindful that the sweet days die."
The flowers are fair but they are frail. The song of the birds at dawn has a poignancy in it. Nevertheless flowers and birds are all the dearer for the shortness of spring and the fleetness of summer.
"Folks say, a wizard to a northern king
At Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show
That through one window men beheld the spring,
And through another saw the summer glow,
And through a third the fruited vines a-row,
While still, unheard, but in its wonted way,
Piped the drear wind of that December day."
This is beautiful enough but there is no need that men grow sad because December pipes its wind. December has its own proper place among the months; there would be no wheat in summer without its snows; it belongs to the universe as much as June, and is equally beneficent.
Death itself is not an interloper in the scheme of things, or an accident, or a supernatural calamity, but as natural as birth, and as much to be welcomed. We do not know what it leads to, or what unexpected world may lie beyond it, but we have every reason to believe that after it we shall find ourselves in the same universe as now, with sunrises every morning, and stars in the sky. The processes that lead us at last to our transition are at work in our blood from the moment we are born, woven with our breathing and our sleep, all of a piece with birth and growth, and as natural; it is as much a part of the everlasting scheme of things as existence, and therefore not to be feared.
Who knows! perhaps our life as we now live it may also not be an accident or a provisional experiment in the eternal scheme of things! It may be – one is privileged to his own dreams - that the final exodus will be no transition to a totally different existence but merely one great moment in an existence that will continue indefinitely very much as we now know it! It may be that all the dead, great and small, the countless millions of them, are even now living somewhere in a world like our own, men and women, sleeping at night and arising in the morning, working and playing, visited, perhaps, by the ancient pains and sorrows. If such were indeed the fact it would. at once lift from our present days the mists of transciency; soil and waters, streets, houses, fields, mountains, suns, stars, working, planning, loving, neighbors, friends, family, all these would emerge into our ken transformed and made doubly dear, were it a fact that they and we together are now living in eternity.
To the mysteries of our Craft death is no stranger. It appears at the center of them as a bitter haggard tragedy and as an irreparable Loss, bringing confusion among the Workmen, leaving the Column broken, the Temple incompleted. But so also appears the life that shall endless be; a great Secret is recovered, a Discovery is made in the rubbish, an Altar is erected, a Temple is completed after many failures. It is the hid, profound, immortal teaching of Masonry, this Rising Again, this miracle symbolized by the Acacia.
It is all true and real, and not a series of gestures for rhetorical effect; and it is this that should give its shape and color to the rites at the grave of a Mason, rites wherein is expressed the agony of Loss to them that remain behind, but at the same time a Faith that calls them back again to the labors of the day in the conviction that death cancels none of the values of life, and that the Lord of Life walks amidst the gardens of death:
"I waited: He is come. Oh, I have dreamed
Of Him and doubted, now, I understand -
In all the day it was His glory gleamed,
In all the darkness I have touched His hand.
“’Tis the new life beginning; now I see
This cell is grown too small to hold me: I
Am driven out by joy's necessity,
For if I were to linger, joy must die.
"So I must out and on. Fling the door wide.
Good Porter, whether thou be life or death!
These narrow walls are not for me, outside
The whole world breathes the wonder of His breath."
NEWTON RAY PARVIN
BRO. NEWTON RAY PARVIN, Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Iowa, and Vice-President of the National Masonic Research Society, passed to the Grand East above, Friday evening, Jan. 16, 1925. Funeral services were held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 20, they being in charge of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, of which Bro. Ernest R. Moore is Grand Master; interment was made at Oakland Cemetery, Iowa City, where lies buried Bro. Parvin's father, Theodore Suttin Parvin, a name illustrious in the annals of American Masonry. A sketch of Bro. N. R. Parvin's Masonic career will be published in these pages next month.
A MAP IS NEEDED
Why doesn’t somebody prepare a map to show the geographical location of lodges, and the coincidence of membership with the general population?
A CONCISE HISTORY OF CANADIAN MASONRY FREEMASONRY IN CANADA. Compiled and published by Osborne Sheppard. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Three hundred eight pages in loose-leaf binder. Price, postpaid, cloth, ';4.25; flexible fabrikoid, $6.00.
THIS work first published in 1912 (2nd edition, 1915) has recently been issued in a loose-leaf edition. It aims to be "an authoritative account of supreme Bodies in the Dominion" and consists of some twenty-nine articles contributed by various writers to such works as "The Library of Freemasonry" or compiled by Bro. Sheppard from various sources.
In former editions many historical errors occurred; unfortunately very few of these have been corrected, nor has any attempt been made to set before the reader any of the many important discoveries made respecting early Canadian Freemasonry during the past ten years by research students on both sides of the Atlantic.
The first two articles deal with "The Mother Grand Lodge of England" and "Old British Lodges" by the late M. W. Bro. A. T. Freed and W. Bro. W. J. Hughan, respectively. These articles, somewhat in need of revision, are doubtless intended as indicating the English and Scottish sources of Canadian Masonry. There is, however, no article on Irish Freemasonry, from which source at least twenty-one Canadian lodges received their charters, and from which source also Canadian Masonry, through the dozens of Military lodges of Irish origin in Canada, derived tremendous impetus in earlier days (to a far greater extent than from Scotland) and to which Freemasons in Canada and the United States are indebted for many of the Higher Degrees.
Bro. Geo. J. Bennett's article on "The Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario" would have been better confined to that subject, which he deals with interestingly and concisely; the portion relating to early Masonry in Nova Scotia and Quebec should have been left to writers on those subjects, thereby avoiding considerable conflict of statement.
The articles on "Freemasonry in Quebec," by the late Will H. Whyte, "Early Quebec Lodges," by E. T. D. Chambers, and "St. Paul's Lodge, No. 374, E. R., Montreal," by Dr. D. D. MacTaggart, are full of information of more than Canadian interest, though claims on behalf of the antiquity of several lodges in that Province are made which, in the light of later-day research, are untenable, to say the least.
"Freemasonry in Nova Scotia" compiled from the writings of the late Senator Wm. Ross is hopelessly out of date. It should be entirely re-written. Freemasonry in the Dominion began in Nova Scotia at least twenty years before the rest of Canada passed to the British Crown. That Province has more than a good half dozen lodges whose histories outpoint the historical sketches of the Ontario and Quebec lodges, of which fact not even a hint is given.
The articles on Freemasonry in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are of recent compilation and most illuminating, interesting, complete and concise.
Following these chapters comes a list of lodges under the Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario, with their officers, etc., for 1924; the other Grand Lodges of the Dominion are ignored. The same may be said respecting the chapter entitled "Rulings of Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario" - useful and excellent for Ontario, but of little value elsewhere; the other Grand Lodges are ignored.
Royal Arch Masonry is dealt with - inadequately we think - in four articles: "Masons' Marks," compiled by Bro. Sheppard; "The Origin of the Royal Arch Degree." by C. A. Conover. Gen. Grand Secretary, both very good; “The Introduction of the Royal Arch Degree into the United States" (interesting but in need of considerable revision); and "The Grand Chapter of Canada," by Henry T. Smith. This last article, apparently complete and accurate as far as it goes, gives the impression that Royal Arch Masonry began in Ontario in 1787; where a Chapter undoubtedly existed in Quebec from 1760, and the degree was conferred even earlier in Nova Scotia. Nothing is said respecting the origin of Royal Arch Masonry in the Dominion, nor of its long and splendid history in Quebec and, the Maritime Provinces.
The articles on "Knight Templarism in Canada," by the late Will H. Whyte, and W.H.A. Eckhardt, the present Grand Chancellor, give a comprehensive and interesting account of this branch of Masonry in the Dominion, although some revision is necessary in the first article by reason of recent research. The article on "The A. & A. Scottish Rite in Canada," by W.H Ballard, is all that could be desired, and gives an excelled account of the growth of the Rite. We cannot, however, say the same respecting the chapters on the "Royal Order of Scotland" and "The Cryptic Rite". Those deal with the legendary history and traditions of these organizations, but not a word to show that these orders have any history of Canada. The article on the "Shrine," by W. B. Melish, deals with the history of the Order in the U.S.A. with a list of 155 Temples in the American Republic and the Dominion.
Supplements are promised twice a year and should prove a means of rectifying errors as well as adding to the information given in the volume. If a good index were supplied, it should prove most useful in finding one's way through a work which should interest every lover of the history of our Order. A concise history of the Fraternity in Canada is much needed an should fill a long-felt vacant.
Reginald V. Harris.
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THE MARTYRDOM OF WINWOOD READE.
THE MARTYRDOM OF MAN. By Winwood Reade. Published by Peter Eckler. For sale by National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, .Mo. Cloth. Price, postpaid, $2.15.
MY own experience with this book would in itself be a almost sufficient review. I chanced to take it along on an all day trip on a summer excursion train across Ohio - that blessed old state! There was a superabundance of crowds, confusion, racket, dust, baggage, cinders and heat, but there were no seats, not at least for me. So I stood up all day; an all day long, thus standing, I read; and the book was so irresistibly fascinating that by the time I reached Sandusky I had read it through. There is something to a book that can put one under a spell like that!
Just what that something is one is hard put to describe, but it is there, and many a man (as Elbert Hubbard said, "It is not a book for mollycoddles") has felt it as deeply as did I. George Routledge, of London, has announced a twenty-fourth edition. Even in this land where men do not have much of a stomach for strong books, it is beginning to take hold. Second-hand dealers tell me it is in ever-growing demand, and that, for some reason or other, difficult to guess, it seems to make a peculiar appeal to Masons.
Of The Martyrdom of Man Cecil Rhodes said to Princess Catherine Radziwill: "I know the book. It is a creepy book. I read it the first year I was in Kimberley, fresh from my father's parsonage, and you may imagine the impression which it produced upon me in such a place as a mining camp." After a moment's pause he exclaimed: "That book has made me what I am!" H. G. Wells bears a similar testimony in the Introduction to his The Outline of History: “One book that has influenced me strongly is Winwood Reade's Martrydom of Man. This 'dates,' as people say nowadays, and it has a fine gloom of its own." Also there is the word in W. Robertson Nicoll's The Garden of Nuts, that work of exquisite beauty, but now, alas, out of print: "Winwood Reade, we have been told, has first designed to call his book The Duties and Responsibilities of Creators. It is in its most impressive part an arraignment of the Divine justice. As such it has few books that stand beside it in English literature." Further down the page the famous editor registers his judgment: "But for the most part, happily, English writers have refrained from calling God to the tiny bar of their presumption."
Reade (a nephew of the novelist, Charles Reade) was an African explorer, and fell early under the enchantment of Africa, so that he came to look at the whole world, past, present, and to come, from the point of view of that exotic continent, where human life has always taken a strange turn, and where it comes easy to believe in spells, wizards, demons, occultisms, and all manner of supernaturalisms. Today as much as always, Africa fascinates the imagination because it is the home of primitive peoples, the like of which disappeared from other parts of the world ages ago. Reade was a cultivated Englishman; finding himself in the midst of Africa's neolithic life his mind was disturbed by the shock of the contrast, and became filled, as Wells said, with gloom.
But it was not a "fine gloom!" Far from it! There is nothing fine about it. Nor need one, like Nicoll, accuse the author of the presumptuous pride of Lucifer. Reade's mind was darkened into atheism and despair by its inability to see facts; it is this, rather than any pride or presumption, that transforms his book, intended to be a history of the world as viewed from Africa, into a crepuscular romance such as our own equally benighted Edgar Allan Poe might have written.
In some ways Reade reminds one of another brilliant literary talent who also fell a victim to an irremediable pessimism: the author of Madame Bovary. Flaubert was far more painstaking and "scientific" in accumulating facts than was Reader and he had an almost maniacal passion to use words in their most accurate senses. But all of his mountains of information, accumulated at the cost of numberless sick headaches, added no wisdom to his mind. In his Salammbo he gives us a picture of a military rout in old Carthage: in one all enclosing panic kings, queens, soldiers, peasants, children, horses, elephants, lions, serpents, and vermin plunged helplessly together into a terrible death among mud holes. It was Flaubert's picture of human life.
Such also is the picture presented in The Martyrdom of Man, where the whole of the race's life is envisaged as a frightened plunge out of the heart of darkness into the heartless dark. This means that Reade literally did not know what he was talking about. For if human life were such a pitilessly cruel thing the human race would have perished off this unhappy earth thousands of years ago. His central blunder was not in his gloom or in his satanic pride but in his inability to see facts as they are or report them as he found them. Such a book, where this is true of it, may be filled with a "fine gloom" and all that, but it is not HISTORY; and what it gives us is not "the martyrdom of man" but the unhappy martydrom of Winwood Reade! - H. L. H.
* * *
A SHEAF OF SERMONS
BEST SERMONS, 1924. Edited With Introduction and Biographical Notes by Joseph Fort Newton. Published by Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society. Blue cloth, 852 pages. Price $2.65.
THE ancient art of preaching is not likely to be abandoned in this or any other age, not as long as men hunger in spirit and need guidance through the tangled adventure of life. The preacher is his own medium: his gestures, intonations and facial expression, along with the subtle nuances of his personality, are as much a part of his sermon as his words, for which reason not many sermons can be captured in print. There are, however, happy exceptions where one who knows the divine power to use words in a pulpit enjoys equal talent for setting them down on paper. The present volume is a sheaf from sermons by such men, collected and edited by one who is himself one of the pulpit's most eloquent voices in this age.
Dr. Newton explains the motive behind this anthology in his preface:
"For several years past we have had each season books of the best poems, the best short stories, the best moving pictures to which it seems worth while to add an annual book of the Best Sermons. Such a venture is not only timely, but is justified by the new interest in the issues of religious faith created by the appalling experiences of the last ten years, as well as by the debates which have recently agitated the churches, and still more by the ancient wistfulness of the human heart and its need for guidance in a time of unrest and confusion."
Further down he reveals his own ideal of the great art while describing the sermons he has selected for 1924:
"The sermons in this book, selected from a profusion of riches, show us a goodly, gracious company of preachers, very unlike one another in outlook, in method, and in gifts; young men of dawning genius, men in the full flight of mid-career and veterans with ripe and serene vision. Hardly an echo of recent debates is heard in these pages. One would not find it easy to tell to what churches the preachers belong, if the labels were left off. They are not concerned with dogmas that divide, but with the issues and perplexities of life as men live it today; and above all with the problem of redemption in its tragic and gigantic modern setting. In every sermon there is the same loyalty to the personality and principles of Jesus who, in spite of all our energy and invention - radium, radio and the rest - has in His keeping the one secret the world needs to know. About Him these preachers gather; in His name they speak, each with his own insight and eloquence, in behalf of a common faith which underlies all creeds and over-arches all sects."
Masons will be interested to find among the preachers represented the names of four that are active in the Craft: Bros. Gaius Glenn Atkins, Lynn Harold Hough, Ernest E. Tittle and Robert Norwood.
* * *
A NEW EDITION OF STREETS "SYMBOLISM"
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE DEGREES. By Oliver Dan Street. Second Edition, Rewritten and Enlarged. Vol. III National Masonic Library. Published by Masonic Service Association, Washington, D. C. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Blue cloth, questions for discussion, index, 195 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.15.
BRO. STREET'S Symbolism is so familiar to readers of THE BUILDER that it does not stand in need of review except to say that the author has added to it so much new material and has rewritten so many pages that it is substantially a new book, and as such is richly deserving its place in the National Masonic Library, published by the Masonic Service Association. Furthermore, Bro. Street has also included ten pages of Questions for Discussion, thereby the better fitting it for use by Study Clubs; no better text for that purpose is in existence.
A list of the topics not covered in previous editions will show at a glance how much the book has been enlarged: Name of the Fraternity; Definition of Masonry; Secrecy; The Twenty-four Inch Gauge; The Common Gavel; The Chisel; The Key; Solomon's Temple; Hale; Tile, Tiler, Tyler; Due Guard; Approaching the East; The Dignity of Man; White; Black; Blue; Gloves; Valley of Jehoshaphat; Untempered Mortar; Nature; Brotherly Love; Relief of the Distressed; Truth; Light; Jewels of a Lodge; Perfect Youth; The Square; The Level; The Plumb; Point Within a Circle; Parallel Lines; "What Came We Here to Do?"; Royal Tradition; Officers of a Lodge; Letter G; Circumambulation: The Working Tools: Broached Thurnel; Death; The Resurrection; Immortality.
What to Read in Masonry
A KIT OF WORKING TOOLS
(The reading lists embodied in this series do not show what books are available as new and what are to be had only secondhand; there is never any telling when a title will go out of print, or when an old work will be reissued. Such information on any of the books referred to will be given on request.)
TO make dictionaries is dull work," bemoaned Samuel Johnson, the patron saint of all good lexicographers. Perhaps! but using them is not. O. Henry, who read them for fun, called dictionaries the most exciting books in existence; "they are so full of surprises and variety."
It is possible that the studious Craftsman will not find Masonic dictionaries and encyclopaedias very exciting - it is difficult to write an exciting Masonic book - but one thing is certain, he will find them necessary, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and similar reference works, whatever his own favorite field may be. He will need such a kit of working tools.
If he is collecting a library of his own he will probably wish to classify it properly; Bro. William L. Boyden's Classification of the Literature of Freemasonry and Related Societies, will be useful for that purpose; and Selected List of Masonic Literature, by the Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research, of which Bro. Silas H. Shepherd is chairman, will show how to apply the Boyden system to a list of titles. The catalogs issued by various Masonic libraries will assist to the same end. In the selection of the best books he can consult the various published Masonic bibliographies such as Masonic Historical and Bibliographical Memoranda, by J. H. Drummond; Masonic Bibliography, Enoch T. Carson; Early Masonic Literature, E. H. Dring; Negro in Masonic Literature, Harry A. Williamson, etc. In addition to these are such special bibliographies as Shepherd's Bibliography of Preston's Illustrations and numberless others. One of the best ways to keep abreast of new books as they appear is to subscribe for the cards issued at intervals by the Library of Congress at Washington, D. C.; the cost is nominal.
LISTS OF LODGES
On lists of old lodges the best works are Masonic Records, and Handy Book, etc., both by John Lane; and Pocket Companion for Freemasons, 1735, and Pocket Companion and History of Freemasons, 1764, both anonymous. The List of Regular Lodges, published annually at Bloomington, Ill., gives all lodges now in existence in America and a few other countries; the Masonic Year Book, published annually under authority of the Grand Lodge of England, gives complete data concerning names, location, officers, etc., of all Masonic bodies in any way connected with that Obedience. Their quarterly or yearly Transactions will keep a student in touch with the work of all research lodges, most of which are in England; and he will find it necessary to have a copy of the Annual Proceedings of his own Grand Lodge, especially for the sake of the Fraternal Correspondence Report, in which is a bird's-eye view of important Craft happenings.
Next come general Masonic reference works, more especially the encyclopaedias. The Cyclopaedia of Fraternities, Stevens, is out of date in statistics, but otherwise essential. Concise Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry, or Handbook of Masonic Reference, E. L. Hawkins; History and Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry, Oliver and Macoy; Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia of History, Rites, Symbolism and Biography, K. R. H. MacKenzie; Kenning's Masonic Cyclopaedia, A. F. Woodford; and Dictionary of Symbolical Masonry, George Oliver, are composed of concise articles on Masonic subjects, all in English. The more comprehensive works are New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, A. E. Waite; and An Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, principally by A. G. Mackey, the latter of which is widely used in America. The Bound Volumes of THE BUILDER, of which a ten-year consolidated index is now being prepared, is also good to be used for encyclopaedia purposes.
Of the many handbooks with reference value, these are representative: The Master's Assistant, D. D. Darrah; The Worshipful Master's Assistant, Macoy; Things a Freemason Should Know, Crower The Master Mason's Handbook, Crowe, etc.
GENERAL REFERENCE WORKS
Of non-Masonic reference works, necessary for auxiliary purposes, there are legion, but some call for special mention: the New English Dictionary; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Dictionary of the Bible, Smith; Dictionary of Religion and Ethics, Mathews and Smith; Encyclopaedia Biblica, Cheyne and Black; Encyclopaedia of Occultism, Spencer Manual of Church History, Newman; Encyclopaedia of Social Reform, Bliss; Cyclopaedia of Education, Monroe; and Encyclopaedia of Religions, Canney. The greatest of all such works in the general field of religion and morality is the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Hastings; a list of its articles of interest to Masons was published in THE BUILDER, July, 1922, page 215. Of reference works on Roman Catholicism, two will be sufficient, both bearing the official imprimatur: Question Box, Conway; and The Catholic Encyclopaedia. For all matters in the fields of primitive culture, folklore, early religions, and myths, Frazer's Golden Bough is as rich as a gold mine.
The only work in the Masonic field comparable to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and other great general reference works is a set of the famous Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, London, known as Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. From the publication of the now very scarce first volume in 1888 until the present a new volume has been issued each year, filled with the most scholarly treatises on Freemasonry thus far produced in any land.
If a student is wise he will not trust his memory to preserve all he learns, but will establish a reference work of his own in the shape of a filing system, which can be simple and of small cost. One of the most effective of these may be organized as follows:
Procure a quantity of ordinary manila letter folders, 11 3/4 inches wide, with a depth of 9 inches when folded, and of such a quality as will permit writing in ink. On the inside - you can draw off three columns with a pencil - write down your data, references to books, quotations, and such of your own ideas as you wish not to forget. On the back paste your magazine and newspaper clippings. When the back is filled start a Card No. 2 on the same subject. This card when folded will serve as a container for clippings too large to paste, booklets, pictures, and other loose matter. The folders may be kept in a homemade box. With the folders costing only $1.50 or $2.00 per hundred, and an alphabetical guide costing only a dollar or so. the entire outfit for 1,000 subjects can be established for a total cost of only ten or fifteen dollars.
When to his collection of Masonic and general reference works and to his filing system the student adds two or three good standard dictionaries his kit of working tools will near completion. There is a great difference among dictionaries, especially on Masonic words, and they are not all to be trusted. (Did not the great Dr. Johnson himself admit guessing now and then?) It is safest to use some good unabridged edition showing derivations and furnishing examples of usage; it is safest of all, if one is lucky enough to be near a good public library - the cost is prohibitive - to use The New English Dictionary, sometimes called the Oxford. Nearly all our specifically Masonic terms will be found in it, in some form or another, and it is as near being “final” as anything of the kind can be.
THE QUESTION BOX AND CORRESPONDENCE
NEW YORK OWNS COPY OF FRANKLIN CONSTITUTIONS
In connection with your Franklin article in the December BUILDER, page 372, you can add the Library of the Grand Lodge of New York as possessing a copy of the original Franklin reprint. It likewise has a copy of the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge reproduction of the reprint, and a copy of the reprint of the reprint issued by the New York Masonic Historical Society.
D. D. Berolzheimer, New York.
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PROF. STARCKE IS A MASON
In the November issue of THE BUILDER, on page 352, the anonymous Brother A. B. C. says that Professor C. N. Starcke is not a Mason. He mistakes. Brother Starcke is Worshipful Master of the St. John's Lodge De Gamle Pligter ("The Old Charges") in Copenhagen under the Grand Lodge of Hamburg; and he is an honorary member of several European lodges.
P. A. Fenger, Copenhagen.
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WRITE TO THIS BROTHER
I am sending you my renewal for membership in our Society. It seems to me that THE BUILDER is so much better than it used to be. I have been quite sick for some time. I will be eighty-six next week if I live until the 26th; my wife is two and a half years younger; we will be married sixty-five years if spared until the 26th of February. I have been a Mason over fifty years. I have not been able to walk a block for over fifteen months. I wish brethren would drop me a line.
W. O. Sterling, Annandale, Minnesota.
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BOOKS FOR SALE AND EXCHANGE
I have for sale a number of desirable books on Masonry that would be a welcome addition to any library. At the same time I desire to procure a few of the volumes of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Proceedings of the Lodge of Research, No. 2129, Leicester, England, and Proceedings of the Manchester Association of Masonic Research. If any brother has some of the latter works for sale we may possibly arrange for an exchange. Address Bro. V. L. P., c/o THE BUILDER, St. Louis, Mo.
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A SECONDHAND CATALOG WITH MASONIC APPEAL
Henry Sotheran and Co., 43, Piccadilly, London, W. 1, England, have recently issued their Catalog No. 82 of secondhand books on the Fine Arts. Their list includes so many titles of especial appeal to Masonic students that such brethren will find it worth their while to possess themselves of a copy. The catalog is in itself a work of art, containing a large number of very rare illustrations. The lists on Archaeology, Architecture, Bookplates, Costume, Heraldry, Mosaic, and Ornament are especially valuable from the Masonic point of view.
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REMEMBERS JEFFERSON DAVIS AS A MASON
Bro. Warren Foskett, of St. Louis, was one of two who attended the Knight Templar Triennial at New Orleans in 1874 and again in 1922. He tells me that the Commandery from St. Louis went to the Triennial in 1874 on the Mississippi River boat Grand Republic, and that at some point down the river, Jefferson Davis, much worn and aged, was brought on board and introduced around among the brethren as a Mason. I recommend this clue to Bro. Nathaniel H. Walker, Gulfport, Miss., who made an inquiry through THE BUILDER September last, page 287.
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
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In THE BUILDER for May, 1924, page 160, we have noticed an inquiry from one of your members concerning a lodge which might be described as the highest in the world. We may tell your readers that here in Simla, at an elevation above sea level of 7,200-odd feet, we have five Craft lodges, three of them English Constitution, one Irish and one Scotch. The above figure, I think, puts the one your correspondent specified in the shade.
The Masonic Journal of Northern India,
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PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS IN LEVITICUS
Every once in a while the question of physical requirements of the candidate for Freemasonry comes up. In this connection I have never seen reference made to the requirements as given in the Book of Leviticus, Chapter XXII:
"And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed throughout their generations that hath a blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach; a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or anything superfluous, or a man that is broken-footed, or broken-handed, or crook-backed, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or is scurvy, or scabbed, or bath his stones broken no man of the seed of Aaron the priest that hath a blemish, shall come nigh to offer the offerings of Jehovah made by fire: he bath a blemish, he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God."
I. V. Gillis, Peking, China.
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RE. THE COMACINE THEORY
I have been reading for the second time Bro. Haywood's Study Club article on the Comacines of October, 1923, and Bro. Ravenscroft's reply in January of 1924, but am still somewhat in the dark about one point. Bro. Haywood appears not to accept the Comacine Theory, is not that generally accepted? Do not all Masonic historians believe that Masonry came down from the builders of cathedrals?
D. G. F., Ohio.
The majority of Masonic historians accept the theory that Masonry has come down from the cathedral builders, but that is not the same as accepting the Comacine Theory. The latter theory holds that among the cathedral builders was a great secret society, compactly organized, under a governing head, and that it was from this secret society that Freemasonry derived. One can believe in the theory that Freemasonry developed from among the cathedral builders (I believe it myself) without accepting the narrower theory that those cathedral builders were ever a secret society. I do not "reject" the "Comacine Theory"; I am unconvinced and still on the fence. Some historians have accepted that theory but I do not believe that it could be described as "generally accepted," at least my own notes do not indicate as much. H. L. H.
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WHY NOT A "WORLD MASONIC CONGRESS"?
You know that since the World War there have been a great many "World Conferences" of different sorts, all with the idea of coming to some mutual agreement to end war for all time, all of which have not seemed to make very much progress. I have been wondering if a "World Masonic Congress" would not be a good idea. It could be held for the purpose of "lessening the probabilities of war," and it would serve a twofold purpose in that it would tend to strengthen the idea of friendship and brotherly love amongst the Craft over the world.
Thomas M. Parsons, Wisconsin.
Brother Parsons' proposal is as excellent in idea as it is Masonic. It has been long discussed and debated by Masonic statesmen. The International Masonic Association was brought into existence as a step toward world Masonic unity. Thus far it has encountered many difficulties, owing to the differences of constitution and landmarks among Grand Lodges and other Grand Bodies. Perhaps the most successful attempt at Masonic World Congresses have been the General Conferences of regular Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite. The subject is one that merits discussion.
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I'd like to learn something about the origin of the Sextant and its Masonic application. Can it be given to other than a P. M.?
W. P. B., New York.
I do not understand that, Masonically speaking, there is an instrument called the Sextant. Masonically the word refers to a pair of compasses opened at an angle of 60 degrees. In the United States the Jewel of a Past Master is a pair of compasses opened at an angle of 60 degrees and lying over a fourth part of a circle with a Sun in the center. Of course, no one but an actual Past Master would be entitled to wear this jewel.
The Sextant or angle of 60 degrees is the angle in which the cord of a circle equals the radius. It is also the angle of an equilateral triangle. Six of these make a complete circle and therefore it was anciently a unit of astronomical measurements. Each of these units was divided into 60 degrees, each degree into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds. As such we still use it as the unit of circular measurement, but instead of dividing the circle into six Sextants we consider it as having 360 degrees, but the division of degrees into minutes and seconds still continues.
As applied to a Past Master's Jewel the Sextant over the quadrant implies that the spiritual has superseded the material, that the standard of earthly measurements has given place to that of the heavenly, and that the wearer is a Past Master in the Spiritual Builders' Art.
C. C. Hunt.
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RULES VARIOUSLY GOVERNING CONFERRING DEGREES BY COURTESY
In the Question Box of the August issue, page 256, appeared an item dealing with the above subject. Through the good offices of the Iowa Masonic Library we are able to follow that up with valuable information concerning the regulations in employment by all American Grand Lodges, except for Arizona, Delaware, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Brethren from those Grand Jurisdictions will help to make the present record complete if they will give us their own Grand Lodge regulation. The following Grand Lodges confer all three degrees by courtesy and grant waivers of jurisdiction: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota (some lodges charge a fee, others do not), Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, the latter allowing the same at the discretion of the local lodge. Grand Lodges doing the same except for the E. A. Degree are: California, Colorado, Indiana, Nevada and Wyoming. Those conferring all degrees but not granting waivers: Minnesota, Missouri and Tennessee. Florida confers all degrees and waives jurisdiction except where a candidate has been previously rejected. Kansas confers all degrees; waives jurisdiction; where a petitioner has been a non-resident for two years cannot request courtesy degrees and must waive jurisdiction. Louisiana confers all degrees and waives jurisdiction only over those permanently removed from state, so also Maine. Pennsylvania confers no courtesy degrees at all. Requests for courtesy work must be made to the Grand Master in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska and Oregon; in other cases may be made through Grand Secretary’s office. Notice of any errors that may have crept into this listing will be appreciated.
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