Builder 1916 - Vol. 2 No. 11b - November

The Builder Magazine

November 1916 – Volume II – Number 11b


Part 2

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It is one of the most difficult things in the world for one to be just, while suffering from injustice. It is not an easy thing to permit one who attacks another's reputation to go on with his own reputation apparently unsullied. It is not a simple matter to be non-partisan when one is being held up to scorn by partisans. It is not a pleasant thing to stand aside, inactive, while designing persons are telling lies about us. But the man who can be JUST under trying conditions, and the man who can refrain from showing resentment when assailed, and the man who can still be non-partisan when subjected to partisan attack, and the man who can resist the temptation to talk back when he knows that some one is Iying about him – all of these men are exemplifying the spirit of Masonry.
– John W. Hill, 33d.

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There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die ?"
– George Barrow.

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By Joseph Fort Newton

London Town

YES, it is London. Had I been set down here from anywhere, or from nowhere, I should have known that it was old London town. Here all things turn to the left, as they do in the Inferno of Dante – there is no mistaking the place. And speaking of the Inferno, the English way of handling baggage gives one a clear idea of what that place must be like.

How quiet London is. Compared with the din of New York and the hideous nightmare of the Chicago loop it is as quiet as a country village. There are no sky-scrapers to be seen, but the scene spread out like a panorama from the top of Primrose Hill is not to be forgotten! Yes, it is London, the greatest city in the world, and not another like it. But which London is it? Well, that depends upon what London you are looking for.

There are many Londons, my dear reader. There is the London of the Tower and the Abbey, of Soho and the Strand, of Buckingham and Downing Street, to say nothing of Piccadilly. There is the London of the story-book; of Whittington and his Cat and Goody Two-Shoes and the Canterbury Shades; of Shakespeare and Marlowe and Chatterton; of Nell Gwynne and Dick Steele and poor old Noll – aye, the London of all that is bizarre in history or strange in romance.

They are all here, with much else in this gigantic medley of past and present, of misery and magnificence. Sometimes for me it is hard to know which holds closest, the London of Fiction or the London of History, or that London which is a mingling of both – the London of Literature. Anyway, as I see it, Goldsmith carouses with Tom Jones, and Harry Fielding discusses philosophy with the Vicar of Wakefield; Nicholas Nickleby makes bold to introduce himself to Mr. W. H. Thackeray and to ask his favor in behalf of a poor artist, the son of a hair-dresser in Maiden Lane; and Boz, as he passes through Fleet Street, is tripped by an Artful Dodger and falls into the arms of St. Charles Lamb.

No doubt my London is in large part a dream, not to say a fool's paradise, but it is most enchanting. Slowly it works its ancient spell, and he who does not love it is fit for stratagems and spoils – not fit for anything, I had almost said. There is no denying, I am in love with London, and can drink as much tea as any Englishman who ever coveted his neighbours goods. Here is the centre of the world, so far as I am concerned, the great old city of the motherland of all my fathers – everywhere the hauntings of history, a scene to stir the soul of one who loves England equally for its fiction and its fact.

Yesterday I visited the Abbey and attended the afternoon service – an hour I can never live long enough to forget. How can I express my feeling as I stood for the first time in that grey old pile thinking of the mighty dead who sleep there – thinking how those pillars have stood through all the nights and days, through storm and calm, peace and war, for ages. Truly, "time, the white god, makes all things holy, and what is old becomes religion." I sat facing the Poet's Corner, where Tennyson and Browning sleep side by side, as they should in the eternal fitness of things, and the effigy of Shakespeare has the bust of Burns nearby. If one cannot pray in Westminster Abbey, where men have prayed for centuries, and where the echo of voices long hushed still cling to its arches, he cannot pray at all – unless it be on the wide and eloquent sea !

Today I went to St. Paul's and heard the Archbishop of Canterbury preach, and after the service wandered for two hours in the recesses of the cathedral. Descending into the crypt one looks upon the tomb of Nelson, the mighty lord of the sea, and the sleeping place of Wellington, the great commander of the English race. Lord Roberts rests a few feet away. Here sleep the great artists – as the poets are honoured in the Abbey – among them Wren who built St. Paul's, a famous Mason. Who can measure the influence of such a building, enshrining as it does so many historic memories, the dust of great men, and the tradition of ages of patriotism and prayer? It stands for order in the stl eets, for order in the land, for order in the secret places of the soul !

From St. Paul's it is not a far walk across London Bridge to Southwark Cathedral – hardly less interesting and far less known. In this parish stood the Globe theatre, in which Shakespeare made himself and England famous, and there is a recumbent figure of the poet in alabaster – the gift of Americans. His younger brother lies buried there in company with Massinger and Fletcher. Indeed, it had been a place of literary renown long before Shakespeare, in the days of Gower, who rests there, and Chaucer, whose Canterbury pilgrims set out from the Tabard Inn, once close at hand. Also, in this parish was born John Harvard, founder of our great university, and there is a chapel in his honor in the cathedral. And so my story might go on endlessly.

Old London is the keeper of a great history, but the London of today is athrill and athrob with the stir of history in the making. How impressive to step out of some grey old church – like that of St. Bartholomew, or the Temple where poor Noll found rest at last – into the teeming, tragic London of today; from the peace of the past into the tense air of the greatest war in all the annals of time. If the London of old is hallowing, London of today is thrilling – sometimes terrifying. There is a sense of a vast tragedy only a few miles away, and here one is behind the scenes, so to speak – soldiers and sailors everywhere; armies of nurses, Red Cross emblems, ambulances, hospitals, and so forth.

How striking the contrast as one steps out of the quiet of the past where "the eternal ages watch and wait." Indeed, just now England is a world of women nurses, messengers, porters, tram and bus conductors, very conscious and important in uniform and badge and brass buttons. Manifestly the English woman is finding herself and she likes it. Bright-eyed, capable, and cheerful, she is doing things she never dreamed of doing before. Even women doing their ancient work as house-wives feel a new distinction, I dare say, and dust their rooms for the good of the country. They have learned their worth to the nation in a new way. Will they be willing to go back to the old ways after war? Can they do it? What will be the result? Will not England be permanently different?

Such questions have followed me ever since I landed. At Hyde park entrance the other day I saw one of the shrieking sisterhood which I thought were extinct – I wish they were. Maybe I shall live long enough to forget that sight, but I doubt it. Hideous is a mild word. Fact is, my profession will not allow me to say what I really feel. Those poor, half-crazed creatures have set their cause back fifty years in England, and injured it everywhere. Had I been shaky on the subject of suffrage, that harangue, and still more the wild-eyed fanaticism of the ranter, would have sent me away with a vast disgust. Heaven help a cause that has such advocates.

But she and the like of her are forgotten when one sees the heroic spirit of the multitudes of women who work and endure, counting their sorrow as only one item in a measureless common woe. And they are so brave and gay withal. Indeed, London is unnaturally gay and many are puzzled by it, knowing not what it means. Almost every reporter who has interviewed me – and they have been legion – has brought up the subject. Yet it ought to be very easy to understand. A man who had been in the trenches told me that there men learn to live a moment at a time – they may not be alive more than a moment. And the reaction, he said, an explosion of "insane gaiety," to use his words. Pent up feelings must find vent, and it is no wonder that the theatres are crowded every night – and the more rollicking the play the greater the jam.

Frankly, I was not prepared for the feeling against America which exists in England today, and I am amazed at it. It is widespread, and is sometimes so intense as to verge on anti-Americanism. My English friends assure me that it is not so in a way that really matters, but I know better – and Americans living here confirm my impression. Perhaps it is not so with those who are discerning, but with the man-in-street it is different. He feels, however wrongly, that America betrayed humanity in behalf of dollars. It is not so much that the president kept us out of the war, but the appalling way in which he did it, that hurts.

Further, the American government is a continuing entity to English people. They do not divide it into presidential terms or personalities, and the feeling against America will continue whatever the future may be in our politics. Therefore it behoves us to do all within our power – on both sides of the sea – to see that such a feeling does not gather force and grow; for, surely, the last and worst calamity that could befall humanity would be an estrangement between the Empire and the Republic having one language, one tradition, and one common ideal of civilization. But I am off my subject and had better go back to London.

The newspapers here interest me very much. They are small now, to be sure – except Old Thunderer, the Times – owing to the price of paper and the lack of labour. They are poorly printed, as compared with our papers – certainly the religious papers are abominably printed. But they are better written by far. They serve the news up after their fashion in more compact form, but in a much more lucid style, and some of the war correspondents – Phillips Gibbs more than any other, methinks – are very remarkable. Also, the editorial page has more influence than with us, though it has suffered decline, I am told, on this side. Men of letters write more frequently for the daily press than with us. Certainly the press, both in London and in the provinces, has been very kind to me in every way.

I am bound to say that religious conditions in England are most distressing and confounding. The churches are empty, for the most part, and have little influence – the state church emptier than the rest, if possible. Perhaps I should have said church conditions instead – for some of my thoughtful friends tell me that there is more religion outside of the church than inside. Carlyle thought it was so in his day. Anyway, I have attended three religious conferences since I came, representing three branches of the church, and the tone of bewilderment and discouragement was common to all. They know not what to do, and the ministers are all the time trying to explain the war and "to justify the ways of God to man" – with not much success, I must admit. It makes me think of a student in the University of Michigan, after three visiting ministers had each discussed the question of the existence of God. He said that up until that time he had never had any doubts, but that now he was a little uncertain. I am much in his case, as to the explanations I have heard so far.

There is a vast unbridged – and seemingly unbridgeable – gulf between the church and what is called the working classes; and it widens every day. What the end will be is hard to know. If the war did not save dear old England from something like revolution, it at least postponed it. Perhaps the shaking the war has given the churches will wake them up, before it is too late. For surely the people are as religious as ever they were, but the churches no longer express their religion. There are exceptions, of course, to all these statements – thank heaven – but I am speaking of the general condition.

And the City Temple is an exception to anything on earth. It is wonderful – all that I expected and more. It has been full from top to bottom at every servicc a sea of faces below and clouds of faces in the galleries. What a sight ! What an opportunity ! What a crushing responsibility! If anybody ever tells me that an English audience is unresponsive, I shall be ready to fight him. It is not so. I never had such a response, much less such a welcome, in any strange place in all my life. And if anything had been lacking at the Temple, it would have been made up by the Masons at their brilliant banquet and reception in my honour. That, too, was a scene never to be forgotten till all things fade in the dark. Of this more anon.

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By Bro. John Lewin Mcleish, Ohio

(Through the courtesy of the Editor of The Builder I have been privileged to peruse advance sheets of Bro. Eber Cole Byam's article, "Mexican Masonry, Another Side," written for the October issue of the magazine. Brother Byam presents so strong a brief against the Mexican Revolution which he italicizes as an I.W.W. Revolution, incidentally condemning Mexican Masonry and condoning Mexican Catholicism, that I am sorely tempted to plain speaking. Realizing fully our Masonic Doctrine of Tolerance, I shall stress the fact that any allusions herein made apply strictly to Catholicism in Mexlco, and I shall support my arraignment by references easily obtainable to those seeking More Masonic Light Upon Mexico.)

IN 1494 Pope Alexander VI divided the undiscovered regions of the earth by an imaginary line of longitude running through the Atlantic Ocean from pole to pole, three hundred and seventy miles west of the Azores. He gave the Portuguese unlimited sway over all the countries that they might discover to the east of that line, and pledged himself to confirm to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, the right to every isle, continent and sea where they should plant the flag on the western hemisphere.1

The Catholic Conquistador Hernan Cortez and his little band of mailclad men brought only the sword and the cross to the New World. They took freely of the Emperor Montezuma's gold, enjoyed his hospitality, and in return began "a holy war" ruthlessly destroying the monuments, history, literature and records of a splendid Aztec civilization quite equal to that of the effete Spain from which they had come.

A Jesuit historian, Abbe F. S. Clavigero, in his History of Mexico, says: "The Spaniards in one year of merciless massacre sacrificed more human victims to avarice and ambition, than the Indians during the existence of their empire devoted in chaste worship to their native gods."

A more recent authority, L. Gutierrez de Lara, in his "The Mexican People: Their Struggle For Freedom," says: –

"In Mexico on the other hand, the invading Spaniards found not barbarism, but a feudal civilization, private ownership of land in place of communal ownership, and serfdom in place of nomadic liberty. With fire and sword they laid waste a civilization in many respects superior to their own: and the fighting elements among the natives, once subjugated or exterminated, the serfs fell perforce into the most abject servitude of their new masters… Spain brought to Mexico an arrested civilization and a fanatic Romanism embittered and perverted by the fierce conflict with Islam. The Holy Inquisition set its bloody fangs in the heart of the people: persecution, fire and torment quenched all liberty of conscience and the soul of Mexico lay degraded and shackled as even her body. The ignorant priests went so far in their hatred of all enlightenment, that emanated from any other source than the Vatican, that they burned to ashes the invaluable library in the Imperial Palace of the Aztecs, destroying at a blow the records of the culture beyond their comprehension."

The Pope's proclamation in 1494 set the precedent for the later policy of the Vatican to "Catholicize" the world, was the forerunner of the latter day slogan of the Cardinals, "We shall make America Catholic." Witness the Council of Trent convened by Pope Paul II in 1545 legislating "a body of canons that were to subject all mankind for all ages to the will of one man in the papal chair."

The Conquest successful, Spanish civilization fastened a firm hold upon Mexico. To quote from Wilson's Mexico: – "Many of these wretched people were formally reduced to the condition of absolute slavery, and some were even branded as such with the owner's initial by a red-hot iron, women as well as men, while the middle class, the real backbone of the nation, perished from the land."

Now quoting from my own article, "Mexican Masonry," published in Light of June 15, 1916:

"At the inchoation of the nineteenth century Mexico seemed hopelessly enslaved under the harsh rule of Roman ecclesiasticism expressing itself through the puppet personalities of Spanish Viceroys, representatives of a king and cortes utterly subservient to the Pope of Rome. For three hundred years this sad condition had persisted in Mexico. In consequence the clergy were stupendously rich, and seemingly fortified in an impregnable position. What was left of the natural resources of the country after supplying the priests and mother-country went to the enrichment of the Viceroy and the Spanish satellites making up his court. For the native-born was abject misery, slavery, dire poverty. Through the country the dread Inquisition flourished and held sway. Its wretched victims filled to overflowing the great military prisons like San Juan de Uloa with their disease-disseminating, vermin-infested, dark dungeons, veritable hellholes. So unutterably cruel were the penalties attached by the Inquisitors to failure to pay the clerical tithes, or any utterance against the existing order, a breath of what they might consider heresy, that wonder is the SYSTEM held sway as long as it did. However much the native-born contributed to their taskmasters, it was never enough. Overseas, decadent Spain was in dire straits: Upon the Viceroys it devolved to pay the upkeep of the Court of the Bourbons, to meet the endless demands of the CLERICAL OCTOPUS fattening upon both countries."

A Roman Catholic Bishop, Las Casas, protested strenuously against the Spanish cruelties crossing the Atlantic twice to show convincing evidence that a continuation of the policy inaugurated by Cortez could only result in utter extermination of the Aztecs as a race and nation.

Let us now take more testimony from a Catholic Authority. Let a French Abbe, the Catholic Chaplain of Napoleon's Expeditionary Force to Mexico, speak to you from his book, "Mexico as It Is," published in Paris in 1867. Says this very reverend father, Abbe Emanel Domenech:

"Mexican faith is dead. The abuse of external ceremonies, the facility of reconciling the devil with God, the absence of internal exercises of piety, have killed the faith in Mexico. It is in vain to seek good fruit from the worthless tree which makes Mexican religion a singular assemblage of heartless devotion, shameful ignorance, insane superstition, and hideous vice… The idolatrous character of Mexican Catholicism is a fact well known to all travellers. The worship of saints and madonnas so absorbs the devotion of the people, that little time is left to think about God… If the Pope should abolish all simoniacal livings, and excommunicate all the priests having concubines, the Mexican clergy would be reduced to a very small affair. Nevertheless there are some worthy men among them, whose conduct as priests is irreproachable. In all Spanish America there are found among the priests the veriest wretches, knaves deserving the gallows, men who make infamous traffic of religion. Mexico has her share of these wretches. Whose fault is it ? In the past it has been Spanish manners… climate. In the present it is the episcopate… Priests who are recognized as fathers of families are by no means rare. The people consider it natural enough and do not rail at the conduct of their pastors excepting when they are not contented with one wife. They make merchandise of the sacraments, and make money by every religious ceremony, without thinking that they are guilty of simony, and expose themselves to the censure of the Church. If Roman justice had its course in Mexico, one-half of the Mexican Clergy would be excommunicated… The well-instructed priests, disinterested and animated by a truly apostolic spirit, holy souls whose religious sentiments are of good character constitute an insignificant minority… One of the greatest evils in Mexico is the exorbitant fee for the marriage ceremony. The priests compel the poor to live without marriage, by demanding for the nuptial benediction a sum that a Mexican mechanic, with his slender wage, can scarcely accumulate in fifty years of the strictest economy. This is no exaggeration. The consequences of the excessive demands for perquisites in general are as lamentable to public morality as to religion."

It was just such esoteric knowledge of the evils of his brother clergymen that led Miguel de Hidalgo, a Mexican priest, to foreswear his vows and seek MASONIC LIGHT in Mexico City in 1806. From the time he sounded the slogan of revolution against the puppet Viceroys of Rome and Spain, to the ultimate triumph of Juarez, the enforcement of the Laws of Reform, through the successive revolutions of Madero, and Carranza, the fight has been for the one great principle of compelling the separation of Church and State.

If as Bro. Byam says, "The Church in Mexico was stripped and had the melancholy satisfaction of witnessing the chagrin and rage of the strippers because the booty was so much below their calculations," WHY NOT?

Nearly naked and poverty stricken came the priests to Mexico to kill and plunder the poor natives and amass fabulous wealth during the three hundred years of their undisputed sway. When the worm turns at last, to drive them from their piratical strongholds, to give back to the State that which the Church took by right of might and the Inquisition, is it other than the enforcement of a good law "Naked ye came and naked ye go" ?

Again Bro. Byam says: – "Latin American Masonry is atheistic, revolutionary and contentious, and in Mexico it has become anarchistic and murderous."

I do not agree with Bro. Byam at all. Only in one of the twenty-seven states of Mexico was the Great Light absent from the altar and this I believe in Monterey, during the mastership of General Reyes. In regard to his statement concerning Bro. Castellot, I again quote from the New Age, the official organ of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, of January, 1915: – "Scottish Rite Masonry in Mexico is under the leadership of Dr. Joseph G. Castellot, formerly President of the Mexican Senate."

Permit me now briefly to epitomize from my article. Mexican Masonry, already referred to:

"Our first authentic Masonic record in Mexico may be traced back to a little house in Mexico City, Calle de las Ratas No. 4 where as early as 1806 the Masonic Lodge then known as "Arquitectura Moral" held regular meetings… Although the SYSTEM crushed the Moral Architect Lodge not at all did they preclude the spread of Masonry. In 1813 was established the first Grand Lodge under the Scottish Rite, having for its Grand Master Don Felipe Martinez Aragon. A number of subordinate lodges sprang up through the country. In 1816-1817 there were working under charter from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana these lodges, "Friends United No. 8," and "Reunion By Virtue No. 9." In 1824 the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania gave charter to a lodge working as "True Brothers of Papaloapam No. 191." … Factional fights and internecine strife were but natural in an order embracing men of the fervent, effervescent disposition of the native Mexicans. The time seemed ripe for a schism. It so happened that the American Minister to Mexico, Mr. M. Poinsett, was one of the high authorities of York Rite Masonry in his native land. For many symbolic lodges who petitioned him Bro. Poinsett secured a Charter under the York Rite of the United States through the Grand Lodge of New York. In 1828 there were as many as 102 York Rite lodges in Mexico working under this Charter. Out of the jealousies of the two active Rites Scottish and York emerged still a third, the Mexican National Rite, composed of York and Scottish Rite Masons. Although the York and Scottish Rites had taken a considerable part in the shaping of the Republic's welfare, it remained for the youngest of Masonry's Mexican daughters to openly formulate a definite platform. In 1833 the Mexican National Rite set forth its policy as follows:

"Absolute Freedom of Thought, Freedom of the Press, Abolishment of the Fueros (Privileges) of the Clergy and of the Army, Suppression of Monastic Institutions, Destruction of Monopolies, Protection of Arts and Industries, Dissemination of Libraries and Schools, the Abolishment of Capital Punishment, and Colonial Expansion."

All of these high principles and others were embodied in the Laws of Reform enacted and put into the Mexican Constitution by the greatest of the Masons of the Mexican National Rite, Brother Benito Juarez. They are the same principles for which First Chief Carranza is fighting today.

Says Brother Byam: – "The laws of Reform were not aimed at securing freedom of worship, but at the spoliation of the Catholic Church."

Even were his statement just, and I cannot for one moment admit that it is, may we not answer that when the Mexican State says to the Roman Catholic Church, "Take that thine is, and go thy way," is it the fault of the State that "Naked they came and Naked they go" ? On the contrary, "We are satisfied: that is a GOOD LAW."

Naturally the Laws of Juarez did not at all appeal to the Vatican as you may see from reading a summary of their intent. They were:

  1. Laws establishing liberty for all opinion, liberty of the press, and liberty of faith and worship.
  2. Laws granting to the members of all denominations the right of establishing schools and colleges.
  3. Laws permitting the intermarriage on terms of religious equality of Catholics and Protestants.
  4. Laws permitting civil marriage.
  5. Laws permitting the burial of Protestants in Romish lands where Protestants have no cemetery of their own in which to bury.
  6. Laws establishing public schools for secular education that shall be free from the control of the Romish priesthood.

Said the Pope, joining with Bro. Byam, in condemning them, "They are contrary to the doctrines, rights and authority of the Catholic religion. Let it be understood that the Roman Catholic Church declares such laws as these, wherever they may be enacted, to be null and void."2

Now to consider that portion of The Laws of Reform appertaining directly to the Roman Catholic Church. William Butler, D. D., summarizes them in his "Mexico In Transition," published by Hunt & Eaton, New York, 1893.

"The complete separation of Church and State. "Congress cannot pass laws establishing or prohibiting any religion. "The free exercise of religious services. The State will not give any official recognition to any religious festivals save the Sabbath as a day of rest. "Religious services are to be held only within the place of worship. "Clerical vestments are forbidden in the streets. "Religious processions are forbidden. "The use of church-bells is restricted to calling the people to religious work. "Pulpit discourses advising disobedience to the law, or injury to any one are strictly forbidden. Worship in churches shall be public only. "Gifts of real estate to religious institutions are unlawful, with the sole exception of edifices designed exclusively to the purposes of the institution. "The State does not recognize monastic orders nor permit their establishment. "The association of the Sisters of Charity is suppressed in the Republic, and the Jesuits are expelled and may not return. "Matrimony is a civil contract and to be duly registered. The religious service may be added. "Cemeteries are under civil inspection and open for the burial of all classes and creeds. "No one can sign away their liberty by contract or religious vow. "Education in the public schools is free and compulsory."

I am sure when Brother Byam carefully considers these wise enactments he will admit "The Laws of Reform are Good Laws, Just Laws."

Three years the Mexicans under Juarez fought for the Laws of Reform. Says De Lara, in his "The Mexican People :"

"But the fight was destined to be bitter and prolonged, for against the limited resources of the Constitutionalists were pitted the millions of the Church and against the calm statements of the constitution were pitted the inflammatory, seditious harangues of every priest in the country… The Church indeed, leaning strongly upon her fundamental policy of psychological debauchery, exploited every device known to the science of class rule, in order to counterbalance the simple, mighty appeal to the people of the great Constitution of 1857. Her priests throughout the land proclaimed "a holy war" characterizing the struggle as one against the enemies of God. The soldiers marched to battle bedizened with scapularies and crosses, bearing aloft flags and banners inscribed with the sacred images and symbols of religion. Those who fell were extolled as martyrs in the holy cause – the peers of the first Christian martyrs under the Roman Empire."

None the less right triumphed. The Clerical forces were utterly routed. Before President Juarez had full time to perfect the magnificent reforms he had in mind, the Clerical Conspirators prevailed upon France, Spain and England to press their claims for debt. As Napoleon the Little had foreseen Spain and England withdrew in disgust when they fully understood the full conditions of affairs in poor Mexico. Only the French remained to establish by force of arms the Empire of the Pope's puppet, Maximilian. I make this statement advisedly, and quote from the letter of Pope Pius IX to his Austrian fugleman as given in "Mexico a traves de los siglos," Vol. V, p. 671, sic: –

"Your Majesty is fully aware that in order to remedy the wrongs committed against the Church by the recent revolution, and to restore as soon as possible her happiness and prosperity, it is absolutely necessary that the Catholic religion, to the exclusion of any other cult, continue to be the glory and support of the Mexican Nation: that the Bishops have complete liberty in the exercise of their pastoral ministry: that the religious orders be reorganized and reestablished, according to the instructions and powers that We have given: that the estates of the Church and her privileges be maintained and protected: that none have authorization for the teaching or publication of false or subversive documents: that education public or private be supervised and led by the ecclesiastical authorities: and finally that the chains be broken that until now have held the Church under the sovereignty and despotism of civil government."

Of how well Maximilian obeyed his Papal Master you may read in history. In 1866 Napoleon III ordered the withdrawal of the French Army of 50,000 men under Marshal Bazaine, leaving the Pope's puppet to pay the penalty with his life for his numerous Black Decrees and an unblushing effrontery in trying "to Catholicize" the Republic of Mexico.

I have touched more in detail upon points herein merely mentioned in my series, "Masonic High Lights of the Struggle for Mexican Independence," in The American Freemason of April and May, 1916, and October, 1916, to which I respectfully refer Brother Byam. Also to Light of May 15th, 1916, and June 15th, 1916.

A careful examination of the records will show that before the enactment of the Laws of Reform the Roman Catholic Church actually owned $200,000,000 of property from which and other sources the Church derived an annual income of not less than $20,000,000. How did they get it? You will remember that the priests who came over with Cortez possessed only a scanty wardrobe and their crosses backed by the mailclad men and the Holy Inquisition. "Naked they came and naked they go." It is a just law.

I have shown that Mexican Masonry had no clandestine origin.

Now relative to the claim of Bro. Byam that the late revolution was an I. W. W. and Socialists' Movement. Again I emphatically differ.

Matters were running along nicely enough in Mexico as long as President Diaz held true to his Masonic Vows, and kept in force the Laws of Reform. When having married a second time, he succumbed to the relatives of his young wife Senora Carmelita Diaz – all Catholics, … when he lifted the barriers and allowed the Catholic Clergy some of their old Fueros or Privileges, Trouble Brewed in Mexico as it always will there and everywhere when the blackrobed members of the Third Sex are allowed to play Politics.

Says De Lara, in "The Mexican People":

"Never for a moment since Diaz came into power in 1876 had the spirit of revolt ceased to fire the hearts of the people. Its manifestation had been repressed but the spirit lived on and grew stronger with the passing days… Mexico under Diaz was no place for revolutionists…. A movement such as this which had for its avowed object the enforcement of the Constitution of 1857 in general, and the restoration of the agrarian democracy in particular called for prompt suppression at the hands of Diaz and the Scientificos. Such a suppression was not altogether easy matter. Up to the year 1910 literally millions of dollars were expended by the Mexican government to stamp out the revolutionary organization. At the same time the Scientists played into the hands of the Roman Church, with the result that Mexico was fined more than a million dollars in the matter of the restitution of the long cancelled Pious funds formerly paid by Mexico to the Church in California for the upkeep of the missions to the Indians."

Now let us listen to William R. Tourbillon, speaking on "The Curse of Mexico" in The New Age of September, 1913:

"The Catholics in Mexico as in all parts of the world diligently seek and acquire special influence over the boys and girls, and over the sisters, wives and mothers of men. They especially direct their attention to the sisters, wives and mothers of men who are least religious so that they are able to dominate even where the head of the house is not a Catholic… The Catholic Party knowing that General Diaz could not abolish the Laws of Reform as Chief of the Liberal Party, whose program was and is bound up with these very laws, worked with all the influence in their power to secure the aid and influence of the women in the families of Porfirio Diaz and his Cabinet. During the life of the first wife of President Diaz this influence was very small and Diaz stood firm in his convictions. His second wife, Mrs. Carmelita Romero Rubio de Diaz, a most devout Catholic, allowed herself to fall under the influence of the Church, which is ever ready to gain a foothold in some way or other, and through her dominated Diaz and the Government. Mrs. Diaz tried in every way possible to influence her husband. The Catholic Church through this influence gained many advantages, and even General Diaz was rapidly becoming a Mocho.

"Several years before the late Madero revolution materialized, and even during the time the late assassinated President, Francisco I. Madero was going through the country lecturing about the great principles of the Liberal Party, a great many Liberals, feeling the necessity that Mexico had for the preservation and enforcement of the Laws of Reform, and knowing that the Catholic Party was attaining greater and greater influence hoped and wished secretly for the success of Don Francisco I. Madero. President Diaz had been so long in power and had become so old that he did not realize the truth and strength of the movement that a few Liberals helped to blow into a great flame and secure his downfall. These Liberals knew that the great Catholic Party was regaining control and they were determined to stop it. After the loss of thousands of lives the Madero revolution triumphed."

I only wish space permitted the inclusion of the whole of this very convincing and authoritative narrative. As it is I shall abstract only enough to show the sordid conspiracy which caused the present dire state affairs in Mexico directly due to "The Catholic curse."

"The Catholics knew that with the late President Madero in power they could not dominate. Above everything they demand their former power. They are working with determined will to have the Laws of Reform revoked, and to that end nothing can stand in their path… The principles of the Madero Governent were based on Masonic ideas… The principles of Masonry were deeply instilled in the heart of Madero and his Government. Based on these principles Madero spared the life of Felix Diaz who had forfeited it at Vera Cruz, where he was defeated and taken prisoner by General Beltran after his first revolt… President Madero with the help of Vice President Pino Suarez, (both Masons of the highest degrees,) believed, and what is more to the purpose put into practice even in the machinery of the Government, practical Masonry. His was a Masonry that meant enlightenment for the people – a Masonry that did not speak but acted, having always in view the advancement and education of the masses, with absolute faith in his brethren to carry out all the principles contained in the Masonic Code. The Catholics in Mexico, on the other hand, have been, were, and are today opposed to uplifting the masses. Their interests have been and are today joined with the 10,000 who own practically the whole of Republic of Mexico against the 12,000,000 that are the tools of the few. The 12,000,000 have always been kept by them where we now find them, for the priests know that if through Masonic principles the populace receive light, the Catholic Church would soon lose its hold over them."

I ask you to read the following arraignment by William R. Tourbillon and then tell me if you agree with Brother Byam that "the Mexican Revolution is an I.W.W. Revolution."

"Madero represented honour and truth. His Government despised treachery and cunning and unfortunately for him he had faith in all men. The Catholic Party stands guilty today of a base combination and they are morally guilty of the assassination of President Madero and Vice President Suarez. They lent their moral aid to its accomplishment. They are responsible for the present revolution in Mexico, because of their intrigues with Huerta and Diaz.

"With Madero's Government, Masonry stood for everything that is absolutely true, fair, honest and above-board, and the Catholic Party forsook all this, thinking they could gain more power."

"Out of a clear sky the revolt in Mexico City started. The Catholic Party began its intrigue through General Mondragon, who was afterwards made Minister of War. Mondragon through his friendship with the Colonel of the Government Boys' School "Aspirantes" induced the Colonel and the boys to join him. They united with another regiment, went to the military prison, freed General Reyes … and released General Felix Diaz. The band separated into two parts, Reyes going to the National Palace and in the fight that ensued lost his life. Felix Diaz and Mondragon went to the arsenal which surrendered after a sham fight, and they took possession. All this had been prepared.

"Huerta came to the President and Vice President and reiterated his loyalty. He was Commander-in-chief. All the troops in Mexico were put under his command…. The army under Huerta, President Madero's trusted friend, shot, at everything but the enemy. He was a part of the plot. The Roman Catholic Party had joined hands with him.

"The conspiracy was carried out in every particular.

The farce had to be well played. Failure for the Roman Catholic Church, Huerta and Diaz was impossible. Diaz knew that the troops under Huerta would not shoot at him or his troops All had been arranged beforehand by the Catholic Party.

"After the tenth day, Huerta personally invited the President's brother Don Gustavo Madero to dinner… Don Gustavo was seized and bound. He was sent to the arsenal, the enemy stronghold, where without any trial he was shot to death.

While Huerta did this, Huerta's aid, General Blanquet two blocks away from the National Palace, with a group of soldiers made prisoners of President Madero and Vice President Pino Suarez in the palace. Huerta the trusted friend and General of Madero and Saurez became President.

"Huerta held them prisoners in the palace for two days before they were killed… After the second day and at eleven o'clock at night, Huerta ordered that Madero and Pino Suarez should be silently taken from the palace in a closed automobile and sent to the penitentiary. When they arrived there, they were taken out to the wall at one side of this prison and met by a captain and twelve soldiers. Vice President Suarez was first shot. He had three bullets through his head and the brain in the back part of it was all destroyed. The twelve men were ordered to shoot Madero, but, recognizing the President, refused to do so…

"The Captain then struck Madero over his left eye with his pistol, knocking him senseless to the earth, and then the coward shot him from behind, the bullet going through his brain and coming out between his eyes. When President Madero was seen last, just before lowering his body into his grave in the French cemetery, his left eye was swollen; it was red and blue from the blow.

"Huerta, in order that no witnesses to this bloody murder might survive, had the twelve soldiers shot, and the Captain promoted to be a Colonel. During all that night Huerta did not leave the National Palace.

"This is the man, Huerta, to whom the Catholic Party of Mexico 'representing the Machos,' gave their assistance, friendship and money. Will they give him and his deeds the holy blessing of the Pope?"

Remember the facts stated are given on absolute authority. If Bro. Byam wishes more Masonic Light on this period I respectfully refer him to Hon. Luis Manuel Rojas, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, Valley of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, during that period, a true Mason who exhausted all the Masonic machinery at his disposal at that time to save the lives of his brothers Madero and Suarez.

President Taft to whom he repeatedly appealed by telegraph, had already imparted instructions to the American Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, and relying upon his timely intervention referred Grand Master Rojas to him. Now I quote once more from Bro. Tourbillon:

"The Grand Master after the conference with Mr. Wilson, knew that the Ambassador was carrying out a policy that up to today has had no satisfactory explanation. Henry Lane Wilson, representing in Mexico the American Government, which since the days of its independence has despised treachery and cunning, and has never been a party to anything that is not absolutely true and above-board, allowed himself to become the tool of the Roman Catholic Party of the Mochos, of Huerta, Diaz, Leon de la Barra, and Mondragon. Ambassador Wilson therefore could have requested, could have demanded, could have secured the lives of Madero and Suarez, while he walked arm in arm with Huerta and the combination… Ambassador Wilson would not listen to the plea of Mr,s. Madero and Mrs. Suarez to save the lives of their husbands; he was implored and humbly besought by them to interfere, as they knew it was in his power to do… Mr. Wilson knew that Madero and Pino Suarez were to be taken prisoners, for the representatives of the treacherous plot met in the American Embassy. but he did not advise either Madero or Pino Suarez to escape

"One word from Ambassador Wilson would have been sufficient to have delivered them to one of the battleships which were then in Vera Cruz harbor… Nor was Mr. Wilson moved by the Grand Master's appeal in the name of all Master Masons in Mexico, made to him as a Master Mason, to save the lives of brother Master Masons."

Perhaps our Ambassador had conceived the same contemptuous opinion of Mexican Masonry as that voiced by Brother Byam in his article.

I have presented the facts supported I think by sufficient authority. If Brother Byam wishes more I have plenty at hand. I too lived some years in Mexico, part of the time in Mexico City where I had the privilege of daily meeting General Agramonte, Judge Andres Horcasitas, J. Mostella Clark and other Masons active in those days: also much time in interior Chihuahua where I saw daily for myself the oppressiveness of conditions for the masses. In our mines and smelter we employed many hundred men with whom I came in daily contact.

I have gone some length into this reply, because I cannot but regard Bro. Byam's article other than an excellent brief for Mexican Catholicism. Much more I might say did space permit but as Bro. Denman Wagstaff says sapiently:- Masonry does not fight Catholicism … she tolerates it because of her great Charity for all things. The Roman Church is continually attacking Masonry. Very unchristian like I should say. We are not intending to attack or storm the Vatican. There is nothing therein contained that we need or want or prize. We not only do not covet our neighbor's goods, but being plain truth-tellers, we are in addition constrained to confess that "there is nothing there which would be of use to an American."

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By Bro. Henry Banks, P. G. M.. Georgia

IN all times, in all climes, and among all nations, wherever the banner of Masonry has been unfurled she has had her enemies. Though her pathway down the ages has been strewn with the most fragrant flowers of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, though the lives of the best and purest among the Sons of Men have been magnificent monuments to the grandeur of her mission, yet her enemies have not failed to decry her merits, nor ceased their efforts to destroy her usefulness. While the Masons of this glorious century - this century of soul liberty - have the freedom to erect her Temples and worship about her altars, the spirit of enmity still exists, and adverse criticisms of her methods are freely offered by those who are ignorant of her mission, or blind to the rich fruitage of her labours.

When we consider the antiquity of Masonry, the dangers through which she has so safely passed, the persecutions of bigotry, superstition, and fanaticism she has so successfully met and repelled, and behold her today with the glory of her centuries clustering about her brow, and the years of labour resting so lightly upon her unbowed form, standing upright and stately with all the vigour of her early youth, her feet as elastic to run errands of mercy - knees as supple to bend in prayer for a Brother's need - breast as faithful to receive and keep a Brother's whispered words, hands as ready and strong to support a falling Brother, and lips ever whispering words of cheer and comfort to the ear of distress - we stand with unshod feet and uncovered head at her mystic portals and fain would lay the laurel wreath of well-earned fame upon her pure white brow.

The flight of time has not dulled her ardour nor made sluggish the blood that richly courses through her veins. The finger of the ages has been powerless to mark the years of passage upon her beautiful face. Her form unbent by the burdens she has borne; her eyes undimmed, catch the sign of trouble, and her ears are quick to hear the plaintive cry of distress, while old Father Time, with all his perseverance, has not yet accomplished the task of unweaving the meshes of her hair, or weaving one silver thread among its golden tresses. Although her pathway down the ages has been marked by magnificent monuments of glorious achievement and gems of precious truth sparkle about her feet, yet she has not been, and is not now, free from detraction. The mystery and secrecy that hedge her in and veil her beauties from the prying eyes of the world is no barrier to the performance of her mission.

She came into the world at the cry of distress, uttered in man's need. No blare of trumpets or flaunting banners heralded her coming, but secretly and silently, as the dews distilled upon Hermon, she came from the loving heart of God to take her place as one of His mighty factors in the building up of the waste places in His moral kingdom, and to bless man by the beneficent power of her secret, silent influence. Masonry, with her beautiful ritual, impressive ceremonies, and the glory of centuries clustering about her brow, stripped of her moral character, would lose her greatest charm, her most precious jewel. For Morality is her foundation, Truth and Virtue her pillars, and Brotherly Love the high priest that ministers at her altars. To be good men and true is the first and most important lesson taught within her sacred walls. Every step of the candidate, from his preparation to the last solemn scene, as he passes through her beautiful ceremonies and is inducted into her mysteries, leads along a pathway strewn with fragrant flowers of truth, while diamonds of virtue sparkle about her feet, illuminating the mind with moral light, flooding the heart with a celestial glow of divine principles, inspiring the soul and leading up to a higher plane of holy, upright living. The trowels in our hands are rusty from lack of use, for the cement of brotherly love has not always been spread with generous hand. The hours of relief have been so destitute of service that we have well-nigh lost the gauge's use, while from lack of labour our arms have become too weak to wield the gavel in preparing the rough ashlars for the Great Builder's use. Wrong and error stalk among us, and ofttimes unseemly tread our chequered floor.

The mission of Masonry in the world is to fight the wrong and defend the right. Is she needed? Is her mission ended? Coming in answer to man's need for moral help, she has come to stay. Until there are no wrongs to right, no sin to fight, no distress to help, no woes to heal, no lessons of purity and righteousness to teach; when, by the practice of our secret art, the original design shall be restored to the trestle board, and man is faithfully working it out, then, and not till then, will her mystery be revealed and her mission be complete.

The power of faith threw its mysterious shield of protection about the forms of the Hebrew children as they walked unscathed amid the roaring flames of the seven-times-heated furnace. It parted the waters of the Red Sea for the passage of the Children of Israel. It was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as they wandered for forty years. Its mysterious healing power was felt by them as they looked upon the brazen serpent uplifted in the wilderness. Its mystic power is felt as it flows in rhythmic measure through the songs of the sweet singer of Israel, and, like a thread of gold, it will be woven in the robes of righteousness we shall wear around the throne of God. As with such mystery God has clothed His wondrous works in nature and in grace, and through them showered blessings upon the world, so shall Masonry, His servant, continue her blessed work among the erring sons of man.

The prayer of every Mason's heart should be that all men were Masons. and all Masons true. Then white-winged peace would hover over all lands, nations would learn war no more. Swords would be beaten into plough-shares and spears into pruning-hooks, brotherly love would prevail and every moral and social virtue would cement us. If we so pray let us so live; and, renewing our allegiance to the grand principles of Masonry, study more earnestly her great light, making it the only rule of our faith and practice, and the man of our council, and so move among our Brothers and the world that they, seeing the beauty of Masonic holiness as it shines in our words and deeds, may be constrained to exalt Masonry to the high and honoured place she so richly deserves. Thus we will speed the glad time when the sublime principles of Masonry will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep, and the glorious sway of her power shall girdle the globe with kindness, love, and truth.

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Light and white are its leathern folds,
And a priceless lesson its texture holds.
Symbol it is, as the years increase,
Of the paths that lead through the fields of Peace.

Type it is of the higher sphere,
Where the deeds of the body, ended here,
Shall one by one the by-way be
To pass the gates of Eternity.

Emblem it is of a life intense,
Held aloof from the world of sense;
Of the upright walk and the lofty mind,
Far from the dross of Earth inclined.

Sign it is that he who wears
Its sweep unsullied, about him bears
That which should be to mind and heart,
A set reminder of his art.

So may it ever bring to thee
The high resolves of Purity.
Its spotless field of shining white,
Serve to guide thy steps aright;

Thy daily life, in scope and plan,
Be that of a strong and upright man,
And signal shall the honor be,
Unto those who wear it worthily.

Receive it thus to symbolize
Its drift, in the life that before thee lies.
Badge as it is of a great degree,
Be it chart and compass unto thee.
- Fay Hempstead.

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Our duty is not only to keep the peace, but to make a peace that is worth keeping. For the kind of peace that the world needs cannot be had for the asking. It comes high, but it is worth the price.
- Samuel M. Crothers.

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The Lamp Of Fellowship

RUSKIN lighted his Seven Lamps of Architecture and set them on golden candlesticks, the better to show us that the laws of art are moral laws, whether they are used in building a cathedral or in making a character. If we would build for eternity, he tells us that we must obey Him whose mountain peaks and forest aisles we imitate in our temples. Martineau lighted five Watch-night Lamps, in a noble address, and urged us to keep our souls awake looking for the dawn in "this solemn eve of an eternal day which we call Human Life."

But there is another Lamp without which all lights flicker and fade as we walk together in the dim country of this world - the Lamp of Fellowship. Indeed, one may sum up the whole of life, and of religion, in the one word Fellowship - a deep and tender fellowship of the soul with the Father of all, whose inspiration and help are the supreme facts of life; and then, turning manward, to fill all the relations of life with the spirit of sincere and sympathetic fellowship. What more than this can the best man do, how better can he serve his fellow pilgrims who journey with him the old-worn human way?

"Fellowship is heaven,
Lack of fellowship is hell."

By the same token, if the soul of Masonry is its Symbolism, its heart-throb is felt in its Spirit of Fellowship. Its history is gray with age. Its philosophy is profound. Its philanthropies are beautiful and benign. Its ritual is rich in suggestion, eloquent with echoes of those truths that have haunted the mind of man since thought found a throne in the brain. But the heart of Masonry, its vital force, its divine fire are in its Strong Grip by which men of every land, of every creed, of every shade of temperament and thought are brought together on the five points of Fellowship!

Fellowship - that is the word which utters, so far as any word may utter, the deepest reality and the highest aspiration in the heart of Masonry. This is the mystery which its rituals labor to express and which its symbols seek to interpret and unfold - a mystery, as Whitman said, more profound than metaphysics, by which man is united with his Fellows in Faith, Freedom, and Friendship. For this Masonry exists - to assert the fact, to spread the spirit, and to promote the practice of Brotherhood - that man may learn that it is what he shares that makes life worth living, and that "he who seeks his own loses the things in common.”

Indeed, the whole arrangement of human life exists that man may learn three things: the law of right, love of God, and love of man. After long ages of tragedy we are beginning to learn the first lesson, that a world in which poison makes men strong and food destroys them is not more unreal than a world in which falsehood makes great characters and righteousness issues in ignoble spirit and unworthy life. How far we have failed to learn the other two truths of love of God and love of man, the human scene makes pitifully plain. Yet learn them we must, else the story of men will be blurred with blood and blistered with tears till whatever is to be the end of things, with never any hope of a better day to be.

Here lies the divine mission of Masonry, to fulfil which we must make deep research into our history, and still more into our hearts, using every art at our command, every influence we can invoke, joining our hands in one high service, the while we light the Lamp of Fellowship and learn to "live in the eternal order which never dies."

This is the work on the Trestle-board for Brethren everywhere,
For never was there greater need for level, plumb, and square,
For trowel with cement of love to strengthen and unite
The human race in Brotherhood, and usher in the Light!

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The Trestle-Board

Truly, "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee," and not a few of our pet schemes have suffered wreck during the year, much to our regret. Nevertheless we have made progress, and we believe that our Members will agree not only that The Builder is far and away a better journal than it was a year ago, but that the Society is not far from a solution of the hardest problem which any group of Masons ever set themselves to solve - how to induce Masons to study Masonry alike in its deeper aspects and its wider practical application.

Our Brethren abroad are amazed at the advance made, and even those among us who hold aloof, waiting for tangible results, must admit that something has been done that has never been done before. Looking forward, the tokens are most encouraging, in the response to the Study-Club program as well as in the general feeling that the Society is an honest and firmly established movement having the good of the Order at heart, free from fads and bent on serving the cause to which every true Mason is devoted. Criticism has given way to co-operation to a degree unexpected even by the most sanguine, and the omens for the future are friendly and full of promise.

So far, of course, only the corner-stone has been laid, but it is a good beginning, and we feel that the spirit and intent of the Society have won the intelligent confidence of the Craft. Something has been achieved in the field of original research, as our pages bear witness, and more will be accomplished in the days to come. Nothing would be easier than to edit an erudite journal filled with learned essays to be read by the few and filed away for reference, had that been the purpose of the Society. But our first concern is to reach the rank and file of the Craft, as far as possible, and to enlist them in the study of Masonic truth, the practice of Masonic principles, and a better use of the Fraternity for the service of humanity.

Many plans are afoot for the new year, but our chief aim will be to push to successful issue the Study-Club program, in every part of the land. How difficult the problem is, how novel and fascinating withal, the Correspondence Bulletins reveal, and the letters which threaten to swamp Brother Clegg show that the Society did not misread signs of the times or the needs and feelings of the draft. If we have only scratched the surface of the field, we at least know how rich a soil we have to till, and if we do the thing that needs to be done the harvest will take care of itself. The motto of England these days would not be a bad motto for us, "Every man do his bit, and stick to it."

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Let Us Give Thanks

Soon will come the day when we shall be called to offer thanks, as a people, for the old sweet fashions of nature, for the miracle of seed-time, summer and autumn harvest, for the necessity which impels industry and the stores of material for use and beauty. No man, surely, can think back over the year and not be moved to gratitude for the joys of life, for home and family and the dear love of comrades; yea, even for the sorrows that subdued him to sobs and welded him in love and pity to his kind. Thankfulness is the fruit of thoughtfulness, and if we cannot be thankful for all things we may learn to be thankful in all things - albeit saddened unutterably by the vast shadow of woe that hangs over the world. May we not also give thanks for the great order of Freemasonry, whose mission is not to tear down but to build up, to bless not to hurt, and whose labours in behalf of a better world never stop, never tarry, never tire? Indeed, yes, and with all our hearts, the more so in a day when men are divided by sect and party and clan and every tie is needed to keep the world together. Humbly let us give thanks, trusting One who in a way beyond our reckoning brings good out of ill, and makes the woe of man to serve His awful will.

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Steps To The Crown

FROM over the sea comes a neat, well-dressed little book named "Steps to the Crown," from the busy heart and tireless pen of Brother Arthur Edward Waite a man the very thought of whom is like a fragrance brought from afar on friendly winds. This time it is a series of Aphorisms, a form of writing to which one is tempted to say his style does not easily lend itself, did we not recall those fine and deep sayings scattered like bits of star-dust through his book of poems. Terse, pithy, picturesque, they begin with the worldly-wise Counsels of Caiaphas after the fashions of this world, and bring us at last, as the writer always brings us, to the white steps that lead to the Places of Sanctity; and they speak many kinds of wisdom in one spirit of love. Meanwhile, we tread the thresholds of many sanctuaries, in the shadow of a Secret Light, if happily we may learn the consolations of the Greater Law and the Path of Union. At random we gather a handful of these aphorisms, after this manner:

  • Except a man use simple words, he shall not in the last resource escape from being intelligible.
  • Intellectual tolerance is not incompatible with the enlightened hatred of a good many current opinions.
  • The world, as a going concern, is for sale to those who can buy, but no good-will goes with it.
  • The fly walks on the ceiling, and yet it has never affirmed that the world is upside down.
  • The number of the schools is infinite, but the truth is one. A single clear intuition is better than a score of reasonings.
  • Subtlety and duplicity can teach us much, but not to escape either death or immortality.
  • Return tickets are not issued for any of the great journeys.
  • From day to day we pronounce the Lost word with our lips, but it remains lost until we utter it in our hearts.

Herein is a Garden of Nuts in which he who seeks will find what he seeks, and no more. Knowledge runs but wisdom lingers, and he that is in haste loses what is most worth while. Always it is the heavenly-minded man who is the teacher of the truest worldly wisdom, for that he sees through the show and sham of things to the realities that await our coming. Who opens this little volume will find a log-book of past voyages, in cipher which has been here and there decoded; and if the cipher spells out fragments of strange legends, it also gives hint that "the secret of getting on in the world is that of passing quickly through it."

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The Master Mason

"Help me to do my work this day - my best;
And lead me in my blindness;
With strength of truthful purpose fill my breast
Sufficient to withstand temptation's test;
And fill my heart with kindness."

Such is the brief and wise prayer in which every reader will join who opens "The Confessions of a Master Mason," by Brother C. F. Whaley, who dedicates his pages "to the man who believes in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man; to the man who believes himself to be his brother's keeper; to the man who walks the four-fold path of right thinking, right speaking, right acting and right living." Nearly fifty years ago, unsolicited, he sought admission into the ancient craft of Masons, and after many days he now sets down what Masonry has taught him of the meaning of life and how to live it. Truly, it is a wise and gracious little book, one to ponder over betimes, giving us a lecture in prose and a legend in poetry; brotherly withal, and of bright and pure spirit; reverent and religious, as witness its evening prayer when the shadows fall:

"Thou great and loving Father:
I know full well my failures of today;
I say it to my sorrow.
Teach me some better, nobler way,
Be Thou my help in every need, I pray;
Bide with me yet tomorrow."

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The Religion Of America

Years ago, wounded by a great sorrow, George H. Fitch sought the "Comfort Found in Good Old Books," whereof he told in a volume of that title, of which we made note in these pages. Now he would lead us further, if so that we may find the vital force in the new religion of democracy as revealed in the "Great Spiritual Writers of America" - Emerson and Whitman its prophets, Lowell, Whittier and Markham its poets. Why not Lanier, too, whose "song was only living aloud, his work a singing with the hand?" One misses that golden voice in this heavenly choir. And what a choir it is: Emerson, Whitman, Irving, Cooper, Poe, Longfellow, Thoreau, Mark Twain, Whittier, Hawthorne, Bret Harte, Howells, and, by no means least, dear Edwin Markham who is not only a poet, but is himself a poem. 'Tis a most useful and inspiring book for a young man, opening the door into the best that has been thought and sung and dreamed under "the wide and starry sky" of this new world; happy is he who enters and finds there a "city of the mind built against outward distraction for inward consolation and shelter."

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Fortunately, as we suggested, the series of articles in the Masonic Standard, by Brother Frank G. Higgins, in which he presents Masonry as a survival of the ancient Cosmic Science, have been gathered into an attractive little book; and may now be studied by the Craft. These papers are designed to be an elementary course of instruction in the secret learning of antiquity, which the author holds is the real, albeit long-lost, secret of Masonry, if not the reason for its existence. Such learning was deemed too disturbing to be spread broadcast in olden times, but he feels that the day has arrived, in view of the interest in the deeper side of Masonry, when this hidden lore should be brought to light and put before the rank and file of the Order. He frankly admits that this venerable science, so presented, looks like what he calls a "stupendous cut-out puzzle," to piece together which has been his pleasant lifework; but when it is put together it reveals a consistent and commanding philosophy which will stand the test of scientific examination. Masonry, he tells us, has wrought a great work in the world despite its almost total oblivion of what was once its principle reason of being, and the inference is that, once it recovers its long-buried learning, it will move forward to greater service. As space permits only a brief notice, we reserve a more detailed review until a later issue, albeit not without expressing sincere appreciation of a brilliant student and a most lovable and brotherly man.

We regret to announce that, owing to the war regulations of the British Empire, it is impossible to secure the books mentioned by Brother Baxter in his "Course of Masonic Reading" in our last issue. It is only another evidence of how our peaceful labors are to be shadowed by the dark cloud of war.

"Away with funeral music – set
The pipe to powerful lips -
The cup of life's for him that drinks
And not for him that sips."
- Unpublished Stevenson MSS.

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  • Great Spiritual Writers of America, by G. H. Fitch. Elder & Co., San Francisco.
  • Steps to the Crown, by A. E. Waite. Rider and Co., London. $1.00.
  • The Beginning of Masonry, by F.C. Higgins. Pyramid Publishing Co., Masonic Hall, New York. $1.50.
  • Story of the Ancient Craft; Its Lessons in Verse, by O. B. Slane, Wyoming, Ill. $.25.
  • Freemasonry and Medieval Gilds, by Ossian Lang. Grand Lodge of New York.
  • The Relation of the Liberal Churches and the Fraternal Orders, by E.C. Coil. American Unitarian Association, Boston. Free on request.
  • The Cloud upon the Sanctuary, by Karl von Eckartshausen, edited by A.E. Waite. Rider and Son, London. $1.00
  • Poems of Rupert Brooke, Introduction by G. E. Woodberry. John Lane Co., Boston.
  • Le Symbolisme, Edited by Oswald Wirth, 16 rue Ernest-Renan, Paris.

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Truly A Man

He is truly a man who makes justice his leader in the path of inquiry, and who culls from every sect whatever reason approves of.
- Akbar, 1578.

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A Token Of Memory

Suppose each man who entered our Order should receive, as a token of memory, the Bible on which he took his obligation as a Mason, how much it would mean to him in after years! Having on its fly leaf his name, the date of his initiation into the different degrees, the names of the officers who conferred the degrees, it would be a sacred thing to him and to his family; a treasure to be handed down from generation to generation. What would it mean to a son to plight his Masonic vows on the same Bible on which his father, and perhaps his grandfather, had plighted their vows before him? How many memories would cling to such a book, making it doubly dear for itself and for its associations! Is not this suggestion worthy of thought?

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The Obligations
From time to time there come letters from Brethren expressing regret, if not dissatisfaction, on account of certain penalties of obligations. While one may not write freely of such matters some things may be said: (1) The points complained of are manifestly of modern origin, and had no place, so far as we can learn, in ancient craft Masonry. In olden times the oath of a Mason, if we may judge from those which come-down to us, was a very simple thing, consisting of one or two sentences. The language used was very simple, and it is in some respects unfortunate that it should have given place to an elaborate form for which there is no authority either in history or in reason. (2) A study of the punishments attached in ancient English law to the crime of high treason is very enlightening, if one has eyes to see, regarding the history of the things objected to. (3) In some Lodges - especially in Scotland - the candidate is told that, while the old form is preserved as a symbol, the real penalties that affect and influence the human soul are moral: the penalties of being branded and forsworn as a dishonoured man and Mason, of receiving the well merited contempt and score of good men; of suffering the horrors of an outraged conscience, and of incurring the retribution of the Deity whose presence is invoked.

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The Old Charges

Two Brethren ask if the Old Constitutions which the Society is issuing is in fact the earliest copy, and as rare and unique as is claimed. Certainly not, if by copy is meant manuscripts of the Old Charges; but it is the earliest printed copy. Of this edition Brother Hughan says in his "Constitutions of Freemasons": - "The earliest printed Constitutions of the operative Masons were issued in 1722. The title runs - 'From the old Constitutions belonging to the Ancient and honourable Society of the Free and Accepted Masons; taken from a Ms written about five hundred years hence. London: Printed and sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick-lane, 1722.' We have been favoured with a perusal of this work, and can testify to its exclusively operative character. The Obligation taken by the apprentices accords with the Harleian Ms. (1942, British Museum.) The ancient charges were read to the initiate, who then subscribed to them as follows: 'All these articles and charges which I have now read unto you, you shall well and truly observe, perform, and keep, to the best of your power and knowledge, so help you God, and the true and holy contents of this Book.' " (Hughan, pp. 12,13). Incidentally, this is an example of the simplicity of the oath of an operative Mason, while showing that the Constitutions of 1722, although to be classed with the old operative Constitutions, belongs to the period of transition.

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Editor Builder: - Kindly advise, through The Builder, if a Brother Mason can inform the Master that he wishes a certain candidate rejected, and in the absence of the objecting Brother, is the Master duty-bound to cast a black-ball against the candidate for the E.A. degree. Is not the objecting Brother obliged to state his reasons for the objection?
M. B. Slemmer, Centreville, Md.

An objection to advancement in your jurisdiction has the same effect as a black-ball. As to whether this applies to a candidate who has been elected to receive, but has not yet received, the Entered Apprentice Degree, the Maryland code does not state. Neither does it state whether objections must be made in open Lodge or privately to the Master, nor if it is necessary for the objector to make known his reasons.

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American Understood

Dear Sir and Bro.: - I have read that in a shop window of a certain Swedish city the notice appears: - ENGLISH SPOKEN, AMERICAN UNDERSTOOD.

This would seem to predicate some distinction in the linguistic accomplishments of the two great families of the Anglo-Saxon race. It hardly seems to me, however, to justify either the Anglicisation or Americanisation of the quotations from Scottish documents, given in the otherwise excellent article by Brother G. P. Brown in your January issue.

The genealogical reference, to begin with, is wrong, as the poet's father was not even an Ayrshire man, and the baptismal record must surely be misquoted, as the family name was not Burns, but Burness.

No Scottish Scribe could be guilty of writing Lockly for Lochlea when entering the abode of the initiate in the minutebook, and the town which had the honour of receiving the poet into the Royal Arch degree was not Leymouth, but Eyemouth.

Under the sub-title of "The Sweet Singer," the omission of the word "air" between "with" and "benign" in the first line of the second quatrain spoils the whole rythm of the piece.

Yours fraternally, Rodk. H. Baxter, England.

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Uniform Work

Dear Brother Newton: - Here is my trouble, as briefly as I can state it. The Grand Lodge of our state has never adopted a uniform ritual. Each Lodge, so long as it does not violate the ancient Landmarks, is permitted to put on the work according to its own particular wording and interpretation. This, naturally, has resulted in there being a wide variance in the work in different parts of the State; and in the remote districts has brought about a sad state of affairs. To counteract this, our Grand Lodge created a committee to formulate a standard method of conferring the degrees, which, if adopted, should make the ritual uniform throughout the jurisdiction. As a member of that committee, I hope the report will be adopted. But we anticipate opposition, and in order to meet it we want accurate information as to the number of states in which uniform work is being used, and also some data as to the methods employed in promulgating it to the lodges; and I have, therefore, taken the liberty of writing to you for some information to assist us in getting our report adopted, which result, we feel, is very vital to the future welfare of Freemasonry in this state.

  1. Does Iowa have an official uniform Blue Lodge Ritual ?
  2. How is it taught to the various lodges ? In other words, do you use a printed cipher, do you promulgate it by specially trained lecturers, or what method do you employ?
  3. What is your opinion as to the advantage of having the ritualistic work of a state absolutely uniform?
  4. Tell me, if you know or can possibly find out, in your doubtless extensive records, how many Grand Lodges in the United States of America have a uniform ritual, and what are their various methods of teaching it to the subordinate lodges.

While I know that you are interested in the philosophy of Masonry rather than the forms and phrases by which the degrees are communicated, I believe you will for that very reason realize that there is very little hope of having a man grasp a great truth of any kind when the language by which it is presented to him a foreign tongue.

Therefore, we, of the committee on work, feel that if we can succeed in having a common language, or a common method of conferring the degrees adopted by the Grand Lodge, in a verb few years; from that one thing alone, the standards of Masonis ideals, ambitions and purposes will have advanced at least one hundred per gent in our state.

Knowing that you are interested in the welfare of Masonry everywhere, I call on you for assistance because in the short time, I cannot otherwise get the information, and I assure you that the time you devote to your reply will be more than well spent.
Yours fraternally, J. A. D.

Here is a situation as novel as it is important and it raises many interesting questions which are too large to be discusses in a brief answer. First, as to information: (1) Yes, the Grand Lodge of Iowa uses a uniform ritual which it recognizes as the "ancient Webb work," not only the teaching of which, but its preservation and dissemination being enjoined on a Board of Custodians, and all innovations or changes in the ritual are strictly forbidden. As stated in its Constitution, (Art. XI), "In conferring the degrees of Masonry, the subordinate Lodges are enjoined to a strict adherence to the work as authorized and taught in this jurisdiction." (2) The ritual is taught to the Lodges by a Board of specially trained district lecturers. Ciphers are forbidden. (Code, 297.) Schools of instruction are held annually at strategic points in the jurisdiction, to which the Lodges of the surrounding district are invited; thus uniting good fellowship with good instruction. (3) There is no debate as to the essentials of Masonry, its fundamental principles; on these matters all are agreed. Masonic fellowship, of course, is deeper than but the ritual is a medium, a vehicle, through which Masonic truth is conveyed; and if the medium is chaotic, the teaching will be uncertain and ineffective. Dignity, impressiveness and teachability are all on the side of uniformity of ritual. But, strictly speaking, there can be no such thing as absolute uniformity - there will always be variation of emphasis and interpretation, just as no two artists can give exactly the same interpretation of a Shakespeare play. So that uniformity of ritual need not mean monotony, unless the ritual is repeated after the manner of a parrot or a phonograph - and that is an awful possibility whether the ritual be uniform or not. There is no doubt that, if your Grand Lodge adopts a uniform ritual, the effectiveness of Masonry will be many times increased in your jurisdiction. Let this action be followed by a like emphasis upon the study-side of Masonry, inducing the masters and brethren to study the degrees, live with them until they become living realities to their minds and heart, and the influence of Masonry will be still further increased. (4) As to the Grand Lodges United States which employ uniform work, the facts are as follows:

State Work Communicated by Cipher Keys
Alabama Uniform District Lecturers Not mentioned in Code
Arizona Uniform Grand Lecturer Not mentioned in Code
Arkansas Uniform District Deputy Grand Masters Prohibited
California Uniform Grand Lecturer Not mentioned in Code
Colorado Uniform Grand Lecturer Furnished to W. M. and Wardens
Connecticut Uniform only in essentials District Deputies Prohibited
Delaware Uniform Com. on Work Prohibited
Dist. of Columbia Uniform Grand Lecturer Not mentioned in Code
Florida Uniform District Deputy Grand Masters Prohibited
Georgia Not uniform Not mentioned in Code Prohibited
Idaho Uniform Grand Lecturer Furnished to Master
Illinois Uniform District Grand Lecturers Prohibited
Indiana Uniform Grand Lecturer Official cipher authorized
Iowa Uniform District Lecturers Prohibited
Kansas Uniform District Lecturers Furnished certain officers
Kentucky Uniform Inspectors appointed by Grand Master Not mentioned in Code
Louisiana Uniform Two Grand Lecturers Prohibited
Maine Uniform Temporary Grand Lecturers Not mentioned in Code
Maryland Uniform Grand Lecturer and Com. on Work Not mentioned in Code
Massachusetts Uniform Grand Lecturer app. by Grand Master Not mentioned in Code
Michigan Uniform Grand Lecturer Furnished by Grand Secretary
Minnesota Uniform Board of Custodians, five in number Prohibited
Mississippi Uniform Grand Lecturer and Deputies Not mentioned in Code
Missouri Uniform District Lecturers Not mentioned in Code
Montana Uniform Grand Master, Grand Secretary and Deputy Grand Master, Custodians Not mentioned in Code
Nebraska Uniform Grand Custodian Prohibited
Nevada Uniform except Carson Lodge No. 1 Grand Master Not mentioned in Code
New Hampshire Uniform District Grand Lecturers Prohibited
New Jersey Uniform Grand Instructors and Dist. Deputies Prohibited
New Mexico Uniform Grand Lecturer and Deputies Prohibited
New York Uniform Grand Lecturer and Assistants Prohibited
North Carolina Uniform Grand Lecturer and Assistants Prohibited
North Dakota3
Ohio Uniform District Lecturers Furnished Master
Pennsylvania Uniform District Deputy Grand Masters Prohibited
Rhode Island4
South Carolina Uniform District Deputy Grand Masters Not mentioned in Code
South Dakota Uniform Grand Master or his appointee Not mentioned in Code
Tennessee Uniform District Lecturers Prohibited
Texas Uniform Grand Lecturers Not mentioned in Code
Utah Uniform Grand Lecturers and Deputies Not mentioned in Code
Vermont Uniform Grand Lecturers and District Deputy Grand Masters Official cipher permitted
Virginia Uniform Grand Lecturer and Division Lecturers Not mentioned in Code
Washington Uniform Grand Lecturer and Deputies Prohibited
West Virginia Uniform Grand Lecturer and Deputies Prohibited
Wyoming Uniform Grand Lecturer Not mentioned in Code

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1717 - 1917

Dear Brother: - The questions raised in an interesting letter quoted by the editor in a recent number of The Builder surely ought to evoke many answers. The question as to whether Masonry has a world mission commensurate with other outward expressions of organized activities is highly debatable. Its intrinsic character, forbidding those activities which have a special sectarian or political bias, prevents its engaging in lines of outward demonstrable service. Due observation, however, must be taken in connection with this that there is no legitimate barrier to its active participation in social reform, or to taking a united stand as a revolutionary party should emergency arise. To fail indeed to respond in conscious deliberate activity when a people's rights or liberties were affected would be to violate its teachings, betray its heritage and disown its traditions. But would a study of our social status reveal such causes as would justify any such stand of the body politic of Masons? An investigation that would afford one the opinion of the individual Masons of these United States would not, I believe, reveal anything that would approximate unanimity as to what ought to be at the present hour its social or world mission. We would find without question certain disgruntled folk who call for Masonry's unhinching opposition to some provincial issue or other, but can we sanely and wisely point the common cause or grievance that would cement in unity our Masonic Statesmanship, and crystallize the Masonic forces for one specific aim and purpose? We seriously question it. To ascertain then what is the decided modern mission of the craft one would have to look other than in fields political or sectarian or probably international. Imperative indeed is the need of declaring the modern mission especially if there be five out of ten instead of one in ten as quoted in the letter who have no real or profound interest in Masonry.

The making of too many Masons is something to be seriously deprecated and protested against for observation and experience convinces that this promiscuous Mason-making process is not for the good of the order. In making the Mason we have often missed the most important thing, namely, that we are consecrating a man who would be forevermore as the noblest among men, clean of heart and mind, a builder of the empire of truth, a lover of fraternity and fellowship. Here I believe we have the clue to the modern mission of Masonry - the creation of that sublime and lofty character that will express the potential human goodness, that will in its journeyings, business, and pleasure, as a result of Masonic culture and training, react upon the world for its uplift and betterment. Into the order those who can give of the riches of their heart, and who would delight to their good in the treasures of the craft, should be welcome; but he who intolerantly and arbitrarily views those who differ with him, should never be admitted. Masonry is not a reformatory. It is a university and ought to perform a like service for the world. To mingle with men of many minds, of many viewpoints who religiously adhere to the search for truth and who practice fraternity as dictated by the religious spirit of the universal man, is the Mason's privilege and solemn duty. How shall we welcome the advent of the two-hundredth anniversary? By re-emphasizing the knowledge of Masonry's character upon the two millions of American Masons. By returning to the rigid observance of allowing only those qualified according to Masonic requisites to come into the Order. By more urgently endeavouring to establish the true fraternity that we would hold up as exemplary for the emulation of the world. By persistent endeavour to educate the vast number in the Craft in the ethics and philosophy of the Order. By humbly confessing our forgetfulness in thought and practice of things once solemnly enjoined upon us and a re-dedication of the Craft to the cause of humanity through the service of the man who is a Mason.
Yours fraternally, Robert Tipton, Iowa

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William J. Florence

Dear Bro. Newton: - Your incautious statement in "The Builder" for last May that "Billy" Florence was not a Mason has brought out protests from my good friends Clegg and Somerville, who both refer to my "One Hundred Years of Aurora Grata" published in 1908 as authority for the claim that Florence was a Mason. So it seems to be my "move."

As to his being a Mason:

(1) Bro. J. Henry Williams, P.G.M., Penna., is authority for the statement that the records of Pennsylvania show:

Mount Moriah Lodge No. 156, Philadelphia. William J. Florence, Comedian, Age 22; Initiated, Crafted, and Raised October 12, 1853, by dispensation. Admitted November 22, 1863. Suspended December 22, 1867. Restored to good standing December 26, 1871. Admitted M. M. January 23, 1872. Deceased November 19, 1891.

(2) Bro. George B. Orlady, P.G.M., Penna., states that he sat in lodge with Florence and can vouch for his being a Master Mason.

(3) Bro. George B. Wells, P.G.H.P. and present Grand Secretary of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania, writes that the Chapter records show:

Zerubbabel Chapter No. 162. William J. Florence, Marked June 10, 1854; Most Excellent June 10 1854; Royal Arch June 12, 1854. Sojourner. (That is, not affiliated.)

(4) Dr. Saram R. Ellison, Recorder of Mecca Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., New York, tells me that William J. Florence, Comedian, Age 25, received the Orders of Masonic Knighthood in Pittsburgh Commandery No. 1, at Pittsburgh, Pa., June 13, 1854, being entered as a "sojourner." I have written to Bro. David M. Kinzer, Recorder of Pittsburgh Commandery, for his confirmation of this, but have not had an answer from him. I shall probably see Bro. Kinzer at the session of the Supreme Council, 33d, at Pittsburgh next week, and if he confirms this I shall so advise you.

(5) I copy the following from the minutes of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection of Brooklyn, of which I am the present T.P. Master:

At a special communication of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection held at their rooms, Halsey's Building, on Tuesday evening, April 16, '67, Ill. Bro. C.T. McClenachan 33d proposed Bro. W. J. Florence, Age 40, Occupation Actor, Residence Metropolitan Hotel. Refers to Ill. Bro. McClenachan and Ill. Chas. Brown, M. D., which was on motion received and referred to Ill. Bros. Willets, Smith and McClenachan for investigation, who immediately reported favorably and recommended his election. The T.P.G.M. then ordered a ballot and Bro. Florence was declared duly elected. Bro. F. being about to depart for Europe and wishing to receive the degrees of the A. & A. Rite, permission was given Ill. Bro. McClenachan to confer the degrees upon him as soon as convenient and wherever his judgment might digtate.
D.G. Smith, G.S.K.S.A.

Acting upon above authority Bro. McClenachan conferred upon Bro. W.J. Florence the degrees from 4th to 14th inclusive at Metropolitan Hotel on 21st April, '67, in presence of and assisted by Ill. Bro. Wilson Small 33d, A.T.C. Pierson 33d S.J., Ill. Gabrial McCowan 33d of the S.J., Chas. Brown, M. D., 32d, Thos. J. Leigh 32 and D. G. Smith 32nd, Secretary of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection.
D.G. Smith, G.S.K.S.A.

This minute is probably erroneous as to the degrees conferred. It is evident to me that all of the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second were conferred at this special communication, from the following facts: (a) When the degrees of the Scottish Rite were communicated, as they were in those days, all of the degrees excepting the Thirty-third were usually communicated at one session; (b) It was common in Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection, Council of Princes, Chapter of Rose Croix and Consistory at that time to confer the degrees "from the 4th to the 32d inclusive," notwithstanding the jurisdiction of each of these bodies over but a part of the Scottish Rite series; (c) The Secretary, Bro. Smith, had himself received the degrees by communication at the fifth communication preceding the one he here records, and had become Secretary on April 9th but twelve days before the reception of Florence, and this was the second communication at which he acted as Secretary. It is probable, therefore, that Bro. Smith did not know just exactly what did occur; (d) At the rendezvous of Aurora Grata Consistory of April 23, 1867, but two days after the reception of Florence, there is entered under receipts, "W.J. Florence, $55 for degrees." Fifty-five dollars was the fee for the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second at that time. From these facts I feel sure that Florence received the Thirty-second degree.

It will be observed that according to the Pennsylvania record Florence was not in good standing in his Symbolic Lodge at the time of his reception in Aurora Grata. But don't you know that in those crude days, when they used to say "Once a Mason, always a Mason," they were often so ignorant of the fundamental principles and eternal truths of Masonry that even officers of a lodge would sometimes say "the" where the Standard Work was "a!" Billy Florence was always in good standing as a man.

As to his name and religion:

Bro. J. Harry Conlin, a nephew, tells me that "Uncle Billly’s name was not Bernard Conlin, but William Jermyn Conlin, but that he used his stage name of William J. Florence, and was known among his friends as Florence. Bro. Conlin does not believe that his name was actually changed to Florence by legal process. Florence married a Catholic, who declared that upon his death bed he became a Catholic. Bro. Edwin D. Washburne, 33d, tells me that he was in the house when Florence died, but was not actually present at his death. Bro. Washburne says that to his knowledge a Catholic priest was present with Mrs. Florence when Florence died. The widow took charge of the funeral arrangements, and services were held at St. Agnes (Catholic) Church. The Conlin family made no energetic objection to this, as they wished to avoid "talk," as Bro. J. Harry Conlin expresses it. The body was buried in Greenwood (Protestant) Cemetery, Brooklyn, N. Y., in a plot purchased by Florence himself for the family burial plot. Bro. Conlin says, "Uncle Billy was no more a Catholic than you are," - meaning me.

Now please don't say again that Florence was not a Mason, because there is too much against you to sustain that statement!
Very truly and fraternally, Chas. A. Brockaway, 33d, New York.

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The Roll Of Honor

Dear Sir and Brother: - In reply to your enquiry of the 12th instant, I beg leave to say that, so far as I have been able to verify, the following list of Presidents of the United States were Brother Masons:

  • George Washington.
  • John Adams. James Madison.
  • James Monroe.
  • John Quincy Adams.
  • Andrew Jackson.
  • William H. Harrison.
  • John Tyler.
  • James K. Polk.
  • Zachariah Taylor.
  • Franklin Pierce.
  • James Buchanan.
  • Andrew Johnson.
  • James A. Garfield.
  • William McKinley.
  • Theodore Roosevelt.
  • William H. Taft.

From the late General Robert H. Hall, U.S.A., I learned that General Grant was a fellow craft Mason; initiated and raised in a frontier lodge, when a second lieutenant; Gen. Hall got his information from a brother who was present at the initiation. Just before the death of General Hall, I wrote to ask the name of the lodge and date of the initiation, but received no reply. I took the matter up with the surviving frontier lodges located where Gen. Grant had been on duty when on the Pacific Slope and also with the surviving Army Officers who were with him in his youth, who were Masons, but could not get the verification I sought.

I do not, however, regard this as proof that General Grant was not a Mason, for so many lodges have gone out of existence, and records have been badly kept in many lodges; many records lost, and, what is quite as bad, searches are difficult and inconvenient.

I once wrote the Secretary of a lodge in the West, inquiring the Masonic record of an officer in the Army. The Secretary searched but did not find his name: later I found name and date in Gould's History, again wrote the same Secretary, who then looked and verified.

My record of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence are:

  • John Hancock, Grand Master in Mass.
  • Josiah Bartlett, Grand Master in Mass.
  • William Whipple. *
  • Matthew Thornton. *
  • Samuel Adams, St. Johns lodge, Mass.
  • John Adams, St. Johns lodge, Mass.
  • Robert Treat Paine. *
  • Elbridge Gerry. *
  • Stephen Hopkins, St. Johns lodge, Providence, 1729.
  • Roger Sherman. *
  • Philip Livingston. *
  • Oliver Wolcott, * St. Johns lodge, Hartford, Conn.
  • Francis Lewis. *
  • John Witherspoon. *
  • Francis Hopkinson. *
  • Robert Morris. *
  • Benjamin Rush. *
  • Benjamin Franklin, G.M. in Penna.
  • George Ross. *
  • Richard Henry Lee. *
  • Benjamin Harrison.
  • Francis Lightfoot Lee.
  • William Hooper.

Those marked * are taken from one Library of Masonic History, Vol. IV. The others I have verified from Lodge Records. I have made many searches, without being able to verify all of those marked *; but without the records there have been good traditions, if any traditions are good.

A direct descendant of Matthew Thornton is positive Matthew Thornton was initiated in an Army lodge, but there exists no records at all of that lodge.

A descendant of Josiah Bartlett (signer) feels sure that her ancestor was not a Mason, and knows that there were two Josiah Bartletts; while members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and the Editor of "Light" are certain the Josiah who was Grand Master is the veritable Josiah who signed the Declaration of Independence. This Bartlett record, however, is the only one which has been questioned.

The records in Military Lodges have rarely, if ever, been carefully kept, and very few of our Military lodge records have ever reached any Grand Lodge.

Of the Signers 13 were Congregationalists; 34 were Protestant Episcopalians; 2 were Quakers; 5 were Presbyterians; 1 was a Baptist and 1 a Roman Catholic.

All were born in the United States, excepting nine, as follows: Thornton, Smith and Taylor, in Ireland; Lewis, Morris and Gwinnett, in England; Scott, Witherspoon and Wilson, in Scotland. Charles Carrot was a native of Maryland, and though recently it is claimed he was a "life long friend of Washington" there is no history nor tradition to prove it. There is no intimation of their acquaintance until after Washington became President, and was invited to present the premiums at the Jesuit College in Georgetown, where Bishop Carrol was president.

During the War of the Revolution there were about 500,000 Scotch (Presbyterian) - Irish in the Colonies who were "the Irish in the Revolution."
George W. Baird, P.G.M. Dist. of Columbia.

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Sylvanus Cobb: Mason

In the March number of The Builder, Brother W.A.G. asked for information regarding some of Sylvanus Cobb's stories. It was my privilege to have seen Mr. Cobb many times and to know his famous twin brothers, Cyrus and Darius. The following is a short sketch of his busy life, taken from a biography, written by his daughter, and "Dedicated to the Masonic Fraternity."

Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., was the son of Sylvanus Cobb and Eunice Hale Waite, born in Waterville, Me., June 5, 1823, and was publicly "dedicated to God" by "Father" Hosea Ballou on June 26th.

His parents moved to Maiden, Mass., in 1828, and lived in the Parsonage House, still standing, and celebrated as the birthplace of Adoniram Judson. They moved to Waltham, Mass., in 838; and while Sylvanus was attending High school, he went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and enlisted in the United States Navy in Feb., 1841, easily passing for a man of 21 years. He was honorably discharged from the Navy three years later, and on June 29th, 1845, he was married to Mary Jane Mead in East Boston, Mass.

In 1846, with one of his brothers, he founded "THE RECHABITE," a great temperance paper, and three years later went over to the "WASHINGTONIAN." James Ed. Polk, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay were among the hundreds who were publicly named in these papers as "rum drinkers." From the Washingtonian, he went to the "WAVERLY MAGAZINE" as associate editor. As a member of the "Sons of Temperance" he was a public lecturer for several years from 1869.

He began to write continued stories in 1850, the first being "The Prophet of the Bohmer Wald" published in the "FLAG OF OUR NATION." Began to write for the New York Ledger in 1856, and in thirty-one years, he wrote 122 Long stories, 862 short stories and 2143 "scraps," in all, 89,544 pages. On May 19th, 1887, he wrote in his diary: "Wrote a sketch, 'Jack's Romance' and will now pull up for awhile." The "pull up" was for the last sweet rest.

From 1852 until his death, July 17, 1887, he was actively engaged in civic, political, military, temperance, patriotic musical, literary, masonic and religious work. In July, 1863 he was unanimously elected Captain of the Norway, Me., Light Infantry and became intimately associated with "private" Hanibal Hamlin of a Bangor, Me., company. At this time, he was also closely associated with Andrew Wilson and Sen. Clark of New Hampshire on a regular tour of campaign speaking. While living in Norway, Me., he held many town offices, school committee and was chief engineer of the Fire Department.

After the war, he became a resident of Hyde Park, Mass. and was annually elected moderator. On March 7th, 1870, he while moderator, allowed 47 women to vote at a regular Town meeting, and declared himself for women's suffrage. This was the first event of the kind in the country, and caused universal interest and comment. On March 24th, 1870, he was elected first commander of Hyde Park Post, G.A.R.

Among his many friends were Gen. N. P. Banks, Benj. P. Shillaber, (Mrs. Partington) Hanibal Hamlin, Andrew Wilson, William Wirt Virgin and Harry Rust, all prominent in National and public life. Ralph Waldo Emerson once criticised his stories as "yellow" literature; but on being persuaded to read one of Mr. Cobb's stories, apologized and said, "In sentiment and language, that story was not only unobjectionable, but elevating." In such a long, busy life does it seem possible that Mr. Cobb could find time to do more, yet look at his Masonic record:

On Thursday, May 11th, 1854, he wrote this in his diary: "Went down to the Village, and became initiated as a 'Free Mason' in the Oxford Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. Am now an Entered Apprentice. Like it much." Oxford Lodge No. 18 was at Norway, Me. He was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on Thursday, May 18th, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, Thursday, June 8th. He was elected senior deacon August 31st, and held that office in '54, '55 and '65; was secretary in 1863, Worshipful Master in 1858 '59, '61, '62 and '66. He demitted from Oxford Lodge, Oct. 17 1867, and joined Hyde Park Lodge, April 15th, 1869. He served as secretary in 1872 and '73, and represented his lodge by proxy in the Grand Lodge from Dec. 15th, 1881, until his death.

Received the degrees of Mark Master and Most Excellent Master in King Hiram Royal Arch Chapter of Lewiston, Me., May 20th, 1859; and was exalted to the Ineffable degree of Royal Arch Mason on June 10th. He was a charter member of Norfolk Royal Arch Chapter, Hyde Park, Mass., and served as Excellent King for two years. Was elected Most Excellent High Priest in Sept., 1873, treasurer in '78 serving for six years and chaplain for two years. Elected Grand Scribe in Grand Chapter Dec. 7th, 1884, and at the same time was appointed by the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania as Grand Representative near the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts.

He received the degrees of Select Master, Royal Master, and Super Excellent Master in Dunlap Council No. 80 of Lewiston, Me., April 7th, 1864. He was one of the petitioners for the dispensation which was granted to Hyde Park Council, in 1872; and was constituted as one of its charter members in 1873. He was Right Illustrious Master in '72 and '73; Principal Conductor of the Work in '77, '78 and '83; Thrice Illustrious Master in '79 and '80; treasurer in '84 and until his death. Grand Chaplain of the Grand Council of Mass. in '79 and '80, and was elected Grand Principal Conductor of the Work December 8th, 1880.

He received the order of the Red Cross in Boston Commandery, March 29th, 1872, Orders of Temple and Malta May 2, 1872. He was one of the petitioners for a dispensation which was granted to Cyprus Commandery, Hyde Park, Mass., in 1873. He was a charter member from Oct. 12, 1873, and served as Prelate from that evening until the day of his death, excepting one year, beginning May, 1878, when he served as Eminent Commander.

He received the 32d of A. & A.S.R. on April 24th, 1874, and at the time of his death was a life member of Boston Lodge of Perfection 14d; Giles F. Yates Council of Princes, 16d; Mt. Olivet Chapter Rose Croix 18d; and Massachusetts Consistory of S.P. of the R.S. 32d. In Boston Lodge of Perfection, he held the office of Grand Orator in '80 and '81; and Junior Grand Warden in 1883. He was also a member of Mass. Convention, High Priests, and Mass. Union of Templar Commanders.

Could his speeches, made at Masonic banquets and social gatherings, have been preserved, they would have been invaluable as illustrations of his love for the order. These and many anecdotes and experiences were always given extemporaneously, and live only in the hearts and memories of his brothers. They were sometimes deep and pathetic, often bright and witty, always clean and pure. His suppression on such occasions of everything bordering on coarseness was proverbial.

He wrote the following sketches for the "Liberal Free Mason" all based upon facts: "A Reminiscence," "The Templar's Wife," "Story of a Sleeve-button," "The Sign of the Red Cross" and "An Effective Token." Besides many sketches of this character, he wrote not a little on the subject of Masonry, his best and well known Masonic stories being "Alaric," "The Mystic Tie of the Temple" and "The Key-stone." The first of these Masonic stories was written in 1858: "A Sicilian Story of Early Times." "The Mystic Tie of the Temple" is based upon the early Masonic struggle and is considered by many as his best Masonic story.
Louis S. Brigham, Randolph, Vt.

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"Captain Jack"

Dear Brother: - A friend of mine who is a Mason was visiting, this summer, in Colorado, and on one of the sight seeing trips in the mountains between Manitou and Colorado Springs on what is known as The High Drive, came across an old lady about seventy-five years of age, who runs a small curio shop, and whom he understands is located the year round at the same point.

She claims to be the youngest member of a band of seventy women who were given the Masonic work during the Civil War somewhere in New York State - she thinks she is the only one of the seventy now living.

My friend, in connection with another Masonic gentleman asked her a great many questions and she could intelligently and Masonically answer them - he was greatly surprised and likewise the writer. My friend is informed that her husband, now dead, was a Mason - he was called "Captain Jack," and this woman goes by the name of "Captain Jack."

Light on this subject through the columns of "The Builder” will be very much appreciated.
Fraternally yours, Asa D. Hurd, Mo.

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The Baltimore Convention

Dear Brother Newton: - Amend the article, "The Baltimore Convention," in the Correspondence section of "The Builder" for September, Brother Anderson in his communication quoting from memory and hear-say, there is some excuse for having places names and dates wrong.

Through the courtesy of our Grand Master, Thomas J. Shryock, I am sending you for the archives of "The Builder," a copy of the printed proceedings (very scarce) of that important Convention.

By referring to the printed proceedings you will see that, in pursuance of a recommendation of the Masonic Convention held at Washington, D.C., in March, 1842, the Delegates assembled in Baltimore on the 8th day of May, 1843, and adjourned sine die on May 17th, having previously adopted a resolution recommending that the next meeting of the Grand Masonic Convention be held in the city of Winchester, Va., on the second Monday in May in the year 1846.

A report was adopted at the Baltimore convention endorsing "the establishment of a Grand National Convention possessing limited powers, to meet triennially to decide upon discrepancies in the work, etc., etc." Whenever thirteen or more Grand Lodges should agree to the proposition, the Convention should be permanently formed.

In pursuance of the recommendation of the Convention, representatives from the Grand Lodges of North Carolina, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia, District of Columbia and Missouri assembled at Winchester, Va., May 11th, 1846. Only eight delegates appearing, the Convention adjourned without transacting any business. (From Schultz's History.)

As this convention is frequently mentioned, it may prove interesting to our members to know who composed and attended the Baltimore Convention. Members of the convention were:

Thomas Clapham, Portsmouth, N. H.
Charles W. Moore, Boston, Mass., R.W.G. Secretary. (Editor Free-Mason's Monthly Magazine.)
William Field, Pawtucket, R. I.
Ebenezer Wadsworth, West Troy, N.Y., R.W.P. Secretary.
Daniel A. Piper, Baltimore, Md., G. Lecturer.
Nathaniel Seevers, Georgetown, D.C., G. Lecturer.
John Dove, Richmond Va., R.W.G. Secretary.
John H. Wheeler, Raleigh, N.C., M.W.G. Master.
Albert Case, Charleston, S.C., M.R.G. Chaplain.
Lemuel Dwelle, Augusta, Ga., G. Lecturer.
Edward Herndon, Gainesville, Ala., P.G. Master.
Thomas Hayward, Tallahassee, Fla., P.D.G. Master.
John Delafield. Jr., Memphis, Tenn., G. Lecturer.
John Barney, Worthington, Franklin Co., Ohio., G. Lecturer
S.W.B. Carnegy, Palmyra, Missouri, P.G. Master. (Representative expense contribution credited to his name.)
Joseph Foster, St. Louis, Mo., S. G. Warden.


W. J. Reese, Lancaster, Ohio, M.W.G. Master.
Charies Gilman, Baltimore, Md., M.W.G. Master.
Hiram Chamberlain St. Charles. Missouri, R.R.G. Chaplain.
Joseph K. Stapleton, Baltimore, Md., D.G.G.M. G.G.E.U.S.
R.W.E. Cruben, Louisiana.
R.W.F. Billon, Missouri, P. G. Secretary.
R.W. Edward John Hutchins, P.P.D.G.M., South Wales
R.W. Cornelius Smith, S.G.W., Maryland. The Officers of the Convention were:
R.W. John Dove, M. D., of Virginia, President.
R.W. Rev. Albert Case, of South Carolina, Secretary.
Rev. Bro. W. E. Wyatt, of Maryland, Chaplain.

Fraternally, Gustav A. Eitel, Baltimore, Md.

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