The Builder Magazine

October 1917 – Volume III – Number 10


Part 1

Continued in Part 2

.xx Next Month: November 1917
Previous Month: September 1917www General Index



Edited by Bro. Geo. E. Frazer

President, The Board of Stewards


  • Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia.
  • Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut.
  • Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
  • Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia
  • H.D. Funk, Minnesota
  • Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts
  • Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
  • Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
  • Silas H. Sheperd, Wisconsin.
  • Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia
  • M.M. Johnson, Massachusetts
  • John Pickard, Missouri
  • Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
  • S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
  • Joe L. Carson, Virginia
  • T.W. Hugo, Minnesota
  • F.B. Gault, Washington
  • C.M. Schenck, Colorado
  • H.L. Haywood, Iowa
  • Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin
  • Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois
  • H.W. Ticknor, Maryland

Contributions to this Monthly Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Correspondence column.


"To what extent should the Grand Master in each jurisdiction, either himself or by authorized deputy, inspect annually the work of the officers of each lodge? (a) Should such inspection be limited to the ritual work of the lodge? (b) Should such inspection include investigation of the instruction in Masonic history and philosophy offered by the lodge officers to new members? (c) May such inspection properly include an audit of the business transactions of the lodge?

For the Good of the Order.

The Grand Master personally, so far as he is able, the Deputy Grand Master, and the Grand Wardens, should visit and inspect as many Lodges as possible during the year; and every Lodge should be visited by a district deputy at least once a year, or more frequently.

The inspection should be for the Good of the Order, wherever that may lie. This, of course, would not limit it to the ritual and ceremonial of the work, and could include an investigation of the teaching of the history and philosophy of the Order to its members- -but would hardly be practicable until the principles of the N.M.R.S. are thoroughly inculcated throughout the jurisdiction.

So far as an audit of the finances of the particular Lodge is concerned, I regard Freemasonry as being too uncentralized an institution to warrant such a course by Grand Lodge Authorities. The Grand Lodge should ordain, however, that the books of each Lodge be audited annually, and that the report of the committee which should include both temporalities and "spiritualities" – spread upon the minutes after adequate publication to the members of the Lodge.

In passing, I might say that these questions put me very much in mind of the "Articles of Visitation" issued by Bishops in the best practice of the Church.
H. W. Ticknor, Maryland.

Efficiently Informed Grand Officers.

In my opinion the Grand Master or his Deputy should annually inspect the work of each lodge as thoroughly as inspections are made in military and business circles – that is, not the least thing left undone or uninspected that might make for the utmost efficiency. This would involve, (a) that the inspection not be limited to mere ritual work; (b) that it should include investigation of instruction in Masonic history and philosophy by lodge officers to new members, and not only this but such study of history and philosophy should be encouraged among the officers and old members who need it as badly as the new ones, for particular emphasis should be placed upon the necessity for practice of what is studied; (c) certainly an audit of the business transactions should be included.

If we are to make our Masonic organization thoroughly efficient we should first have our Grand Officers thoroughly informed as to all the activities of Masons under the jurisdictions so that they may advise them. Next there should be more co-operation between the various jurisdictions, not only of our own country, but of the rest of the world. THE BUILDER has been doing a great service in correlating the Masonic usages of different Grand Lodges. May I suggest that it follow up by reporting on what I may call the percentage of Masonic illiteracy and also present statistics on international recognition in order that our leaders may have a comprehensive view of the present status of world Masonry.
J. W. Norwood, Kentucky.

Keep Lodges Up to High Standards.

An inspection such as you outline in your Department of Opinion this month would be exceedingly beneficial, and must of necessity be exhaustive if at all. For obvious reasons therefore this inspection must be performed by the Grand Master's authorized Deputy. Suppose we call him a Grand Inspector.

The Grand Jurisdiction should be divided amongst a number of such capable Grand Lodge Inspectors, invested with ample powers.

It would be advisable that these Inspectors visit officially every Lodge under their care at least once each year.

They should have the regular officers of the Lodge exemplify the ritual in full, and report to the Grand Master on same.

They should examine the Lodge premises, see they are suitable for all Masonic purposes, or demand such alterations as will make them so, if they are not up to the necessary requirements.

They most assuredly should audit the business transactions of the Lodge and report even the most trifling irregularity, a matter entirely too long neglected by the Grand Lodges, and of the most vital importance to the welfare of the Craft.

As few if any Lodges give instruction in Masonic History, Symbolism or Philosophy to either their old or new members, it would be of immense benefit to our order if these Grand Inspectors would make it a part of their duties to offer such instruction. So that this essential portion of Masonic Instruction may not be entirely neglected, as it is in the great majority of our Lodges today.

For eight years I filled the office of Provincial Grand Inspector. I know the importance of the necessity of such inspection; and am of opinion that this is the most important suggestion yet brought before the readers of THE BUILDER in the Department of Opinion.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.

Let the Grand Master Expound Masonry.

It is impossible for a Grand Master to visit all Lodges in his Jurisdiction, but all the Lodges should have a visitation from some authorized person. While some Grand Masters are such, merely in name, yet he should not be required to pay any attention to the ritualistic or business part of a Lodge; he should have more than "ritualistic" or "accountant" brains, but he should prepare (or steal) an address on the history and philosophy of Freemasonry, then visit as many Lodges as possible, and give the Craft the benefit of his study, research and advice.

The duties enumerated (A) (B) (C) are admirably covered by the system used in Missouri, viz.: the state is divided into districts comprising ten to twenty lodges in each district, over which is placed a District Deputy Grand Master and a District Deputy Grand Lecturer; in a few districts these two offices are combined in one. The District Deputy Grand Lecturer, under the Grand Lecturer, has charge of the ritualistic work in his district, and not only visits the Lodges, but he must hold a district school of instruction under the direction of the District Deputy Grand Master.

The Law governing the District Deputy Grand Master who is appointed by the Grand Master is as follows:

(b) He may preside in each Lodge upon the occasion of his official visit, after it is opened; shall examine its books and records; and see if they are properly kept; inform himself of the number of members and the punctuality and regularity of their attendance; ascertain the state and condition of the Lodges in all respects; point out any errors he may ascertain in their conduct and mode of working; instruct them in every particular wherein he shall find they may require or desire any information; particularly recommend attention to the normal and benevolent principles of Masonry, and the exercise of caution in the admission of candidates; and if he discover in his District any Masonic error or evil, endeavor to immediately arrest the same by Masonic means, and, if he judge it expedient, report the same to the Grand Master.

(e) He shall call a Lodge of Instruction at least once a year, if deemed expedient, at such time and place as may be most convenient for the Craft, and notify the officers of the various Lodges in his District to appear at such Lodge of Instruction to receive the work and Lectures from the District Lecturer.

It will be noted that his duties cover in detail all the points in (A) (B) (C). This system has been very effective and its results excellent.
Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.

A Century of Inspection.

I suppose that everyone is attached to the procedure of his own Grand Lodge. Perhaps for that reason I should like to answer your question of August 6th by a statement of the Massachusetts procedure which has worked well for over a century and not yet been found defective at any point.

M. W. Samuel Dunn (1800-1802) introduced the system of District Deputies. The entire jurisdiction is divided into districts. Our largest district contains eleven Lodges, but this we consider too many. The District Deputy makes a formal visitation of every Lodge in his district every year. At this visitation he examines the Minutes, Visitor's Book, and other records of the Lodge, collects the moneys due the Grand Lodge, and witnesses a portion of the degree work. The work to be presented is usually determined by the Worshipful Master, but the District Deputy may demand any portion of the work or the whole work of one or more degrees. At some time during his visitation he addresses the Lodge conveying to it such messages as the Grand Master may desire and adding any personal advice, commendation or criticism which occurs to him.

Visits of inspection are not made by the Grand Master in person.

In addition to the official visitation the District Deputy keeps in touch with all the Lodges in his district, consults with and advises the Masters, and acts as a medium of communication between the Grand Master and the Lodges.

It seems to me that he should not formally investigate or instruct concerning the Masonic history and philosophy offered by the Lodge officers to any new members. Neither do I think that this visitation should include an audit of the business transactions of the Lodge.

Should the Grand Lodge legislate requiring instruction in Masonic history and philosophy it would properly become the duty of the District Deputy to see that this legislation like other Grand Lodge legislation is properly enforced. The business affairs of the Lodge are its own concern. They do not become the concern of the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge unless irregularities occur so serious as to involve scandal to the Fraternity. In that case there would always be abundant redress.

While I do not believe that the functions of the District Deputy should extend officially to these matters, a very great regulating and upholding influence may be, and in this jurisdiction is exercised, by the District Deputy with regard to both instruction and the conduct of business. The District Deputy may and does encourage, and in some cases procure the proper instruction of young Masons, and he may and does jointly and unofficially exercise a directing influence where the business transactions of the Lodge appear to be carelessly or improperly conducted.
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Emphasizes Inspection of Study Side.

In my judgement this question touches upon some of the most important problems before the lodges of our country. My observation has been that too many of the Masonic organizations (of this jurisdiction at least), and particularly those in small towns, do their work in a perfunctory way. If each lodge within the Grand Master's jurisdiction knew that at least once a year either the Grand Master himself or some authorized deputy would visit the lodge I am sure the officers would attend to their duties with greater punctuality and precision. But lamentable as is the slip shod way in which the ritualistic part of the work is done, the ignorance of many Masons relative to the historic and philosophical fundamental principles of their Fraternity is much worse. I believe the crying need among our lodges is an intelligent understanding of the origin and purpose of Masonry, and therefore it seems to me a Grand Master who has not provided further light in Masonry to the lodges within his jurisdiction has failed to realize his opportunity, not to say that he has been derelict in the performance of his duty. In my judgment the matter of inspecting the business transactions of the lodges is of secondary importance. I am not sure to what extent the law of the state would recognize the right of the Grand Lodge to look into the affairs of a local body. The law of the state would have to be considered in answering that question.
Henry D. Funk, Minnesota.

Real Deputy Grand Masters.

Each lodge should be visited officially at least once a year by the Grand Master or his personal representative who should be a District Deputy Grand Master, appointed by and responsible to his Grand Master. This Deputy should carry to the lodges of his District official messages and should address the Brethren along the lines of the Masonic policies of his chief. He should inspect the original charter and see that it be carefully preserved. He should see that the By-laws bear the proper approval. He should examine the minutes to some extent. He should audit the books so far and (except in case of some special exigency) only so far as is necessary to ascertain the amount due the Grand Lodge which he should then and there collect and promptly turn over to the Grand Lodge.

He should also call for an exhibition of some ritualistic work but he should not be expected to be letter perfect in the ritual. That is to say, the District Deputy should be an executive officer and not a pedagogue. The expert and exact teaching of the ritual should be in the hands of Grand Lecturers or similar officers who can make a business of it and should be paid for their services like any teacher whether they give the whole of their time to the work or do it aside from their regular vocations.

One entire issue of "THE BUILDER" could be filled with a recitation of the advantages of this system and it has no disadvantages. If those jurisdictions where the District Deputy is merely an honorary official with perfunctory duties, could only know how valuable he could be made, they would instantly make this officer a real Deputy – a representative of the Grand Master de facto as well as de jure – and they would not overload him with many lodges. No business or professional man can properly attend to the official and social duties devolving upon the Deputyship in a district of more than a dozen lodges without unreasonably neglecting his family, or his business affairs, or both. From long personal experience and observation, I believe that the ideal district is composed of eight lodges which, in the country, should be arranged for convenience of inter-communication and not by distance as the crow flies or even by boundaries established by civil government.

It will interest some jurisdictions to know that because of the successful working out of this system where it originated, for more than a generation that Grand Lodge has been able to close its books each year with every return in, every cent of dues in hand, and not a single lodge in default for a penny of its constitutional payments to Grand Lodge.

When Grand Master Dunn of Massachusetts found in 1800 that his particular lodges were too numerous for him to visit each year in person, he specially commissioned competent Brethren to do the visiting for him. His scheme was so successful that it has ever since been followed and in 1811 the District Deputy was made a constitutional officer, but not an elective one. That is to say, the Deputy in that state is not the representative of his lodge or of his District to the Grand Lodge. He is a real deputy – the representative of his Grand Master to those lodges specially assigned to his care and supervision. To those who fear that this introduces "politics," let it be said that as a matter of fact and experience for over a hundred years there has been vastly less of politics than in the jurisdictions where the Deputy is chosen by election. A Grand Master who is big enough for the job will select the best available past Master in the district. It may not be the man who can muster the most votes.

The question as to an audit suggests one further observation. Except so far as is necessary for the support of the Grand Lodge in the maintenance of general principles, and to the prevention of unmasonic acts, the Grand Lodge and its officers should leave the lodges alone to conduct their business affairs to suit themselves. Compulsory adoption of standard by-laws, for instance, is as absurd as it is unnecessary. And it is none of the Grand Lodge's business whether a particular lodge serves to its members and guests a state banquet, or cheese and crackers, or nothing.
Melvin M. Johnson, Massachusetts.

Build Up Morale Rather Than Ritual.

If in your questions you refer to Degree work, or other routine work, I have such a slight estimate of the sanctity and value of parrot proficiency in such cases, such a dislike to Grand Lodge interference in the local affairs or business of the Lodge, placing greater value on the morale of a lodge than its ability to work a degree with all the T's crossed and all the steps made at the right angle that after this clearing away of my defences I will say:

I prefer that the Grand Master considers himself the Commander-in-Chief and stays at Headquarters to direct the subordinate Grand Officers where to visit and what to do; if they cannot find time nor have the ability nor desire to make good officers under instruction they will not make good officers to give instructions themselves. The Grand Master should attend to the greater functions and semi-public engagements, or take a hand in the critical episodes of his Grand Mastership; he should be the Grand Master, not a visiting flunkey. There is another feature of these incessant minor calls on the time and endurance of a Grand Master; such work costs the Jurisdiction money; as soon as he has made his Annual report to the Grand Lodge and received his jewel, or whatnot, that costly information is of no account any further to the Grand Lodge, and the next man goes over the same route; whereas, when the other officers in line each make some visitations they have years, more or less, in which to use their information and when they come to be Grand Masters they can be such and direct the future generations intelligently. This plan also tests out the coming Grand officers, costs less money and is an approach to a business administration which will be efficient; I have tried out both plans and for every desirable result the Commander-in-Chief idea possesses all the aces in the pack. I therefore answer your first question, by an officer in line properly deputized.

(a) The inspection should not be limited to the ritual work, but more to the morale and general get up of the brethren; of course they ought to know enough to confer a degree reasonably correctly, but if some parts have to be neglected the "perfect points and parts of entrance, etc.," can stand the neglect better than any other.

(b) Such inspection should include the knowledge of the officers in Masonic accepted history, not myth history, in order that not only new members but old members may be given an opportunity to know something about their antecedents as Masons, and their landing place in Masonic philosophy, not the nondescript Religious or Occult "stuff," as the printers term it, which seek to masquerade as Masonic, not regular addresses, or off hand talks by those who know something, ought to be the rule in every Lodge.

(c) Audits should not be made unless requested by the Lodge and, in that case, not by the Grand Master, or his authorized Deputy, who should not lower himself to the position of a traveling auditor, which while an honorable job is not one to be attached to the dignity of a Grand Master. If I were Master of a Lodge I would contest any undue interference with my business, unless I asked for it.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.

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By Bro. John G. Keplinger, Illinois

Keplinger, John G., born at Millersville, Penn., May 21st, 1877; jeweler's apprentice at 14; author of Jewelry Repairers' Handbook at 25; in succession advertising manager of York Silk Mfg. Co., York, Penn., chief correspondent National Cloak Co., New York, and past six years advertising manager Illinois Watch Co., Springfield, Ill. Entered, passed and raised in Central Lodge, No. 71, Springfield, in 1912; Chaplain since 1913. Member of Springfield Consistory.

In going through Vol. 2 of Hone's Everyday Book – published in London in 1827 – I found a very interesting account of the procession of "scald miserable masons," which took place in London in 1741 or 42. This demonstration on the part of the enemies of the Craft was, in a measure, responsible for the later discontinuance of the freemasons' processions which were held annually on June 24th since the year 1721.

R. F. Gould, in his History of Freemasonry, Vol. 3, opposite page 146, gives a full page illustration of the "scald miserables" procession which he states was copied from the very rare original print by A. Benoist, published in 1771. This illustration is entirely different from that which accompanies Hone's account.

Mackey and Singleton, in their History of Freemasonry, Vol. 2, opposite page 432, also show an illustration of this or another "scald miserable" procession but it is not at all like the ones reproduced by Gould or Hone. While Mackey does not give an illustration of this procession in his encyclopedia he has a full page article on the subject. In this he quotes from Sir John Hawkin's Life of Johnson; the London Daily Post of March 20, 1741; Smith's "Use and Abuse of Fremas."; the London Freemason of 1858; and Hone's Ancient Mysteries, page 242. He, however, does not give us the vivid word picture we obtain from Hone's account in the Everyday Book.

"April 18. On this day, in the year 17 – , there was a solemn mock procession, according to the fashion of the times, in ridicule of freemasonry, by an assemblage of humorists and rabble, which strongly characterizes the manners of the period. Without further preface, a large broadside publication, published at the time, is introduced to the reader's attention, as an article of great rarity and singular curiosity.

"The year wherein this procession took place, is not ascertainable from the broadside; but, from the mode of printing and other appearances, it seems to have been some years before that which is represented in a large two sheet 'Geometrical View of the Grand Procession of Scald Miserable Masons, designed as they were drawn up over against Somerset-house, in the Strand on the 27th of April, 1742. Invented, and engraved by A. Benoist.' (Frontispiece, this issue.)

"It should be further observed, that the editor of the Every Day Book is not a mason; but he disclaims any intention to discredit an order which appears to him to be founded on principles of good will and kind affection. The broadside is simply introduced on account of its scarcity, and to exemplify the rudeness of former manners. It is headed by a spirited engraving on wood, of which a reduced copy is placed below, with the title that preceded the original print subjoined.

The Solemn and Stately Procession OF THE SCALD MISERABLE MASONS as it was martiall'd, on Thursday, the 18th of this Instant, April.

The engraving is succeeded by a serio-comic Address, commencing thus: –

The REMONSTRANCE of the Right Worshipful the GRAND MASTER, &c. of the SCALD MISERABLE MASONS.

WIHEREAS by our Manifesto some time past, dated from our Lodge in Brick-street, We did, in the most explicite manner, vindicate the ancient rights and privileges of this society, and by incontestable arguments evince our superior dignity and seniority to all other institutions, whether Grand-Volgi, Gregorians, Hurlothrumbians, Ubiquarians, Hiccubites, Lumber-Troopers, or Free-Masons; yet, nevertheless, a few persons under the last denomination, still arrogate to themselves the usurped titles of Most Ancient and Honorable, in open violations of truth and justice; still endeavour to impose their false mysteries (for a premium) on the credulous and unwary, under pretence of being part of our brotherhood; and still are determin'd with drums, trumpets, gilt chariots, and other unconstitutional finery, to cast a reflection on the primitive simplicity and decent economy of our ancient and annual peregrination. We ourselves think proper, in justification of Ourselves, publicly to disclaim all relation or alliance whatsoever, with the said society of Free-Masons, as the same must manifestly tend to the sacrifice of our dignity, the impeachment of our understanding, and the disgrace of our solemn mysteries: AND FURTHER, to convince the public of our candour and openness of our proceedings, We here present them with a key to our procession; and that the rather, as it consists of many things emblematical, mystical, hieroglyphical, comical, satirical, political, &c.

AND WHEREAS many, persuaded by the purity of our constitution, the nice morality of our brethren, and peculiar decency of our rites and ceremonies, have lately forsook the gross errors and follies of the Free-Masonry, and are now become true Scald Miserables; It cannot but afford a pleasing satisfaction to all who have any regard to truth and decency, to see our procession increased with such a number of proselytes; and behold those whose vanity, but the last year, exalted them into a borrowed equipage, now condescend to become the humble cargo of a sand cart."

"(Then follows the following)

A KEY OR EXPLANATION of the Solemn and Stately Procession of the Scald Miserable Masons. Two Tylers, or Guarders In yellow Cockades and Liveries, being the Colour ordained for the Sword Bearer of State. They, as youngest enter'd 'Prentices, are to guard the Lodge, with a drawn Sword, from all Cowens and Eves-droppers, that is Listeners, lest they should discover the incomprehensible Mysteries of Masonry.

A Grand Chorus of Instruments,

To wit: Four Sackbutts, or Cow's Horns; Six Hottentot Hautboys; four.tinkling Cymbals, or Tea Canisters, with broken Glass in them; four Shovels and Brushes; two Double Bass Dripping pans; a Tenor Frying-pan; a Salt-box in Dclasol; and a pair of Tubs.

Ragged enter'd 'Prentices

Properly cloathed, giving the above token, and the Word, which is Jachin.

The Funeral of Hyram

Six stately unfledg'd Horses with Funeral Habilaments and Caparisons, carrying Escutcheons of the arms of Hyram Abiff, viz. a Master's lodge, drawing, in a limping halting posture, with Solemn Pomp, a superb open hearse, nine Foot long, four Foot wide, and having a clouded Canopy, Inches and Feet innumerable in perpendicular Height, very nearly resembling a Brick Waggon: In the midst, upon a Throne of Tubs raised for that Purpose, lays the Corps in a Coffin cut out of one entire Ruby; but for Decency's sake, is covered with a Chimney-sweeper's Stop-cloth, at the head of a memorable Sprig of Cassia. Around in mournful Order placed, the loving, weeping, drunken Brethren sit with their Aprons, their Gloves they have put in their Pockets; at Top and at Bottom, on every side and everywhere, all round about, this open hearse is bestuck with Escutcheons and Streamers, some bearing the Arms, some his Crest, being the Sprig of Cassia, and some his Motto, viz. Macbenah.

Grand band of Musick as before Two Trophies

Of arms or achievements, properly quarter'd and emblazon'd, as allow'd by the college of arms, showing the family descents, with some particular marks of distinction, showing in what part of the administration that family has excelled. That on the right the achievement of the right worshipful Poney, being Parte Perpale, Glim, and Leather-dresser, viz. the Utensils of a Link and Black-shoe-Boy: That on the left the trophy of his excellency, – Jack, Grand-master elect, and Chimney-sweeper.

The Equipage

Of the Grand-master, being neatly nasty, delicately squaled, and magnificently ridiculous, beyond all human bounds and conceivings. On the right the Grandmaster Poney, with the Compasses for his Jewel, appendant to a blue Ribband round his neck: On the left his excellency – Jack, with a Square hanging to a white Ribband, as Grand-master elect: The Honourable Nic. Baboon, Esq.; senior grand Warden, with his Jewel, being the Level, all of solid gold, and blue Ribband: Mr. Balaam van Assinman, Junior Warden, his Jewel the Plumb-Rule.

Attendants of Honour

The Grand Sword Bearer, carrying the Sword of State. It is worth observing, This Sword was sent as a Present by Ishmael Abiff (a relative in direct Descent to poor old Hyram) King of the Saracens, to his grace of Wattin, Grand-Master of the Holy-Lodge of St. John of Jerusalem in Clerkenwell, who stands upon our list of Grand-masters for the very same year. The Grand Secretary, with his Insignia & Probationists and Candidates close the Procession. Tickets to be had, for three Megs a carcass to scran their Pannum-Boxes, at the Lodge in Brick-Street, near Hide-Park Corner; at the Barley-Broth Womens at St. Paul's Church-Yard, and the Hospital Gate in Smithfield; at Nan Duck's in Black-Boy-Ailey, Chick Lane, & & &. Note. No Gentlemen's Coaches, or whole Garments, are admitted in our Procession, or at the Feast."

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'Tis not for love of gain we go
To war upon a foreign shore;
'Tis not to force submission to
A tyrant's will of murderous gore;
But rather 'tis an act to point
The way to heights yet unattained,
That unborn nations yet to come
May ne'er by bloody war be stained;
That justice, truth and liberty
Shall guide, direct and triumph in
Each nation's act on land or sea,
To hush the deafening battle's din;
That true regard for human rights
Vouchsafe to all shall ever be,
And disenthralled from wrong and greed
Each nation's conduct shall be free.
Though we descend from realms of peace
Into the fiery war cloud's smoke;
'Tis not to win the victor's crown
Or deal a foe a deadly stroke;
But that with loving hands we reach
Into the nation's boiling pot;
The crucible of cruel war
Where struggling empires cast their lot
And help refine and elevate
Each noble sentiment inspired;
To break oppression's galling yoke
Where millions have expired.
That true democracy shall be
The light and guide to liberty
And noble heritage bequeathed
To countless millions yet to be.
– W. S. Vawter, Texas.

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Pray which died first, and was buried
Thy heart or thy hand the last ?
Was unspent love thy last passion, –
A sword in thy hand held fast?

No gem or gold of thy treasure
Held close to thy heart in death
Excels in value the nlessage
That died on thy parting breath.

Was Justice swift or too tardy,
Did Virtue or Vanity gain,
Was Duty joyous or irksome,
Did Wisdom or Folly reign ?

To live, to love, and to languish
With visions of Truth replete, –
To dare to dream unto dying,
Perchance was thy life complete ?

Perchance some stream that is hidden
May burst from a blasted stone,
Here lost, dissolved through the ages,
May flow from thy source unknown.

Of Truth, like rain from the heavens,
Like snow on the mountain sheer,
No drop, distilled through the sages,
Is lost, but will reappear.

For God's footrule is a million,
And ours is the inch and ell.
The weave and woof of thy merit
His measure alone may tell.
– James T. Duncan.

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By Bro. J. Fort Newton, England

MR. TOASTMASTER: – It is the privilege of the living to strive, as occasion may of offer, to preserve the image of the great and good men of former times. Not less is it our duty to do so, that as little as possible may be lost of the precious heritage of our race. Fewer names would fade from their rightful place in human memory if we, who enter into their labours and reap what they have sown, were duly mindful of our obligation to the dead and to the advancing generation.

In this the centennial year of his birth it is doubly fitting that we recall the name of Albert Pike – the master genius of Masonry, its most accomplished scholar, its noblest orator, and by far the greatest artist who has adorned its temple in these latter days. No more beautiful spirit than Albert Pike ever lived with us or died among us, and tonight his words are fulfilled before our eyes, when he said: "I wish my monument to be builded only in the hearts and memories of my brethren of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite." He himself fulfilled those words by the beauty of his genius, the splendor of his character, and the high quality of his service to our order;

"For nought endures unless it stands Linked with a deathless poet's name."

Almost twenty years have now come and gone since the great figure of Albert Pike disappeared from the walks of men. Other men and other scenes have come upon the stage and many changes have been wrought upon the earth. Even in the city where he was for so long a chief ornament and distinction a generation has arisen to whom it is necessary to describe Albert Pike. And that no one may ever hope to do. One may recall the majestic figure, the noble head, the great and beautiful eyes that were the homes of genius and power, the face so full of benign wisdom, and the fine spirit that forever animated and refined a form at once colossal and symbolic. But no one can reproduce the personal and intellectual charm, the stately grace and rich humanity of that wonderful man.

Albert Pike has long been known to me as a poet of daring and eloquent melodies. In days that come not back it was my joy to read "Hymns to the Gods," in which as a youth he visited the altars of Greece, the holy land of the artist, and learned the holiness of beauty. We of the south recall his poems of "The Mocking Bird," the mystic queen of southern woodland song, along with his ringing lines proposing "The Magnolia" as the emblem of the south. Nor can any one forget those tender verses which set to music the loneliness and pathos of old age, as colours grew dimmer and the life grows heavier "Every Year." But more melting than all is his little song to "A Dead Child," which brought a ray of light into one of the darkest days of my life.

But this week1 it has been given me to see another Albert Pike – a great artist of spiritual truth, a magician of form and colour and words – the Michael Angelo of moral architecture. It is beautiful beyond all words. No one can imagine a more magnificent portrayal of the meaning of life and of what it is to be a man and a Mason. In token of this honour let me ask you indulge me in a recital of the story of Albert Pike, his personal history and his career as a Mason, with a brief sketch of his achievements as a scholar, his character as a man, and his genius as a poet.


Albert Pike was born in Boston, Mass., December 29th, 1809 – the same day that brought Gladstone into the world, and like Gladstone he came of a stock noted for its strength and longevity. The Pikes came to this country from Devonshire, England, as early as 1635, and the family has given us many poets, patriots, scholars, ministers and jurists. Such was Nicholas Pike, author of the first arithmetic in America, the friend of Washington, and the planter of the liberty tree in front of his house in 1775, the branches of which arch State street to this day. Such was Zebulon Pike, the explorer, who gave his name to Pike's Peak, and died in battle in the war of 1812.

The father of Albert Pike, so he tells us, was a journeyman shoemaker, "who worked hard, paid his taxes, and gave all his children the benefit of an education." His mother was a woman of great beauty, though somewhat austere in her ideas of training a boy. As a child he saw the festivities at the close of the war with Great Britain, in 1815. His father removed to Newburyport, in the same state, when Albert was four years of age, and remained there until his death; and it was there that the boy was reared. He attended the schools of the town, and also an academy at Farmingham, and at fourteen was ready for the freshman class at Harvard. Being informed that he must pay the tuition fees for two years in advance, he declined to do so, and proceeded to educate himself, following the junior and senior classes while teaching school. He taught at Fairhaven and later in his home town, first as assistant, then as principal, and afterwards in a private school until March, 1831.

By nature Pike was a thinker and by genius a poet – large-minded, sensitive, high-strung; conscious of his power, yet diffident; easily depressed by unkind words, but resolved to be a force in the world. When life with its nameless hopes began to stir within him, he felt the austere restraint of his Puritan environment where poetry was scorned as "flowery talk," and where all wings were clipped. He began to long for freer air and a wider life, and in 1831 set out for the west, by way of Niagara, thence to Cincinnati and down the Ohio, much of the way on foot, to St. Louis. He went as far as Santa Fe, the scenery of the country giving colour to the poems he wrote along the way. At Taos he joined a trapping party, and after going down the Pecos, he travelled around the head waters of the Brazos to the sources of Red river. This took him across the Staked Plains, and he was so worn by hunger and hardships that he was glad to turn east. After walking five hundred miles he reached Fort Smith, Arkansas, "without a rag of clothing, a dollar of money, or a single friend in the territory."

In Arkansas Pike cast his lot, teaching school in a tiny log cabin near Van Buren. While thus engaged he wrote some verses for the Little Rock "Advocate," and they captured attention at once. These were followed by a series of articles on political topics, under the pen name of "Casa," which attracted so much notice that Greeley used them in his paper. The editor of the "Advocate" sent for Pike, offering him a place on his paper. This offer was gladly accepted and in 1833 he crossed the river and landed-in Little Rock, paying his last cent for the ferriage of an old man who had known his father in New England. Here began a new day in the life of Albert Pike. He learned to set type and to edit a paper, reading Blackstone at night, and never sleeping more than five hours a day. By 1835 he owned the "Advocate," but soon sold it, and after trying for a year to collect what was due him, he one day settled his accounts by putting his books in the stove. His own teacher in law, he delved deep into the volumes of Duranton, Pothier and Marcade, translating the Pandects of Justinian with the comments upon them of the French courts. After such studies, once admitted to the bar his path to success was an open road.

A tender little poem "To Mary" about this time told of other thoughts busy in his mind. He was married in 1834, and the same year appeared his "Prose Sketches and Poems," followed by "Ariel,"- -a longer poem, bold, spirited, scholarly, though marred somewhat by double rhymes. In 1830 he revised his "Hymns to the Gods" – written when he was a boy – and sent them to "Blackwood's Magazine." The editor, "Christopher North," not only accepted the hymns, but wrote a letter to Pike saying that his songs gave him first place among the singers of the day and that his genius marked him out to be a poet of the Titans. And yet Pike cared little for fame as a poet. His poet-soul was a well-spring of delight, and he seems to have cared only for the joy, and sometimes the pain, of writing. Most of his poems were printed privately for his friends, as though he were deaf to the tormenting whispers of the siren of ambition. Outside his inner circle he is known only by fugitive pieces which escaped from the cage and flew into the upper air.

In the war with Mexico, Pike won fame for his valor on the field of Buena Vista, and he has enshrined that awful scene in a stirring poem. After the war he took up the cause of the Indians, whose language he knew, and whom he felt were being robbed of their rights. He carried his case to the supreme court, to whose bar he was admitted in 1849, along with Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin. His speech in the case of the Senate Award to the Choctaws is famous in our annals, the supreme court adjourning to hear it, one of his auditors being Daniel Webster, who passed high eulogy upon his effort. Judged by any test, Albert Pike was a great orator – massive as Hercules, graceful as Apollo, a lawyer ranking with Grimes, Prentiss and Pettigrew, at once a poet and a man of action, uniting the learning of a scholar with the practicalness and bright eyed sagacity of a man of affairs, and above all gifted with the imperious magnetism which only genius may wear. By mistake he was reported dead in 1859, to the great distress of his friends, and he had the opportunity, not often enjoyed by any one, of reading the eulogies and laments written in his memory. When he was known to be in life and good heart, his friends celebrated his return from Hades by a social festival entitled, "The Life-Wake of the Fine Arkansaw Gentleman Who Died Before His Time." This event was duly recorded in an exquisite volume printed in August, 1859.

And then came blood and fire and the measureless woe of civil war. Albert Pike, though a lover of peace and a hater of slavery, cast his lot with the South and was a great soldier on its red fields. His lines written and sung to the tune of "Dixie" kindled all Southern hearts with fiery and passionate enthusiasm. He became brigadier general and was placed in command of the Indian Territory. Against his protest, the Indian regiments were ordered from the territory into Arkansas, and took part in the battle of Elkhorn under his command. This battle, fought against his advice, was a disaster, and he resigned from the army and returned to the law. To the end he regretted the war, so terrible in its human harvest, the result of an immemorial misunderstanding, and which stained with blood and tears a land where heroes sleep together.


It was in 1850 that Albert Pike entered the Masonic order, and rapidly advanced to its highest honors. Some have expressed wonder that a man of such rich and beautiful genius should have devoted so much of his life to a secret order. But those who thus speak know as little of the man as they know of the great order which he loved and honoured. Happy the day when this master artist entered our temple, for it was as a great artist that he conceived of Masonry, even as it was as a great artist that he conceived of God, of man, of the kingdom of heaven, and of our pathetic human life.

One may almost say that Pike found Masonry in a log cabin and left it in a temple. In his life as a pioneer he saw the Masonic lodge as a silent partner of the home, the church, and the school, toiling in behalf of law, society and good order among men, and he perceived its possibilities as a field in which to use his varied gifts for the good of his fellow man. No one ever discerned the mission of Masonry more clearly, no one ever toiled for its advancement more tirelessly. If he had done nothing more than write "Morals and Dogma," his name would be entitled to our lasting and grateful remembrance. That is an amazing book – amazing alike for the wealth of its learning, the breadth and sanity of its teachings, and the lucidity and beauty of its style which not even Ruskin could excel. Its style, indeed, cast in the mold of classic simplicity, rivals in its grace and ease the noblest pages of man. No one can lay aside that book without feeling that he has visited the high places of wisdom and of truth, led by a master of those who know.

But "Morals and Dogma," noble as it is, was only a small part of the service of Albert Pike to our order. When he came to his throne in 1859 he found the Scottish Rite little more than a series of crude, incoherent, disconnected degrees, and six or seven of them consisted of the words and signs alone. At once he set about to recast the Rite and put it upon a higher level, writing those rituals and lectures which are so much admired, and which have been translated into so many tongues. Such a task gave free play to the artist-soul within him, from which his life and thought took form and color – his poetic genius, his sense of the fitness of things, his mastery of language, his faith, his hope and his dream. So he wrought, as Angelo wrought in the Sistine Chapel, giving to moral truth a form worthy of its beauty and meaning, and the imprint of his genius will never fade from the temples of this order. Nature, genius and culture had fitted Pike for such a labour. The note of his intellect was beauty; its depths were the depths of beauty; and to the soul of an artist he joined a rich and warm humanity, which made him an ideal priest in the temple of fraternity. To his skill as an architect he added a parallel genius as a scholar, and to the altar of his rite he brought the lore of all the ages, the myth and legend, the sacrificial rites and sacred ceremonials of all the races. He was of those who believe in the utility of the ideal, in the spiritual meaning of life, in the moral influence of beauty, and in the efficacy of art to surprise and embody the elusive Spirit of Truth which visits this earth with inconstant wing and fleeting shape –

"Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled.
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, yet dearer for its mystery."

Such an artist, poet, Mason was Albert Pike. As Grand Commander he ruled not less by the divine right of genius and character than by the love of the bodies of his obedience – ruled with a stately and affable grace, wise in council, skilled in healing schism, fertile of inspiration, his one passion aside from the good of the craft being that he should never work injustice. Unforgettable are alike his dignity and his humility, the unpretentiousness of his mental and moral bigness, and the kindness that softened even the sternness of his discipline, when that sternness seemed like to vent itself upon the wrong doer rather than upon the wrong. Memorable were his encyclicals and allocutions, and his tributes to his friends – such as those to Robert Toombs and James A. Garfield – written with the lucidity of Thucydides and the charm of Cicero. Urbane always, he was, at times, a master of invective and satire, as witness his papers and letters in the "Cerneau" debate, and his famous reply to the bull of Pope Leo against Masonry.

Companionable he was supremely, abounding in friendship, glorious in conversation, simple, frank, and lovable. His laughter, rich and ringing, none might resist, and his humour gave an added grace to his intellectual magnificence. For the frills and fritiniances of life he had a fine, a copious, yet withal, an amused scorn, and every form of pretence or meanness shrivelled in his presence. He kept ever, until toward the end, his youthful verve, and there was a freshness of sympathy in him that was essential democracy.


As a poet Albert Pike had the authentic fire, the vision and the dream, and he would be more widely known had not he-had such scorn of fame. In "Fantasma," a poem in which he shadows forth his life history, he speaks of one who was young and did not know his soul, until the mighty spell of Coleridge woke his hidden powers. Coleridge was his master, as Shelley was his ideal, and while we may not say that he was of equal genius with those masters, it is to that order of singers that he rightly belongs. In later life heavy cares and sorrows muffled his song and his harp lay idle for many years. Near the end he took up his harp once more and sought relief from loneliness, in a poem entitled "Every Year," which for a blend of a pathos that is almost bitter and a hope that is undefeated has none to surpass it in our speech.

"Life is a count of losses,
Every year;
For the weak are heavier crosses,
Every year;
Lost Springs with sobs replying
Unto weary Autumns sighing,
While those we love are dying,
Every year.

"To the past go more dead faces,
Every year;
As the loved leave vacant places,
Every year;
Everywhere the sad eyes meet us,
In the evening's dusk they greet us,
And to come to them entreat us,
Every year.

In his lonesome later years Pike betook himself more and more to "that city of the mind, built against outward distraction for inward consolation and shelter." Then it was that he mastered many languages – Sanskrit, Hebrew, old Samaritan, Chaldean and Persian – in quest of what each had to tell of beauty and of truth. By these he was led on to a study of Parsee and Hindoo beliefs and traditions, and he left, in the Temple Library, his fifteen large manuscript volumes, translations of the Rig-Veda and the Zend-Avesta – a feat to rival Max Muller. And there it may be seen to this day, all written with an old fashioned quill, in a tiny flowing hand, without blot or erasure. In the House of the Temple he lived attended by his daughter, and it was here that he held his court and received his friends, amid the birds and flowers that he loved so well. Old age came on with many infirmities, but he was ever the courtly and gracious man until April, 1891, when death touched him and he fell asleep without fear and without regret.

So passed Albert Pike. No purer, nobler man has stood at our altar or left his story in our traditions. He was the most eminent Mason in the world, not only by virtue of his high rank, but by the qualities of his genius, the richness of his culture, and the enduring glory of his service. Nor will our order ever permit to grow dim the memory of that stately, grave and gentle soul – a Mason to whom the world was a temple, a poet to whom the world was a song.

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There are some thoughts too sad to put in words.
There are some joys too deep for accents gay.
I think that that is why God makes the birds,
Such things to say.

There are some moments full of melodies
Too sweet fol harps or any human thing.
I think that that is why God makes the trees,
Such songs to sing.

There are some souls that down life's highway pass
Too fair to last in hope's bright diadem.
I think that that is why God makes the grass,
To shelter them.

There are some hours too lonely for the light,
When shining rays but rude intruders seem.
I think that that is why God makes the night,
To sleep, and dream.
– American Lumberman.

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Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask – thou smilest and art still,
Out topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill,
Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,
Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,
Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foiled searching of mortality;
And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honoured, self-secure,
Didst tread on earth unguessed at – Better so!
All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole speech in that victorious brow.
– Matthew Arnold.

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Albert Pike's Letter to a Dying Friend

(From the Fort Smith, Arkansas, Tribune)
(This letter of Albert Pike to a dying friend is worthy of preservation and forms a beautiful companion piece to his poem, "Every Hour.")

We gladly give place to the following beautifully worded letter from Gen. Albert Pike to Dr. Thurston, of Van Buren, and received by the latter the day before he died

Washington, September 3, 1885.
My Dearest and Best and Truest Old Friend: –

I have just received your loving message sent to me by Mr. Sandels. I had already two days ago learned from our old friend Cush, who had the information from James Stewart, that you were about to go away from us. In a little while I shall follow you; and it will be well for me if I can look forward to the departure, inevitable for all, with the same patience and equanimity with which you are waiting for it.

I do not believe that our intellect and individuality cease to be when the vitality of the body ends. I have a profound conviction, the only real revelation, which to me makes absolute certainty, that there is a Supreme Deity, the Intelligence and Soul of the Universe, to Whom it is not folly to pray; that our convictions come from Him, and in them He does not lie to, nor deceive us; and that there is to be for my very self another, a continued life, in which this life will not be as if it had never been, but I shall see and know again those whom I have loved and lost here.

You have led an upright, harmless, and blameless life, always doing good, and not wrong and evil. You have enjoyed the harmless pleasures of life, and have never wearied of it, nor thought it had not been a life worth living. Therefore you need not fear to meet whatever lies beyond the veil.

Either there is no God, or there is a just and merciful God, who will deal gently and tenderly with the human creatures whom He has made so weak and so imperfect.

There is nothing in the future for you to fear, as there is nothing in the past to be ashamed of. Since I have been compelled by the lengthening of the evening shadows to look forward to my own near approaching departure, I do not feel that I lose the friends who go before me. It is as if they had set sail across the Atlantic Sea to land in an unknown country beyond, hither I soon shall follow to meet them again.

But, dear old friend, I shall feel very lonely after you are gone. We have been friends so long, without a moment's intermission, without even one little cloud or shadow of unkindness or suspicion coming between us that I shall miss you terribly. I shall never have the heart to visit Van Buren again. There are others whom I like there but none so dear to me as you – none there or anywhere else. As long as I live I shall remember with loving affection your ways and looks and words, our glad days passed together in the woods, your many acts of kindness, the old home and the shade of the mulberries, and our intimate communion and intercourse during more than forty-five years.

I hoped to be with you once more in the woods, but now I shall never be in camp in the woods again. The old friends are nearly all gone; you are going sooner than I to meet them. I shall live a little longer, with little left to live for, loving your memory, and loving the wife and daughter who have been so dear to you. Dear, dear old friend, good bye! May our Father who is in heaven have you in His holy keeping and give you eternal rest!

Devotedly your friend,
Albert Pike.

To make knowledge valuable you must have the cheerfulness of
– Emerson.

We are born to search for Truth; to possess it belongs to a Higher
– Montaigne.


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Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg

The Lodge And The Candidate

Part II, Election of a Candidate

(Note. The following article is one of a series prepared by the Editor for reading and discussion in Lodges and Study Clubs. This series is based upon the Society's "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." Each month we present a leading article supplemented by a list of references on the same subject. In each month's issue, we also append a column of "Helpful Hints to Study Club Leaders," which we hope will assist those already doing this work, and inspire others to do likewise. This development is in line with the Society's policy of stimulating active Masonic study.

We recommend that Lodges and Study Clubs use the current paper at their meeting one month after it is received. This gives time for careful study by the members; it also permits the preparation of additional papers from the references. In the original presentation of this paper, if it is read a paragraph at a time, and fully discussed as you proceed, you will find that each member will get more out of it. By this plan, the leader can bring out the important points listed under "Helpful Hints," as you go along, and the discussion will perhaps be more to the point than otherwise.

The Bulletin Course may be taken up at this point as profitably as elsewhere. The previous lessons may be considered renew work. Mackey's Encyclopedia and the bound volumes of THE BUILDER remain the necessary references; others will from time to time be given; rare references will be reprinted in THE BULLETIN. YOUR LODGE can undertake systematic Masonic study with small expense in dollars, but large returns to your membership, if you will let us assist you. Our "STUDY CLUB DEPARTMENT" is organized for that purpose.
Address Geo. L. Schoonover, Secretary, Anamosa, Iowa

ASSUMING that the Investigating Committee has with every possible care and skill arrived at a definite and final decision upon the application of the "stranger" to receive the Masonic degrees, and that his actual conditions and career as well as his claims to favor have been closely and thoroughly determined, then a report is submitted to the lodge.

When It May Be Had

This is done at a stated communication. It is usually in writing, the back of the blank used for the application for the degrees having as a rule provision made for the signatures of the members of the Committee below a brief statement that the report is favourable or unfavourable as the case may be. The method of procedure is the same in the case of an application for affiliation as for initiation.

The length of time that a Committee of Investigation may take for its labours must be determined by the needs of each case. Personal acquaintance with the candidate is an effective method of settling the first questions that will occur to an alert and reliable Committee, and of course none other is deserving of appointment – the responsibility is too great for the idle and the indifferent.

But to get into personal touch with the applicant and with those that he or his sponsors – those whose names are upon his petition – suggest for the purpose of reference requires time and opportunity. No lodge will grudge the gift of ample time for the purpose. Providing that the time is not frittered away aimlessly or in sheer neglect, all reasonable time will be allowed.

Granted, on the other hand, that the applicant is well known to the Committee or that he is readily accessible and that all the enquiries are speedily and satisfactorily answered. There is the. no necessity for delaying the report beyond what may be demanded by the Masonic law governing the case. The custom in the majority of Grand Jurisdictions is for the petition to lie over one lunar month, in a few from one stated meeting to another, the Committee reporting at a later stated meeting than the one at which it was appointed.

Another practice of very general acceptance is that the petition cannot be withdrawn after the report of the Committee has been presented to the lodge. Under any circumstances the withdrawal of the application is only permitted by formal action of the lodge as provided by the regulations of the Grand Lodge.

Still another custom has been adopted and that is to have the applicant present himself at the lodge apartments on a specified date and hour while his application is in the hands of the Committee. He is then in a position to meet the brethren personally and as many of them as desire that privilege can do so conveniently. There is nothing novel about this idea. It is merely a revival of a very old method and dates back to the earlier part of the eighteenth century if indeed it is not of very much greater age than the lodge records to which reference is now directed.

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The Ballot

Due report having been made by the Investigating Committee and the same read in open lodge at a stated meeting, and no objection being raised by any other lodge or any member thereof which might under the law delay action, the application is subjected to a ballot.

Balloting in a Masonic lodge is a casting of a vote, Aye or Nay, in secrecy. Our commonly adopted method is based upon the General Regulations of nearly two centuries ago. These provided that "no man can be entered a Brother in any particular Lodge, or admitted a member thereof, without the unanimous consent of all members of the Lodge then present when the candidate is proposed, and their consent is formally asked by the Master."

Just how this was to be done was not then explained so that we may read it in the record. But we are told that the members are to "signify their consent or dissent in their own prudent way, either virtually or in form, but with unanimity."

Nowhere has the above stipulation been held more tenaciously than with our American lodges, Grand and subordinate. While in England as well as in Germany a single black ball has not the certainty of exclusion, that is not the case with us. True, a second ballot may be ordered when the Master discovers that but one black ball has been deposited in the box. The second ballot is in that respect only to check the first result and to prevent mistakes, as by the error of dropping a ball of the wrong color.

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Black Balls (Cubes) And White Balls

Cubes are quite frequently employed as well as balls, the cubes being black and the balls white. There is thus a ready assurance to the voter up to the very last instant that the ballot is deposited. By sense of touch as well as by the previous glance at the colour, feeling and sight assure the voter that he is correctly recording his intentions.

Convenience and secrecy are the especial merits of a ballot box. Large enough it should be to contain a supply of ballots for the use of all those brethren in attendance. No one can be excused from exercising the right to cast a ballot, therefore each is entitled to have one.

A ballot box must be so designed as to thoroughly conceal the deposit as well as the choice of the ballot. There could otherwise be no secrecy in the act. For this purpose the box is divided into two compartments, both arranged for easy examination before and after the balloting. A partition between the compartments is made with an opening large enough for the passage of the ballot but not for the insertion of the hand itself. Thus during the act of balloting no discovery by accident or design can be made of the ballots previously cast. A cover fits securely over the two compartments hiding the result of the balloting and also affording proper privacy while the voter selects his ballot.

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Methods Of Balloting

Methods of recording the individual expressions of opinion may have been varied enough in the past but are now of very general accord. One plan deserves mention though it may be deemed only because of rarity is allusion made to it. All the brethren are first given an opportunity to select their ballots and then in turn they deposit them. Possibility of an exposure of the ballot before it is cast is, it would seem, more likely under this method than with the others now to be described.

Announcement being made of the investigating committee's report by the presiding officer, the proper person is directed to prepare the ballot box. This is done by opening the box, lifting or removing the partition, placing all the balls and cubes indiscriminately in the outer compartment, then replacing the partition and the cover. The box in this correct condition is now presented to the three principal officers in turn, the junior in rank coming first. Each examines it and thus there can be officially determined that there are no ballots left in the inner chamber. However, this custom is not universal. The other method is to limit the inspection to the presiding officer before the ballot is "passed."

Another variation is in the method employed for depositing the ballots, in the one practice the ballot box is placed upon the altar and the brethren advance in order as their names are called – though this too is not the invariable case as they may present themselves without waiting for the call; the other plan is for the ballot box to be taken to every brother in the room qualified to cast a ballot. As the more formal and elaborate process really covers the others a description of its essentials will suffice even in the case of these exceptions already noted.

The ballot box being ready for use and so found upon inspection by the proper officer or officers, the Senior Deacon is directed to place it upon the altar. A roll call is now taken of the officers and members present and as each name is called the brother advances to the box and casts his ballot. The roll call concludes with the name of the Tyler who is temporarily relieved while he deposits a ballot in the box.

Demand is now made if all present have voted who are entitled to do so. No other conclusion being evident the ballot is formally declared closed and the Senior Deacon takes charge of the box. He carries it to the junior officer designated for that duty and the latter examines it and then again closes the box in exactly the manner he found it. Enquiry is made of him by the Master as to the condition of the box. To this question suitable reply is made, and then the Senior Deacon proceeds to the next officer higher in station. The same question and answer are in order at this station.

Should all the ballots be white the box is clear. Then the Master also announces that the candidate has been duly elected. Accordingly the Secretary makes due record of the fact and notifies the applicant of the next step to be taken by him.

But should any of the ballots be black the box is not clear, it is foul. At each station that fact would be announced as the box was examined and as the question was put by the Master to the officer making the inspection. On the box reaching the Master he would discover immediately whether one or more ballots were black. If there were two or more the candidate is declared rejected and is so notified by the Secretary.

Wherever two or more lodges are near enough in the same locality to have concurrent jurisdiction it is the usual custom for them to notify each other of rejected candidates as well as of those elected and of applications received. In many States rejections are also announced to the Gland Secretary.

If, however, there is but one black ball found in the box a second ballot is at once ordered. This second ballot is taken under exactly the same conditions as before and the finding is final. A repetition of the former "foul" condition and the candidate is declared rejected.

Long established and universal custom does not allow the making of any remarks at the balloting – either during its progress, immediately before it begins, or directly afterwards. Especially is it considered in the poorest taste to attempt the discussion of a rejection. For a visitor to indulge in the discussion of the result of a ballot, favourable or unfavourable as the case may be, is deemed highly improper and a grave reflection upon the hospitality he had enjoyed.

Doubtless there have been instances where the ballot has been abused. Every Mason has some example actually known in his personal experience or reported to him on excellent authority. There is much to be said truly on this side of the subject. It is the one aspect that receives most attention and therefore little or nothing need be said of it here.

The single ballot protects any member from having a candidate forced upon him. That is the purpose of the present law. Well indeed was it so said in the old Constitution, "nor is this inherent privilege subject to a dispensation; because the members of a particular Lodge are the best judges of it; and if a fractious member should be imposed on them, it might spoil their harmony, or hinder their freedom or even break and disperse the Lodge, which ought to be avoided by all good and true brethren."

One plan that has found popularity on the continent of Europe is worth noting though it offends against the secrecy so much favoured by ourselves. If but a single black ball is deposited, the Master does not declare the applicant rejected at that meeting. He passes the matter for the time being. Between that meeting and the succeeding one he makes some personal enquiries of his own. It is also considered proper for the brother who cast the black ball to wait upon the Master and confidentially acquaint him with the facts warranting the rejection of the candidate. At the next meeting the Master announces his decision and there the matter ends. While this procedure does not prevent an outbreak of mere personal spite on the part of but the one person it is nevertheless an invasion of the individual rights that have for these many years been adopted in our lodges.

Whatever the plan in vogue it is certain that it cannot be too seriously and systematically conducted. The candidate may make or mar the institution. Would he be welcome in our homes? Is he duly and in all things fully qualified? Will he be firebrand or foundation ? Is he to be a help or a hindrance ? Will he wear well or ill? Upon our sober judgement rests the responsibility when we face the ballot box. Therefore the process should become a solemn ceremony, every step taken with care, weighty and thorough. The task is most important and far-reaching. As the sword of the efficient Tyler protects his lodge, so does the ballot in a discriminating hand guard the entire fraternity of the Craft.

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The Lodge Record Of The Ballot

On this subject little need be said. A quotation from a typical Masonic Code reveals the fact that after the report of the Committee of Investigation, whether favourable or unfavourable, is presented to the Lodge, "the character of the committee report shall be announced, but not entered of record." Thus, while the Lodge must protect itself, and preserve a record which shall be available to all future members, the Committee, the agents of the Lodge for the purpose of gathering information, are likewise protected, insofar as the nature of their report is concerned. Courtesy and good sense seem to have joined in such a provision, for, as is well known, the Lodge records sometimes become accessible to the profane, through accident or otherwise; knowledge of the action of the Lodge as a whole must be kept, regardless of such an emergency, but the details of the investigation are not revealed by the record.

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Mackey's Encyclopedia:
Ballot; Black Balls; Candidate; Riding the Goat; Minutes.
The Ballot, in this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin
Ballot for The Degrees, vol. III, p. 70.
The Ballot, Ethics of, vol. II, pp. 27 (Lib.), 160 (Cor.), 254, 287, 317 (Q. B.), 348. The Secret Ballot, vol. II, p. 383 (Cor.)
Candidates, Selection of, vol. I, p. 4, vol. II, pp. 27, 274, 287 (Cor.), 317 (Q. B.) Candidate, Rejection of, vol. II, p. 348 (Q. B.)
Endorser, Candidate's Obligation to, vol. II, p. 190.
Initiation and Preparation, vol. II, p. 107.
"Worthy and Well Qualified," vol. III, p. 28.


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Election Of A Candidate

The petition of the candidate has now passed out of his control, and under this head we discuss the various processes through which it passes as it is formally dealt with in the Lodge. The following points should be thoroughly brought out in the Club discussion. It is well to realize that there is a profound political significance to these processes; that they symbolize many duties which we owe in the outside world, as well as within the Lodge. In the supplemental questions this fact has been elaborated with the distinct purpose in view of calling attention to an important, but seldom thought-of, angle of a man's Masonic life.

1. When does the Examining Committee report upon an applicant's petition ? When must it report? In case a minority of the Committee disagrees with the report of the majority, should a minority report be submitted to the Lodge ?

2. The report having been presented, what steps are taken to secure the judgment of the Lodge upon the application? What precautions are taken to secure the secrecy of the ballot? When may the ballot be had ? How long may it be postponed, and for what reasons ?

3. Do you consider that one black ball should reject ? Why? Discuss the various points brought out in the article on "The Ballot" in this Bulletin. To what extent do you consider the conclusions of the writer justified? Have you ever really given serious thought to your own responsibility in connection with the ballot?

4. Some Lodges require that candidates who have petitioned the Lodge shall visit the Temple on one or two evenings, in order that the Brethren may have opportunity to "size them up." Discuss the advisability of such a plan.

5. In some Jurisdictions "Vigilance Committees" are appointed by the Lodge, whose duty it is, in cases where a Brother commencing to tread in byways which are in bad repute, morally, financially or otherwise, to whisper words of good counsel in the ear of such Brother. If the warning is heeded, the matter is dropped. Persistence in the conduct which has been advised against results in discipline by the Lodge. Do you approve of such a plan ? Does the appointment of such a standing committee displace the obligation of each member of the Lodge in this respect? Does appointment and service of such a committee meet modern conditions in the spirit of the "Old Charges"? Why? How far, in your opinion, may a Brother legitimately go in this matter? When a member is guilty of conduct which would have resulted in rejection before the ballot, what is the duty of other members toward him, when such conduct does not constitute a serious Masonic offense? Should we vote against an applicant who for any reason would not be a welcome visitor in our own home ?

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Supplemental Questions.

1. This lesson has to do with activities within the Lodge which are essentially political in their nature: define politics. What do you mean by politics ? Would you consider it opposed to Masonic ethics for a man to use political methods to secure a Masonic office? Does your Grand Lodge regulate this matter by law ? Can you think of a condition in your Lodge in which a conscientious Brother would be justified in electioneering for an office ? Can you imagine politics being at work in churches, clubs, similar organizations outside of political parties ? Should attempts ever be made to persuade an efficient but unwilling Brother to accept an office? Should office-holding in a Lodge be considered a Masonic duty?

2. What are the qualities that make a man efficient as a candidate; as an office holder? Describe the methods and principles of the Civil Service. Do you believe that the principle embodied in the Civil Service can be applied to the selection of Lodge Officers? What is the principle of "rotation in office"? Do you believe that it should be used in a Masonic Lodge ?

3. Can you give the story of the use of the ballot box? Was it used by any nation in ancient times ? In what way is the Masonic ballot similar to the Australian Ballot? Is it a member's duty to vote upon a petition for the mysteries of Masonry in the Lodge? Should a member consider it a part of his Masonic duty as a citizen to be interested in politics outside the Lodge ? Would the Masonic system of electing and holding office be an improvement on that which prevails in the State ?

4. Do you consider a Lodge Officer as a servant of the Lodge? What are the qualities of a good servant? Has the Lodge the same right to expect efficiency in its officers that a railroad corporation has? If the "rotation in office" system is used in your Lodge, what do you do with an incompetent officer? If a man has been incompetent as a Junior Steward, should he be passed on through to the Worshipful Master's chair? What qualities are necessary to make an efficient W. M. or Steward ?

5. Are the principles that should guide us in the selection of our officers applicable to our selection of members? If so, why ?

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The Ballot

By Bro. Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut

The Masonic Ballot is a subject approached with much diffidence by most writers on Masonic subjects. At the risk of writing that which is old to many this subject has been taken up with the hope that some of the younger Masons will get further light.

That the ballot is inviolably secret is recognized probably the world over. Some even claim this as a landmark. What, then, does inviolable secrecy mean? Right here a little law may not be amiss. Lockwood in his "Masonic Law and Practice (the standard for Connecticut) says (Chapt. VI. par. 20): "No Mason is permitted, directly or indirectly, to disclose how he voted, nor divulge how any other member voted," and again (Chapt. VI, par. 19): "The rejection of a candidate shall not be made known to the uninitiated other than the rejected candidate."

Many Masons consider that if they do not divulge the fact they "blacked" they are covering the law. Not so. If this were allowed it would be easy by the process of elimination of those who voted white to demonstrate that the remaining brother is the one who voted black and the inviolable secrecy is null. It cannot be too strongly impressed on the brethren that if they divulge either way they are guilty of unmasonic conduct and can be so disciplined.

No Mason should be elected to the East in any of the bodies more especially the Blue Lodge who is not thoroughly conversant with the above. Yet nearly every one can recall some instance where the Master or other presiding officer has either made some remark from the chair, or allowed to pass unrebuked remarks from the floor which would tend to reveal the brother who cast the blackball and, although perhaps a little far-fetched, the one condemning another (even though unknown) is admitting that he voted white and is revealing his own ballot.

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"Who Cast The Black Ball?"

Any attempt to discover who cast the black-ball cannot be too strongly condemned as it is evident that this is an influence to make the rejector break the law and lay him open, theoretically at least, to trial and expulsion and it seems as though such an attempt should indirectly be considered an accessory before the deed and in a way make the inquirer as guilty as the one doing the deed.

There are many by-paths which open up when the subject of why he rejects and by what means can we prevent him from rejecting is brought up. There is much trickery resorted to which is absolutely unmasonic and condemnable. Several years' observation in several lodges only makes more apparent the desire of some, perhaps a majority, to get in members willy-nilly – quantity, not quality, being the slogan.

Sometimes when it is suspected that an application will be rejected and the brother objecting is supposedly identified, the Master will hold off presenting the application for ballot until some such time as the suspected brother is absent and then, in the minds of some, sneak in the application, ballot on it, hustle out and get the candidate and work one degree on him, thus capturing the candidate, for of course it is something decidedly bad before one will call for a new ballot after one degree has been worked. Such happenings do no good to the fraternity, neither doing credit to the lodge nor reflecting any glory on the Master.

One other condemnable practice is that of holding an application over until the suspected rejector presents one signed by himself and then stating for his benefit that should the first application be rejected the suspected rejector's would also be rejected. This brother is doubly guilty because he is trying to foist an unwelcome man on another brother and also is rejecting a petitioner without any legitimate cause.

Now let another phase be presented, that of the personal qualifications together with the right of the individual brother to judge as to the qualifications of a candidate. It must be admitted that in some cases vindictiveness either toward the applicant or, as was shown above, toward the applicant's recommender, will be the ruling cause. This is indeed much to be regretted and some attention will be paid to this class of brothers later.

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Questioning Motives

Allied with the first section of the above paragraph is the absurd question as to the right of an interested brother to question the motives of another in rejecting. A brother has absolutely no right to question publicly, i.e., before the Masonic public, such motives so long as the rejector keeps them in the "safe repository of the faithful breast," and if he does not he is again breaking the law by revealing his ballot. In fact when the ballot has been declared in the East and so recorded the incident should be considered closed until the applicant can by law apply again. Without going into the question of qualifications of character in detail the statement of the general rule will help at this point. We receive none knowingly into our ranks except such as are moral and upright before God and of good repute before the world. This is a fairly large contract to fill and sets a high ideal.

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We often hear a brother, on presenting a petition, state that he is absolutely certain that there is nothing against the applicant. How much do we absolutely know about another man ? Nearly every man will admit that no one, two, or three men know all there is to be known about a fourth or of each other. It is a common occurrence to hear of a person who has for ten, twenty or forty years been a model of uprightness as far as outward appearances go, getting caught in some shady deal and then it will come out that he has been doing this for many years yet during this period of time many persons would have been willing to stake their honour on his probity. Indeed he is brave who dares say he knows all about himself.

One other stock remark along this line is that the applicant is Brother So and So's son and that the father says he is O. K. It does not seem as though this should have great weight. Parentage and early training have much to do with character, doubtless, but it is a daily happening to see bad sons of good parents and good sons of bad parents. And who is more prejudiced than a parent? A father should and would be the last one to derogate the character of a son. In addition to that, friends will generally keep wrong-doing from the parents, and the father will honestly believe the son better than the average.

There are five brothers on an application – recommender, avoucher and three investigators. If it be so that these five brethren know absolutely that there cannot possibly be anything against an applicant how is it that nearly every lodge has those on its list whom they would gladly eliminate if it could be done and be as though they had been rejected when their names were first proposed ? And among these are those who reject for personal spite. All of these have passed the board of censors of five and pronounced fit. When a person says he has known the applicant a number of years under varied conditions and as far as he knows he is all right, worthy and well qualified, that is as far as he can go.

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How Much Help For The Committee?

Still another phase of the matter is the complaint made by sensitive committeemen that a brother knowing anything about a candidate adversely should report to the committee. Some even take the stand that if the committee have found nothing wrong with the applicant and report favourably no brother should vote negatively. It must be admitted by all that what is crime to one is playfulness or ebullition of spirits to another; one view-point differing from another. And it must also be admitted that a brother casting a blackball for what he considers justifiable cause is well within his rights and should be commended for his conscientiousness even though he does tread on some brother's corn in so doing and his cause seems of minor importance to others.

All this being admitted, suppose a brother should report to a member of the committee or to the committee as a whole something which he considers wrong. Suppose the committee does not "see it." Suppose then the brother objecting is present at the balloting, the committee reports favourably, the ballot is declared not clear and by being twice passed shows that only one black-ball was cast. Who cast the black-ball ? Do not at least three members present suspect the objector and probably more suspect him because it is natural to say when investigating that Brother Jenks said so and so and it is desired to find out of this be so and to what extent ? What becomes of the inviolable secrecy of the ballot in a case like this ? The office of an investigating committee is not confined to going about among the brethren of the lodge who have the power of the ballot but also to investigate in the outside world and among brothers who have not the rejecting power. A brother who has the power of the ballot does not need to go to the committee. A rejection seems to be a matter which should be kept as quiet as possible and for the reason that the less advertising it gets, the better.

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Who Has The Stronger Claim?

Take another viewpoint of the attitude toward the rejector that there could not possibly be anything against the applicant and consequently the rejector has no right to cast a black-ball and if by any means fair or foul his vote can be changed it should be done and the applicant sneaked in over his objections. Who has the stronger claim on the members of the lodge? Has a petitioner or has an individual member – brother he is called ? Who has the stronger claim from the lodge or Masonic standpoint on the individual brother presenting the application ? Is it the applicant or a brother? Every Mason well knows the answer. Yet reading reports and comments from various wide-spread sources would impress upon the mind of the reader that the great desideratum of Masonry was to get in members who had strong friends regardless of the desires of some individual brother. No one will deny that many applicants are rejected for good cause. Yet there were or should have been two brothers who thought enough of the petitioner to sign his application and who had a perfect right to be as much "peeved" at the rejection as some of those who had signed for the absolutely undeniably acceptable kind. The point that is being brought out is that Masonic equality is lost sight of on the question of ballot. Much stress is laid on the fact that Brother Pastmaster-this or Brother District-deputy-that signed such an application while the fact that Brother Member-for-many-years-but-not-very-prominent signed such another one carries no weight at all and while it is lese majesty to black-ball the former petition it is of no consequence what is done to the latter. In such cases do we meet upon the level ?

Now about the brother who rejects vindictively or spitefully. He is un-worthy to be a Mason. How did he get in ? He must have had two signers and a committee of three to investigate. Who would have felt hurt had he been rejected when he applied? Yet such a disposition is not acquired. It must have been in the man at the time of his election. This is a trait of character bad enough to justify rejection without a doubt. Is it not a warning not to be too sure that there can be nothing against a man whom the large majority think all right? Perhaps there is some hidden fault that some individual brother may know that the crowd does not know.

Let us be particularly careful then, first to obey the law by keeping the ballot inviolably secret by not revealing either directly or indirectly our individual vote, black or white; secondly, by not attempting to discover who blacked and indirectly cause a brother to break the law; third by not resorting to trickery to put through an application over a suspected brother's objection; fourth by not feeling hurt (if a member of a committee) when an applicant is rejected over our favorable report; lastly, not to be too sure that someone does not know something against our candidate even if we ourselves are unaware of it, remembering to spread the broad mantle of Masonic Charity over the mistakes ( ?) of a brother even though it should happen to hit us personally.

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To afford our members some idea of the interest that is being manifested in the Study Side of Masonry throughout the various Grand Jurisdictions of the United States and Canada we are quoting below a few recommendations of Grand Masters and others. We could fill several pages of THE BUILDER with similar recommendations of the Society and the Study Club movement did space permit. If your Lodge is not profiting by this movement it is only because the members do not realize what they are missing, or that the members of the N.M.R.S. have been too occupied with other matters to bring this matter to the attention of their Lodge officers and fellow-members. We wish we were in a position to send out a representative from headquarters to visit every Lodge in the country to give them a practical exemplification of the methods of conducting the study of Masonry in their monthly Lodge meetings. But as we are not in such position at this time, we can only ask each one of our members to consider himself an official representative of the Society for his district and to take it upon himself to see that the article, "Organized Masonic Study in Monthly Lodge Meetings," next following, is read to the members at the next meeting of his Lodge. Also read to them some of the following recommendations:

Alabama I am convinced that there is a continued growth in the study of the principles of the Order, and the meanings of the symbols, and, I hope, in the endeavour to live Masonry as well as to study it.

No one believes more thoroughly than I, the desirability and necessity of a thorough knowledge of our ritual, but while we strive to reach perfection in that ritual, let us also remember that beneath that ritual is concealed the more important truths of our Fraternity.
– Walter Smith, Grand Master.

Arizona From my visits to the different Lodges I am of the opinion that more time should be given to the study of the design and Philosophy of Freemasonry.
– A. W. Holmes, Grand Master.

Manitoba As the least expensive means of inviting attention to the utility of Masonic instruction hope is herein expressed that the Worshipful Master of every Lodge resolve its members into a Study Club. Its activities would be almost limitless, and embrace every branch of wholesome, useful learning. Study, by bringing the student into close communion with the best thought of the present and the past, quickens and broadens his sympathies and humanities, and inspires within his breast a deeper and nobler conception of life and duty – a sense of citizenship beyond the inspiration or understanding of the illiterate. If in this respect alone the aspirations of Freemasonry were brought to their fruition, and humanity had acquired a fair fund of wholesome, useful knowledge, and further, were quickened by the Grace of God, there would be a condition, social and economic, in its humanity and beauty transcending the best that the world has known.

Study Clubs would deepen the tone of discussion, and create a strong friendly rivalry among Lodges. Besides, well informed Brethren should know best how to reflect the lofty teachings of the Order, widen the sphere of its influence, and help to further the common weal.

In these Clubs the Masonic Journal, THE BUILDER, published monthly by the National Masonic Research Society, Anamosa, Iowa, would be very helpful.

– Committee on Masonic Research and Education.

Minnesota From an examination of the reports of the Past Grand Masters it would seem that there are constant requests for subscriptions, as well as recognition for Masonic journals. I hesitate to give my approval to any of these without careful examination. There are, however, several very deserving and meritorious societies worthy of recognition. It ought to be the desire of every Mason to inform himself upon the origin and history of matters Masonic, in short to become a student of Masonry, past and present. I refer to the Masonic lecture bureau, the National Masonic Research Society. I heartily endorse any movement that tends to stimulate Masonic thought and to broaden and deepen the great stream of Masonic influence in America.
– R. E. Denfield, Grand Master.

North Dakota Whereas, the Committee on Grand Lodge Library has recommended that this Grand Lodge encourage the establishment of Study Clubs to further the general use of the Library, and Whereas, The National Masonic Research Society, organized under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, has undoubtedly accomplished great good in the promotion of Masonic Study, Be It Resolved: That this Grand Lodge endorse The National Masonic Research Society and its work, and recommend membership in this organization to the members of this grand jurisdiction. – Adopted by the Grand Lodge.

Ohio. Of recent years the study side of Freemasonry has made vigorous strides. Abroad and at home there has been turned upon our beloved fraternity the far-reaching eye of devoted research. Our sister jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge of Iowa, has planned and set to work the National Masonic Research Society with which some fourteen thousand Masons are now affiliated. Other jurisdictions in this United States are alive to the situation and have special committees busy.

I earnestly urge that all our members heartily support the National Masonic Research Society of Anamosa, Iowa, and all such agencies for better knowledge of our traditions, our history, our jurisprudence, our symbolism, and all indeed that for us is bound up in the honored name and purpose of the Craft.

That every Mason should have his own library of reliable Masonic books is, I hold, most desirable. In his possession should be the Ohio History, Code, and Monitor, at least. Lodge libraries are too seldom used, and the personal collection may be no better employed. With care, and every Mason can and should secure all possible assistance from well informed brethren in his Masonic book buying, every home should be properly supplied with excellent and attractive Masonic Literature.

That any Mason should be uninformed upon the facts of Freemasonry in all its latest developments is a condition not to be tolerated if we, by whatever permissible means, may prevent its occurrence.
– Frank H. Marquis, Grand Master.

Oklahoma I would recommend some provision in our Lodge work to set aside two hours of, say six, of the regular communications of constituent Lodges during the year, for study and lectures, a kind of "round table" talk by well-informed Brethren of their own or neighboring Lodges. Take up some single part of Masonry, history, symbolism, signs, etc., study it well and then discuss same in the Lodge room. The interest and increased attendance will amply repay the Brethren giving some proposition on this order a trial. * * * Good papers and periodicals are published throughout the United States on Masonic research and information, notably THE BUILDER, at Anamosa, Iowa, is a splendid one.
– Almer E. Monroney, Grand Master.

Texas The organization, purposes and progress of the National Masonic Research Society, located at Anamosa, Iowa, is fully set forth in the Report of our Committee on Foreign Correspondence for 1915, under the heading of "Iowa – 1914" and "Iowa – 1915" and need not be repeated here. WE URGE EVERY BROTHER TO EXAMINE THESE REFERENCES CAREFULLY. The Grand Lodge of Iowa, under the leadership of its able Committee on Masonic Research, found out what to do and they are doing it. The membership of the Society is increasing rapidly, and THE BUILDER, its monthly magazine, devoted exclusively to Masonry, and entitled by that brilliant scholar, writer and speaker, Brother Joseph Fort Newton, is coming up to a high standard, and the work of the Society as laid out is certainly great and promises to move the boundaries of Masonic Research in this country up to higher ground.

Every Mason, wherever he resides, is welcome to become a member of the Society at a nominal cost for annual dues, and the magazine is sent free. It is not operated for profit, but all revenues are used in extending and improving the work of the Society. It has the full sanction of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, one of the most conservative and yet one of the most progressive of our affiliated Grand Bodies. Its great Masonic Library, at Cedar Rapids, is the admiration of the whole country.
– Committee on Masonic Research – G. L. of Texas.

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Organized Masonic Study In Monthly Lodge Meetings

We wish every member of the Society would take this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin with him and read it to the members of his Lodge at the next regular meeting. Try to get a "Research Committee" appointed and put the plan into effect. If you need any further assistance in getting properly started write us and we will help you. Tell us what your brother officers and members think of the plan.

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Foundation Of The "Bulletin Course Of Masonic Study"

This course is founded upon two sources of Masonic information:

  1. Past and current issues of THE BUILDER, the official Journal of the National Masonic Research Society, now in its third year of publication, and in which have been published hundreds of authentic and instructive articles on many Masonic subjects.
  2. Mackey's Encyclopedia, conceded to be the most comprehensive and exhaustive work of its kind ever written.

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Outline Of The Course

The course has been divided into five principal divisions, Ceremonial, Symbolical, Philosophical, Legislative and Historical Masonry. These are further subdivided into sections, there being six subdivisions of Ceremonial Masonry, eight of Symbolical, seven of Philosophical, two of Legislative, and ten of Historical Masonry. These sections are further subdivided and each of these further subdivisions form the subject of a study paper for reading and discussion, by our Study Club Editor, Brother Robert I. Clegg. The papers for October and November are: Election of a Candidate. a. When it may be had. b. The Ballot. c. Black balls (cubes), and white balls. d. The Lodge record of the Ballot.

The Degrees. a. Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. b. Initiation, in general. c. Ritual (1) Uniformity of. (2) The "Webb Preston work" in America. d. Rites. e. Side Degrees.

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"Helpful Hints To Study Meeting Leaders"

Profiting by experience gained from visits to several "live" Study Clubs in Iowa during the past few months, we now publish in each issue of the "Correspondence Circle Bulletin" a list of "Helpful Hints" by which the study leaders may be enabled to bring out all of the important points in the paper under discussion. These suggestions will make it a very simple matter to successfully conduct the study meetings of the Lodge or Study Club.

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References For Supplemental Papers

We shall continue to print a list of references to Mackey's Encyclopedia and previous issues of THE BUILDER pertaining to the subject treated in Brother Clegg's paper. By the assignment of these references to different members of the Lodge supplemental papers of great value may be thus worked up. Each month there will be a new paper by Brother Clegg and new references.

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How To Conduct The "Study Meetings"

The Lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three members. The "study meetings" should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the Lodge routine) should be transacted – all possible time to be given over to the "study period."

After the Lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned shall be prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Clegg's paper.

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  1. Reading of the first section of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers thereto. (Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
  2. Discussion of the above.
  3. The subsequent sections of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
  4. Question Box. Invite questions from any and all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may think of.

Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.

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Cost Of The Course

If there are several members of the Lodge who are members of the National Masonic Research Society, these Brethren will have access to Brother Clegg's papers, the "Hints to Study Leaders" and the list of references for supplemental papers, in their copies of THE BUILDER.

The Lodge or Study Club not having the 1915 and 1916 bound volumes of THE BUILDER for reference purposes, may easily obtain them without expense, through our "Special Offer."


Twofold is the life we live in –
Fate and will together run: –
Two wheels bear life's chariot onward.
Will it move on only one ?
– From the Sanskrit.

Deliver not your words by number but by weight.

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Continued in Part 2

.xx Next Month: November 1917
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