The Builder Magazine

November 1917 – Volume III – Number 11


Part 1

Continued in Part 2

.xx Next Month: December 1917
Previous Month: October 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.


DEGREE TEAMS. – Should a lodge organize two or more degree teams among its members and employ such teams alternately in the conferring of degrees as a means of offering thorough instruction to all members of the lodge? If so, how should such teams be chosen and organized? If not, what other means do you favor for increasing the familiarity of new members with ritual work?

Assign Work to the New Mason.

In my judgment there should be but one "Degree Team" in the ordinary lodge, and that should be made up of the officers of the lodge. Every officer should be required to know accurately and do well the work of his own station, and at least that of the next higher station. And he should be present at every meeting of the lodge.

One of the Master's most important and exacting duties should be to see to it that all the active and interested workers of his lodge are given frequent opportunities to assist in the conferring of degrees. On the night when a wide awake, alert young Mason received his third degree he should not be allowed to leave the lodge room until he has been assigned some small but definite portion of the work to learn. When he has been properly drilled in this part he should be given all opportunity to show his proficiency on the floor. Keep your "promising material" busy and you will keep it interested. A lodge of active workers is a live lodge.

There are at least two objections to "two or more Degree Teams." First you segregate a bunch of workers and practically eliminate the remaining members from the work. Second, there will soon develop a tendency to substitute "Degree Teams" for the officers in conferring of degrees.
John Pickard, Missouri.

Spirit of Rivalry Helps.

The organization of two or more Teams for working the Degrees in the Lodge-is a good one – especially if they are chosen as a result of a sort of examination as to proficiency, and not through favoritism of the Master of the Lodge. A spirit of rivalry and an opportunity at some later meeting, when there is no work, for correction of any errors – encouraging the members of the Lodge not members of said Teams to make such suggestions or corrections, accompanied by a full and free discussion on the point or points named for correction, would undoubtedly produce excellent results. Of course, when it comes down to actualities, there is nothing that equals putting only men in office who either know the work or will get it up promptly. Then occasionally, when an officer is absent, appointing brethren from the rank and file to take the place.

No brother should be put in office who will not, to the best of his ability, do the work of the position into which he is installed. He should consider it a point of Honor to fully prepare himself, and he who can and don't should be regarded as one who lacks many of the essential qualifications for becoming a Good Mason.
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.

"Lodges of Instruction" a Better Plan.

I do not approve of distinctive degree teams. The officers of a Lodge should be qualified to exemplify the ritual, or they should not be elected to office. The tendency of teams is to exalt the rendition of the ritual above everything else, and while perfection in this detail is most desirable,. it is only one phase of Lodge activity. The study of the history and philosophy of the craft, and a proper understanding of its teachings and tenets is just as important.

Then again by putting the ritualistic work in the hands of teams you minimize the dignity and importance of the official positions of the Lodge. The office of Master, for instance, is one of great honor. It is supposed to be bestowed as a reward of loyal service and in recognition of superior ability. It is his duty and privilege to enlighten the Brethren and give instruction to the novitiate. Any plan of Lodge work that would lower the prestige of this office would be unwise. I think the end sought by the use of degree teams can be better secured by the establishment of Lodges of Instruction.

Joseph G. Greenfield, Georgia. The Prerogative of the Master. The Lodge should not organize Degree Teams because it is the prerogative of the Master of the Lodge. He is elected to rule and govern the Lodge; he is chosen with confidence in his ability, and for the Lodge to organize Degree Teams would be an infringement of his prerogative and an assumption of responsibility which rightfully belongs to him. If Degree Teams are chosen, they should be chosen by the Master.

It is desirable that every Mason should become familiar with the ritual. I believe it is the desire of every Master, who has a full conception of his duty, to promote its study and assist the brethren in attaining the "work"; but the various conditions which obtain in different Lodges make the "Degree Team" desirable in some and undesirable in others.

Elect as a Master a Mason who has learned the use of "all the tools and implements of Masonry" and he will promote zeal and industry and will see that the zealous brother has an opportunity to work, if qualified to make the required impression on the candidate.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.

No Exhibition Work in the Lodge.

You ask "should a Lodge organize two or more degree teams amongst its members?" To this I would reply BY ALL MEANS, if there is the talent in the Lodge to support such teams, – but when you ask "should such teams be employed in conferring of degrees as a means of offering thorough instruction to all members of the Lodge?" I would reply decidedly not.

My idea is that all the work of the Lodge should be performed by the regularly installed officers.

Each individual officer has his allotted task for which he was duly elected, his proper performance of these duties is the warrant by which he holds the office, and his proficiency in these duties is his recommendation for promotion. Some of these duties you propose taking out of his hands, stultifying his position, and probably lead him to neglect to perfect himself in that portion of the Ritual the Degree Team would take over.

If such teams are selected they should exemplify the work for the benefit of the members of the Lodge in a Lodge of Instruction such as you find attached to all large and active English Lodges. The teams could of course be drawn from the best ritualists in the Lodge, and might meet weekly or monthly under the auspices of the Lodge.

I object to exhibition work in the Lodge, such work to my mind always creates a feeling amongst those present that the exemplification of a word-perfect ritual is the object in view, not the instruction of the candidate, or the benefit of the craft, besides criticism and correction cannot find voice at such a time and in such a place, while in a Lodge of Instruction they would be quite in order.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.

Opposes Innovations.

The question, if I understand it correctly, is whether a lodge should have one or more "degree teams" for conferring the degrees, and, in reply, I beg leave to say that, in my opinion, it would be better to have the Master and his officers confer the degrees, as the ritual implies, and that a team substituted for the Master and elective officers is an innovation. Personally I am opposed to innovation, for cogent reasons.

In District of Columbia it was formerly the custom for the Master to permit the Wardens each to confer a degree, that the lodge might be able to judge of his qualifications, but this permission has been so amplified that the Master has been able to divide this degree work between the Wardens and even the Deacons, which I do not think is so interesting or in the best interest of a lodge. Multiplying innovations might, in time, lead to the use of a phonograph for delivering the lectures and the charges. Why not?
G. W. Baird, District of Columbia.

"Teams" Detract From Lodge Responsibility.

I do not believe in Degree Teams in Blue Lodges, whether such Teams are organized in the Lodge for work in the Lodge, or whether they are organized among Masonic Clubs for work among the Lodges generally. Here in Massachusetts we have several such Teams connected with railroads and other organizations employing large numbers of men among whom are many Masons. These Teams go about working the Degrees or parts of them in Lodges in which their fellow employees are taking their Degrees. While they have not yet been forbidden there are grave doubts among many of the most serious minded of our members as to their desirability.

I believe that the work of a Masonic Lodge should be maintained on a very high level of seriousness and responsibility, and that while, of course, a vacant Jewel may be temporarily filled at the discretion of the Worshipful Master, the work of the Degrees should be in the hands of the officers of the Lodge who are chosen or appointed for those responsible duties. The candidate has a right to receive his obligations and instruction from the officers of his Lodge and not from substitutes unless such substitution is absolutely necessary.

No Mason should be advanced in Masonry unless, and until, he has learned the Lectures of the preceding Degree. If there is danger that he may forget it there is the opportunity for him to keep his memory refreshed by attending Sodality Meetings, or even by regular attendance at the Communications of his Lodge.
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Experience With Teams.

Basing my answer upon personal experience in my own lodge, Excelsior No. 369, which is a fair representative of the average prosperous urban lodge of more than three hundred and fifty brethren – I am inclined to think that one Degree Team thoroughly trained is ample. For three years we have had in our lodge a team of fifteen which by occasional rehearsal and almost monthly work in the third section has acquired an excellent reputation for efficient work. Even so, in spite of the interest evinced by the members there are evenings when we have not a sufficient number of the degree team present to utilize the full fifteen in the work, and rather than use "raw or untried material" we generally put on the second section with the ruffians, eliminating the others. Such happenings are the exception, however, and by keeping alive the interest of the trained team, sending them individual notice of rehearsal, etc., we find one full team quite sufficient to keep in training.

Up in Columbus, Ohio, there is a large lodge, "Humboldt," which has acquired the reputation of having the finest trained degree team in the country. They may be said to have many teams embodied in one large whole. With them degree work has become a specialty refined to the nth power. At their inspections and on occasion of the Grand Lodge meeting in Columbus, Humboldt exemplifies the Master's degree with a magnificence of realization, and spectacular dramatization rarely if anywhere equalled in Blue Lodge Work. Masons travel from all over the State to see this justly famous team on dress parade. More than three score generally participate, and the E.A.'s, F.C.'s and Masters are all historically costumed even to the bronzing of the skin and appropriate hirsute adornments. Spot light, music and solemn processional with trained elocutionary rendering of the ritual are marked features and you can imagine the painstaking, almost continuous rehearsal necessary to attain such perfection. It means something to "make" Humboldt's degree team.

Another of our Cincinnati Lodges, old Yeatman, has two trained teams which have acquired quite a reputation, at home and abroad. Yeatman established the custom of exchanging visits with other lodges and exemplifying the work with an individual interpretation that offers an inspiration to many of the smaller lodges. At times the lodge makes a visit to Equity lodge in Chicago or to some neighboring city in Indiana or Kentucky, thus affording an opportunity for contrast between the work of different jurisdictions.

Just across the river from Cincinnati are three Kentucky lodges meeting in the same temple in Covington, which may be said to make a specialty of dramatic rendition of the ritual. It is hard to say which one of these – Covington, Colonel Clay or Golden Rule – does the best work. The Kentucky work lends itself admirably to specialization on the part of the degree teams. Here in Ohio, each candidate must be taken through each section alone, and receive the work in full. In consequence our ritual is perforce shorter than that employed in Kentucky, where the candidates are taken through in "classes" and the full ritual utilized only upon one candidate selected for its exemplification. As a result, in Kentucky there is offered opportunity for many interpolations, such as a prologue magnificently staged showing the workmen engaged in the erection of the Temple, and an unfolding of the conspiracy of three which leads up to a wonderful culmination permitting of many dramatic incidents, and the interpolation of some soliloquies calling for considerable histrionic ability. These lodges have several organized degree teams, with frequent rehearsals which render their work in the ultimate par excellent.

It is largely a matter for individual lodge determination, however, and to my mind one team of fifteen men frequently rehearsed is quite ample care for the average lodge. Basing my opinion upon the average attendance at most lodges, two teams would tend to make the Secretary's duties too arduous in dragging the component parts to rehearsal.

In increasing the familiarity of new members with the ritual work, the main incentive is to "get them to lodge" which can most often be effected by maintaining the esprit d'corps of officers and team and putting on the work with a degree of excellence that it may never become monotonous. A Worshipful Master generally sets the pace, and if a parrot sits in the east, too often his subordinates will follow suit and slovenly work ensues, which is the death warrant to full attendance.
John Lewin McLeish, M. D., Ohio.

"Mouth to Ear."

Lodges should be left to arrange these and all similar matters as they see fit. Teams, if organized, should be flexible so as to give all who wish to be active an equal chance. Classes of instruction are the best means of imparting the ritual, but perhaps this opinion is due in part to the fact that this writer is so proud of having been the founder in 1891, and every Saturday evening for eight years, the teacher, of the Richmond Masonic Class. It flourishes today and has hundreds of graduates who are perfect ritualists. It has been imitated all over the State and is a great help to our Grand Lecturer.

The one means we would condemn without limitation, is that unmasonic cipher and printed rituals. They violate our obligations and make public to all who want it our ritual. Virginia has none in Lodge or Chapter and we are proud to be the last of the ancient "mouth to ear" institutions.
Jos. W. Eggleston, P. G. M., Virginia.

Good Officers May Not Be Good Ritualists.

We ought to get away from the idea that the officers of a lodge should do the ritualistic work. A man may make an excellent Master, but be a very poor ritualist. The Master should be an executive officer. If the conditions are such that the ritualistic work can be done better and more impressively by a select team, then it is the part of wisdom to use a team, but in the team work the officer for a particular station should always fill that station for the year. Good team work can never be obtained by shifting the officers from one station to another. An officer should know "How" before he should be permitted to confer or assist in conferring a degree on a candidate. The only difficulty in the matter is who shall decide as to competency ? As a rule the Master or any officer thinks he is a "Whale" at the business.
Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.

Alternate Teams.

The question of degree teams in the Blue Lodge appeals to me. I have always advocated it in my own lodge. Two teams should be organized among the lodge members to alternate with each other in working the Third Degree. This is the great dramatic degree of symbolic Masonry and should be presented with all the fervor possible, properly costumed and given with appropriate mise-en scene. It does not do, especially in large city lodges, to leave the working of this degree entirely to the line officers. The Master may or may not have any dramatic talent. Where he possesses no histrionic ability the work suffers, and the lodge members lose interest and do not attend the meetings Scottish Rite Masonry rarely if ever turns the degree work over to the officers. Men are selected who have demonstrated dramatic talent. The rivalry for supremacy among the many teams enhances the interest of the ritualistic work. The more men you can get to work in the lodge the better. Teams might be obtained to work the First and Second Degrees as well as the Third. By releasing the Master from ritualistic labor, you would give him more time for charity and other work on the outside of the Lodge.
Henry R. Evans, D. C.

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The stone which the builders rejected,
And out among the rubbish was thrown,
Its value not then was suspected,
Its mission was wholly unknown.
But the work soon came to a standstill,
For want of a keystone they said,
And a search in the ruins until
It was found, and its mystery read.

And have ye not read this scripture, where
The stone which the builders rejected,
Became the head of the corner – there
Was the good work and true work accepted?
So through the journey of life beware
Of the work an imposter selected,
His attempt at your wages to share –
When the fraud by a sign was detected.

What is this, then, that is written ?
Pray Tell the truth, which is ever respected;
All who work in the quarries for pay,
The worthy are never neglected;
The Temple at last is erected,
The craftsmen acquitted with honor,
The scone which the builders rejected
Is become the head of the corner.
– Odillon B. Slane.

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By Paul Laurence Dunbar

O Lord, the hard-won miles
Have worn my stumbling feet;
Oh, soothe me with thy smiles,
And make my life complete.

The thorns were thick and keen
Where'er I trembling trod;
The way was long between
My wounded feet and God.

Where healing waters flow
Do thou my footsteps lead.
My heart is aching so,
Thy gracious balm I need.

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By Bro. Melvin M. Johnson, P. G. M., Mass.

CENTRAL America has of recent years been again attracting the attention of the world. This is due in part to its exports but more especially, of course, to the building and operation of the Panama Canal. Its history is one of great interest not only because it was the first home where European civilization was developed and has persisted upon the American continent, but also because of the adventure and romance of its history. Panama was discovered by Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1500 while he was sailing from South America to the West. Its remaining Atlantic coast was first visited by Columbus in October, 1502, when on his fourth and last voyage he was sailing from Costa Rica to the East.

In 1513, Balboa crossed the Isthmus and took possession of the Pacific Ocean in the name of the Crown of Castile. From then on the Isthmus was constantly ravaged, pillaged and looted by official, buccaneer, and pirate to gratify the insatiable lust of the white man for gold, slaves, and other plunder until at last Old Panama itself, discovered by Captain Alonzo Tello de Guzman in the winter of 1515, was sacked and utterly destroyed by the buccaneer Morgan in 1671.

Meanwhile, from the day when a load of Toboga Island pearls first crossed the continental divide, Panama grew from a small fishing village to a large and prosperous city and the Isthmus from a dense and trackless jungle to the highway for gold and treasure on their route from Peru to Spain. Later the gold and tribute from the Philippines was sent partly through Panama and partly across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Linked with Peru and Spain in civil government until early in the nineteenth century, the Isthmus on November 21, 1821, forever threw off the yoke of Spain and voluntarily annexed itself to the Republic of Colombia.

After the secession of Venezuela and Equador from that Republic, what was left organized in 1831 as the Republic of New Granada. In 1853, by a change in its organic law, this Republic became a loose confederation with the proviso that any constituent state might secede at pleasure. This provision is important in considering the action taken in 1903, although it is true that there was a modification in 1863, when the United states of Colombia came into being with the Isthmus as one of its federal and sovereign states. All through these years disturbances and revolutions continued until the final peaceful revolution of November 3,1903, when Panama again declared its independence and Old Tierra Firme became the present Republic of Panama with its independence guaranteed by the United states.

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Present Conditions

The Republic of Panama is 32,380 square miles in area with a population of at least half a million composed of numerous races. The influential and educated classes are mainly of Spanish blood and speech while the inhabitants of the untamed jungle are descendants of the original Indians. There is also a numerous sprinkling of white English speaking people, mostly from the United states and British West Indies, and considerable numbers of Chinese and of West Indian negroes. There has been, as always in such cases, considerable intermingling of the various bloods. The line of demarcation between the Spaniard and negro, however, is as marked as anywhere in the West Indies or Central America and as definite a line is drawn between the races in social affairs as in most parts of the United states.

With the independence of the country and the natural increase in commerce and business due to the building and operation of the canal, its growth in numbers, in desirable citizens, and in all departments of government and mercantile and social affairs has been both rapid and meritorious. Panama, on the Pacific, and Colon, on the Atlantic, its two most important ports, are among the healthiest and cleanest cities in the world. Mining, stock-raising, and agriculture have become extensive industries. Roads, bridges, and wharves are constantly being constructed. The country's coinage is upon a sound basis. Its development of educational facilities has been remarkable, particularly under the administration of the present Minister of Public Instruction, Sr. Don Guillermo Andreve, who after a bitter struggle, has succeeded in divorcing the Republic's educational system from religious control and sectarian instruction.

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Beginnings Of Masonry In Panama

Until very recently Masonry in Central America has had a struggle for existence and in some parts that struggle still continues for our institution has become firmly established only close to the coast except in Costa Rica where a very prosperous Grand Lodge with ten particular Lodges is at work. Persecution as bitter as the inquisition has followed attempt after attempt to establish Masonic bodies. The history of many of these attempts will never be known for because of the bitter opposition of Church and State, meetings had to be held secretly. Even within very recent years the President of one of the South American republics was murdered and his body subjected to indignities before the eyes of his wife and children, one of the reasons being that he was Grand Master of Masons.

It is, therefore, difficult to write the history of Masonry in these various countries, but, so far as it can be discovered, it ought to be published not only because of its present value but as a matter of permanent historical record.

Confining ourselves for the present to its history in Panama, we shall find as a result that it is now firmly established. While it has never entered into politics yet practically all the advance in civil and religious liberty which Panama now enjoys is due to the efforts of our Brethren acting in their individual capacities in civil life.

In 1822 there was a petition filed with the Grand Lodge of New York for the establishment of La Mejor Union Lodge of Panama, Republic of Colombia. The petitioners came from the Republic and from Caracas. There is no evidence that a Dispensation was issued and nothing further is known about the Lodge.

In 1849 and 1850 several meetings of Brethren from the States were held at Panama for charitable and social purposes. This was at the time of the California gold fever and the travel to and from California brought a large number of Masons to the Isthmus of Panama, many of whom were utterly destitute while there. These meetings were productive of much charitable relief.

By the autumn of 1850, they determined that they could achieve better results if they were organized into a regular Lodge and on September 21, 1850, eleven Brethren held a meeting and resolved to petition for a Warrant of Dispensation. Three of them hailed from Texas and were well acquainted with Masonic affairs there. One of them was Bro. George Fisher who was a Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Texas.

The petition to M. W. Thomas J. Hardeman, Grand Master of Texas, was granted and on October 11, 1850, he sent a Dispensation to Bro. Fisher who received it November 25, 1850. The first meeting thereunder was held December 20, 1850, by seven of the petitioners, four having already left the Isthmus.

As the Grand Lodge of Texas met in January, 1851, a request was forwarded December 6, 1850, for a year's extension of the Dispensation. This was recommended by the Finance Committee of the Grand Lodge, January 22, 1851, and granted by Grand Master W. B. Ochiltree.

At a special meeting of Union Lodge, U. D., January 30, 1851, after elaborate consideration and an exhaustive report by a committee, it was resolved to petition the Grand Lodge of Texas to declare Panama a Masonic missionary station and Union Lodge the agent for the purpose of aiding the poor, distressed worthy Brethren who might be sojourning there. This petition was received too late for the consideration of the Grand Lodge in January, but was added in full to the 1851 printed Proceedings.

Contributions for the assistance of Union Lodge in this worthy cause were requested. There is no evidence to show how successful the appeal was except that on January 24, 1852, the Grand Lodge of Texas in commendation of the wide and extensive charity dispensed by the Lodge appropriated $150 for their assistance. On January 21, 1852, on recommendation of the proper committee, the Grand Lodge voted a charter to Union Lodge remitting "all dues for the Past Masonic year and fee for Charter."

With the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1852 is printed a list of the officers and members of the Lodge as they existed in 1851. No further reference is made to this Grand Lodge in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas and it probably ceased to work very shortly. The list shows twenty-three Master Masons, two Fellowcrafts, and nine Entered Apprentices, with Bro. Fisher as the Worshipful Master.

April 10, 1851, the Lodge was visited by some Masons from New York who reported that at that time it had ten members and thirteen Entered Apprentices. The Committee on Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of New York in their report for 1851 say that "this Lodge by its benevolent uprightness and regard for our ancient laws has already secured a world-wide but just and merited fame." It is also reported that they had recently bought in the City of New York regalia and Lodge room furniture.

When the writer attended a communication of the new Grand Lodge in Cosmopolita Lodge Eall, Panama, January 30, 1917, there was upon the altar an English Bible inscribed "To Panama Lodge, New Granada" and presented by Past Grand Master Babcock of Connecticut, Grand Secretary Powell of New York and nine other Brethren whose names are given. As the Bible was published in 1850 and the Brethren whose names are given were active in the Fraternity at that time, it is evident that this Bible was presented to Union Lodge. These are all the facts now known about this Lodge.

In March, 1866, Grand Master Dame of Massachusetts, granted a dispensation for a Lodge at Panama by the name of Isthmus Lodge and appointed as its Worshipful Master, Brother William Little, a native of Boston and the American consul at Panama. He died soon after and the Lodge surrendered its dispensation, taking a Charter from the Grand Lodge of Colombia as Isthmus Lodge, No. 36.

This Lodge continued to work until about 1880 when on account of some regulation of the Grand Lodge which was antagonized by the members of the Lodge, they preferred to give up their Charter rather than conform. Since the surrender of the Charter, nearly all of the members of Isthmus Lodge have either left the country or died. From those who remain we are unable to glean further vital information except that in 1885, the successor of this Lodge was working as Interoceanic, No. 44 (Colombia) but it died about 1889 because of persecution.

Santa Fe de Bogota was the first Masonic See of the Grand Neo-Granadine Orient which See was afterwards removed to Cartegena, capital of the then sovereign state of Bolivar, where the Masonic Orient of Colombia still resides under a Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree with jurisdiction over the entire Republic of Colombia. From 1866 to 1898 whatever Masonry there was in Panama, from the 1st to the 33rd degrees inclusive, was under control of this Supreme Council of Colombia which was founded in 1833. In 1875 it had Lodge "Estrella del Pacificio No. 33 at Panama." In many other lands where Grand Lodges have not been erected the Scottish Rite is in control of the Symbolic degrees as well as of those which it confers in this country.

When Panama, in 1903, definitely severed itself from Colombia, its territory was regarded as open to the Masonic World. Consequently the Supreme Councils of Colombia and Venezuela (the latter founded in 1875) both established Symbolic Lodges within the Republic. Both of these Supreme Councils are recognized by and in correspondence with the Supreme Councils of Sovereign Grand Inspectors-General of the Thirty-Third and Last Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States of America.

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Canal Zone

January 30, 1906, a petition was addressed to Grand Master Blake of Massachusetts by nine brethren for a dispensation to form "Isthmus Lodge" at Ancon. It was reported to the Grand Lodge, March 14, 1906, and a dispensation was granted, but the Lodge never organized.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland voted a charter for a Lodge at Colon, February 3, 1898, which was consecrated as Sojourners Lodge, No. 874, on March 10, 1898. The members of this Lodge for reasons which seemed wise, largely due to the fact that the Masons upon the Isthmus were nearly all from the United States and thought it better to have their affiliation with the States rather than with Scotland, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a Dispensation which was granted February 7, 1912, and their Scottish Charter was surrendered. The conduct of the Lodge while under dispensation being satisfactory, a Charter was granted to these Brethren by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as Sojourners Lodge on December 11, 1912, and the Lodge was constituted by Grand Master Everett C. Benton in person on July 18, 1913. This Lodge is located at Cristobal which is that part of the City of Colon within the Canal Zone. It has jurisdiction over the entire Canal Zone.

The Brethren on the Pacific side of the Canal Zone then petitioned for a Dispensation in September, 1912. Their petition was granted and a Dispensation issued November 4, 1912, for a Lodge to be known as Canal Zone Lodge and to be located at Ancon which is that part of the City of Panama within the Canal Zone. Its Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on December 10, 1913, and the Lodge constituted in due form on February 21, 1914.

There appearing to be need for a Lodge among the officers and men of the United States army located upon the Zone, a petition to the Grand Master of Massachusetts dated May 25, 1915, was followed by a Dispensation granted June 8, 1915, for a Lodge to be located at Empire, Canal Zone, to be known as Army Lodge. This Lodge was constituted in due form May 20, 1916.

In August, 1916, a petition was forwarded to the Grand Master of Massachusetts for a Lodge to be located at Paraiso, Canal Zone, to be known as Isthmian Lodge. This was for the particular benefit of the towns of Piedro Miguel and Paraiso, although like all other Lodges within the Canal Zone, its jurisdiction is open to applications from any part of the Zone. A Dispensation upon this petition was executed in December, 1916, and the Lodge instituted January 31, 1917, by the writer in person at a Deputy Grand Lodge held by him in the Temple at Christobal.

A petition for a Lodge at Balboa, Canal Zone, to be known as Darien Lodge was forwarded April 17, 1917, and upon it a Dispensation issued May 18, 1917, which was presented June 14, 1917, by Major White, District Grand Master for the Canal Zone.

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Grand Lodge Of Panama

On the 16th of April, 1916, there existed in the Republic of Panama (outside of the Canal Zone) the following Blue Lodges: –

Rosa de America, formerly No. 65 of Venezuela, constituted January, 1907; now No. 1 of Panama;

Pro Mundi Beneficio, formerly No. 67 of Venezuela, constituted August, 1911; now No. 2 of Panama;

Orion, formerly No. 68 of Venezuela, constituted August, 1911; now No. 3 of Panama;

Aurora del Istmo, formerly No. 69 of Venezuela, constituted November, 1911; now No. 4 of Panama;

Restauracion, formerly No. 70 of Venezuela, constituted November, 1911; now No. 5 of Panama;

Jose Bernito Alvizua, formerly No. 71 of Venezuela, constituted January, 1912, now No. 6 of Panama.

Unity, constituted December, 1913, by a Grand Lodge of Panama which was under the auspices of the Supreme Council; now No. 7 of Panama;

Cosmopolita, formerly No. 55 under the jurisdiction of Colombia, constituted 1910; now No. 8 of Panama.

Spanish, the language of the country, is used by all except Unity Lodge which worked in English and which has been succeeded by Acacia Lodge.

On the 16th day of April, 1916, these Lodges met in convention and executed a formal declaration of the establishment of a Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry for the Republic of Panama. At a meeting held August 19th, 1916, they adopted Grand Constitutions by the unanimous vote of delegates from all of said eight Lodges and elected Grand Officers.

The organization of La Gran Logia de Panama was consummated on October 12, 1916, when the Most Worshipful Grand Master and other Grand Officers were publicly installed and proclaimed. The first Grand Master, Sr. Andreve, is Minister of Public Education in the Cabinet of the Republic. The Deputy Grand Master, Sr. Don Rafael Neira A, now a business broker, was formerly Governor of Colon and at another time Judge of the Superior Court. He became Grand Master in 1917.

This organization of a Sovereign Grand Lodge having exclusive jurisdiction over the three Degrees of Symbolic Masonry was approved and accorded recognition by the Supreme Councils of Panama, Venezuela and Colombia, above referred to. The legitimacy of the constituent bodies and of the Grand Lodge is thus clear.

The Grand Constitutions and Minutes of this body are found upon careful examination to be in conformity with the international principles and practices of the Craft.

Article 12 of the Constitutions reads as follows: –

"The Grand Lodge does not acknowledge other degrees except those of Apprentice, Fellow-craft, and Master Mason, known as Symbolic Masonry, does not recognize as regular Masons any persons whose degrees have not be conferred by regularly constituted Lodges, subordinate to Grand Lodges regularly constituted and recognized, or to Supreme Councils of the 33rd Degree of the Ancient Scottish Rite of such jurisdictions where there are not any Grand Lodges operating."

A very thorough examination of the situation was made on the spot by R. W. William H. L. Odell, Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and by the writer in January, 1917. It disclosed that the new Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama is composed solely of males of lawful age; is monotheistic in its requirements and teachings; practices esoteric Masonic rites; assumes sovereign authority over the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow-Craft and Master Mason and over these Degrees alone; is composed of constituent bodies which are legitimate and regular in their descent, constitution and continuance, the personnel of which constituent Lodges is worthy of our consideration and fraternal regard; is non-political except so far as its members as individuals may combat tyranny over body and conscience; and represents the substantial Masonic unity of the Republic of Panama.

There are two regular Lodges within the Republic and outside of the Canal Zone which were not invited to participate in the formation of this Grand Lodge and have not applied for affiliation with it. These are Thistle, No. 1013, and St. Andrew, No. 1140, owing allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, their members being all or nearly all negroes. It seems from the Scottish Register that these two last named Lodges are regular. The attitude of the new Grand Lodge of Panama towards them is that their existence is an accomplished fact. Article 61 of the Panamanian Grand Constitutions reads:

"If any of the Lodges that are at present working within the territory of the Republic of Panama, under the jurisdiction of a foreign Masonic Body, desire to become subordinate to the Grand Lodge of Panama, such Lodge must obtain the consent of all the Subordinate Lodges represented in the Grand Lodge, satisfying themselves that the Lodge making the request is morally, financially and Masonically fitted for admission."

On Tuesday, January 30, 1917, a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Panama was held at Cosmopolita Lodge Hall in the City of Panama. It was presided over by M. W. Brother Guillermo Andreve, Grand Master. It was attended by the writer, by Brother Odell and by Masters, officers and members of the Lodges of the Canal Zone. With elaborate ceremonial a Treaty and Protocol were thereupon signed, sealed and delivered between the Grand Lodge of Panama and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts by the terms of which the Grand Lodge of Panama was recognized as a sovereign Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry. The Grand Lodge of Panama by the terms thereof ceded to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in perpetuity exclusive jurisdiction over Symbolic Masonry throughout the Canal Zone. This treaty was ratified by the Grand Lodge of Panama on February 15 and by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on March 14, 1917, and ratifications were ceremoniously exchanged on St John the Baptist's day.

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In the Republic of Panama there is a Supreme Council presided over by Guillermo Andreve as Grand Commander. This Supreme Council has been recognized by its parents, the Supreme Councils of Colombia and Venezuela, also by a few other Supreme Councils. It has not yet been recognized by any one of the three great English-speaking Supreme Councils of America.

In Panama there are also eight Blue Lodges united under the Grand Lodge of Panama presided over by Sr. Don Rafael Neira A as Grand Master. There are also in the Republic two negro Lodges holding Charters from the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

Within the Canal Zone there are three chartered Blue Lodges and two Lodges under dispensation united in a District Grand Lodge over which R. W. Herbert A. White is District Grand Master. He is at present the Judge Advocate of the military forces upon the Canal Zone and a Major in the regular army of the United States.

The Symbolic Masonry of the Zone is exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

Upon the Canal Zone are the four bodies of the Scottish Rite which hold Charters from the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States and which work all the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second inclusive in full form and regalia upon all candidates.

There are also upon the Zone four York Rite bodies. Two of them are Chapters, one a Council and one a Commandery, all chartered by the general grand bodies of the United States. It will be of interest also to add in this connection that there is a Chapter of the Eastern Star at each end of the Zone and that this year a Shrine has received a dispensation.

It will thus be seen that in this part of the world, Masonry has become firmly established and is in strong and healthy condition.

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Accept the work of this day, O Lord, as we lay it at thy feet. Thou knowest its imperfections, and we know. Of the brave purposes of the morning only a few have found their fulfillment. We bless thee that thou art no hard taskmaster, watching grimly the stint of work we bring, but the father and teacher of men who rejoices with us as we learn to work. We have naught to boast before thee, but we do not fear thy face. Thou knowest all things and thou art love. Accept every right intention, however brokenly fulfilled, but grant that ere our life is done we may under thy tuitior. become true master workmen, who know the art of a just and valiant life.
– Walter Rauschenbusch.

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By Bro. O. G. Ellis, Chief Justice, Washington

Overton Gentry Ellis, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, was born in Nodaway County, Missouri, October 26, 1860; was prepared for the University of Missouri by his mother; graduated from the University of Missouri in the class of 1883 with degree of B. Litt.; studied law in the law school of the University of Virginia, 1884 and 1886; was admitted to the Bar of Missouri in 1886 and practiced law at Maryville, 1886-7; removed to Tacoma, Washington, in 1892; practiced his profession alone until 1901 and was a member of the firm of Ellis & Fletcher, 1901-1908, and Ellis, Fletcher & Evans, 1908 to 1910; was appointed by Governor Hay as associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Washington, May 10, 1910, to fill unexpired term of Frank H. Rudkin, resigned; was re-elected without opposition November, 1912; term expires January, 1919; was elected by his associates as Chief Justice for a period of two years, January, 1917; was member of a committee of fifteen elected to draft new charter for Tacoma, which reported a commission plan of government adopted by vote of electors October 16, 1909; served two terms as president Washington State Society Sons of American Revolution; became a Mason in 1891 by initiation in Heroine Lodge No. 104, Kansas City, Missouri; on removal to Washington affiliated with Lebanon Lodge No. 104, Tacoma.

I SHALL not dwell upon the mere forms of Masonry but shall endeavor to emphasize the deep significance of the truths which they represent. For let me say to you, my brethren, with all the earnestness of a profound personal belief in what I say, that no organization, whatever its antiquity, whatever its pretensions and ostensible purposes, whether it be church or state or fraternal order, has any valid reason for existence, any just claim upon the consideration of any man, unless it exist not merely as an end in itself, but as a living vital means to some worthy end. If, therefore, our beloved order has and shall continue to have any valid reason for existence that reason must be found in the vast membership of Masonry grasping, practicing and exemplifying in their daily lives as men and citizens the true spirit of fraternalism which gave birth to Masonry and which every symbol of Masonry is intended to typify. For after all, as has been well said, fraternalism is a spirit rather than a method. And it is not only the peculiar privilege but the glorious duty of Masonry, as the dean of all fraternal orders, to preserve, develop and exemplify this spirit of fraternalism as a vital reality in the shaping of the lives of men.

What is this spirit of fraternalism? It is too big for definition. "You cannot define a spirit." Every definition implies something of an analysis. But you cannot analyze a spirit any more than you can paint the sunbeam or mark the limits of infinity. But we do recognize the glory of the sunbeam when we see it and when we look forth into limitless space we do recognize the boundless immensity of the infinite. And so it is with this spirit of fraternalism. While it is so vast and all pervasive as to defy adequate definition or analysis, we are able nevertheless to recognize and appreciate its manifold manifestations in every relation of life. It involves mutual respect and mutual toleration. As has been well said by another, it "involves mutual respect of class for class, race for race, church for church, individual for individual." It involves mutual toleration for each other's views, mutual respect for each other's feelings, mutual regard for each other's rights, mutual interest in each other's welfare, mutual desire for each other's prosperity, mutual regret for each other's misfortune. It involves helping the weak, needy and the oppressed, counseling, forgiving and redeeming the erring. It is exemplified in the observance of every commandment of the decalogue amplified by that broader injunction of the Master "that ye love one another." "Fraternalism is the parable of the Faithful Steward, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the parable of the Prodigal Son." It is the golden rule – that we do unto others as we would that others do unto us. It is to be just, but it is to temper justice with mercy. It is to be merciful, but it is to supplement mercy with justice.

These are a few of the things involved in this spirit of fraternalism as it ought to be exemplified in the simple relations of man to man. But it is not confined to these the simpler relations of life. It involves also the relations of the individual to the community, the state and the nation. Just to the extent that the individual citizen shall come to grasp the true spirit of fraternalism as a guide to his own personal conduct, just to that extent will he meet the duties and responsibilities of citizenship in that exalted spirit which recognizes the common welfare as paramount and superior to his own personal ends. Just to the extent that a decisive majority of the people of any community shall become imbued with the true spirit of fraternalism, just to that extent will that community give evidence of that high civic spirit which unhesitatingly subordinates the interests or the supposed interests of my particular class to the promotion of the common good. Just to the extent that the citizenship of any state shall come to think in terms of fraternalism, just to that extent will the institutions and laws of that state reflect as a prevailing motive the greatest good to the greatest number. Just to that extent will its penal laws and institutions embody the idea of social protection through social reformation rather than through social vengeance. Just to the extent that the nations of the earth shall come to recognize this spirit of fraternalism as the only sure and safe guide, not only in their own internal affairs, but in their relations to each other, by grasping its basic thought in the common brotherhood of man through the common fatherhood of God, just to that extent will international injustice, jealousy, hate and warfare with all of its bitterness, brutality and blood, want, waste and wrong tend to vanish from the face of the earth. When we consider the all persuasive force and moment of this spirit of fraternalism is it any wonder that it defies adequate definition or analysis and we find ourselves forced back to the simple but all comprehensive words the Man of Galilee when turning to his followers, simple fisher folk and others of the lowly to whom no system of ethics, no scheme of life up to that time promulgated had offered an incentive or unveiled a – hope – when as I say he turned to these and said, "All ye are brethren."

And now, my brothers, what is the meaning of this spirit of fraternalism to us as Masons? In pursuing this inquiry it behooves us ever to bear in mind that not only every symbol of our order but its very name is derived from a purely constructive science. Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to how far back into the shadows of remote antiquity we may be able to trace the beginnings of Masonry, it is the consensus of all informed opinion that originally Masonry was a fraternal order of practical builders – architects and officers. Whether we trace this beginning back to the "Dionysian Architects" when they had been transplanted from Egypt to the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon some 1500 years before the Christian era and thence to that body of skilled workmen under Hiram, the widow's son, sent by Hiram, King of Tyre, to aid King Solomon of Israel in the construction on Mount Moriah of the first great temple to the one living God, or whether we trace them, as we certainly can, to the architectural gilds of the middle ages, makes not the slightest difference. In either event the original Masons were operative practical builders. That they were also men of highest type of intelligence is evidenced by their achievements which stand today in the unrivalled grandeur of St. Peter's Cathedral at Rome, St. Paul's at London and a thousand other cathedrals and conventicle churches scattered all over continental Europe and England. That they were self respecting men is evidenced by the fact that they demanded and received from a bigoted church and the more bigoted states, which they so ably and faithfully served, the right to make their own rules and regulations and govern themselves in all of their relations one with another according to their own laws – so much so that they came universally to be known as "Freemasons." But as a further evidence of their enlightenment and nobility of purpose we find that early in the sixteenth century they began initiating into the mysteries of their order men eminent in learning and achievement who were not practical builders and such was the origin of modern "speculative" or institutional Masonry as distinguished from its prototype of a fraternity of operative builders. But in this transition Masonry abated not one jot or tittle of its constructive quality. True its prime purpose is no longer confined to operative buildings but what was originally its secondary purpose has become its prime aim – the building of character and self respecting manhood. That is what Masonry means and has meant for more than two hundred years. That broadly is what the true spirit of fraternalism ought to mean to every Mason today. Every Mason should be as distinctively a builder now as he was in the days of the architectural gilds. He should be a builder of manhood and character, a builder of that self respecting self-reliant citizenship which is the true foundation of collective effort without which no nation long can stand. The lodge should be the school of manhood and citizenship, the school of patriotism. It should be the school of democracy and equality. For in the lodge room men from every walk of life, the rich and the poor, the exalted and the lowly, meet on the common "plane and square of pure democracy." Of the fact that Masonry has been indeed the school of liberty the history of our own nation. furnishes ample evidence. George Washington was a Mason, and of the major generals who served under him, from that battle scarred veteran, Israel Putnam, to that beardless stripling, LaFayette, all were Masons. Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the most enlightenedly democratic document ever penned by man, many are said to have been Masons. Every one of these generals and statesmen was a builder. Not one was a mere iconoclast.

Since the Masons past and present, by past tradition and present purpose were and are builders, there is no room in Masonry for pure negation. While one of the great missions of Masonry is to combat error, that combat should be waged not in any spirit of wanton iconoclasm. Its aim should be to combat error by constructive process of building up the truth. Faith, hope and charity should be the cardinal virtues of every man and especially of every Mason. They are positive virtues. They contain no element of pure negation. No Mason can be an agnostic or an atheist. He must have faith. Faith in God, faith in his fellow men, faith in the boundless possibilities of human development. No Mason can be a pessimist. He must have hope. Hope for the present; hope for the future; hope for himself; hope for mankind. No Mason can be a misanthrope. He must have charity. Charity which covers and excuses the weakness of his fellow men born of a conscious need of charity for his own shortcomings; charity which covers a multitude of sins. No man can be a builder and therefore no man can be a true Mason unless he possess these three cardinal positive virtues. For without faith he will have no incentive to build either in the field of material or of ethical things. Without hope he will have no reason to build either for the present or for the future. Without charity he cannot build for self, and selfishness furnishes too narrow and mean a foundation to sustain any lasting superstructure.

So long as the spirit of fraternalism as exemplified in Masonry shall find its well springs in these cardinal virtues with their inexhaustible incentive to high achievement Masonry cannot die. It will live because it ought to live. For whatever may be said as to the truth or falsity of the postulate of the survival of the fittest as taught in the doctrine of material evolution, its truth must be granted as to things ethical, else there is no faith, no hope, no charity. Unless we can believe in the final survival of truth, justice and morality – simply because they are the fittest and most enduring of the incentives to human action, we must abandon our faith in God, our hope for man, our charity and love for our fellow men.

But if Masonry is to survive it must live up to its constructive traditions. It must be forward-looking and progressive. Progressive but not in that radical and iconoclastic spirit which would break completely with the past. Such a course would be to cancel that greatest asset of civilization found in the accumulated experience of the ages. Forward-looking, but measuring every step by the experience of the past.

Civilization may well be likened unto a vast edifice not yet completed but which has been in process of construction throughout all the ages since man's creation. It has progressed thus far through infinite labor. Its component parts have been shaped in the toil and cemented by the blood and tears of countless generations. Its foundations lie deep rooted in the experience of the past. Its topmost pinnacle must pierce the distant future. Every age must contribute to its construction. No age can ignore this foundation without marring or wrecking the whole edifice. There can be no constructive progress without co-operation. There can be no true co-operation without an observance of law and order and a proper regard for duly constituted authority which is the very corner stone of the social compact. The spirit of fraternalism in its all pervasive ramifications is a spirit of co-operation. If, therefore, the Masonic order is to fulfill its high mission as the great exponent and exemplar of that spirit every Mason must be taught not only to be a law abiding citizen but that he should cast his influence on the side of law and order.

No age has ever offered such vast possibilities for usefulness through the application of the constructive principles of Masonry as the present. The edifice of civilization is now being shaken to its very foundations by the most relentless, ruthless and destructive contest that the world has ever known. If peace, blessed and lasting peace, is ever to come after that great conflict it must come, under Almighty God, through a final recognition of the spirit of fraternalism as the great constructive and cohesive principle which it is the true mission of Masonry to teach and practice and exemplify.

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(Juvenal. Satire X: 346, et seq.)

Should men not pray? Take my advice, and let
The gods themselves decide what's best for you;
Being all-seeing, they can lead you to.
A better fortune than your prayers can get.

Genuine good for your imagined bliss
They change, who love you better than you know;
While led by feelings, and the overflow
Of blind desire, you ask – and ask amiss!

But that you still may pray, and still may find
The peace of soul that faith alone can give,
Be this thy prayer: "Oh, grant me while I live
In a sound frame, a sane and healthy mind!"

Pray for a soul proof against threats of death,
That holds life's closing scene its crowning boon;
That patiently endures the heats of noon,
And can restrain the lust that tortureth;

That counts the cares and toils of Hercules
Better than all the feasts and wantonness
Sardanapalus used. Thou mayest possess
The things thyself can give thee; pray for these!

Through decency comes peace. If we were wise,
O Fortune, we should never worship thee –
For we ourselves created thee, and we
Enthroned thee as a goddess in the skies!
– Edwin M. Robinson – In Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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O Master Builder,
Solve thou the riddle of the universe;
Its ceaseless, useless tossing to and fro,
Its weary, restless surging here and there;
Why must the tender heart be bruised?
Why must The flame of love grow dim and glow no more ?
Why must ambition soar and break the peace
Of centuries?
O Master Builder, thou
Alone, canst break the silence of the Sphinx,
And show the mystery of ages past,
And ages yet unborn; alone canst thou
Untie this knotted tangle we call Life.
And do thou weave its living strands into
A web more holy; may its new design
More clearly show thine age-old plan for us.
– R. V. Gilbert.

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By Bro. Arthur E. Waite, England

BRETHREN of the Order, and those among you in particular who have been received recently among us, there is no period too early to conceive a just and commensurate notion of the great institution to which we belong, and in which we have been incorporated as a part of its living body. It is desirable, in the first place, that we should understand certain intimations which occur in the Grade of Neophyte and in that of Fellow Craft. They are open on their surface to misconstruction, and did we afterwards pursue our researches into the history of Emblematic Freemasonry, it might even be thought that they were untrue unless we carried them further than is done commonly. Moreover, in the absence of such researches, they might come to be regarded as so many figures of speech.

The Entered Apprentice is told at an early stage of his experience that the Order possesses great and inestimable privileges as well as those secrets and mysteries concerning which he is sworn to inviolable secrecy. You will observe that the privileges are enumerated separately from the secrets, though the latter stand also for privileges. Among these I will particularise the Signs and Words of the successive Degrees. The privileges imparted by these include the right of entrance to a Lodge, as a guest or subscribing member. They are the titles of our initiation and assuredly they are more than valuable after their own kind, but they do not respond in themselves to the very wide claim which I have mentioned. I conceive therefore that there are other privileges. These are not, however, to be identified with the things implied by the great principles of the Order, precious as are the latter to our hearts, and advantageous as it must ever be to dwell within a circle of fellowship which recognises the principles of solidarity and will at need extend them in good will to us. They are not in the category of those things which we seek to reserve to worthy men alone. They are rather the marks, seals and characters which it is our sacred duty to display and by which Masonry is known all over the world in its practice of beneficence, benevolence and fraternity, by the love of moral truth and by the truth which abides in honour. I conclude, therefore, that the reference to inestimable privileges is itself in the nature of a mystery and covers things which do not exactly appear on the literal side of our rituals. This is the first point which I am now seeking to commemorate.

The second is concerned more especially with the obligation of the Neophyte Grade in which the Candidate is pledged to hele, conceal and never reveal the secret art and hidden mysteries of Masonry. I believe that after a little reflection I shall carry with me the concurring voice of every Brother amongst us, if I say that this pledge, with the penalties attached thereto, must cover more than the simple signs, tokens, words and procedure which takes place in our Lodges, or too elaborate machinery may be thought to be put in motion than the-end appears to require. Hence again it seems certain that the reference to secret arts and hidden mysteries is itself in the nature of a mystery and covers things which do not precisely appear on the literal surface of our Rituals. This is the next point which I am seeking to commemorate here.

For the third, we must pass from the Grade of Initiate or Neophyte to that of Fellow Craft, in which there is a brief but singularly pregnant account (1) of that which was attained by the Candidate when he was made an Entered Apprentice; and (2) of that which he is expected to perform in his new capacity as a Craftsman. In the one it is pointed out that he has made himself acquainted with the principles of moral truth and virtue. Now, this is literally true, subject to a single reserve: as one newly admitted, he was not intended to be tried beyond his strength: the principles which he is said to have acquired were in reality communicated to him without action on his own part, but he was left in the First Degree to reflect upon them. They are actually the root matter and sum total of moral truth and all natural virtue. It is otherwise in the Degree of Fellow Craft. There it is assumed that the Masonic horizon has opened before and about him, and that he is prepared to enter an almost immeasurable region. He is accordingly advised (1) that he is expected to make the liberal arts and sciences his future study, and (2) that he is permitted to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of Nature and science. Once again, this is an intimation which covers much more than appears on the literal surface and is a mystery which is expressed shortly but not explained in our Rituals. Here is the third point which I am now seeking to commemorate.

Let us see if there is any direction in which we can turn for a little light on these problems, and as it so happens we shall not have to go outside the Lodge itself.

On his first entrance into Freemasonry the newly received Brother will perceive that he has come into a world of emblems or symbolism, and that whatsoever takes place therein has a meaning behind it which is by no means indicated invariably on the surface. Sometimes, and indeed frequently, there is more than one inward meaning, depending on the point of view from which it is approached. The Lodge is an eloquent example of this truth. When its door opens for the Candidate he enters into an institution which has its branches spread over the four quarters of the globe. It may be a very small Lodge: it may be a Lodge of poor Brothers only: but whosoever is received therein is recognised through the Masonic world, in all countries and among all peoples. But there is more even than this: however humble in its appointments and proportions, that Lodge is a Microcosm, a symbol, a speaking likeness of universal Freemasonry. It represents also and contains the life of Masonry, and the Ceremony of his initiation integrates the new-made Brother in that peculiar quality of life which is the principle and essence of the Order. He becomes part of an organic whole. In the third place, the Lodge is held to represent the three dimensions of space – that is to say, the universe itself as a cosmos: in length from East to West, in breadth between North and South, in depth from the surface to the centre, and even as high as the heavens.

It is therefore as if the Candidate on his initiation had been born anew into the universe, or that a door had opened to admit him into another cosmos. He comes with his eyes dim and with a restraint about him; he is kept for a considerable period in a state of darkness and bondage: ultimately he is instructed, and that which he finds about him is truly the symbolic representation of a new world. For him at that moment all things seem to be renewed, and it is very soon after this strange and wonderful experience that he is given a key to the meaning. He is told that he is the corner stone of a new foundation, from which he has to build up himself after another and higher manner. In other words, he has to remake his inward nature according to the perfection of the standard which is prescribed by Masonry. It is a moral standard in respect of his dealings with his Brethren and with mankind at large. It is a spiritual standard in respect of his duty towards God, and through obedience thereto it is hoped, held and known that he will ascend to the home of the spirit in the heavenly kingdom, by means of the ladder of Jacob, the successive rounds of which are called by many names, but chief among these are faith, hope and charity. It follows that he has a two-fold work to perform, but it is all in the training of himself. If he be successful, the result will be perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder. From this point of view, the just, perfect and regular Lodge is also a symbol of the man in that state which he is called to attain.

Now, the word initiate, with which we are so familiar in Masonry, signifies a person who has made a new beginning, who has entered a path of experience heretofore untravelled. Its equivalent in other orders and fraternities is the word Neophyte. The Neophyte is also one who has made a new beginning and the term, which is Greek in its origin, signifies him who is reborn, a new plant, one who is remade. In the old instituted mysteries, like those of Samothrace, of Egypt and of Eleusis, the Candidate was regenerated or reborn – he was otherwise transferred or grafted – at the beginning of his experience, and afterwards he passed through successive stages of a new life till he attained the culminating Grade. It was the same experiment as that of Craft Masonry, in which the Candidate – as an Entered Apprentice – lays the foundation stone of that new building which is himself, raises a super structure according to the law and order that Masonry has imposed upon him, continues the erection as a Craftsman, in which Degree the mysteries of Nature and science, recommended to his study, are mysteries of God and the estimation of His wonderful works till at last he puts on the capstone when the Lodge is open in the Sublime Grade of Master.

Our secret art is therefore an art of life, an art of perfection, an art of creation according to a prescribed standard recognized in Masonry: our hidden mysteries are those of our own relations to God, man and the universe, that we may be enabled to fulfil by Masonry the higher law of our being. The inestimable privileges of Masonry include those of its symbolism, the study of which is for our instruction in this high mode of selfbuilding. The arts and mysteries which we are pledged to conceal from the profane are also those of the peculiar law of life in Masonry by which these ends can be reached. Those who are outside the Lodge must come within it, if they desire to share in that life. It is really incommunicable beyond the mystic circle, for the simple reason that it is life itself and not one of its substitutes. While therefore we are properly pledged concerning it, there is something which we could not impart even if we tried. In some of the old mysteries, from which we are indirectly descended, initiation and its sequels meant real instruction in this subject, and several of our most suggestive intimations are reflections from that remote source.

And seeing that the Grade of Master Mason is not so much a reflection as the very root, essence and quintessence, of those mysteries, and may be shortly described as an experiment in the deep mystery by which the soul passes through mortal life towards that life in God which is the end of all the mysteries, it comes about in this manner, my Brethren, that we are incorporated with all the great orders and sodalities of the far past and are therefore justified when we say that the meaning of our Masonic Badge is more ancient than the Golden Fleece and that our honourable institution – though under many transformations – has subsisted from time immemorial.

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Who dreams shall live! And if we do not dream
Then we shall build no Temple into Time.
Yon dust cloud, whirling slow against the sun,
Was yesterday's cathedral, stirred to gold
By heedless footsteps of a passing world.
The faiths of stone and steel are failed of proof,
The King who made religion of a Sword
Passes, and is forgotten in a day.
The crown he wore rots at a lily's root,
The rose unfurls her banners o'er his dust.

The dreamer dies, but never dies the dream,
Though Death shall call the whirlwind to his aid,
Enlist men's passions, trick their hearts with hate,
Still shall the Vision live! Say nevermore
That dreams are fragile things. What else endures
Of all this broken world save only dreams!
– Dana Burnet.

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By Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District Of Columbia

John D. Sloat

IF an object lesson is needed to prove the ephemeral existence of that substanceless something called Fame we have it here. Captain John Drake Sloat, Flag Officer of the Pacific fleet, placed the American flag on the little custom house at Monterey and took possession of California on the 7th day of July, 1846.

It was part of Mexico up to that time, and the kingdom of England had decided to seize the colony for a debt of 10,000,000 pounds which Mexico owed and was not able or not willing to pay.

Rear Admiral Seymour, of H.M. Navy, had received his instruction to that effect, and though Captain Sloat had been sent instruction from Washington, the orders did not reach him, but, under previous orders, he felt justified in the seizure, and he made it.

He was only a few hours in advance of the Briton, who, finding the American already in possession, remarked, "Then by G__ I am too late," which was considered a great joke by the British officers who laughed over it. It was apparent to us then, and is now, that California completed the segregated territory the United States needed, and, we think, our accessions should have stopped there. The acquisition of the Pacific coast possessions prevented the foot-hold on adjacent land by any monarchy which might encroach upon our Republic, which fulfilled the purposes of the famous Monroe doctrine.

John Drake Sloat descended from the Dutch who had settled New Amsterdam (what is now New York) and inherited that Dutch peculiarity of reticence; of being a good listener; a man of few words but prompt and decisive in his acts. He was born on July 26, 1781, at Stratsburg, near Goshen, Rockland County, N.Y., and entered the Navy as a midshipman at the age of 19; promoted to Master in 1812; and Lieutenant in 1813. He was commissioned a commander in 1826, and a captain in 1837. He commanded the Pacific fleet in 1844-5-6, with the rank of "flag-officer," equivalent to commodore, during that command. He was retired on Dec. 21, 1861, and, on the retired list, was commissioned a commodore on July 16, 1862, and a rear admiral on July 25, 1866. He spent 26 years of his life at sea. He was with Decatur, in the Frigate United States, and manoeuvred the ship (under sail) in his fight with the Macedonian, for which he received the thanks of Congress. While in command of the Grampus he suppressed the famous Cofrecinas, the last of the West India Pirates, in 1825. Rear Admiral Sloat died on the 28th of Nov., 1867, and was buried with Masonic and military honors in Greenwood cemetery, L.I., by St. Nicholas Lodge No. 321, and Tompkins Lodge, and the Naval Battalion of Marines and Sailors, Nov. 30, 1867.

The Sloat monument was erected at Monterey fifty-six years after the occupation of California, and the same flag was used at the corner stone laying that Sloat had raised on the little custom house just 56 years before.

The corner stone was laid Masonically on the 4th of July, 1902, in the presence of a mighty throng of Californians, including officers of the Army and Navy, the Governor of the State, Senators, the Sloat monument association, Miners and Railroad associations, each furnishing and placing a stone in the foundation.

Major Edwin A. Sherman, 32d, P.G.H.P., etc., was the active agent in the Sloat monument creation, from its inception to its final dedication.

The monument stands in front of the old fort Mervine, on the military reservation at Monterey.

The height of the monument is 31 feet, and the base is 24 feet square, emblematic of the 24 hours of the day; the stones are four feet long, emblematic of the four hours of a sailor's watch; the height of the base is 6 feet, 10 inches; the three courses of the stones refer to the three symbolic degrees, the admiral's Masonic rank. The height of the pedestal is 13 feet, emblematic of the 13 original colonies.

On of the sides of the pedestal there is a medallion of the fleet surgeon, William Maxwell Wood; of Commodore Stockton, and of Captain John C. Fremont.

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Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg

This issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin concludes Section "B" of our Bulletin Course of Masonic Study. With the December issue we shall commence Section "C" of Ceremonial Masonry, which we have called "First Steps." We feel certain that those Lodges and Study Clubs which have followed us thus far through what we have chosen to present as the fundamental facts concerning "The Work of a Lodge" and the relations existing between "The Lodge and The Candidate" will find the successive steps of the remaining study even more interesting than those which have gone before. Doubtless the interpretation which will be placed upon our ceremonies by us will not be agreed to by all: but it will serve to form a basis for discussion, at least. And, as always, we shall welcome your questions and discussions in The Question Box, which now, more than ever before, promises to be one of the most illuminating departments of THE BUILDER.

(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 review 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.)

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The Lodge And The Candidate

Part III, The Degrees

Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft And Master Mason

By Bro. Robert I. Clegg

WE may for our purpose define the word "degrees" as meaning the steps, stations, stages, or grades of progress in a movement. The several intervals on the scale of a thermometer are known as degrees. The poet has pictured the ambitious as climbing a ladder, and when the topmost round has been reached the climber turns his back to the ladder, "scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend." In no spirit of contempt do we Masons mention the degrees. They are the divisions, distinct and different, by which the candidate measures as by milestones the most important of the periods of his preparation for the life of a Mason. They are not to be scorned but treasured, followed and not forgotten.

The degrees of Freemasonry are many if we include all ceremonials and instruction given exclusively to Masons. For our present purpose we shall limit our study to the first three degrees assumed or received by the candidate. These are the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

Of the history of these three degrees there is much yet to be disclosed by the patient seeker after truth. We do not possess all the information we desire. So little could be put lawfully into print or writing that the available facts are few.

Following the organization of the Grand Lodge in 1717 we can readily understand that a careful survey of the degrees of the ritual would be made. That much at least we can guess by the references made in the records. For instance, we note in the Book of Constitutions issued under date of 1738 a mention of a condition of things that could with equal truth be used today. The statement is as follows: "a Prentice when of age and expert, may become an Enter'd Prentice or a Free-Mason of the lowest degree, and upon his due improvements a Fellow-Craft and a Master-Mason." Perhaps it is not unfair to assume that here the word "Prentice" has the same meaning as a duly qualified candidate ready for complete initiation and record.

During the interval from 1717, when the Grand Lodge was organized, to 1738 when the above Constitutions were issued, we find the evidence of growing pains. Therefore there is less certainty about the prevailing practice in the lodges. It is reasonable to believe that the records show what had been adopted and made uniform but it does not say when the lodges that had already been working that way had first begun the practice. That is to say that in 1738 something was announced as the common custom and lawful which previously might long have been in use.

We must be very careful to draw a sharp distinction between the time when certain lines of separation were made in the ceremonies and that of the time when the ceremonies were first used. To divide the ceremonies into sections may be of recent date but the ceremonies themselves can on the other hand be of the greatest age.

It is also very easy to see that what may have been divided into two parts or sections may again at a later date be divided into three or even four or more stages or degrees. There is a very strong probability that the substance of at least two degrees of Royal Arch Masonry was at one time a part of the lodge ceremonies. For the same reason we may conclude that if we find a period when but two degrees are mentioned there is some ground for the belief that what we now have in the three degrees was then conferred in the two degrees. The same series of ceremonies may be divided differently and yet be substantially the same instruction.

If this distinction is not properly recognized by the student of Masonry he will be seriously led astray in studying the arguments of the scholars of the Craft in regard to the early degrees.

My respect for the age of the Masonic "work" is not lightly founded on mere assumption. The subject has been touched upon in these papers and will arise for later inquiry. At present we may study with profit the comments of Brother Robert F. Gould as given in a paper read in 1890 on "The Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism." I will quote from the proceedings of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London. He maintained "that in substance, the system of Masonry we now possess – including the three degrees of the Craft – has come down to us in all its essentials, from times not only remote to our own, but also to those of the founders of the earliest of Grand Lodges."

We must also never forget that Masonry has carefully preserved in the strictest secrecy all matters not proper to be written. There is thus the greatest difficulty in dealing historically with ritualistic questions.

We further find that documents were destroyed as is the fact told of by Anderson in 1720 where he says that "at some private lodges several very valuable manuscripts (for they had nothing then in print) concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages … were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous brethren that these papers might not fall into strange hands."

There is no reason to doubt this. It is precisely what might be anticipated. Many of the members in opposition to the change brought about by the formation of the Grand Lodge would expect that to establish such a body would result in the interference by some officials with the written particulars, they might be taken out of the control of the lodge, publicity perhaps would be given to them. Not being sure of the attitude likely to be taken by the new body on such questions there would be a strong temptation to destroy what might otherwise go astray and out of the control of those who thought so much of the possessions. There may also have been the desire to thwart the efforts of those to whom the opposition was unfriendly. However the facts may be we are possessed of little data upon the subject.

Elias Ashmole has recorded in his Diary that he was made a Freemason in October, 1646, at Warrington, England. Whatever the ceremonies were and exactly the number of degrees conferred are not stated. But there is nothing to show that in substance he failed to receive what is given every Master Mason.

Much has been made of another reference to Masonry found in the Diary of Ashmole. This refers to a far later period in his life than the date of Ashmole's making as a Freemason. He tells us that in 1682 he was summoned to a Lodge at Mason's Hall at London. To use his own expression, he was the "Senior Fellow present."

A like term is used by Dr. Plot in the year 1686 in his work on the "Natural History of Staffordshire." He says that Freemasonry was spread more or less over all the nation, that persons of the most eminent quality were members of the Fraternity, and that on their admission to the society they were given a knowledge of some "secret signes." Further on he says that if "a Fellow of the Society" should receive one of these signs he would be obliged to obey its message even if it meant he should come down from the top of a steeple.

For that matter Plot speaks of the five or six required to form a lodge and of the presentation of gloves – a real Masonic ceremony, by the way – and of the custom of a banquet after an initiation. Plot is evidently giving the facts as they might be known to the general public at that time because he does not pose as a member of the Craft. His testimony is therefore so much the more impartial and interesting as to the general reputation of the Fraternity at that date.

But let us not hastily assume that the use of the word "Fellow" meant no more than "Fellow Craft." Right now in our own generation it is applied to one holding full membership in some important society and it has long been thus employed. In fact this seems to have been one of its oldest meanings and there is very little or no doubt that in this sense it was used in the cases just cited.

Briefly we may say that the names of the three degrees are typical of the days when Masonry was purely a trade. Then the apprentice was first of all free, perfect of limbs, and of suitable age and respectability. He was apprenticed by his parents or guardian to a competent employer who promised by formal contract to instruct the young man in approved trade practices. Such an employer was a master workman, a master of the art and the business and a fellow of his trade society.

Within a year the apprentice was required to be entered upon the roll of the trade organization by his master. This was done with ceremony. Usually seven years were required for the apprenticeship. Then he produced some specimen of his skill and this was critically examined.

Having passed inspection he became free of the trade and bearing proper credentials of his standing he could travel wherever work was to be found. In this manner he acquired experience as a workman. Settling down at last he would labour under some master at his trade for a sufficient time until he obtained the standing to himself become an employer of other workmen and apprentices.

A careful following of this life of the apprentice will show several points of note in the study of Masonic terms and practices. Here may be noted the reason for saying "Entered Apprentice." Consider the seven years of the Entered Apprentice, then the five additional years pursuing far afield the arts and sciences, and then the three years to qualify for mastership among one's fellows.

Remember in connection with the becoming "free" of the benefits of the trade apprenticeship contract that this is because of the apprentice having performed all that it required the beginner to do, and as everybody knows the contract "bound" the apprentice to do certain duties and when these were done he was no longer bound but "free."

An applicant for membership in the trade body who had not had the same training was compelled to become a member in quite another way. A different expression was applied to his standing. He was not "free," he had never even been bound an apprentice. But he was "accepted" into membership. Even to this day when the society has long ceased to make such a distinction between its members they are known as Free and Accepted Masons.

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Initiation In General

Since at least the era of the Romans the word "initiation" has been employed to mean the admission into mysteries. Coming from a root word applied in Latin to the first principles of a science it is well employed by our fraternity to the entrance of candidates to the several degrees.

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Sameness of ritual is fairly well assured where every one is expected to preserve the ceremonies against alteration. But the communication of the ritual through these hundreds of years by the approved methods was dependent upon the memory, and memories are alas imperfect as records.

One of the principal arguments ventilated between the rival Grand Lodges of England in the eighteenth century was as to which of them best preserved the original ceremonials. Lodges in the United States drew from the one or the other of these Grand Lodges according to circumstances.

When these American lodges receiving their ritual from different sources came together to form Grand Lodges in the respective States there was a standard adopted in each case. This standard might be a compromise or the one most popular of the two in vogue among the constituent lodges. Under all the circumstances it would not be surprising if there were more differences between the ceremonies than is in fact the case.

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While in this country the degrees are conferred under the auspices of Grand Lodges, such is not everywhere the rule. In some countries, as in Spain, they are given under the control of a Grand Orient, or Grand East, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Requirements are not always the same. With us the candidate must be free-born; in England it is sufficient if he is free. In Sweden the candidate must profess Christianity, and for many years German Masonry would neither initiate a Jew nor admit a visiting Mason of that race. Even in this country as in the case of at least one lodge in Ohio, candidates in the early part of the last century were required to avow a belief in "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the Old and New Testament."

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Side Degrees

"Side Degrees" are ceremonies not pertaining to the regular work. The "Grotto" was at the start a ceremony improvised to interest and divert the brethren of an eastern lodge after the ordinary business had been transacted. Its progress led to systematic labors and a formal organization now widely spread. The history of all side degrees, irrespective of their measure of success, is similar. o

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Helpful Hints To Study Club Leaders

The Degrees

How would you define a "degree"? How many degrees are there in the Chapter? In the Council? In the Commandery? In the Consistory? How many degrees were in use prior to the Grand Lodge era? What are the advantages of the degree system? Would it not be as well to give a candidate all the work in one evening as is done in most fraternities? Why wouldn't it be? What is an honorary degree?

Brother Clegg says that there is something now in the Royal Arch which was once in the Blue Lodge Ritual; can you guess what it is? Why is an Apprentice called an "Entered" Apprentice? What is meant by Old Charges? Why were the brethren so quick to burn some of them in the early eighteenth century? What were the duties of an Apprentice in Operative days? Was there ever a time in our Speculative Lodges when an Apprentice could vote? What is the central idea embodied in the present First Degree? Could it be roughly summed up in the word "Obedience"?

What was the distinction between Fellow Craft and Master Masons in the days before the first Grand Lodge? When was the Third Degree first used? What is the key idea of the Second Degree ? Of the Third ? If the Third was not in existence until after 1717 why do you suppose it was invented at that time? Were new materials made for that degree or were old materials used?

Can you define "initiation"? "Ritual" ? How many institutions make use of ritual? What is the purpose of ritual? Describe how we came to have the present variations in the ritual ? What are the disadvantages of these divergencies ? What are the advantages? Could a national Grand Lodge do anything toward the unification of the ritual? How? If not, why not? How many "Side Degrees" can you name? Of what use are they? Is the Shrine a side degree?

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Supplemental Questions

Are the various grades in school analogous to our degrees? Can you find anything like a "degree system" in a factory, in a store, an office ? Do any countries still use the "apprentice system" in industry and trade? What are the advantages of it ? Is the manner in which the candidate is advanced from degree to degree the same, in principle, as the manner in which a man is promoted in his profession ? Is advancement the same as promotion? Does the Masonic system of advancement from degree to degree teach you how to win promotion in your vocation ?

Does a man have to learn how to obey before he becomes fit to command ? Are our American boys very willing to remain as apprentices before seeking higher places? Are they too impatient "to go up higher" ? If so, what are the evil consequences ? Does this explain why so many boys leave school in order to go to work?

What does the word "fellow" mean? What is meant by "a fellow of the Geographical Society"? Why is a "degree" conferred on a scholar? Is that "degree" analogous in any way to our degrees? What does "Master" mean? Are you a master of your profession? Did the manner in which you became a master in Masonry help you to learn how to become a master of your trade?

Initiation carries with it the idea of "birth"; how are you "born into any profession"? Does a child pass through an initiation when it enters school ? Is religious conversion a kind of initiation ? How is a man "born into" scholarship ? Into education? Into music? Into politics? Initiation also carries with it the meaning of "entering into"; just when did you enter into Masonry? How could you enter into Masonic scholarship? How do you enter into a life calling?

The Lodge represents the world; initiation represents birth; what is the world into which a Mason is born? Is the process anything like physical birth? Can you find hints of that anywhere in the symbolism? Does that symbolism teach you the manner in which you may be born into any of the other worlds of human experience; of achievement ? How to be born into religion, for instance, or into art, etc. ?

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Mackey's Encyclopedia:
Accepted; Anderson, James; Apprentice, Entered; Ashmole, Elias; Degrees; Fellow Craft; Master Mason; Plot, Robert, M. D.; Rite; Ritual; Side Degrees; Webb-Preston Work.

Causes of Divergence in Ritual, in this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin. Difference of Ritual, vol. II, p. 381, (Cor.) Gild and York Rites, The, vol. III, p. 242. History of The Ritual, The, vol. I, p. 291. Meaning of Initiation, The, vol. II, p 205. Non-Masonic Bodies, (Side Degrees), vol. II, p. 63, (Cor.); vol. III, p. 318, (Cor.) Right of Each Rite, The, vol. III, p. 95, (Cor.) Rites of Freemasonry, The, vol. II, p. 209. Ritual and Color, vol. II, p. 221, (Q. B.) Uniform Work, vol. II, p. 348, (Q. B.); p. 382, (Cor.); vol. III, p. 30, (Cor.) Webb Ritual in the United States, The, vol. II, p. 166. York and Scottish Rites, vol. III, p. 190, (Cor.) York Rite, The, vol. II, p. 126, (Cor.); p. 327; vol. III, p. 63, (Cor.)

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By Bro. Roscoe Pound, Dean, Harvard Law School


(The study of "The Degrees," in the general sense to which this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin is devoted, would be incomplete without this scholarly summary of the present situation of the ritual in our American system. We therefore reproduce it here, with the suggestion that any Lodge or Study Club desiring to fully cover this month's topic can do no better than to include it in their program.)

That there are divergences in ritual every Masonic traveller soon becomes aware. Before he gets into the Lodge in a foreign jurisdiction the look upon the faces of the examining committee, the awkward attempt to fit two divergent systems of work one to the other while neither party can go into explanations, shows at once that, while each is confident of himself, something is wrong. This comes out particularly in a matter as fundamental as the modes of recognition. Some jurisdictions letter and divide or syllable the word and divide or syllable the pass. In other jurisdictions the pass is given at once but the word is divided or syllabled. And if our Masonic traveler were to go upon the Continent of Europe and to find a Lodge which his home authorities recognized, he night, as is well known, come upon an unfamiliar substitute word. But, staying upon this side of the water, when he got into the Lodge he would as like as not find a greater or less number of officers than those he had come to know in his home jurisdiction, he would be not unlikely to find a radically different practice of opening and closing, and he would be sure to find differences of detail here and there in the work. The matter of opening and closing is a striking example and will suffice for my purpose. In some jurisdictions the practice is to open a Lodge of Entered Apprentices or of Fellowcrafts or of Master Masons as the case may be and then to declare the particular Lodge open as such. Other jurisdictions insist that this is wrong and that the particular Lodge is to be opened as Entered Apprentices or as Fellowcrafts or as Master Masons. Such jurisdictions, however, open the Lodge immediately on this or that degree without reference to any preceding degree. In still other jurisdictions this is deemed wrong, and the Lodge is ceremoniously opened successively from the lowest degree to the one in which work is to be done and closed in inverse order.

One is tempted to ask at once, what are the causes of the foregoing divergences and of many others that might be named? It is always dangerous to generalize, but I venture to suggest six causes for your consideration. These are:

  1. Masonry was transplanted to this country while the ritual was still formative in many respects in England.
  2. There were several foci, and, as it were, several sub-foci, of Masonry in the United States, from each of which was transmitted its own version of what it received.
  3. The schism of Ancients and Moderns which obtained in England in the last half of the eighteenth century, led to two rituals in this country during the formative period of American Masonry, and later these were fused in varying degrees in different jurisdictions.
  4. It was not until the end of the eighteenth century in England and not until the first quarter of the nineteenth century in this country that literal knowledge of the work was regarded as of paramount importance. Moreover, complete uniformity of work does not obtain in England, where two distinct schools perpetuate the work as taught by ancient Masonic teachers of the first part of the last century.
  5. New Grand Lodges were formed in this country by the union of Lodges chartered from different states and these unions gave rise to all sorts of combinations.
  6. Each jurisdiction, when it established a Grand Lodge, became independent and preserved its ritual as it had received it or made it over by way of compromise or worked it out, as a possession of its own.

On the other hand two unifying agencies had no little influence, namely, the ritual of the Baltimore Convention (1843) and the Webb tradition zealously propagated by Morris in the middle of the nineteenth century. This tradition and Morris's propaganda were made effective especially through the institution of Grand Lecturers or Grand Custodians of the Work, as they are variously called in our several jurisdictions. These agencies gradually stopped insensible variations in the rituals. But they also gradually stereotyped each local work and gave it permanency in the form in which the first local Grand Lecturer found it or made it. For the student of American Masonic ritual soon comes to learn that profound changes have sometimes to be traced to the idiosyncrasies of masterful Grand Lecturers.

Looking at the causes of divergence in ritual more in detail, the chief points to note are that of the thirteen original states some got their Masonry in the period of transition, from 1723 to 1738, in which ritual was formative, indeed one might even say fluid, and that the remainder got their ritual in the period of the great schism, in which there were two contending Grand Lodges in England and hence two rival rituals.

First, then, as to organized Masonry in America prior to 1738. Here, at the outset, we are confronted with the phenomenon of what may be called spontaneous Lodges. For it must be remembered that down in the beginning of the era of Grand Lodges in 1717 there was not the fixity of organization which now prevails. Any group of Masons anywhere were competent to congregate themselves in a Lodge and work without Warrant or Charter. After the organization of the Grand Lodge of England it was some time before that body was able to establish itself as paramount and put an end to the practice of spontaneous Lodges or turn the more stable of them into Lodges existing from time immemorial. Hence, with great deference to the learned legal argument of our Most Worshipful Grand Master in your proceedings for 1914, it seems by no means clear historically that there is any other test of the legitimacy of a spontaneous Lodge prior to 1738 than whether it succeeded, in common phrase, "in getting by." What compels us to take account of this phenomenon is the undoubted existence of what was evidently such a spontaneous Lodge in Philadelphia as early as 1731, with existing records from 1731 to 1738. It is not unlikely that there were spontaneous Lodges of this sort in Virginia, also at an early date. And there are grounds for believing that in this commonwealth the organized Masonry under authority of the Grand Lodge of England was preceded by spontaneous Lodges of the same sort, which, however, did not become permanent because of the early setting up of a Grand Lodge.

The first institution of an organized Masonic body in America, under authority of the English Grand Lodge, was, as you all know, the establishment of St. John's Grand Lodge in Boston in 1733. The St. John s Grand Lodge formed under the deputation of 1733 has been the great focus of Masonry in this country. In addition, organized Grand-Lodge Masonry came into Georgia from England at some unknown date just prior to 1735; into Pennsylvania from Massachusetts in 1734; and into South Carolina from England in 1736 and from Massachusetts in 1738. Thus by 1738, in addition to spontaneous Lodges of the old type in two or three of the colonies, the English Grand Lodge Masonry, which ultimately prevailed, had become established in four colonies including all but one of those in which spontaneous Masonry of the old type had appeared. But this period from 1723 to 1738, in which American Masonry had its beginnings, is a period of transition, a period of struggle on the part of the Grand Lodge of England for control of Masonry. It was not until 1738 that the days of the old seventeenth-century type of Lodge or assembly were definitely over; and the system of three degrees, as we now know it, seems to have been established during this same period.

All other Masonic organizations in the thirteen colonies than those above referred to date from the period of the great schism in which the so-called Ancients and so-called Moderns were contending, namely, 1747 to 1813. One need not say that the ritual of the two rival Grand Lodges was in its main outlines the same. Yet there were important differences of detail and notably the ritual of the so-called Ancients was much more ornate. In Massachusetts and in South Carolina there were both Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges under the authority of the English Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges respectively, and the existing Grand Lodges in those jurisdictions represent fusion of the rival Grand Bodies after the Revolution. In Pennsylvania there was a Provincial Grand Lodge of Ancients and there were Lodges under the authority of the Moderns. The present Grand Lodge represents a fusion of these elements. In Virginia Lodges of each type united to form the existing Grand Lodge.

But Massachusetts was a great center of dispersion before the fusion and Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have been centers of dispersion of the first importance since the fusion. When it is remembered that the fusion of rituals took place in varying degrees in these different jurisdictions, an important cause of divergence will be readily perceived. It would take too long to go over the transplantation of Masonry to each of the original thirteen states in detail. Suffice it to say that of the four important centers of Masonic activity, Massachusetts, as a disseminator of Masonry represented chiefly the so-called Modern Masonry of the older English Grand Lodge, although Massachusetts Masonry of today is a fusion of Modern and Ancient elements; Pennsylvania and Virginia disseminated a fusion of the Modern and the Ancient; while North Carolina was a purely Modern jurisdiction, its Grand Lodge representing a union of Modern Lodges some under English authority and some deriving from Massachusetts. It will be seen, therefore, that on the whole Modern influence preponderated in the origin of American Masonry.

A second group of jurisdictions represent the first movement of Masonly from the original foci in the thirteen colonies. These are Maine, which derives from Massachusetts since the fusion; Vermont, which derives from the Grand Lodge of Ancients in Massachusetts before the fusion; Ohio, which derives from Massachusetts, from Connecticut, a strictly Modern jurisdiction, and from Pennsylvania; Indiana, which derives from Ohio and from Kentucky, which latter represents Virginia after the fusion; Michigan, which derives from the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada and from New York, which since the Revolution was a strictly Ancient jurisdiction; Kentucky, which derives from Virginia; Tennessee, which derives from North Carolina, a purely Modern jurisdiction; Alabama, which derives from North Carolina, from South Carolina, and from Tennessee; Mississippi, which derives from Kentucky and from Tennessee – thus representing Virginia and North Carolina; Louisiana, deriving from South Carolina, from Pennsylvania, and from France; Florida, deriving from Georgia and from South Carolina; Missouri, deriving from Pennsylvania and from Tennessee, representing, therefore, the fusion in Pennsylvania and the Modern Masonry of North Carolina; Illinois, deriving from Kentucky and so representing Virginia; and the District of Columbia, deriving from Maryland (a fusion of Modern Masonry from Massachusetts and from England direct with Ancient Masonry from Pennsylvania), and from Virginia.

In this group the noteworthy jurisdictions are Ohio and Missouri, which stand out as the great secondary centers of Masonic dispersion.

A third group of states represents a further movement of Masonry westward, in which, as it were, the first-hand and second-hand English Masonry were used in different degrees. These are, Wisconsin, deiving chiefly from Missouri; Minnesota, deriving from Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois; Iowa, deriving from Missouri but affected largely by the commanding authority of Parvin, raised in Ohio and a zealous advocate of uniform work; Arkansas, deriving from Tennessee and from Mississippi, and so resting ultimately on North Carolina and Virginia; Nebraska, deriving from Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa but much influenced by a Grand Custodian of the work from Ohio; Kansas, deriving from Missouri; and Oklahoma, deriving from Kansas, each therefore variants of a fusion of Pennsylvania and North Carolina; Texas, deriving from Louisiana; North and South Dakota, deriving from Minnesota and Nebraska; and a curious sub-group representing in varying degrees, directly or indirectly, Missouri and Ohio, namely, Montana, deriving from Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado; Wyoming, deriving from Nebraska and Colorado; Colorado, deriving from Kansas and Nebraska; and Utah, deriving from Montana, Kansas, and Colorado.

Fourth, a noteworthy group is to be seen on the Pacific coast. California received Masonry from the District of Columbia, from Connecticut, and from Missouri and formed a Grand Lodge as early in California history as 1850. This, it will be seen, represents a fusion of Connecticut, Missouri, and Virginia but under circumstances that gave rise to local peculiarities. Nevada, 1865, and Oregon, 1851, got their Masonry directly from California; and Washington, 1858, from California by way of Oregon.

Summing this matter up, four types of jurisdiction in respect to Masonic origin may be seen in the first group of states considered.

  1. The Moderns are represented in varying degrees by New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Georgia. Of these New Hampshire and Rhode Island derive chiefly from the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Moderns, although there were Lodges of Ancients in each. Connecticut and North Carolina derive from the English Grand Lodge of Moderns and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Moderns, though the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Ancients established Lodges in Connecticut. Georgia derives from England. The old Massachusetts St. John's Grand Lodge prior to the fusion, which had the chiefest share in this group, was the principal focus of Masonry in the United States and its influence especially through North Carolina and Virginia was predominant in giving to the beginnings of Masonry in this country a distinctively Modern character.
  2. A second group represents the Ancients alone, namely, New York, where Masonry after the Revolution came from the English Grand Lodge of Ancients and New Jersey which derives from New York. This group has had little or no influence in spreading Masonry to other jurisdictions except as the Webb tradition was affected by the circumstance that he was raised in a Lodge chartered by the Ancients and his active work began in New York.
  3. A third group represents a mixture of Ancient and Modern elements. In this class we must put the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts where both elements came directly from England and the Grand Lodge of South Carolina where both elements came from England and both from Massachusetts. South Carolina has had some little influence in the further development of the work in this country, partly through direct propagation but more through the writings of Dr. Mackey.
  4. A fourth group represents Ancient and Modern Masonry mixed with other elements. Notable in this group are Pennsylvania, which received both from Massachusetts and had also an unknown element; and Virginia, which received both from England and both from Massachusetts but also has an unknown element. These states have had very great influence in the propagation of Masonry in the United States. Maryland, representing a mixture of the Modern derived from Massachusetts and from England, with Pennsylvania Masonry, has had a scintilla of influence; and Delaware, representing a mixture of the English Ancient Masonry with that in Pennsylvania, has had none at all.

Passing now to the second great group of states which was examined above, this may be divided into four sub-groups. The first represents a predominant Modern influence. Here we may classify Ohio and what might be called the Ohio family of jurisdictions; the North Carolina element, in the great North Carolina-Pennsylvania family; and Tennessee, which received Masonry directly from North Carolina, a truly Modern jurisdiction, and to some extent spread Masonry in the states to the north and west. In the second sub-group we may put Michigan which has had no great influence in propagating Masonry. In the third sub-group we may put Maine, Vermont, and Florida which represent a fusion of Ancient and Modern Masonry; Maine and Vermont through the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Florida through a fusion of Lodges established by Georgia and by South Carolina. In a fourth sub-group we have Ancient and Modern mixed with other elements. This is represented by the Pennsylvania element in the North Carolina-Pennsylvania family and in what might be called the Missouri sub-family, and the Virginia element in Kentucky, Illinois, and in the California family.

With respect to the third class of states as taken up above we may note, first, what I have already called the North Carolina-Pennsylvania family, in which we have a mixture of a predominating Modern element with one made up of a fusion with the Ancient and Modern. Second, the Missouri sub-group of this North Carolina-Pennsylvania family, namely, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and what might be called a Missouri-Ohio variant in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and Utah. Third, a derived group from the two former, with some admixture from without. In this group Ohio has been a strong influence. Here again the pedigree is preponderatingly Modern. Minnesota, Nebraska, and the Dakotas are to be included in this group.

Finally, there is the California family, predominantly Modern in pedigree but mixed with a fusion of the Ancient and Modern, namely, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Putting this in a different way which may bring the situation out more clearly, the Ancient element by derivation predominates in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Michigan. It was the stronger element in the fusion in Massachusetts, and is notable in Maine, Vermont, South Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

There is a secondary Ancient element in what might be called the Virginia family, Kentucky, Illinois, and the Virginia element in the California family. Also there has been a slight Ancient element through Pennsylvania in the North Carolina-Pennsylvania family.

The Modern element by derivation predominates in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio. It is a large element by derivation in the Ohio family, in the North Carolina Pennsylvania family, and hence in the Missouri subfamily, as it might be called, and in the California family. On the whole, if no other factors than derivation had been at work, American Masonry would have been more nearly the Modern Masonry of eighteenth-century England than the English Masonry of today in which the more elaborate and ornate ceremonial of the Ancients was largely substituted.

We have seen that one prime cause of divergence in ritual is that the ritual was transmitted orally from different Masonic centers and in these centers often represented fusions of different rituals. Next we must note that even in these centers themselves ritual was not fixed in the modern sense till later. Our present day conception Of letter-perfect knowledge Of a ritual whose every word is fixed and settled down to the dotting of i's and crossing of t's has its origin at the end of the eighteenth century when the supremacy of Grand Lodges had been incontestably established and each of the rival Grand Lodges had its definite ritual. In large measure we owe this conception to Preston, who labored diligently for precision and uniformity in the lectures. From the lectures it spread to the work at large, and exact memorizing of every detail word for word became a Masonic virtue. We now take this to be a matter Of course. But that it was not a matter Of course at one time is shown by the case Of Dr. Oliver. Oliver's father was Master of a Lodge at Peterborough in 1801. He was remarkable, as all contemporary accounts testify, for minute and exact knowledge of the ritual. That this, which we expect of every Master today, as it were ex officio, was remarkable in 1801, speaks for itself. But it is even more significant that Oliver, who was trained carefully by his father to this same letter-perfect knowledge, was himself thought remarkable and had something to do by his example and by his writings (especially his identification of the Landmarks with the ritual) in establishing the doctrine that it is the duty of the bright Mason to know his work word for word.

If as late as 1801 Masons who were letter-perfect were remarkable even among Masters of Lodges, it must be apparent that the work brought to the several jurisdictions in America from the same Grand Lodge in England at different times and by different persons must have differed in its details. It must be apparent also that the work which spread from different Masonic centers in the new world at different times and by the agency of different persons likewise varied more or less in important details. Thus from 1733 to 1770 the Modern Grand Lodge of Massachusetts had established Lodges in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We have good reason to suspect that the details did not reach each of these jurisdictions precisely the same. Indeed there is reason to believe that letter-perfect Masons were at least as rare here as they were in England at the same time and there was no central agency of control in this country. It is obvious, therefore, that derivation from the same source in the eighteenth century does not at all guarantee uniformity of ritual. As Preston and his followers made it the correct thing in England to know the ritual accurately, so Webb, who shares with Albert Pike the distinction of being the great American ritualist, made critical attention to detail the correct thing in America. Webb's work was done between 1797 and 1819, and it was not till about 1825 that thorough, critical, literal knowledge of the work came to be appreciated. Indeed a generation later the revival fostered by Morris found more than one jurisdiction in a condition where every Lodge was largely a law to itself in this respect. But before 1825 Masonry had so spread that Grand Lodges had been set up in Maine, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. Some of these new jurisdictions, such as Ohio and Missouri, were themselves active agents in propagating Masonry. In other words, the secondary centers of Masonry in the United States had become established before fixity of ritual in every detail had been put upon a firm basis, and these centres to some extent fixed their ritual parallel to and along with the older centers. Consequently when jurisdictions of the third generation, as it were, derive from the same center of the second generation, it does not follow that they got exactly the same ritual – and this quite apart from the inevitable changes involved in oral transmission. Those who carried Masonry across the continent in the fore part of the nineteenth century were much more concerned with the substance than with the form. Oral transmission will account for the interchange of the good archaic "wittingly" and the more intelligible "willingly," which is so common. But it will not account entirely for the interchange of "wayfaring man" and "seafaring man," which is no less common, or for the almost complete lack of accord in the details of the search by the Craftsmen which a study of American ritual will reveal. As to these one may only say that those who transmitted the ceremonial knew the general character of the plot that was to be acted and more or less of the details of the dialogue. But they had not earned and very likely had not felt bound to learn every word of the dialogue so as to give its details precisely the same on every occasion. Thus we get another basis of divergence. Even after the work came into a new place there was no assurance at that time hat it would be transmitted exactly as it was received.

To sum up the foregoing discussion:

  1. The work received in different parts of this country from England at different times was not necessarily the same and must often have varied considerably;
  2. the work transmitted from the same Masonic centre in this country to different places at different times, particularly in the eighteenth century, and to some extent in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, was not always the same and often differed in important details:
  3. the work when so received did not remain exactly as received, but, with the lax modes of work and lax modes of transmission which prevailed so widely until the influence of Webb, of the Baltimore Convention, and of Morris made for strictness and accuracy, wide fluctuation in detail was possible and even common. Accordingly when the system of Grand Lecturers became established a great deal depended on the individual views of those who first held these offices and the extent to which they could induce Grand Lodges to go with them. Unhappily many zealous Brothers who held office as Grand Lecturers were extremely dogmatic and sought to improve the ritual on a priori or analytical grounds rather than to ascertain just what had been received.

But, it will be said, the foregoing will account for changes in a word or phrase here and there and even for changes in the tenor of the dialogue. But it will hardly account for such wide divergencies as those in the modes of recognition, in the officers of the Lodge, and in the mode of opening and closing. To understand these wide divergences, we have to bear in mind that the standardizing of the ritual in the last half of the eighteenth century involved making a great deal as well as selecting and standardizing. The acting of the ritual, instead of merely communicating it, as a regular thing, involved not merely a settling of details, but a manufacture of details. What this means may be illustrated if you compare the drama of the third degree, as told in the lecture in that degree, in almost any of our jurisdictions, with the actual ceremony as acted in the same jurisdiction.

We must turn to history for an explanation. The evidence of the old Charges and the evidence of seventeenth-century accounts of those who, having been made Masons, recorded the fact in their diaries, show pretty clearly that the ordinary course in the seventeenth century was to communicate the whole of Masonry at one sitting. There were at most "parts" of one ceremony rather than separate degrees with separate ceremonies. These parts go back to a prior ritual of two parts:

  1. reception of the apprentice;
  2. passing or raising this apprentice to a fellow of the craft or master.

The most plausible hypothesis on all the evidence seems to be that the two degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft as we now know them, represent a division into two of the Apprentice's part, while the Master Mason degree and the Royal Arch or Elect and Perfect Mason (according to the rite chosen) – i. e., the communication of the true word – represent a division of the Master's part – of that part, which, when received, made one a fully qualified Mason. In the seventeenth century we have abundant evidence that all this was commonly done at once – and that it was done not by acting out all the details, but rather in the way in which the higher degrees are often communicated today – by obligating the candidates, explaining the words, passes, and modes of recognition, and reading over the old Charges to him, with the Legend of the Craft and what we should now call the Lectures.

Even after the revival, for a long time this mode of working seems to have obtained. Thus in Dr. Stukeley's diary under head of January 6, 1721, he tells us that he was made a Mason on that day and that he was the first who had been made for many years. His diary adds: "We had great difficulty in finding members enough to perform the ceremony." If in 1721, four years after the revival, with four Lodges and a Grand Lodge in London, it was hard to find members enough who knew the ritual well enough to communicate the whole to Dr. Stukeley at one sitting, it must be evident that the Grand Lodge had to settle a great deal authoritatively, along settled lines, it is true, but without settled details to guide it. The oft-cited testimony of the old brother who told Dermott that Payne (second Grand Master), Desaguliers, and others were the inventors of Modern Masonry may well have some foundation in this – that they fixed for the Modern Grand Lodge what prior thereto was only fixed in its general lines. Thus we may understand how it comes that the three degrees of Craft Masonry the world over follow the same general lines and yet differ so widely in all the details.

But to come back to the system of degrees: I can only summarize the evidence. The first point is that the absence of uniformity as to degrees is very clear during the whole period down to 1738. The Grand Lodge records show that it disciplined where it could, exhorted where it was not expedient to discipline, and sought to produce uniformity by example, while its own practice was still fluid and formative. In the next place, there is no clear mention of three degrees down to 1730, and even that year, in the defence of Martin Clare to the attacks upon the Grand Lodge in Prichard's Masonry Dissected, it is assumed as a matter of course that there were but two degrees. All the prior literature, e. g., Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 and Drake's speech at York in 1726, as well as the old Charges, speak of two degrees, Apprentice, or after 1723, Entered Apprentice, and Fellowcraft or (not and) Master. That Fellowcraft and Master were synonyms at that time seems absolutely established by Lodge records, contemporary allusions, and the whole Masonic literature of the time. There were two "parts" as they were called, (1) the Apprentice Part, and (2) the Master's Part. The latter was often omitted as a formal ceremony and the secrets simply communicated, as is done so often in our higher degrees today. Not, let us remember, that any part of the substance of the three degrees is new. The antiquity of every part of each degree is as well established as the fact that there was a change in the mode of working them. What has been shown is that between 1723 and 1738 there grew up a "new way of communicating the old secrets" by splitting the Apprentice Part in two, appropriating to one part the name of Entered Apprentice and to the other that of Fellowcraft, and giving to the Master's Part the degree of Master Mason. The first record of this in Scotland is in 1735, and many Scotch Lodges long after continued in the old way, as their records show. In Ireland, it came in 1738 in the wake of the second edition of Anderson's Constitutions. In England, it was recognized by Anderson in 1738 as fully established, although Clare in 1730 used the old phrases. Somewhere in those eight years the practice in England became settled.

Let me repeat – all this does not cast the least doubt on the antiquity of the Master's Degree or, as it used to be called, the Master's Part. It simply means that the exact details of the ceremony by which different Grand Lodges in different parts of the world now require the degree to be conferred were fixed somewhere between 1723 and 1825, or for the newer American Grand Lodges sometimes even later. As to the antiquity of the degree itself, I can only refer you to the discussion by Ball in 5 Ars Quatuor Coronatorum 136. Ball's discussion seems to show clearly not only that what we now know as the third degree existed long before the era of Grand Lodges, but that, to use another's words "having passed through a long decline, its symbols had been corrupted and their meaning to a great extent forgotten when the degree itself – then known as the Master's Part – was first unequivocally referred to in any print or manuscript to which a date can be assigned – i. e., 1723." Unhappily those who wrought for a certain ritual in the second half of the eighteenth century did not have the learning to restore these symbols, to undo these corruptions, or to avoid further corruptions or confusions of their own. And in like manner in American Masonry we have, for like reason, developed some further corruptions and confusions of our own. Some of these are traceable to known sources, as for example, the monument in the lecture of the third degree, which is an unhappy anachronism of Webb's. The well-merited criticisms of Albert Pike in the first three lectures of his Morals and Dogma, though based wholly upon considerations of scientific symbolism, have proved to be entirely borne out by the history of the symbols of Craft Masonry as subsequent writers have been able to work it out.

If it took so long to standardize the degrees, to determine that the work was to be done in three degrees and to fix the details of each, it was not to be expected that matters of less importance should get fixed before the era of local Grand Lodges, each with full sovereignty over all details. Accordingly many things passed into permanent subjects of dispute which might well have been settled at least for the whole English-speaking craft if there could have been a union of Ancients and Moderns in England prior to the Revolution or if the Revolution had not put an end to the hegemony of the Grand Lodges of England and left our several American Grand Lodges to settle so many things each for itself and each in its own way.

One striking example is to be seen in the grand honours – "Those peculiar acts and gestures by which the Craft express their homage, their grief or their joy on important occasions." It is common to lay down – e. g., Mackey so states – that the grand honours are of two kinds, the private and the public. He then tells us that "the private grand honours of Masonry are performed in a manner known only to Master Masons, since they can only be used in a Master's Lodge. They are practised by the Craft," he goes on, "only on four occasions: When a Masonic hall is to be consecrated, a new Lodge to be constituted, a Master elect to be installed, or a Grand Master or his Deputy to be received on an official visitation to a Lodge. They are used at all these ceremonies," he adds, "as tokens of congratulation and homage." He then proceeds to describe minutely the public grand honours or as some call them the funeral honours and to explain when they are given.

All this sounds clear and convincing as he expounds it. But there are several things to remark about it:

  1. In many Grand Lodges homage to the Grand Master is done by making the signs of the degrees.
  2. In some jurisdictions the signs of the degrees are reckoned the private grand honors.
  3. In some jurisdictions the three times three to which Mackey evidently refers are considered public grand honors.
  4. Some notable jurisdictions deny that there are any public and private grand honors respectively.
  5. The American distinction which Mackey discusses is quite unknown to the United Grand Lodge of England. But the ceremony of the raising of the hands and beating of the breast which Mackey describes took place at the Masonic funeral of James Anderson in 1739, as we learn from a newspaper of the day. The reporter was impressed very much by what he saw and described it carefully. There are jurisdictions, however, in which quite another mode is used on this occasion instead.

Here we have a case where the practice was not settled and each jurisdiction had to determine its own course. Probably Webb's Monitor and Mackey's Encyclopedia made for uniformity and influenced more than one of our jurisdictions.

Many such cases might be cited. But perhaps I have said enough to make my point. A useful parallel might be drawn from American law. After the Revolution we received the common law of England as the foundation of American law. But the common law of England was still formative on many most important points. E.g., the reception of the law merchant was not complete till some time thereafter. Lord Mansfield had still many years before him in his work of turning the custom of merchants into the common law. Again, the crystallization of equity, begun so well by Lord Hardwicke in the eighteenth century, was not complete till the long chancellorship of Lord Eldon in the first decade of the nineteenth century and James Kent in New York was able to divide the honor with him. Thus the fixing of the common law went on parallel in England and America for a generation after the Revolution and we worked out many things in our own way and many of our states worked out the same things in different ways. The same thing happened in Masonry. We received the English Masonry of the eighteenth century as the foundation. But English Masonry as we received it was not a fixed and fully developed system at every point. In more than one place it was still formative and when we broke off our Masonic allegiance along with our political allegiance after 1776 that great unifying agency, Preston's Illustrations, was but fairly off the press. Thus we did much parallel with English Masonry, in the way of fixing the details. Each of our Grand Lodges has had to some extent to work out in its own way the dialogue and the setting of the noble story which the Middle Ages handed down to the eighteenth century and the latter century endeavoured to reconstruct and restore from the corruptions of a long era of communication rather than working – of reading or describing rather than acting.

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