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The Story of Freemasonry

by W.G. Sibley

The Initiation into the Ancient Persian Magi, and a Curious Legend
of Hiram Abif, Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba.
Thousands of years ago there was a wonderful secret organization in
Persia whose underground quarters and equipment for the ceremonial
admission of men who sought membership in it were on so large a
scale, and involved so much time, thought, skill and expense that
compared with it, the most elaborate and costly spectacular
productions on the modern stage seem paltry.
A man applied for initiation into this society. To test his
sincerity and fitness he was subjected to a period of probation
which continued through several months, and was undergone in utter
solitude in the silence & darkness of a subterranean cave. This
ordeal had dethroned the reason of more than one who had undertaken
it and was concluded with a fast of Fifty Days' duration. This is
what happened to the candidate when finally admitted to the
He was led by a grotesque figure to a dangerous precipice, from
which he felt his way to the deep interior of a gloomy cavern,
where he was confronted by a hideous object which directed him
toward a place whence came the howls of ravenous wild beasts.
Suddenly seized by unseen hands he was thrust into the faintly
lighted den of animals and instantly attacked by what seemed to be
lions, tigers, wolves and other vicious beasts, but were in fact
members of the Society cunningly made up to resemble them.
Through this horrible place he had been directed to make his way,
and was tossed, pulled, trampled upon and buffeted before he
escaped, covered with bruises and genuine wounds, into another
cavern in which resounded loud peals of thunder, and through which
shot constantly terrifying bursts of flame. If he fainted from
exhaustion and horror, his senses returned in a comfortable chamber
where delightful music and soothing perfumes quieted to some extent
his agitation.
Then three venerable priests approached him. One of them threw a
Squirming Snake into his bosom, and with the loathsome reptile
chilling his skin he was conducted to a door from which issued
awful cries of lamentation and despair. There he beheld a dreadful
representation of men enduring the torments of Hell.
This was followed by seven subterranean journeys to the scenes of
as many appalling perils, each likely to disturb the stoutest heart
and arouse the most trying emotions. Then if his strength held out
he entered the Holy of Holies. It was a splendid apartment in
which a brilliant sun and beautiful stars moved in a miniature sky,
while most ravishing music was heard. In the East, seated upon a
golden throne, was a presence before whom the candidate bowed and
took the oath of the Order. Such was the initi ation of the
Persian Magi, the society founded by Zoroaster, whose extreme
antiquity is certified by both Aristotle & Plato. There were other
Mysteries in other lands, in the times of antiquity - those of Isis
in Egypt, of Cabiri in Phoenicia, of Sabazian in Rome, and the
Eleusinian in Greece. And from among them all, Freemasonry alone
has emerged as a living influence on modern civilized society, and
is richest in legend, tradition, and historic facts. One very
curious tale is told by an English author a nd student of
antiquities, whose description of the initiation of the Persian
Magi has already been rehearsed. It is a legend of Hiram Abif, the
master architect and engineer at the building of King Solomon's
Temple, who, according to tradition, assisted Solomon in founding
the Masonic Order.
When the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon, that Prince of Riches and
Glory, who had an appreciative eye for beauty in Women, as well as
in Architecture, fell a victim to the seductive charms of his
visitor, and sought her hand in marriage. After consideration, she
accepted the proposal. Later, when repeated requests had secured
the presentation to her of Hiram Abif, whose work on the Temple was
a revelation to her of extraordinary ability, the son of the tribe
of Naphthali cast a look into her eyes which dr ew her heart to
him. Solomon, wise in the ways of women, instantly became aware of
the impression made on the Queen by his great architect, and was
stirred by jealousy. Chagrined, he set about to destroy his friend.
The Queen met Hiram in a grove near Jerusalem when none but her
maids were present. He was silent and thoughtful, but soon
declared his love. She threw herself into his arms, their lips
met, and she rapturously responded to his words of affection.
Realizing that Solomon would not approve their mating, they planned
to leave Jerusalem at different times, and meet in Arabia.
Meanwhile Solomon had hinted to certain workmen on the temple that
Hiram's death would be pleasing to him, and gave them an excuse for
quarrelling with him. As a consequence Hiram was slain while
seeking exit from the temple.
This legend is so at variance with Masonic tradition and history
that it cannot be accepted, although it gives additional interest
to a Biblical character whose memory will live as long as
Freemasonry exists among men. It is printed as a curious specimen
chosen from among many apocryphal tales which found their way into
print in Europe during the Eighteenth Century, and were widely
circulated among readers of books.
Attempts to Exterminate Freemasonry.
Freemasonry has at different times been attacked by vigorous and
malicious enemies whose purpose was Deadly. Many efforts have been
made by Church & State in European countries to suppress and
destroy it, a notable anti-Masonic popular excitement once arose
and flourished in the United States, and the closing years, of the
nineteenth century witnessed in France a remarkable mystification
of the enemies of the fraternity.
Half a dozen serious attempts to annihilate the order were made
when its purposes were not so clearly understood as they are now,
and before the Roman Catholic Church, its most inveterate enemy,
began openly and actively its unrelenting warfare against it. An
act of Parliament in 1429 made felons of all Masons who
confederated in chapters, and subjected them to punishment by
imprisonment and fines, but it was never enforced. In 1561 Queen
Elizabeth ordered the grand lodge of England broken up, and forbade
Masons to meet in their lodges, but the initiation of a number of
her officers into the order, and their subsequent importunities to
her, induced her to withdraw the obnoxious command. France passed
a law abolishing Masonry in 1637, owing to a suspicion that it
might be dangerous to the government, but public opinion nullified
it. The Empress Maria Theresa of Germany was influenced against
Masonry in 1747 by ladies of her court who had be en unable to
cajole or exhort its secrets from their husbands, and issued an
order that Masons should be arrested while engaged in their lodge
work, but the Emperor Joseph I, who was a member of the Fraternity,
persuaded the misled woman to give up her foolish project, to the
intense disappointment and chagrin of the court ladies, whose
husbands perhaps had read LaFontaine's sage observation that
"nothing is so oppressive as a secret women find it difficult to
keep one."
The Great Council of Berne in Switzerland, a Protestant tribunal,
denounced Masonry in 1745, decreeing that "citizens and subjects
who are actually known to be Freemasons shall be obliged
immediately to abjure, by oath, the engagements they have taken in
said society," and providing that those unknown, who did not
renounce the order voluntarily, should be heavily fined and made
ineligible for any employment in the Republic. Owing to the
hostile action of the synod at Stirling in 1745, and the synod at
Edi nburgh in 1755, the associate of Scotland in 1757 ordered
Masons to be questioned as to whether on initiation they were
required to give up all metal on their persons, if the Bible was
used in their superstitious ceremonies, and if the passage in I
Kings, vii-21, was read to them. All who refused to answer were
"reputed under scandal" and declared "incapable of admission to
sealing ordinances." Those who did answer were purged by rebuke and
admonition, and strictly charged not to entice others into the
snare of Freemasonry.
Frederick I of Sweden forbade Freemasonry in his dominions in 1740
under penalty of death, following the example of King Frederick
Augustus III of Poland the year before. In 1751 Charles III of
Spain prohibited Masonic rites in Naples. A Venice lodge was
abolished by the transportation of its members, and in 1818 John VI
issued a prohibitory edict from Brazil
During the latter part of the eighteenth century Freemasonry was
attacked in England both by ridicule and by clerical utterances.
At that time the fraternity's dignity and serious character were in
marked contrast to the frivolity of numerous other social societies
in that country, which were almost without exception bibulous
bodies, and generally envious of Masonry. The members of these
convivial organizations, of which the song, the glass, and the racy
anecdote were the essence, delighted in deriding an d satirizing
Freemasons, one of the numerous rhymes of the period describing
them as
"A set of ranting, roaring, rumbling fellows, Who meet to sing old
rose and burn the bellows. Champagne and claret, dozens in a jerk,
And then they say how hard they've been at work. Next for the
secret of their own wise making, Hiram and Boaz, and Grand Master
Jachin! Poker and tongs! the sign! the word! the stroke ! 'Tis all
a nothing, and 'tis all a joke."
They were also charged with practicing black arts, such as "Raising
the Devil in a Circle," and branding initiates with a red-hot
poker. Several books were printed to prove the truth of similar
foolish stories, and one of them was seriously entitled "Masonry
the way to Hell a Sermon wherein it is clearly Proved, both from
Reason and from Scripture, that All who profess the Mysteries are
in a state of Damnation."
The hundred years preceding 1793 were prolific in amusing
publications that profess to be exposures of Freemasonry, written
by French and English romancers. No less than forty-five of these
productions are to be found in Masonic libraries, where they are
preserved as curiosities they bear such titles as "An Account of
the Freemasons," "The Grand Mystery of Freemasons Discovered,"
"Masonry Dissected," "The Secrets of Masonry Made Known," "A Master
Key to Freemasonry," "The Three Distinct Knocks," "The Freem ason
Stripped Naked," "Freemasonry of the Ladies," and "The Vail
The Roman Catholic Church viewed Freemasonry with deep suspicion
when it first began to spread over Europe as a confessedly
oath-bound secret organization. When it learned that Masons would
not reveal their secrets in the confessional, and that their
society taught Freedom of Conscience and other tolerant and liberal
principles, the suspicion settled into deep-seated hatred, which
was augmented from time to time by the undoubted participation of
French and Italian lodges in political adventures inimical to the
temporal power of the Pope. The Roman Church had sufficient
influence to cause the promulgation of a government edict for the
abolishment of Masonry in Holland in 1735. An Amsterdam lodge
defied the order, and continued to meet secretly. They were
discovered and arrested in their lodge, acknowledged that they were
Masons, swore that their society taught nothing repugnant to the
laws of God or man, submitted a proposition that the court be fore
which they were brought should select some man in whom it had
implicit confidence, for initiation, and they would abide by his
judgment. This was done, the town clerk became a Mason and so
strongly approved the teachings of the fraternity that the
magistrate himself applied for admission and was accepted, to his
great satisfaction.
Pope Clement XII issued a bull in 1738, the first of a series of
papal fulminations, in which he denounced Freemasonry because it
admitted to its altars men of All Religions, and imposed
obligations its members would not reveal at the confessional. The
following year he published an edict threatening all who visited
lodges with a fine of one thousand crowns of gold and the torture
of the rack. Under this vicious decree, in Spain and Portugal,
several Masons were imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition,
which first sought to extort from them the secrets of the society
by the infliction of inhuman torments, and failing to accomplish
that purpose sent them to the galleys, on which they were subjected
to the most offensive indignities and frightful cruelties
One Freemason, John Coustos, lived to tell the story, of this
suffering from the Inquisition at Lisbon, in Portugal. He was a
native of Switzerland, whose parents took him to England in 1716.
A lapidary by profession, after twenty-two years' residence in
London, and five in Paris, he went to Lisbon to work on precious
stones. There, in various private house, he practiced Freemasonry
with his brethren, and an Inquisitive woman, at confession, told of
the meetings. The priest informed the Inquisition, which seized
him in March, 1743, and threw him into a dungeon, where he was
forbidden to speak, and could hear nothing but the groans & dismal
cries of other prisoners. A few days later he was led to the
Inquisitors and charged with speaking injuriously of the Roman
religion, which he denied and then replaced in his dungeon for
reflection. Three days later he was again before them and was
requested to explain the nature of Freemasonry, which he did so f
ar as consistent with his obligations. Then he was taken to
another & deeper dungeon, where he laid in darkness seven weeks,
during which he was taken before the Inquisitors three times. The
first time they insisted that he should reveal the secrets of the
order, which he declined to do. The second time they threatened
him, called him a heretic and said he was damned, after advising
him to turn Roman Catholic before it was too late. The last time,
after arguing manfully for his rights, he was doomed to suffer the
tortures of the holy office for not revealing t he secrets of
Masonry. He was stripped naked, except for his drawers, an iron
collar fastened to a scaffold was put around his neck, a ring fixed
to each foot, and his limbs tightly stretched. Small ropes were
wound around his arms and thighs and passed through the holes under
the scaffold and drawn tight by four men. These ropes cut his
flesh to the bone in several places. Four times Custos refused to
reveal the secrets, and at each refusal the utmost str ength of his
torturers was applied to the ropes, his judges declaring that his
obstinacy would make him guilty of self murder. Six weeks later
when his wounds were partially recovered, he was again conducted to
the Chamber of Horrors, where his arms were slowly drawn backward
by an engine until his shoulders were dislocated and blood came
from his mouth. This hellish torture was inflicted three times,
when he was returned to his cell and rough physicians reduced the
In two months he was again taken to the torture room. This time a
heavy iron chain was wrapped twice around his arms and body
terminating at his wrists. The ends of the chain were attached to
ropes running through pulleys, which when stretched pressed and
bruised his body, and put his wrists and shoulders out of joint.
Twice in one day he was subjected to this torture. Four weeks after
he was still unable to lift hand to his mouth, his body was
frightfully swollen, and he suffered such dreadful anguish a s may
not be imagined. He was then condemned to be a galley-slave for
four years. There the friars of the convent of Corpo Santos
offered him release if he would turn Roman Catholic, but his stout
Swiss heart would not consent. Word of his condition reaching his
brother-in-law, that relative was able to interest the Duke of
Newcastle in the case, and finally King George II, through the
British minister Compton at Lisbon, demanded and secured his
release, as a British subject, in October, 1744, and he arri ved in
London Dec. 15 of the same year, where he wrote a detailed account
of his sufferings.
Papal constitutions, edicts, epistles, allocutions and encyclicals
of varying degrees of harshness were issued against the older by
Clement XII in 1738 by Benedictus XIV in 1751 by Pius VII in
1814 by Leo XII in 1825 by Pius VIII in 1829 by Gregory XVI in
1832 by Pius IX in 1846, 1865, 1869 and 1873, and by Leo XIII in
1884, 1890 and 1892.
The papal allocution of 1865 pronounces Freemasonry "monstrous,
impious and criminal, full of snares and frauds - a dark society
the enemy of the Church of God, and dangerous to the security of
Kingdoms inflamed with a burning hatred against religious and
legitimate authority, and desirous of overthrowing all rights human
and divine." The epistle of 1873 was in no better temper. It
attributed Masonry to Satan, and declared the Evil One founded it
and contrived its development. These fierce denunciations of Pius
IX are of peculiar interest to Masons, because the records of the
Italian Grand Lodge show His infallible Holiness to have been
expelled from the fraternity after his election as pope. Victor
Emanuel, having been aided by Garibaldi, a 33 degree Mason, in
overthrowing the temporal power of the papacy and establishing
religious and constitutional liberty in Italy, was informed that
the Pope, when a young man, had been Initiated, Passed & Raise d in
a Masonic lodge. He therefore caused him to be tried for repeated
violations of his obligations to the Masonic brethren. Pius IX was
found guilty, expelled, and the proclamation of his expulsion,
signed by Victor Emanuel, then king of Italy and grand master of
Masons in that country, was sent all over the Masonic world.
The encyclical "Humanus genus" of 1884 declared that the Masonic
order sought to overthrow the church of God, which insane desire
was recognized by the Pope as the quenchless hate and thirst for
revenge of Satan against God. The immediate effect of this was to
convince the credulous that Masonry was Devil-worship, and Leo's
accusation was given a tinge of excuse by the extraordinary action
of the Masonic grand orient of Paris a short time before. That
adventurous body removed from its conditions of member ship belief
in God and in immortality, an act of such gross infidelity to the
first principles and fundamental laws of Freemasonry the world
over, that the justly indignant Masonic authorities in other
countries at once sundered all relations with the recreant and
degenerate French organization. In 1890, and again in 1892, Leo
XIII issued additional exhortations against Masonry as an
organization waging war against both religion and civilization.
Naturally these expressions from the head of Catholicism were
echoed by inferior authorities in that church. The Bishop of
Malta, in a discourse on a Malta lodge in 1843, remarked:
"We, with anguish at heart, heard long ago of the creation of this
diabolical lodge, this pestilential pulpit of iniquity and error.
Flee, as from the face of a venomous serpent, this society, the
common sewer of all filth, endeavouring, though continually in
vain, to vomit forth the things of hell against the immaculate
purity of the holy Catholic religion."
The Catholic World, perhaps the leading literary magazine published
by the church in America, in 1875 spoke of the "hideous
loathsomeness of this vile association." Six years later it said
that "Freemasonry, as a secret society, is dangerous to our free
institutions as a craft it is obnoxious to the true spirit of
humanity. No one can seriously question that the Catholic Church,
in prohibiting her children from becoming members of such secret
organizations, has deserved well of the country and in this one
respect particularly has done much for the preservation of our
public institutions." In 1893 it declared that the secret society
is the deadliest enemy to religion and social order."
These sweeping and bitter attack upon the character and influence
of Freemasonry by the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church,
along with many others from the same source too numerous and
lengthy to quote or even summarize here, have had the effect on
Masons which might naturally be expected. Almost without exception
their attitude toward the Church of Rome is that of enmity. When a
Mason becomes a Catholic he renounces the Order, and when a
Catholic becomes a Mason he is excommunicated from that Churc h.
That has been the condition of affairs between Masonry and Roman
Catholicism from the days of the foul unspeakable Inquisition.
Leo Taxil's Remarkable Books about Murder, the Devil, Women, & the
Black Mass, in the High Degrees .
The most Absurd of all the entanglements into which the Roman
Catholic Church has been drawn by its detestation for the society -
a tale of ludicrous credulity and blind fanaticism unparalleled in
the closing decade of the last century, has been related with much
particularity by several writers.
Gabriel Jogand-Pages was born at Marseilles, France, in 1854.
Fortunate in educational advantages during youth, on arriving at
manhood he adopted journalism as his avocation. Talented,
audacious, and holding both religion and decency in contempt, his
writings attracted so much attention that he sought a larger field
in Paris, where he published an infidel daily paper and wrote many
irreligious books that obtained a wide circulation. One of them
was a scandalous work entitled "The Secret Amours of Pius IX ," for
the publication of which he was heavily fined.
In 1885 this reckless young man saw in Leo XIII's "Humanus genus" a
field for both revenue and the humiliation of the Roman Catholic
Church, which he most heartily despised. He pretended conversion,
suppressed his sceptical books, and was absolved by the Papal
Nuncio in Paris, Mgr. di Rende, from a number of excommunications
recorded against him. With ardor born of desire for money and
ambition to dupe the church which had received him into its fold,
he produced, under the pseudonym of Leo Taxil, a series of books
called Complete Revelations of French Masonry, which attracted
great attention in Europe, were translated into German, Italian and
Spanish, and were read by hundreds of thousands of people. In 1881
he had been made an Entered Apprentice, but was soon after expelled
from the fraternity because of indiscretions of which he was
guilty. With reckless disregard for facts, and unrestrained by his
ignorance of Masonry, he gave his extraordinary imag inative powers
full play, and with a fecundity of detail and illustration truly
remarkable, represented the rites of the craft to be a hideous form
of Devil-Worship. One entire volume he devoted to Female Masons,
on which impossible foundation he constructed a shameful edifice of
fiction, full of shockingly scandalous and beastly fabrications
that were received with delight by the papal authorities, who saw
in them perfect justification for the attitude of their church
toward Masonry
Another one of his books, of which two hundred thousand copies were
sold at 24 francs a copy, charged every Mason with being a
murderer, in spirit if not in fact. The following translation of a
passage from it explains the grounds upon which the charge was
"Before a man is admitted to the higher degrees he is blindfolded &
taken into a room where a live sheep is lying on the floor. The
animal's mouth and feet are secured and it is clean shaven, so that
its skin feels to the touch like that of a human being.
"Next to the animal a man is placed, who breathes heavily, feigning
to struggle against imaginary enemies. The candidate is given to
understand that the sheep's body is that of a disloyal Mason who
gave away the secrets of the order and must die according to some
ancient law, the candidate being made executioner, as a warning to
"Then he is given a big knife, and after some ceremonial is
persuaded to 'kill the traitor,' that is, plunge the knife
repeatedly into the body of the sheep, which he imagines to be that
of an unknown human being, his brother.
"Thus every Mason is a murderer in spirit at least, if not
actually, for sometimes treacherous Masons take the place of the
This story drew forth denials from such distinguished Freemasons as
Bismarck, the Prince of Wales, and Emperor William I which served
greatly to stimulate the sale of the work.
Invigorated by the credulity of his victims, Taxil added
Spiritualism to his schedule of Masonic practices and beliefs and
told of tables floating in the air and turning into crocodiles at
Masonic meetings, and for his supposed revelations was honoured by
Pope Leo XIII with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a distinguished
mark of the high favour of the Roman hierarchy
High grade Masonry was the most fertile field of Taxil's grotesque
falsifications. He made Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of
his Luciferan Masonry because it was the home of Albert Pike, whose
labours as grand commander of the southern supreme council, for the
perfection of the rituals and ceremonials of the Scottish Rite,
have been excelled by no man. Taxil declared that in the solemn
recesses of the consistory at Charleston, His Satanic Majesty
exhibited himself without disguise - Hoof, Horns, Tai l and All, in
the exemplification of the high grades. A High Priestess of this
Luciferan Masonry was needed and adroitly contrived for the
consternation of the Pope and the Public, in the person of "Diana
Vaughn." She was said to be the direct descendant of a man to whose
embraces the lascivious Venus-Astarte submitted, and whose life had
been extended thirty-three years for the propagation of demoniacal
designs. As a girl she betrothed herself to the Demon Asmodeus,
afterwards appeared before Satan in Ch arleston, and was by him
consecrated as his Masonic high priestess in the presence of Albert
Pike! She possessed supernatural powers, such as the ability to
turn herself into liquid and pass through a stone wall, and was a
Very Terrible Personage indeed
All these, and scores of other absurdities were published month
after month in Paris, and read with avidity in the Vatican. When
the Roman ecclesiastical authorities had been sufficiently
horrified by Diana Vaughn's deviltry, Taxil caused her to be
"converted" as he himself had been. This astounding change in a
heart familiar with wickedness was alleged to have been caused by
Albert Pike ordering her to Spit Upon & Stab a Consecrated Host in
one of the Masonic rites, and to utter repulsive blasphemies - de
eds which would stir deep resentment in the Pope's breast. Diana
refused to comply, repented, and wrote a book which was sent to Leo
XIII in 1895, who, by his secretary Mgr. Vicenzo Sardi, wrote a
letter thanking her and urging her to continue in her good work
against Freemasonry!
One extract, in which Diana describes a Masonic "Black Mass" - one
of scores of tales equally preposterous - maybe made from this
"In a thick cloud of perfumes the priest ascends the altar of
Satan's Synagogue.
On the table is seen a goat with a human face already excited by
some preliminary homages, intoxicated by perfumes and adoration.
"The priest opens a box and takes out some wafers.
"The rites performed and the words spoken during the continuance of
the magical ceremony are blasphemous in character, and the sacred
vessel and its contents are subjected to insult and mockery. The
goat plays the infernal part, cursing and reviling, and lastly the
following incantation is delivered: Master of the Esclandres,
dispenser of the benefits of crime, intendant of sumptuous sins and
great vices, sovereign of contempt, preserver of old hatreds and
inspirer of vengeance and misdeeds.'
At this ceremony the children of the choir are clad in red and wear
scarlet caps surmounted by two horns. They hold black candles in
their hands."
Largely as a result of Leo Taxil's voluminous works, one of which
has 2,000 pages, the Vatican and its priesthood throughout Europe
were aroused to a sense of impending dangers from the fraternity,
and an anti-Masonic Congress was called to meet at Trent in
September, 1896, to which Leo XIII telegraphed his blessing. Its
purpose was "to make known to everybody the immense moral and
material evil done by Freemasonry to the Church and to society, and
to seek a remedy by way of a permanent, international orga nization
against the craft." A thousand delegates from European countries
attended, among them being thirty-six Roman Catholic bishops, who
found a safe retreat in the marble cathedral of the Austrian city,
where Masonic lodges are unknown owing to governmental prohibition,
as is also the case in Russia and Poland. Gabriel Jogand-Pages,
better known as Leo Taxil, was the hero of the occasion, but his
presence did not completely satisfy the congress . Diana Vaughn,
who for reasons obvious to Taxil alone, co uld not appear, was
greatly desired, as a suspicion that she was a myth had developed
in the public press. The congress, not entirely convinced by the
plausible excuses of Taxil, entrusted an investigation of her
genuineness to a commission of its members, which of course was
unable to secure proof of her existence. The pressure on Monsieur
Jogand-Pages finally became so strong that he announced she would
appear in the hall of the Geographical Society in Paris on Easter
Monday, April 19, 1897
On that date and at that place the precious scamp who had so long
revealed in the admiration and confidence of the princes and
priests of Catholicism took the platform in the presence of a large
audience that had assembled to see and hear Diana Vaughn, formerly
the intimate associate of the Devil, now the repentant accuser of
Masonry. He made a speech of superb audacity, in which he told his
shocked hearers that his conversion twelve years before was a
pretence, that Diana Vaughn was a Myth, and that his r evelations
of Freemasonry were all Deliberate Lies, put forth for the sole
purpose of playing upon the credulity of the Roman Catholic Church
and making its rulers ridiculous in the eyes of intelligent men.
He added that the Bishop of Charleston had long ago assured the
Pope of the falsity of his stories about Albert Pike: and that the
Apostolic Vicar of Gibraltar had informed Leo XIII that the alleged
caves at that place in which he had represented the Masons as
engaged in foul and atrocious rites, did not exist. In his chagrin,
the Pope had since kept silence. This awakened the stunned
audience, whose curses, howls and threats compelled Monsieur
Jogand-Pages to seek security in another quarter under the pro
tection of the police, where no doubt the results of his daring
exploits afforded him profound satisfaction. That the abortive
chase of twelve years under Taxil's guidance, after proofs of the
iniquity of Freemasonry, filled the church authorities with deepest
disgust, is pleasantly indicated by a remark attributed to the
Canon Mustel, in which he is represented as declaring that when
hell should swallow Gabriel Jogand-Pages as its filthy prey, the
damned therein would bow their heads under a new degradatio n
Later Taxil, in an interview, says:
"The public made me what I am, the arch-liar of the period, for
when I first commenced to write against the Masons my object was
amusement pure and simple. The crimes laid at their door were so
grotesque, so impossible, so widely exaggerated, I thought
everybody would see the joke and give me credit for originating a
new line of humour. But my readers wouldn't have it so they
accepted my fables as gospel truth, and the more I lied for the
purpose of showing that I lied, the more convinced became they tha
t I was a paragon of veracity."
Shortly before this disturbing episode movement originated among
American Catholics who were better informed than Rome of the
character, purpose and works of Freemasonry, and who found the ban
of centuries against the fraternity a stumbling block, to have it
removed, at least in America. This agitation gained sufficient
force to reach the Vatican, but was ineffective, the church's
history in relation to Freemasonry being wholly inimical to the
establishment of harmony between the two organizations. Althoug h
a disappointment to many in the Roman church, perhaps 'tis better
"For never can true reconcilement grow, When words of deadly hate
have pierced so deep."
The decision of the Holy See was announced in January, 1895, by the
Roman Catholic Arch-bishop of Cincinnati, and included three
societies besides Freemasonry in its condemnation. It instructed
the ordinaries of all the dioceses of the United States "to keep
the faithful away from all and each of the three societies called
the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and the Sons of Temperance."
The first reason given was that "these societies seem to have a
decided influence to lead Catholics toward Freemasonry, and
Freemasonry is under the absolute condemnation and excommunication
of the Church." The Arch-bishop then called the attention of
Catholics "to the declared and implacable hatred of Masons against
the Church and all religious interests," a hatred he asserted to be
"openly and angrily avowed by the leading Masons of Europe, and
manifested by their satanic warfare against everything Christ ian."
He admitted that this spirit did not seem to prevail in America,
but because of the presence of zealous Masons in the other
societies mentioned, "If a Catholic is drawn into one of them, he
is in continual and familiar association with the admirers of
Masonry" and so "exposed to imbibe their sentiments" and accept
their principles
Although the Freemasons and some other secret fraternities are not
tolerated by Catholicism, an attempt to restrain Catholics from
joining the Knights of Labour, a secret organization founded by a
Freemason, aroused such opposition among Catholics that it was
abandoned, although it has passwords, grips, obligations and other
features that are condemned as a part of Freemasonry. The Grand
Army of the Republic, also organized by Freemasons and members of
other secret bodies, and largely composed of them, is not under the
displeasure of the Vatican, although many zealous Freemasons hold
membership in it.
Whence it appears that diplomacy has a place in the diplomatic
councils of Rome.
The Disappearance of William Morgan & the Anti-Masonic Excitement
which Followed All Over the United States.
The Masonic order in the United States met with a misfortune in
1826 that seriously crippled it for twenty years. In the fall of
1825 there came to Batavia, Genessee County, New York, a man named
William Morgan. He was an operative mason by trade, an indulger in
strong drink, and of bad disposition. If a regular Freemason, it
has never been disclosed where he was made one, although he
received the capitular degrees in LeRoy, New York, on the
avouchment of a Mason in good standing before the local bodies.

Before this man's habits were known in Batavia he was permitted to
sign a petition for a new chapter of the order, but because of
discoveries made afterward which reflected upon his personal
character, another petition was drawn and his name left off. This
angered him, and he set about the work of attempting an exposure of
the secrets of Freemasonry, visiting frequently a man of literary
culture in New York City who had been expelled from the order in
1824, and taking as a partner in his venture a Batavia newspaper
editor named Miller.
All concerned in the scheme expected to be made independently
wealthy by the sale of the projected publication, and while it was
being surreptitiously printed in Miller's office, advertised it in
a way designed to excite the indignation of Freemasons generally.
During the night of September 10, 1826, the printing office was
fired, presumably by Miller himself, as he had plenty of water
standing about in barrels and tubs with which to extinguish the
flames, and the incident was used industriously as a furth er
advertisement of the forthcoming Publication, which on examination
proved to be but a copy of a book previously printed in England.
On the following day Morgan was arrested on a charge of larceny
said to have been committed at Canandaigua, fifty miles from
Batavia. He was taken there, tried, and discharged, but
immediately arrested for debt and thrown into jail.
His wife learning this, went to Canandaigua prepared to secure his
release, where she learned that his New York indebtedness had been
paid, and that he had been arrested again on the suit of a
Pennsylvania creditor and taken away. She was greatly alarmed by
this information, hastily returned home, and her friends despatched
a man to trace him. The messenger came back with the very,
distressing news that when Morgan was released from jail he had
been seized by two men who thrust him into a carriage while h e
shouted "Murder" and drove off with him to a place afterwards
learned to be about three miles from Rochester. This was the Last
Ever Seen or definitely known of the man, who had disappeared as
completely as if swallowed up in the bowels of the earth
His abduction was at once, and probably with justice, regarded by
the public as the act of Freemasons, and a great sensation ensued.
The Governor of New York, DeWitt Clinton, himself a Mason, was
appealed to and did all in his power to discover the missing man
and apprehend his captors, as did many other prominent members of
the fraternity, but all in vain. Meanwhile the public - stirred to
frenzy by the publication of false stories in which Morgan was made
the victim of a secret tribunal acting in violati on of law, and
executing a horrible sentence on the man who professed to have
exposed secrets - refused to accept the protestations of admittedly
respectable and honourable Freemasons that his disappearance was
Not an act determined upon by the Masonic organization, but
persisted in denouncing Freemasonry as a whole and demanding
victims for their fury. In April, 1827, several men were arrested
for complicity in the affair, tried and sentenced to imprisonmen t.
The next month seventeen others were arrested and tried on a charge
of removing the missing man to foreign parts, but were acquitted.
The following October, more than a year after the celebrated
abduction, the putrid body of a drowned man was found on the beach
of Lake Ontario about forty miles east of the Niagara River. A
political campaign in which anti-Masonic prejudice ran high, was in
the midst of its emotional course, and the claim was made that the
body was Morgan's. His widow viewed it and then Positively
Identified it, although the clothing on it was not that he had worn
when he disappeared, and a coroner's jury solemnly declar ed it to
be the remains of William Morgan. The funeral was seized upon by
designing politicians as the occasion for a big demonstration to
influence the votes of citizens in the approaching elections, and
was attended by thousands whose imprecations and curses made the
burial a travesty on the services that should accompany the
interment of human remains, and turned the ceremony into a
remarkable exhibition of partisan rancour. The Freemasons who v
ied with their enemies in honest efforts to secure and pun ish the
men who made away with Morgan, did not believe his widow's
identification of the body was correct, and instituted an
investigation. They learned that a man named Monroe had been
drowned in Niagara River some weeks before this corpse had been
found, and by questioning his widow and son, elicited the fact that
the clothing he had worn on the day of his death was the same as
that found on the body claimed by Mrs. Morgan. Thereupon another
inq uest was held, and the body proved beyond a doubt to be tha t
of Monroe!
An anti-Masonic political party had been formed in Western New York
while these events were happening, its avowed purpose being to
drive from public office, if not from an honourable connection with
society, every Freemason. It polled 33,000 votes in 1828, 70,000
in 1829, and 128,000 in 1830, spreading over a majority of the
northern states. In 1832 it nominated a candidate for President
against Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay, as both of them were
Freemasons and past masters. The campaigns in New York and
Pennsylvania on the Masonic issues exceeded in venom any ever known
in the country, not excepting those of the Civil War period.
Masons were excluded from churches and their children were denied
the privileges of the schools. But in the Presidential election of
1832 only one state, Vermont, was carried by the Anti-Masonic
party, and after that blow to the hopes of its misguided followers
it steadily declined in numbers and influence, and in a fe w years
dwindled into insignificance and finally nothingness .
The most distinguished American citizen who participated in the
political persecution of Freemasonry during these years was
Ex-President of the United States John Quincy Adams. He was greatly
disturbed over the disappearance of Morgan, and wrote a series of
letters and delivered an address, in which his great ability and a
deep-seated prejudice remarkable in a man of his experience and
culture, were given full play in bitter denunciation of the
fraternity. He declared that "Masonry ought forever to be abol
ished. It is wrong - essentially wrong - a seed of evil, which can
never produce any good." "The existence of such an order," he said,
"is a foul blot upon the morals of a community. The code of Moloch
homicide, embraced in the laws of masonry, will pass to its
appropriate region in Pandemonium, and one of the sources of error
and guilt, prevailing in our land, will be exhausted and forever
In line with the foregoing is a verse from a popular campaign song
of the time, set to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne," which ran as
"If aught on earth can men engage, If aught can make us free, 'Tis
one successful war to wage Against Free Masonry. The Mason's dark
design we know, The Mason's bloody grip and sign We'll lend a band
to blot from earth The Mason's bloody shrine."
The disappearance of Morgan should never have been made a political
issue, because if he was executed under a Masonic penalty the deed
was done not by the authority of that order but by hot-headed
members of it acting independency of any lodge, and contrary to the
fraternity laws. But in the passions which then existed reason
found little place, and everything Masonic was indiscriminately
condemned. Like Monroe's body, anything was "a good enough Morgan"
that would fan the flames of the persecution of Fre emasons among
their bigoted enemies.
Excepting the constant opposition to Freemasonry wherever Roman
Catholic authority is obeyed, and the trifling efforts of a very
few weak Protestant churches, there is now comparatively little
prejudice against the order in the civilized world. American
literature is singularly free from criticisms of it, and but one
English author during the past quarter of a century is worthy of
quotation as a critic. Charles William Heckethorn, in his work on
Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries, says:
"Selfishness, an eye to business, vanity, frivolity, gluttony, and
a love of mystery-mongering - these are the motives that lead men
into the lodge. The facility and frequency with which worthless
characters are received into the order the manner in which all its
statutes are disregarded the dislike with which every brother who
insists on reform is looked upon by the rest the difficulty of
expelling obnoxious members - all these too plainly show that the
lodge has banished Freemasonry. Of true Freemaso nry, Freemasons,
as a rule, know nothing. Genuine Freemasons are liberal-minded and
enlightened men devoted to the study of nature and the progress of
mankind, moral and intellectual men devoid of political and
religious prejudices, true cosmopolitans."
The Right Reverend Henry C. Potter, bishop of New York in the
Episcopal Church, in 1901 wrote a letter in which he said:
"Freemasonry, however, is, in my view of it, a great deal more than
a mutual benefit association. In one sense, wild and extravagant
as the words may sound, it is the most remarkable and altogether
unique institution on earth. Will you tell me of any other that
girdles the world with its fellowship and gathers all races and the
most ancient religions, as well as our own, into its brothe rhood?
Will you tell me of any other that is as old or older more
brilliant in its history more honoured in its constituency more
picturesque in its traditions? Today it lies in the hand of the
modern man, largely an unused tool, capable of great achievement
for God, for country, for mankind, but doing very little. For one,
I believe that circumstances may easily arise, when the highest and
most sacred of all freedoms being threatened in this l and,
Freemasonry may be its most powerful defender, unifying all minds
and commanding our best citizenship.
"Under such circumstances, fellowship in it should be regarded,
more and more, as a sacred privilege, for which our best youth
should be trained, and to which they should be advanced step by
step, through preparatory forms and degrees."
The great Edwin Booth said:
"In every realm of thought, in all my research and study, in all my
close analysis of the masterpieces of Shakespeare, in my earnest
determination to make those plays appear real upon the mimic stage,
I have never, and nowhere, met tragedy so real, so sublime, so
magnificent as the legend of Hiram. It is substance without shadow
- the manifest destiny of life which requires no picture and
scarcely a word to make a lasting impression upon all who can
understand. To be a worshipful master, & to throw my who le soul
in that work, with the candidate for my audience and the lodge for
my stage, would be greater personal distinction than to receive the
plaudits of people in the theatres of the world."
The Tradition and the Evolution of the First Three Degrees of
Freemasonry is a beautiful system of ethics, which cultivates
certain great fundamental Moral and Religious Truths, and impresses
them upon the minds of its votaries by elaborate symbolical
ceremonials which point to the Bible as the great light by which
mankind should be morally and spiritually guided. The Origin,
Purposes and History of this most ancient, famous, enduring and
cosmopolitan of all the world's secret organizations has been
investigated, discussed and speculated upon by Masonic and other
scho lars until the printed records of their researches, arguments
and conclusions form a literature that could find room only within
the limits of a large library, and would require a life time of
study by a perfectly equipped intellect to weed out all error,
reconcile every difference of opinion and mold the great mass of
fact into one consistent and universally acceptable whole
If Masonic tradition be not accepted, the explorer who seeks the
beginnings of the Order at once confronts a Sphinx, the answer to
whose enigma has been lost in the impenetrable clouds of the Dark
Ages, or remains hidden in the deeply covered and forgotten vaults
of remote antiquity. The first crude written constitutions and
regulations of the Fraternity now in the possession of historians
were made either in the thirteenth or fourteenth century after
Christ. The writers who have given Masonry considerati on in
standard English books of reference, and have based their
conclusions on visible evidence only, are almost unanimous in
fixing its origin in one or the other of the periods mentioned. On
the other hand, there are learned authors who have studied and
reasoned exhaustively as Freemasons, who believe the society
existed as an absolutely secret one two thousand years before any
manuscripts or inscriptions concerning its source and doctrines
were per mitted to be made. They hold that the internal evidence
found in the esoteric teachings of the Order proves that it was
created by Solomon, king of Israel, Hiram, king of Tyre, Hiram
Abif, a widow's son, of the tribe of Naphthali, at the time of the
building of Solomon's temple at Jerusalem, a thousand years before
These writers, without an exception, believe that through the
instrumentality of Masonry the five books of Moses were preserved
after the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, during a
period of general lawlessness & disorder lasting nearly five
centuries, and then Discovered and Brought to Light. With all due
respect for the strict requirements of accuracy in historical
research, it seems quite as reasonable that Masonry should be
transmitted through organized bodies of intelligent and reverent
men , from the time of Solomon, as that the voluminous poems of
Homer should be preserved during hundreds of years, in all their
purity and exquisite beauty, by bands of minstrels
The discovery of Masonic emblems in the foundation steps to the
pedestal of the Egyptian obelisk at Alexandria, known as
Cleopatra's Needle, is accepted by many as strong evidence that
Freemasonry existed at least a century before Christ. This great
shaft is now in Central Park, New York City, where it was erected
in 1880, after transportation in the hold of a vessel especially
constructed for the purpose. The stones and implements showing the
Masonic signs and emblems were placed in the same positions in
which they were found in Egypt, when the obelisk was erected in
But it is not the purpose here either to indulge in speculation
upon Uncertainties, or to attempt by conjecture to arrive at the
time hidden facts of ancient eras. These pages are intended to
convey only such information of the history, structure, and
character of Masonry, and of the notable assaults and criticisms
that have been made upon it, as is Fully Authenticated and
necessary for those who desire to be well informed on the subject,
keeping in mind all the while, with some appreciation of its truth,
the statement of the Chevalier de Bonneville that "the span of ten
men's lives is too short a period for the execution of so
formidable an undertaking" as the production of a universal history
of the Masonic craft
The original historical Masonry, as distinguished from the
traditional, had but one degree, as the word is used technically by
the craft, and it was conferred only on Operative Masons, who made
use of it as a means of recognition among themselves, to keep
impostors from their counsels, and to preserve the organization
necessary for the prosperity of their profession of practical
architecture. During the Medieval period of cathedral building in
Europe, when magnificent edifices were erected in Vienna, Rheim s,
Pisa, York, Paris, London, Strasburg, Cologne and other cities, by
the Masons, they worked under their own government in lodges
strictly ruled, travelling from place to place as work required.
In 1702 a London lodge adopted a regulation extending its
privileges to men of different professions, providing they were
regularly approved, accepted and initiated. This example was
followed by other lodges, and opened the door of Masonry to men uns
killed in architecture, but enormously increased the scope and i
nfluence of the society, which from that time developed rapidly
into the present wholly speculative and cosmopolitan system of
ethics, in which the Hindoo, the Parsee, the Jew, the Mohammedan,
the Trinitarian and the Unitarian may conscientiously participate.
The three degree ceremonials seem to have come into existence about
1735. Ten years later they had been revised by Martin Clare, and
in 1777 Preston's beautiful ritualistic suggestions were accepted
and adopted by the Order. The requirement of a practical knowledge
of the science of architecture having been abandoned during this
era of evolution, a thorough understanding of the lofty moral
principles inculcated by the symbolism of the degrees was exacted
of the masters of the craft. Operative skill yield ed and finally
almost wholly disappeared in the society under the stimulus of the
far greater importance of the nobler virtues, the more widely
needed lessons, and the infinitely higher moral worth, of purely
Speculative Masonry.
Men of prominence in church and state, who were never actually
employed in building, but whose high character and fine attainments
had made them distinguished, were accepted as Masons, free from the
former prerequisite of operative proficiency, and so became known
as Free and Accepted Masons, whence came Freemasonry as an
evolution of Masonry. Within forty years the organization, in its
improved and enlarged form, spread into Ireland, Scotland, France,
Holland, Russia, Spain, Italy, Germany and America, att racting to
its rites in all those countries men of profound intellect by whom
its noble principles were deeply cherished
The three degrees of symbolic Masonry, both traditional and
historical, are called Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft & Master
Mason. Seven or more master masons, acting under lawful authority,
constitute a perfect lodge, the name properly given both to the
Organization, and to the Place where members meet to practice their
rites. The principal officers of the lodge are the Worshipful
Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden, the master representing
Solomon, king of Israel, the senior warden personating Hiram , king
of Tyre. A meeting of a lodge is called a Communication, and every
candidate for its degrees must be acceptable to all its members, an
inviolable law under which no complaint over the admission of new
members can ever arise in a Masonic lodge. The grand lodge of
England in 1717, when the ballot box was unknown, required members
to decide on the admission of the candidate "in their own prudent
way, either virtually or in form, but With Unan imity." With this
requirement goes another law unique among s ecret organizations,
which is that no Mason shall ever solicit any person to become a
member of the Order. This makes every application absolutely
voluntary, and its enforcement no doubt has caused many worthy men
to wonder why they have never been invited to become Masons.
The Origin and Structure of the York and Scottish Rites, and Their
As now constituted, Freemasonry consists of two separate series of
degrees, which are conferred in regular order upon candidates, and
are known respectively as the York Rite and the Scottish Rite, both
having for their foundation the first three degrees
The York Rite derives its name from the city of York, in the north
of England, where Macoy, a Masonic author of repute, says the
annual and general assemblies of the craft were re-established in
926, A.D. It includes, in addition to the symbolic degrees,
Capitular, Cryptic, and Chivalric grades, conferred in bodies
severally designated as the Chapter, Council, and Commandery, whose
meetings are called respectively convocations, assemblies, and
conclaves. The Chapter has four degrees, mark master, past mast
er, most excellent master, and the Royal Arch, with an honorary
order of high priesthood appended, which is conferred at meetings
of grand chapters on high priests of subordinate chapters. The
chief officers of a chapter are the high priest, king, scribe, and
capain of the host, who represent Joshua, Zerubbabel, Haggai, and
the general of the troops. The council has two degrees, royal
master and select master, its leading officials being thr ice
illustrious master, his deputy, and the principal conductor o f the
work, who represent Solomon, king of Israel, Hiram, king of Tyre,
and Hiram Abif. The Commandery has three orders, Knight of the Red
Cross, Knight Templar, and Knight of Malta. Its most important
officers are the eminent commander, generalissimo, captain general
and excellent prelate.
Symbolic Masonry was introduced into America by the British, and
during the colonial period of the country was under English
authority. After the Declaration of Independence in 1776 the
question of allegiance became a serious one to American Masons, but
they concluded that Masonic must be in accord with civil
government, and in 1777 chose their own Grand Master to take the
place of the British official. In 1776 a charter was granted to a
military lodge in "the Connecticut line," called American Union
Lodge , erected in Roxbury or wherever its body might remove on the
continent of America. At the close of the Revolutionary War the
master and a number of the members of this lodge, of which George
Washington was a member, settled at Marietta, Ohio. They had the
charter, and reorganized the lodge there in 1790, two years after
the settlement of that historic city. In 1816, the original charter
having been lost by fire, the lodge was granted a new one by the
grand lodge of Ohio, under the name of American Union Lodge No. 1,
their new charter showing it to be a revival of the old lodge,
undoubtedly the first one established under American authority.
The first authentic historical record of the communication of the
royal arch degree is dated 1746, when presiding masters and past
masters received it in a lodge in England. Twenty-two years later
it came under the authority of a higher body than the lodge, and
appeared in Philadelphia in 1758 and in Boston forty years later. A
grand royal arch chapter of the Northern States of America was
formed of chapters existing in Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut & New York early in 1798, which at a subsequen t
convocation held the same year changed its name to the general
grand chapter, with a number of deputy grand chapters under its
authority. The council degrees came to America from Berlin, by
authority of Frederick II, king of Prussia, in 1783, and were
deposited in the archives of the grand council of princes of
Jerusalem at Charleston, South Carolina. They were known at that
time as detached degrees, and were conferred free of charge.
Gradually the authority and jurisdiction over the degrees came into
the hands of the companions upon whom it had been conferred, until
in 1827 a committee was appointed by the grand chapter to inves
tigate the propritey of having the several grand royal arch
chapters assume jurisdiction over them. This committee found them
to have originally belonged to the Scottish rite as side degrees,
which were conferred by agents of that rite who granted charters
for the establishment of councils in different states. These
councils finally formed grand councils which threw off allegiance
to the Scottish rite, which was proper, inasmuch as their original
charters were never granted directly by the Supreme council of that
rit e but only by representatives. They are now placed exactly
where they belong, as necessary for the illustration of the royal
arch degree, and no conflict of authority over them is likely ever
to arise
For many years commanderies of knights templar were regarded as
having descended directly from the Christian crusaders of the
twelfth and fourteenth centuries. Addison, a leading American
Masonic authority, dates the origin of the order back to 1113 A.
D., when nine knights who had nobly acquitted themselves at the
battle of Jerusalem formed a holy brotherhood in arms, the purpose
of which was to protect and guide pilgrims on their way to the Holy
City. They were so poor they rode two on one horse, and ha d no
fixed place of habitation until they were given quarters in the
enclosure of the temple by Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem, five
years, after taking the vows of their order. By the end of the
twelfth century they numbered thirty thousand, and had commanderies
in Jerusalem, Tripoli, Antioch, Cyprus, Portugal, Castile and Leon,
Arragon, France, England, Ireland, Germany, Sicily and Italy. A
hundred years later they had accumulated much treasure, which
excited the cupidity of both kings and churchmen. The grand master
of the Knights Templar, James de Molay, went to Paris at the
request of the Pope in 1307, with sixty knights, bearing 150,000
florins of gold and all the silver twelve horses could carry, his
purpose being to concert plans for the recovery of the Holy Land.
All were arrested by King Philip, who was determined to have their
wealth. Accused of spitting and trampling on the cross,
worshipping idols and the devil in the form of a cat, of eat ing
the ashes of dead comrades, and of terrible debauch eries, they
were put to the torture. Fifty-nine knights templar were burned at
the stake in one day by Dominican friars. DeMolay was imprisoned
for years, tortured repeatedly, and burned to death by slow fire
March 18, 1313, on a small island in the Seine. But modern
research has thrown much doubt on Addison's opinion, the six
hundred years between the templarism of DeMolay and that first
recorded in America having yielded no documentary or other unquest
ionable evidence of lineal connection between the tw o. The first
published written record of the investiture of the Masonic order of
Knight Templar is dated August 28, 1769, the creation taking place
in a Boston Lodge. Where the ritual used on that occasion came
from, or whence sprang the authority for it, is one of the many
mysteries of Masonry for which no positive solution has been
discovered. It is certain that the honors of the order were not
bestowed upon candidates in England until ten years afte r the
ceremony in the Boston lodge, although possibly in existence a few
years before in Ireland. Templar Masonry immediately became
popular because of its distinctively Christian character, its
purpose being to perpetuate the teachings of Christ. It retains
the forms and phraseology of a military organization, but the
sacred nature of its rites is far different from that of a merely
tactical system of instruction. Early in the nineteenth century
grand encampments of commanderies came into existence in severa l
states of the Union, and in 1816 the general g rand encampment of
knights templar of the United States, of America was formed in the
city of New York, and since then the number of knights templar has
multiplied until they are now to be found in almost every
considerable city on the globe. Each of the individual
organizations of Masons, called the lodge, chapter, council and
commandery, are under the authority of grand or general grand
bodies which leislate for and govern them by codes and
constitutions. No ne of these bodies conflicts with another, but
all work harmoniously together under an admirable and clearly
defined system of interdependent jurisprudence.
The Scotish rite, or high grade Masonry, is so called because the
founder of its ceremonies claimed to have discovered its grades in
Scotland. It was in fact originated about the middle of the
eighteenth century, in France, which for about fifty years after
the introduction of symbolic Masonry into its territory was a
prolific field for the production of all sorts of alleged Masonic
degrees. In 1754 the Chevalier de Bonneville established in France
the systematized Rite of Perfection, or Heredom, consisti ng of
twenty-five degrees. The French lodges, disgusted by the hundreds
of bastard degrees that were floating about and distracting the
attention of their members from the legitimate work, were incensed
over high grade Masonry, and in August, 1766, their grand lodge
issued an order forbidding the lodges within its jurisdiction to
have anything whatever to do with any high grades. This decree was
repealed, however, in October of the same year, after much
quarreling and numerous brawls in the grand lodge, w here there was
a hot conflict of opinion as to the legitimacy and worth of the
high grades, with which many of the disputants were unacquainted.
In 1752 Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, had accepted the
patronage of the Scottish rite, and became its chief, immensely
strengthening its influence throughout Europe. But for this fact,
it is probable that the grand lodge of France would have remained
hostile to the high grades. In 1801 the supreme counc il of the 33
degree opened at Charleston, South Carol ina, and a year after
issued a circular containing a list of the thirty-three degrees of
the rite. Eight had been added to those of the rite of perfection,
the 33 degree and last having undoubtedly been created by the
Supreme Council. It is not definitely known whether the remaining
seven were selections from degrees already in existence, or the
creation of the council itself. The rites of this council slowly
found acceptance over the Masonic world, not being perfo rmed in
England until 1845, but they are now in great favor everywhere.
Its degrees in their established order, omitting the basic Symbolic
Three, the possession of which is necessary for the eligibility of
every applicant for the Scottish rite, are as follows:
Ineffable grades of grand lodges of perfection -4. Secret master
5. Perfect master 6. intimate secretary 7. Provost and judge 8.
Intendant of the building 9. Master elect of nine 10. Master
elect of fifteen 11. Sublime knight elected 12. Grand master
architect 13. Knight of the ninth arch 14. Grand elect perfect
and sublime Mason,
Ancient historical and traditional grades of grand councils of
princes of Jerlusalem - 15. Knight of the East or sword 16. Prince
of Jerusalem. The Philosophical and doctrinal grades of grand
chapters of Rose-Croix, de H-R-D-M -17. Knight of the East and
West 18. Sovereign prince of Rose-Croix, de H-R-D-M, and knight
of the eagle and pelican. Modern historical, chivalric and
philosophical grades of grand consistories of sublime princes of
the royal secret - 19. Grand pontiff 20. Grand master, ad vitam
21. Noachite, or Prussian knight 22. Knight of the royal axe, or
prince of Libanus 23. Chief of the tabernacle 24. Prince of the
Tabernacle 25. Knight of the brazen serpent 26. Prince of mercy,
or Scotch trinitarian 27. Sovereign commander of the temple 28.
Knight of the Sun, or prince adept 29. Knight of St. Andrew, or
patriarch of the crusades 30. Knight of Kadosh, or knight of the
white and black eagle 31. Grand inspector inqu isitor commander
32. Sublime prince of of the royal secret. The 3 3 degree and Last
Degree of all is that of the Official grade of the supreme council
- 33. Sovereign grand inspector general
Among the characters represented in the foregoing grades are Moses,
Aaron, Joshua, Eleazer, Solomon, Adoniram, Abda, Hiram, king of
Tyre, Cyrus Artaxerxes, Zerubbabel, Ananias, Stolkyn, Zerbal, Tito
Zadoc and Frederick the Great of Prussia. The Scottish rite
requires so many costly accessories, such as costumes, furniture,
stage scenery, and properties, especially constructed buildings,
underground excavations, and musical facilities, that it is
practiced only in the larger cities where Masonic temples of large
size exist. One of the finest Scottish rite cathedrals in the
world is at Cincinnati, Ohio, where the sublime work of high grade
Masonry is exemplified in the most profoundly impressive manner by
masters of the arts taught the craft. Freemasonry is now firmly
established over practically the entire globe. Europe, Asia,
Africa, North and South America, Australia, and all the important
islands of the sea are dotted with lodges. Almost every nation,
race and people feel its influence. As universal as the principles
it inculcates, it has found Nourishing Soil wherever belief in the
Supreme Being and freedom of conscience dwell together. It has
given light to civilized people of every race, color and sect that
supports liberal principles, and in different jurisdictions the
world over numbers its members by scores, hundreds, or thousands,
as the judgment and prudence of the craft dictate. Race prejudice
exists to some extent among Freemasons, although properly it can
have no place in so cosmopolitan an i nstitution, and while it has
not barred any race from Freemasonry, it has denied recognition in
some localities to the Masonic bodies of the Negro race, and to
individual Masons of the Hebraic division of the Semitic race. The
first Negroes to be made Freemasons were Prince Hall and fourteen
other free colored citizens of Boston. In 1775 the traveling lodge
of a British regiment conferred the symbolic degrees upon them.
They applied to England for a charter, which th ey received in
1787, and under its unq uestionable authority the first Negro
Masonic lodge was instituted, with Prince Hall as its master. In a
perfectly legitimate way its officcrs established another Negro
lodge in Philadelphia in 1797, and yet another at Providence soon
after. In 1808 these three lodges formed a grand lodge, which in
1827 declared itself independent of the grand lodge of England, and
there are now over thirty grand lodges of colored Freemasons in the
United States, sprung from its original African lod ge, which have
been reco gnized as regular in half a dozen countries. In 1876 the
grand lodge of Ohio refused to consider a resolution to recognize
as regular the colored grand lodge of the same State, by a vote of
399 to 332 - a decision remarkable for the narrow margin by which
it was made
The first Negro chapter of royal arch Masons was formed in
Philadelphia in 1819 or 1820, and not long after, a Negro
commandery of knights templar was in existence. The American Negro
first began to practice the Scottish Rite about 1825, but it was
not until after the War of the Rebellion that much headway was
made. There are now four supreme councils of Negroes in the United
States, possessing very slender claims to legitimate authority. In
1895 there were nineteen colored grand encampments of knights t
emplar, with about 3,000 knights enrolled, whose claims to lawful
origin cannot be compared with those which sustain them in the
symbolic degrees. In Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, there
has lived since 1847 a gallant little republic established by
Negroes, which has a college whose professors are Negroes, and
whose beneficent free institutions have at least partly civilized
thousands upon thousands of Africans who dwell on its borders.
Liberia has a legitimate grand lodge composed of black men, wit h
subordinate lodges in which the pure rite of the English craft is
practiced by the colored race, and the principles of the order
properly and judiciously disseminated. In Germany and in some
localities in other countries Jews are neither admitted to Masonic
lodges nor recognized as Masons even after being made such by
legitimate authority elsewhere. But these delinquencies in
localities where race prejudice is strong are exceptions to the ru
le of toleration which the true spirit of Freemasonry has spread
over nearly the entire world, and cannot justly be held against it.
The Fundamental Principles & Moral & Religious Teachings of
The bitter antagonism to Freemasonry at various dates in its
history, which have been related at some length, make fitting
particular reference to the Character of the institution. Its
fundamental principles are belief in God, the immortality of the
soul, and the Bible.
The Rules and Charges under which the society has operated since
history first disclosed its purposes to the world are the true
index of its inherent qualities. The English manuscript of 1388,
which says "Thys craft com ynto Englond yn tyme of good Kynge
Abelstonus day." is not deficient in religious and moral
admonitions. The craftsman was instructed to "most love wel God
and holy churchs," to respect the chastity of his Master's Wife and
"his fellows Concubyne," and he schal swere never to be no thef "
and "stond wel yn Goddes lawe." The Torgau (German) ordinance of
1462 required each fellow of the craft to give one penny a week for
God's service. Every master was to be upright in all things, to
incite neither warden, nor fellow, nor apprentice to evil, and to
keep his lodge free from strife and pure as the seat of justice. No
master could allow a Harlot to enter his lodge, or borrow and
remain unwilling to repay, nor could less than three masters
together judge of that which touched the honor of good rep ute of
one of the craft. The fellows who ate or drank to excess,
pilfered, murdered, or disported themselves in the land with
Ungodly Women, were to be cast out from the craft forever. When
fellows went to lodge their greeting was: "God greet ye, God guide
ye, God reward ye, ye honorable overmaster, warden and trusty
The German Brother-Book of 1563 prescribed in seventy-three
articles the ordinances adopted by the chief lodge at Strassburg,
to obey which the masters and fellows took oath. The rehearsal of
a few of them will sufficiently explain the nature of all. No
craftsman or master could live in adultery, on pain of losing
communion with all Masons, nor could any master or craftsman employ
any fellow who consorted with a woman in adultery, or who went not
according to Christian discipline, or who was so foolish as to game
away his clothes. All the fellows paid faithfully a penny a week
for the sick. Every apprentice declared free became a brother, and
promised the craft never to disclose or communicate the master's
greeting and grip to anyone, except to him to whom he might justly
do so and also to write nothing of it. The statutes of the Masons
re-enacted in Montpellier, France, in 1586, provided that Masons
should not undertake any work to the prejudice of the public or
against ordinances of the King that when any master or wife died,
the other masters should accompany the body to the burial that
should a fellow commit a theft, or any villany, deceit or
forfeiture in the house of a master, against him, his wife, family,
chambermaid, or other, he must make condign reparation. Following
these and other regulations in force throughout the Masonic world
in the centuries of operative Masonry came the Ancient Charges to
Master Masons when the speculative science of the society was
developed. These are now incorporated in the constitutions of the
order throughout the world, and faithfully betoken its present
relations to God and man, to the state and religionig.
These venerated charges are arranged under the following six
general heads:
1. Of God and Religion. 2. Of the Civil Magistrate supreme and
subordinate. 3. Of Lodges. 4. Of Masters, Wardens, Fellows and
Apprentices 5. Of the Management of the Craft in working. 6. Of
Under the first specification" a Mason is oblig'd by his Tenure to
obey the moral law and if he rightly understands the art, he will
never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But
though in Ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every country to be
of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet
'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that
Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions
to themselves that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour
and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be
distinguish'd whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the
Means of conciliating true Friendship among persons that must have
remain'd at a perpetual Distance." A Mason is defined under the
second head as "a Peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever
he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and
Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the N ation, or to
behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistr ates for as Masonry
hath always been injured by War, Bloodshed and Confusion, so
ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the
Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they
practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted
the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of
Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State,
he is not to be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, howeve r he may be
pitied as an unhappy Man and if co nvicted of no other Crime,
though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his
Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of Political Jealousy to
the Government for the time being, they cannot expel him from the
Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible" A lodge is
described as "a Place where members assemble and work." It is
"either practical or general, and will be best understood by
attending it. In ancient Times, no Master or Fellow could be absent
from it without incurring a severe Censure, until it appear'd that
pure Necessity hinder'd him. The Persons admitted Members of a
Lodge must be good and true Men, free-born and of mature and
discreet Age, no Bondmen, no Women, no immoral or scandalous Men,
but of good Report." The fact that Woman is Barred f rom the
practice of Masonry has been the text for many criticisms and
explanations. Thomas de Quincey, in his curious essay on
Rosicrucians and Freemasonry, says: "For what reason women were
excluded, I suppose it can hardly be necessary to say. The absurd
spirit of curiosity, talkativeness, and levity, which so
distinguish that unhappy sex, were obviously incompatible with the
grave purposes of the Rosicrucians and Masons. Not to mention that
the fami liar intercourse, which co-membership in these societ ies
brings along with it, would probably have led to some disorders in
a promiscuous assemblage of both sexes, such as might have tainted
the good fame or even threatened the existence of the order." This
is a severe judgment, and touched with injustice. There is a
better reason why she can not participate in the rites, which may
be found in the fugitive lines which follow:
" 'T is not because she lightly is esteemed, Or that unworthy she
is thought to be, Nor that her mind incompetent is deemed To
appreciate the glorious mystery, Or that she's wanting in fidelity,
That woman is excluded from the right Of being numbered with the
Sons of Light But 'tis because that man alone can do The work
which on our trestle-board is laid."
Yet there is good authority for the belief that three women have
known the E. A. degree. One was Mrs. Beaton, of Norfolk, Eng., who
acquired the secrets of the degree by secreting herself in the
wainscoting of a lodge room. Though she lived to be 85, she never
revealed what she learned. Madame de Xaintrailles was initiated as
Entered Apprentice by the Freres-Artistes lodge in Paris about
1795. Cuvelier de Trie was the Master, and the Madame frequently
thereafter participated in first degree work. The Ho n Mrs.
Aldworth also received the Entered Apprentce degree. Under the
fourth specification "all preferment among Masons is grounded on
real Worth and personal Merit only that so the Lords may be well
served, the Brethren not put to shame, nor the Royal Craft
despis'd therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by Seniority, but
for his Merit." "No Master should take an Apprentice unless he be a
perfect Youth, having no Maim or Defect in his body, and is de
scended of honest Parents." No brother can be a gran d master"
unless he has been a Fellow-Craft before his election, who is also
to be nobly-born, or a Gentleman of the best Fashion, or some
eminent Scholar, or some curious Architect, or other Artist, and
who is of singular great Merit in the Opinion of the Lodges." The
officers of the lodges "are to be obey'd in their respective
Stations by all the Brethren, with all Humility, Reverence, Love
and Liberty." The charges concerning the management of the cra ft
require that "none shall discover Envy at the Prosp erity of a
Brother, nor supplant him, or put him out of his Work, if he be
capable to finish the same," and that "all Masons employ'd shall
meekly receive their wages without Murmuring or Mutiny, and not
desert the Master till the Work is finish'd
On the behavior of brethren the charges are explicit and shed much
light on the spirit of the instutition. In the lodge Masons are
"not to talk of anything impertinent or unseemly," nor to "behave
ludicrously or jestingly while the Lodge is engaged in what is
serious or solemn nor use any unbecoming Language upon any
Pretense whatsoever." After the lodge is closed, and the brethren
are not gone from the hall, they may enjoy themselves with
"innocent Mirth," "avoiding all Excess," "or doing or saying anyth
ing offensive, or that may forbid an easy and free Conversation.
Therefore no private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the
Door of the Lodge, far less than Quarrels about Religion, or
Nations, or State Policy, we being only as Masons, of the Catholick
Religion above-mention'd we are also of all Nations, Tongues,
Kindreds and Languages, and are resolved against all Politicks, as
what never yet conduc'd to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever
will." At home and in their neighborhood Masons are "to a ct as
becomes a moral and wise Man," not continue together "too late, or
too long from home, after Lodge Hours are past," to avoid "Gluttony
or Drunkenness, Wrangling 'and Quarreling, all Slander and
Backbiting," and to defend the character of any honest brother "as
far as is consistent with Honour and Safety, and no farther."
Disorderly conduct in the Lodge, soliciting any person to make
application to become a Mason, irregularly communicating the
secrets of the order, or the proceedings of a lodge to pers ons
other than Masons, or any conduct that is unbecoming a good man and
true, are Masonic offenses, and subject the offender to one of
three punishments, reprimand, suspension, or expulsion
Before any candidate for Freemasonry is admitted to a lodge he
declares his belief in the ever-living God as revealed in the Holy
Bible, acknowledges it to be his duty to pay Him the reverence due
from the creature to the Creator, and promises cheerfully to
conform to the ancient usages and established customs of the
Merely to summarize the monitorial lessons conveyed in the higher
degrees and grades of York Masonry and the Scottish rite would
require more space than can be given here. Enough has been paid,
it is believed, fairly to acquaint the reader with the spirit,
purposes, and character of Freemasonry, to which Cunningham has
given this tribute:
"Hail to the craft! at whose serene command The gentle arts in glad
obedience stand.
To works of art her merit not confined,
She regulates the morals, squares the mind Corrects with care the
sallies of the soul, And points the tide of passions where to
Of the value of the possession of one branch of Masonic teachings
Benjamin Franklin said: "They serve as testimonials of character
and qualifications which are only conferred after a due course of
instruction and examination. These are of no small value they
speak a universal language and act as a passport to the attention
and support of the initiated in all parts of the world. They can
not be lost as long as the memory retains its power. Let the
possessor of them be expatriated, shipwrecked and impriso ned, let
him be stripped of everything he has in the world, still these
credentials remain and are available for use as circumstances
require. The great effects which they have produced are
established by the most incontestible facts of history. They have
stayed the uplifted hand of the destroyer they have softened the
asperities of the tyrant they have subdued the rancor of the
malevolent and broken down the barriers of political animosity and
s ectarian alienation. On the field of battle, in the solit ude of
the uncultivated forest or in the busy haunts of the crowded city,
they have made men of the most hostile feelings and most distant
religions, and of the most diversified conditions rush to the aid
of one another and feel social joy and satisfaction that they have
been able to afford relief to a brother Mason." With the beauties
and sublimities, the dignity and dramatic power, of the Esoteric
Work of Freemasonry, none can be made acquainted but those who
witness and feel them as Accepted Candidates, There are, however,
published ceremonials of the fraternity from which quotations may
be made
The dead Freemason is always borne to the tomb by his brethren,
unless he has expressed a desire to the contrary, and there the
world is given a lesson in the fraternity's practices, faith and
belief. At the obsequies of a Master Mason this dirge, written by
David Vinton, an American, in 1816, is sung to the mournful tune
"Solemn strikes the funeral chime, Notes of our departing time As
we journey here below Through a pilgrimage of woe.
Mortals, now indulge a tear, For mortality is here! See how wide
her trophies wave O'er the slumbers of the grave.
Here another guest we bring! Seraphs of celestial wing, To our
fun'ral altar come, Waft a friend and brother home.
Lord of all, below, above, Fill our souls with truth and love As
dissolves our earthly tie, Take us to Thy lodge on high."
This prayer follows: "Almighty and most merciful God, before whom
all must appear to render an account for the deeds done in the
body, we do most carnestly beseech Thee, as we now surround the
grave of a departed brother, to impress upon our minds the
solemnities and lessons of the day. May we ever remember that in
the midst of life we are in death and may we so live and act our
several parts as we may wish that we had done, when the hour of our
departure is at hand. "Gracious Father, vouchsafe unto us,we pray
Thee, Thy divine assistance, to redeem our misspent time and in
the discharge of the duties Thou hast assigned us in the erection
of our moral and spiritual edifice, may we have Wisdom from on high
to direct us, Strength commensurate with our task to support us,
and the beauty of Holiness to render all our deeds acceptable to
Thy sight. And at last when our work on earth is done, may we
obtain a blessed and everlasting rest in that spiritu al house, not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Amen"
At the interment of a Knight Templar the Eminent Commander, within
a triangle of Sir Knights surrounding the grave and the mourners,
"Sir Knights: In the solemn rites of our Order we have often been
reminded of the great truth, that we are born to die. Mortality has
been brought to view, that we might more earnestly seek an
immortality beyond this fleeting life, where death can come no more
forever. The sad and mournful funeral knell has betokened that
another spirit has winged its flight to a new state of existence.
An alarm has come to the door of our Asylum, and the messenger was
death, and none presumed to say to the awful presence , 'Who dares
approach?' A pilgrim warrior has been summoned, and 'there is no
discharge in that war.' A burning taper of life in our Commandery
has been extinguished, and none save the High and Holy One can
relight it. All that remains of our beloved Companion Sir Knight
lies mute before us, and the light of the eye, and the breathing of
the lips in their language of fraternal greeting, have ceased for
us forever on this side of the grave. His sword, vo wed only to be
drawn in the cause of truth, justice an d rational liberty, reposes
still in its scabbard, and our arms can no more shield him from
wrong or oppression.
The Prelate says:
"Sir Knights, there is one sacred spot upon the earth, where the
foot-falls of our march are unheeded our trumpets quicken no pulse
and incite no fear the rustling of our banners and the gleam of
our swords awaken no emotion - it is the silent city of the dead,
where we now stand. Awe rests upon every heart and the stern
warrior's eyes are bedewed with feelings which never shame his
manhood. It needs no siege nor assult, nor beleaguering host to
enter its walls we fear no sortie, and listen for no batt
le-shout. No Warder's challenge greets the ear, nor do we wait
awhile with patience for permission to enter.
"Hither must we all come at last and the stoust heart and the
manifest form that surrounds me will then be led a captive without
title or rank, in the chains of mortality and the habiliments of
slavery, to the King of Terrors. But if he has been faithful to the
Captain of his salvation, a true soldier of the cross if he has
offered suitable gifts at the shrine of his departed Lord, and
bears the signet of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, then may he
claim to be of that princely house, and be admitted to au dience
with the Sovereign Master of Heaven and Earth. Then will he be
stripped of the chains of earthly captivity, and clothed in a white
garment, glistening as the sun, and be seated with princes and
rulers, and partake of a libation, not of death and sorrow, but of
that wine which is drank forever new in the Father's Kingdom above.
"We can not come here without subdued hearts and softened
affections. Often as the challenge comes which takes from our side
some loved associate, some cherished companions in arms, and often
as the trumpet sounds its wailing notes to summon us to the
death-bed, and to the brink of the sepulchre, we cannot contemplate
'the last of earth' unmoved. Each successive death note snaps the
fibre which binds us to this lower existence, and makes us pause
and reflect upon that dark and gloomy chamber where we must all
terminate our pilgrimage. Well will it be for our peace then, if
we can wash our hands, not only in token of sincerity, but of every
guilty stain, and give honest and satisfactory answers to the
questions required.
"The sad and soemn scene nom, before us stirs up these
recollections with a force and vivid power which we have hitherto
unfelt. He who now slumbers in that last, long unbroken sleep of
death, was our brother. With him we have walked the pilgrimage of
life, and kept watch and ward together in its vicissitudes and
trials. He is now removed beyond the effect of our praise and
censure. That we loved him, our presence here evinces, and we
remember him in scenes to which the world was not witness, and
where the better feelings of humanity were exhibited without
disguise. That he had faults and foibles, is but to repeat what
his mortality demonstrates - that he had a human nature, not
divine. Over those errors, whatever they may have been, we cast,
while living, the mantle of charity it should, with much more
reason, enshroud him in death. We who have been taught to extend
the point of charity even to a foe, when fallen, cannot be severe
or merciless toward a loved brother.
"The memory of his virtues lingers in our remembrance and reflects
its shining lustre beyond the portals of the tomb. The earthen
vase which has contained precious odors will lose none of its
fragrance, though the clay be broken and shattered. So be it with
our brother's memory"
Taking a Cross in his hand, the Prelate continues:
"This Symbol of faith - the Chrisitian's hope and the Christian's
trust - we again place upon the breast of our brother, there to
remain till the last trumpet shall sound, and earth and sea yield
up their dead. Though it may, in the past history of our race,
have been perverted at times into an ensign of oppression, and
crime, and wrong though it may have been made the emblem of fraud,
and superstition, and moral darkness, yet its significance still
remains as the badge of a Christian warrior. It calls t o mind
Gethsemane and its sorrowful garden the judgment hall of Pilate,
and the pitiless crown of thorns Golgotha and Calvary, and their
untold agonies, that fallen man might live and inherit everlasting
life. If an inspired Apostle was not ashamed of the Cross, neither
should we be if he gloried in the significance of the truths it
shadowed forth, so ought we to rejoice in it as the speaking
witness of our reliance beyond the grave. May this hop e of the
living have been the anchor to the soul of our d eparted brother -
the token to admit him to that peaceful haven 'where the wicked
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.' "
In these brief extracts the reader may find the vital spark which
keeps Freemasonry lowing with human interest the world over.
The Landmarks of Masonry Defined, & Its Universality as a Secret
Certain characteristics of Freemasonry called 'Landmarks' have long
been discussed by Masonic authorities, among whom more or less
difference of opinion has arisen. These Landmarks are certain
unchangeable laws
Dr. Mackey says they are "those peculiar marks of distinction by
which we are separated from the profane world, and by which we are
enabled to designate our inheritance as the 'Sons of Light.' The
universal language and the universal laws of Masonry are Landmarks,
but not so are the local ceremonies, laws, and usages, which vary
in diferent countries. To attempt to alter or remove these sacred
Landmarks, by which we examine and prove a Brother's claims to
share in our privileges, is one of the most heinous offenses that a
Mason can commit. There are, however, certain forms and
regulations which, although not constituting Landmarks, are
nevertheless so protected by the venerable claim of antiquity that
they should be guarded by every good Mason with religious care from
alteration. It is not in the power of any body of men to make
innovation in Masonry."
The real Landmarks of the order are thus specified by Dr. Mackey:
1. The modes of recognition. 2. The division of Symbolic Masonry
into degrees. 3. The legend of the Third Degree. 4. The governnaent
of the Fraternity by a presiding officer called a Grand Master, who
is elected from the body of the Craft. 5. The prerogative of the
Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the Craft
wheresoever and whensoever held. 6. The prerogative of the Grand
Master to grant Dispensations to confer degrees at irregular times.
7. The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant Dispensations for
opening and holding Lodges. 8. The prerogative of the Grand Master
to make Masons at sight. 9. The necessity for Masons to congregate
in Lodges. 10. The government of every Lodge by a Master and
Wardens. 11. The necessity that every Lodge when congregated should
be duly tyled. 12. The right of every Mason to be represented in
all general meetings of the Craft, and to instruct his
representatives. 13. The right of every Mason to appeal from the
decision of his Brethren in Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge or
to a general assembly of Masons. 14. The right of every Mason to
visit and sit in every regular Lodge. 15. That no visitor, not
known to some Brother present as a Mason, can enter a Lodge without
undergoing examination. 16. That no Lodge can interfere in the
business or labor of another Lodge. 17. That every Freemason is
amenable to the laws and regulations of the Masonic jurisdiction in
which he resides, and this although he may not be a member of any
lodge. 18. That every candidate for initiation must be a man, free
born and of lawful age. 19. That every Mason must believe in the
existence of God as the Great Architect of the Universe. 20. That
every Mason must believe in a resurrection to a future life. 21.
That a book of the law of God must constitute an indispensable part
of the furniture of every Lodge. 22. That all men in the sight of
God, are equal, and meet in the lodge on one common level. 23. That
Freemasonry is a secret society, in possession of secrets that
cannot be divulged. 24. That Freemasonry consits of a speculative
science founded on speculative art. 25. That the Landmarks of
Masonry can never be changed
The universality of the Landmarks, and of the Institution itself,
was ably and eloquently set forth by Charles Whitlock Moore of
Massachusetts in 1856, at the centennial anniversary of St.
Andrew's Lodge in Boston. He said:
"I suppose it to be entirely true, in view of the great accessions
that have been made to its members within the last two or three
years, that there are many persons present who entertain, at best,
but a general and indefinite idea of the antiquity, extent and
magnitude of our institution. And it is equally true that many
even of our most intelligent and active young Brethren, not having
their attention drawn to the subject, overlook its history and the
extent of its influence, and naturally come to regard it in much
the same light that they do the ordinary associations of the day
and this as naturally leads to indifference. Masonry, like every
other science, whether moal or physical, to be rightly estimated,
must be understood in all its relations and conditions. The
intelligent Mason values it in the exact ratio that he has
investigated its history and studied its philosophy.
"But my immediate purpose is not to discuss the importance of the
study of Masonry as a science, but to show its universality as a
fraternity. This will necessarily involve to some extent the
history of its rise and progress.
"In the beginning of the fifteenth century, Henry VI of England
asked of our brethren of that day - 'Where did Masonry begin?' and
being told that it began in the East, his next inquiry was - 'Who
did bring it Westerly?' - and he received for answer, that it was
brought Westerly by 'the Phoenicians.' These answers were
predicated, not on archaeological investigations for the
archaeology of Masonry had not been opened, but on the traditions
of the Order, as they had been transmitted from generation to gener
ation, and from a period running so far back along the stream of
time that it had been lost in the mists and obscurity of the
mythological ages. Recent investigations, guided by more certain
lights and more extensive and clearer developments of historical
truth, have shown that these brethren were not misled by their
traditions, and that their answers indicated with remarkable
precision, what the most learned of our brethren in this countr y
and in Europe, at the present time believe to be the true origin o
f their institution.
"Freemasonry was originally a fraternity of Practical builders -
architects and artificers. This is conceded by all who are to any
extent acquainted with its history or its traditions. The
Phoenicians, whose capital cities were Tyre and Sidon, were the
early patrons of that semi-religious mystic fraternity or society
of builders, known in history as the 'Dionysian Architects.' That
this fraternity were employed by the Tyrians and Sidonians in the
erection of costly temples to unknown Deities, in the build ing of
rich and gorgeous palaces, and in strengthening and beautifying
their cities, is universally admitted. That they were the 'cunning
workmen' sent by Hiram, king of Tyre, to aid King Solomon in the
erection of the Temple on Mount Moriah, is scarcely less certain.
Their presence in that city at the time of the building of the
Temple is the evidence of history and Hiram, the widow's son, to
whom Solomon intrusted the superintendence of the wor kmen, as an
inhabitant of Tyre, and as a skilled architect a nd cunning and
curious workman, was doubtless one of their number. Hence we are
scarcely claiming too much for our order, when we suppose that the
Dionysians were sent by Hiram, king of Tyre, to assist King Solomon
in the construction of the house he was about to dedicate to
Jehovah, and that they communicated to their Jewish fellow-laborers
a knowledge of the advanages of their fraternity, and invited them
to a participation in its mysteries and privileges. The jews were
neither architects nor artificers. By Solomon's own admission, they
were not even skilled enough in the art of building to cut and
prepare the timber in the forests of Lebanon and hence he was
compelled to employ the Sidonians to do that work for him. 'The
Tyrians,' says a learned foreign Brother, 'were celebrated artists
Solomon, therefore, unable to find builders of superior skill, for
the execution of his plans, in his own dominions, engaged Tyrians,
who with the assistance of the zealous Jews, who c ontented
themselves in performing t he inferior labor, finished that
stupendous edifice.' And we are told on the authority of Josephus
that 'the Temple at Jerusalem was built on the same plan, in the
same style, and by the same architects, as the temples of Hercules
and Astarte at Tyre,' They were doubtless all three built by one of
the companies of 'Dionysian Architects, 'who at that time were
numerous throughout Asia Minor, where they possessed the exclusive
privilege of erecting temples, theatres, and other publi c
buildings. Dionysius arri ved in Greece from Egypt about one
thousand five hundred years before Christ, and there instituted, or
introduced, the Dionysian mysteries. The Ionic migration occurred
about three hundred years afterwards, or one thousand two hundred
years B.C. - the emigrants carrying with them from Greece to Asia
Minor the mysteries of Dionysius, before they had been corrupted by
the Athenians. 'In a short time,' says Mr. Lawrie, 'the Asiatic
colonies surpassed the mother country in prosperity and science.
Sculpture i n marble, and the Doric and Ionic Orders were the
result of their ingenuity.' 'We know' says a learned encyclopedist,
'that the Dionysiacs of Ionia' (which place has, according to
Herodotus, always been celebrated for the genius of its
inhabitants), 'were a great corporation of architects and
engineers, who undertook, and even monopolised, the building of
temples, stadiums, and theatres, precisely as the fraternity of
Masons are known to have, in the Middle Ages, monopolized the
building of cath edrals and c onventual churches. Indeed, the
Dionysiacs resembled the mystical fraternity, now called
Freemasons, in many important particulars. They allowed no
strangers to interfere in their employment recognized each other
by signs and tokens they professed certain mysterious doctrines,
under the tuition and tutelage of Bacchus and they called all
other men profane because not admitted to these mysteries.'
"The testimony of history is, that they supplied Ionia and the
surrounding country, as far as the Hellespont, with theatrical
apparatus, by contract. They also practiced their art in Syria,
Persia, and India and about three hundred years before the birth
of Christ, a considerable number of them were incorporated by
command of the King of Pergamus, who assigned to them Teos as a
settlement. It was this fraternity, whether called Greeks, Tyrians
or Phoenicians, who built the Temple at Jerusalem. That stupe
ndous work, under God, was the result of their genius and
scientific skill. And this being true, from them are we, a
fraternity, lineally descended, or our antiquity is a myth, and our
traditions a fable. Hence the answer of our English Brethren of
the fifteenth century, to the inquiry of Henry VI, that Masonry was
brought Westerly by the Phoenicians, indicated with great accuracy
the probable origin of the Institution.
"They might indeed have said to him that long anterior to the
advent of Christianity, the mountains of Judea and the plains of
Syria, the deserts of India and the valley of the Nile, were
cheered by its presence and enlivened by its song - that more than
a thousand years before the coming of the 'Son of Man,' a little
company of 'cunning workmen, 'from the neighboring city of Tyre,
were assembled on the pleasant Mount Moriah, at the call of the
wise King of Israel, and there erected out of their great skil l a
mighty edifice, whose splendid and unrivaled perfection, and whose
grandeur and sublimity have been the admiration and theme of all
succeeding ages. They might have said to him that this was the
craft work of a fraternity to whose genius and discoveries, and to
whose matchless skill and ability, the wisest of men in all ages
have bowed with respect. They might also have said to him that,
having finished that great work, and filled all Judea with temples
and palaces and walled cities, having enriched an d beautified
Azor, Gozarra, and Palmyra, with the results of their genius, these
'cunning workmen' in after-times, passing through the Essenian
associations, and finally issuing out of the mystic halls of the
'Collegia Artificium' of Rome, burst upon the 'dark ages of the
world like a bright star peering through a black cloud, and under
the patronage of the church, produced those splendid monuments of
genius which set at defiance the highest attainment of mo dern art.
And, if in addition to all this they ha d said to him that in the
year A.D. 926, one of his predecessors on the throne of England had
invited them from all parts of the continent, to meet him in
general assembly at his royal city of York, the answer to his
inquiry - 'Who did bring it Westerly?' - would have been complete.
"Henceforward, for eight centuries, Masonry continued an operative
fraternity producing both in England and on the Continent, those
grand and unapproachable specimens of art which are the pride of
Central Europe, and the admiration of the traveler. But it is no
longer an operative association. We of this day, as Masons, set up
no pretensions to extraordinary skill in the physical sciences.
Very few of us - accomplished Masons as we may be - would willingly
undertake to erect another temple on Mount Mori ah! Very certain we
are that our own honored M. W. Grand Master, - primus inner pares,
as all his Brethren acknowledge him to be, would hesitate a long
time before consenting to assume the duties of architect for
another Westminster Abbey, or a new St. Paul's. No. At the
reorganization of the Craft and the establishment of the present
Grand Lodge of England in 1717, we laid aside our operative
character, and with it all pretensions to extraordinary skill in a
rchitectural science. We then became a purely m oral and
benevolent association, whose great aim is the development and
cultivation of the moral sentiment, the social principle, and the
benevolent affections, a higher reverence for God, and a warmer
love for man. New laws and regulations, adapted to the changed
condition of the Institution, were then made, - an entire
revolution in its governmental policy took place, order and system
obtained where neither had previously existed, and England became
the gr eat central point of Masonry for the whole world.
"From this source have Lodges, Grand and Subordinate, at various
times, been established, and still exist and flourish - in France
and Switzerland in all the German States save Austria (and there
at different times, and for short seasons) and up and down the
classic shores of the Rhine in Prussia in Holland, Belgium,
Saxony, Hanover, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, and even in fallen
Poland in Italy and Spain (under the cover of secrecy) in various
parts of Asia in Turkey in Syria, (as at Aleppo, where an English
lodge was established more than a century ago in all the East
India settlements in Bengal, Bombay, Madras, (in all of which
lodges are numerous) in China, where there is a Provincial Grand
Master and several lodges in various parts of Africa, as at the
Cape of Good Hope and at Sierra Leone on the Gambia and on the
Nile in all the larger islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans,
as at Ceylon, Sumatra, St. Helena, Mauritius, Madagascar the
Sandwich group in all the principal settlements of Aus tralia, as
at Adelaide, Melbourne, Parramatta, Sidney, New Zealand in Greece
where there is a Grand Lodge in Algeria, in Tunis, in the Empire
of Morocco - and wherever else in the Old World the genius of
civilization has obtained a standpoint, or Christanity has erected
the Banner of the Cross.
"In all the West India islands and in various parts of South
America, as in Peru, Venezuela, New Granada, Guiana, Brazil, Chili,
etc., Masonry is prospering as never before. In the latter
Republic the Grand Lodge of this Commonwealth has a flourishing
subordinate, and the Grand Master has just authorized the
establishment of another Lodge there.
"On our own continent our order was never more widely diffused, or
in a more healthy condition. In Mexico, even, respectable Lodges
are maintained, in despite of the opposition of a bigoted
Priesthood and in all British America, from New Foundland,
through Nova Scotia and the Canadas to the icy regions of the
North, Masonic Lodges and Masonic Brethren may be found 'to feed
the hungry, clothe the naked and bind up the wounds of the
"On the condition of the Institution in our own country, I need not
dwell. Every State and Territory - except the unorganized
territory of Washington, including even Kansas, has its Grand Lodge
and nearly every considerable town and village, its one or more
subordinate lodges. If we add to these, the large number of
Chapters, Councils, Encampments, and other Masonic associations
which are spread all over the length and breadth of the land, we
have the evidence of a prosperity unparalleled in the annals of any
other human Institution, in any age of the world.
"Masonry is indeed a universal Institution. History does not
furnish its parallel. It exists where Christianity has not gone
and its claims will be respected even where the superior claims of
religion would fail. It is never obscured by the darkness of night.
The eye of day is always upon it. Its footprints are to be traced
in the most distant regions and in the remotest ages of the earth.
Among all civilized people and in all Christianized lands its
existence is recognized. It came to our shores at an auspicious
period and it was here rocked in the Cradle of Liberty by a
Washington, a Franklin, a Hacock and a Warren. Unaffected by the
tempests of war, the storms of persecution, or the denunciations of
fanaticism, it still stands proudly erect in the sunshine and clear
light of heaven, with not a marble fractured, not a pillar fallen.
It still stands, like some patriarchal monarch of the forest, with
its vigorous roots riveted to the soil, and its br oad limbs spread
in bold outline against the sky and in generations yet to come, as
in ages past, the sunlight of honor and renown will delight to
linger and play amid its venerable branches. And if ever, in the
providence of God, lashed by the storm and riven by lightning, it
shall totter to its fall, around its trunk will the ivy of filial
affection, that has so long clasped it, still cling, and mantle
with greenness and verdure its ruin and decay"
In no sketch of Masonry, perhaps, should mention of the Charities
of the Order be ommitted. Masonic benevolences are well
systematized the world over. Some of them are necessarily public,
but the greater number are never heard of outside the Lodge. It is
not the policy of Masonry to dispense benevolences to any but those
who actually need them. The Order does not, for instance, pay any
member a sum of money merely because he is sick. The actual pinch
of poverty must be manifest before the coffers of the S ociety are
opened. But when want stares a Freemason, his widow or his orphans
in the face, they are liberally assisted to tide over their
misfortunes. Public Masonic Charities take different forms in
different countries. In Sweden twelve work schools in which poor
children are taught useful trades are maintained. In Hungary last
winter a daily average of 9,722 poor people were each given a loaf
of bread, and at milk depots numberless children were given each a
roll and a pint of hot milk during the rigo rs of frosty weather.
In America public Masonic Charities have largely been in the form
of Masonic Homes, great institutions in which the aged, widows, and
orphans are given a pleasant home because of their connection with
the Fraternity.
A few words in conclusion: It has been the intent of the writer to
condense within about one hundred pages such a sketch of
Freemasonry as would interest men and women, and yield to them
correct ideas of the Order. If a just account has been given of the
Legend and Tradition of Masonry, of its early manifestations, of
the Famous Attacks upon it, of its Teachings and of its Extent, the
author's purpose has been accomplished. There has been no attempt
to make this little book cyclopaedic, monitorial, jurisprudent,
disquisitional, argumentative or speculative. The whole purpose
has been to make the Story accurate and brief. For those whose
minds may not be content w ith the Primary methods adopted herein,
there is a literature which will carry them to the highest
pinnacles of Masonic learning in a dozen different branches, and to
which they may be directed by any informed member of the
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