In this issue: Page 2, ‘Robert Burns.’ Yet another look at the Masonic career of Robert Burns. Page 8, ‘The Initiation of the Prince of Wales.’ A Poem by Bro. William Harvey. Page 8, ‘Sprig of Acacia.’ A description of the acacia tree. Page 9, ‘Lodge Montefiore No.753.’ Another History of one of our Ancient Scottish Lodges. Page 13, ‘Rays of Masonry’, today insures Masonry “Courage Tomorrow”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 14, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’. “On Being Asked to Join”, the twenty fourth in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 16, ‘The Maccabees’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 17, ‘The Origin of Masonry’. Part One – From Operative to Speculative. Page 20, ‘Famous Freemasons’ Robert Service, the author of Dangerous Dan McGrew. Page 23, ‘Scottish Connections’. The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 24, ‘The Masonic Dictionary’ Apprentice, Entered.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Burns and Freemasonry’. [link] The front cover picture is the famous red chalk drawing of Burns, by Archibald Skirving, adapted by the editor.
The Encyclopedia of Freemasonry One of the most celebrated and best loved of Scottish poets. William Pitt has said of his poetry, “that he could think of none since Shakespeare’s that had so much the appearance of sweetly coming from nature.” Robert Burns, or Robert Burness, as the name was originally spelled, was born at Kirk Alloway, near the town of Ayr, January 25, 1759. His father was a religious peasant-farmer living in a humble cottage on the banks of the Doon, the river destined to be eulogized so touchingly in many of Burns’ verses in after life. Burns died in the thirty-seventh year of his life on July 21, 1796, broken in health. For years he had been feted, lionized and honoured by the entire Scottish nation. At the age of twenty-three he became closely associated with the local Freemasonry, being initiated July 4, 1781, in Saint David’s Lodge, Tarbolton, shortly after the two Lodges of Saint David, No. 174, and Saint James, No. 178, in the town were united. He took his Second and Third Degrees in the month of October following his initiation. In December Saint David’s Lodge was divided and the old Lodge of Saint James was reconstituted, Burns becoming a member. Saint James’ Lodge has still in its keeping, and we have personally inspected the Minute Books containing items written in Burns’ own handwriting, which Lodge he served as Depute Master in 1784.
From this time on Freemasonry became to the poet a great and propelling power. At the time of his initiation into Saint David’s Lodge Burns was unnoticed and unknown and, it must be admitted, somewhat unpolished in manner, although he had managed to secure before his sixteenth year what was then considered to be an “elegant” education. With almost no exceptions his boon companions were all Freemasons and this close association with Brethren, many of whom were high in the social scale, but who recognized his talents and ability, did much to refine and stimulate him intellectually, influence his thought, inspire his muse, and develop that keen love of independence and brotherhood which later became the predominant factors of his life. The poet held the position of Depute Master of Saint James’ Lodge until about 1788, at which time he read his famous Farewell to the Brethren of Saint James’ Lodge, Tarbolton, given below: Adieu! a heart-warm, fond adieu ! Dear Brothers of the Mystic tie! Ye favoured, ye enlighten’d few, Companions of my social joy! Tho’ I to foreign lands must hie, Pursuing Fortune’s slidd’ry ba’, With melting heart, and brimful eye, I’ll mind you still, tho’ far awa’. Oft have I met your social band And spent the cheerful, festive night ; Oft honoured with supreme command, Presided o’er the Sons of Light; And by that Hierog1yphic Bright, Which none but craftsmen ever saw! Strong Mem’ry on my heart shall write Those happy scenes, when far awa’! May Freedom, Harmony, and Love, Unite you in the Grand Design,
Beneath th’ Omniscient Eye above– The glorious Architect Divine– That you may keep th’ Unerring Line, Still rising by the Plummet’s Law, Till ORDER bright completely shine, Shall be my pray’r when far awa’. And you, FAREWELL! whose merits claim Justify the Highest Badge to wear ! Heav’n bless your honour’d, noble NAME, To Masonry and Scotia dear. A last request permit me here, When yeany ye assemble a’, One round, I ask it with a tear, To him, the Bard that’s far awa’. About this same time the poet presided as Master over a Lodge at Mauchline, which practice was, as a matter of fact, irregular, as the Charter of the Lodge covered only meetings held in Tarbolton, but, it is stated, Burns’ zeal in the furthering of Freemasonry was so great that he even held Lodges in his own house for the purpose of admitting new members. Mention is also made, however, that Lodes’ were not then tied to a single meeting place as now. Regarding this, Professor Dugald Stewart, the eminent philosophic writer and thinker, and himself an Honorary Member of the Saint James Lodge, says, “In the course of the same season I was led by curiosity to attend for an hour or two a Masonic Lodge in Mauchline, where Bums presided. He had occasion to make some short, unpremeditated compliments to different individuals from whom he had no reason to expect a visit, and everything he said was happily
conceived and forcibly as well as fluently expressed.” Burns found himself in need of funds about this time and it was due to the suggestions and assistance of Gavin Hamilton, a prominent member of the Order and a keen admirer of Bums, that the poet collected his first edition of poems and was able to have them published through the able assistance of such eminent Fellow Craftsmen as Aiken, Goudie, John Ballantine, and Gavin Hamilton. A Burns Monument has since been erected, in August, 1879, in Kay Park, which overlooks the little printing office where the first Kilmarnock edition of his poems was published. Dr. John Mackenzie, a man of fine literary taste and of good social position, whom Bums mentions in several of his Masonic poems, lid much at this period by way of kindly and discerning appreciation to develop the poet’s genius and make it known to the world. It was due to a generous loan made by. John Ballantine, before mentioned, that Burns was able to make the trip to Edinburgh and have a second edition of his poems published. At Edinburgh, due to the good offices of the Masonic Brethren there, Burns was made acquainted with and was joyously accepted by the literary leaders of the Scottish capital. Reverend Thomas Blacklock, a member of the Lodge of Saint David, Edinburgh, No. 36, and afterwards Worshipful Master of Ayr Kilwinning Lodge, received Burns on his arrival, lavished upon him all the kindness of a generous heart, introduced him into a circle of friends worthy and admiring, and did all possible to further the interest of the young poet. Brother
Sir Walter Scott, the novelist, addressed a letter to this Lodge of Saint David, Edinburgh, which is now in their possession in which he pays rare tribute to Robert Burns. On October 26, 1786, Burns was made an Honorary Member of the Saint John Lodge, No. 22, Kilmarnock, the first of the Masonic Orders to designate him as their Poet and honour him with honorary membership. Just previous to this he joined the Saint John’s Kilwinning Lodge, Kilmarnock, warranted in 1747 but not coming under Grand Lodge until 1808, on which occasion in the Lodge was presided over by his friend, Gavin Hamilton. On February 1, 1787, Burns became a member of the Lodge of Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, Edinburgh, which possesses the most ancient Lodge-room in the world, and this Lodge is said to have invested Burns with the title of the Poet-Laureate of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning on March 1, 1787, from which time on Burns affixed the word Bard to his signature. This Lodge issued a booklet on Saint John’s Day 1925, from which we quote the following: ‘ The fact of the inauguration of Burns as Poet.-Laureate was, some time ago, finally and judicially established after an elaborate and exhaustive inquiry by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which possesses the well-known historic Painting representing the scene, painted by Brother Stewart Watson, and presented to Grand Lodge by Dr. James Burness, the distinguished Indian traveller and administrator, and a distant relative of Burns through his ancestry in Kincardineshire, from which Burns’ father migrated to Ayrshire.
On the other hand, Brother Dudley Wright, in the Freemason, London, February 7, 1925, says: The principal fallacy, which has lately found frequent repetition even in some Scottish Lodges, is the statement that Robert Burns was on a certain night installed or invested as the Poet Laureate of canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2. Bums became a member of this Lodge on February 1, 17S7, as testified by the following Minute:” The Right Worshipful Master, having observed that Brother Burns was present in the Lodge, who is well known as a great poetic writer and for a late publication of his works which have been universally commended, Submitted that he should be assumed a member of this Lodge, which was unanimously agreed to and he was assumed accordingly.” The story runs that exactly a month afterwards, on March 1, 1787, Burns paid a second visit to Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, when he was invested as Poet Laureate of this famous Lodge, and there is in existence a well-known painting of the supposed scene, which has been many times reproduced. The picture, however, is only an imaginary one, for one of the characters depicted as being present-Grose, the Antiquariandid not become a Freemason until 1791. James Marshall, a member of the craft, published, in 1846, a small volume entitled A Winter with Robert Burns, in which he gave a full account of the supposed investiture, with biographical data of the Brethren stated to have been present on that occasion.
Robert Wylie, also, in his History of Mother Lodge Kilwinning, of which he was Secretary, published in 1878, has repeated the story, and added that ” Burns was very proud of the honour”; while Dr. Rogers, in The Book of Robert Burns, volume I, page 180 has also repeated the story, giving the date of the event as June 25, 1787, and adding the information that Lord Torpichen was then Depute Master, and that in compliment to the occasion, and as a token of personal regard, on the following day he despatched to the poet at his lodgings in the Lawnmarket a handsome edition of Spenser’s works, which the poet acknowledged in a letter. There was a meeting of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning on March 1, 1787, the Minute of which is in existence, but it contains no reference to the investiture of Burns as Poet Laureate of the Lodge. It reads as follows:” St. Johns chapel, March 1, 1787. The Lodge being duly constituted it was reported that since last meeting R. Dalrymple Esq., F. T. Hammond Esq., R. A. Maitland Esq., were entered apprentices; and the following brethren passed and raised: R. Sinclair Esq., Z. McDonald Esq., C. B. Cleve Esq., captain Dalrymple, R. A. Maitland Esq., F. T. Hammond Esq., Mr. Clavering, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Millar, Mr. Hine, and Mr. Gray, who all paid their fees to the Treasurer. No other business being before the meeting, the Lodge adjourned.” It is not a pleasing task to dispel such a happy delusion, but it must be admitted that the investiture certainly did not take place on that occasion, when there is no record that Burns was even present. Had
the investiture taken place, it would certainly have been recorded on the Minutes, especially when regard is had to the fact that his very admission to the Lodge a month previously was made the subject of so special a note. There were only three meetings of the Lodge held in 1786-7 session, and at one of these only -that of the night of his admission as a Joining Member- is there any record of the presence of Robert Burns. But did not Burns call himself Laureate, somebody may ask. Certainly he did, particularly in the following stanza: To please you and praise you, Ye ken your Laureate scorns; The prayer still you share still Of grateful Robert Burns. But those words were written on May 3, 1786, before the date of his admission into Lodge, Canongate Kilwinning. While Brother Burns may not have actually been appointed Poet Laureate of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, and the account of the meeting of February 1 does not indicate anything more than that he was “assumed” a member, yet later mention of Brother Burns in the Minutes does suggest that the Brethren in some degrees considered our Brother as Poet Laureate. For instance, on February 9, 1815, the Lodge resolved to open a subscription among its members to aid in the erection of a “Mausoleum to the memory of Robert Burns who was a member and Poet Laureate of this Lodge.” There is the further allusion on January 16, 1835, in connection with the appointment of Brother James Hogg, the “Ettrick Shepherd” to the “honorary office of Poet Laureate of the Lodge, which had
been in abeyance since the death of the immortal Brother Robert Burns”. Shortly after the publication of the second edition of his verse at Edinburgh, Burns set out on a tour with his friend, Brother Robert Ainslie, an Edinburgh lawyer. Brother A. M. Mackay tells us in a pamphlet issued by Lodge Saint David, Edinburgh, No. 36, on the Festival of Saint John, December 19, 1923, that “Burns visited the old fishing town during the course of a tour through the Border Counties in the early summer of 1787.” The records of the Lodge contain no reference to the Poet, or to the Royal Arch Degree of which Burns and his friend became members, but several prominent Brethren in Saint Ebbe were Royal Arch Masons and, although working under no governing authority, appear to have occasionally admitted candidates into that Order. Brothers Burns and Ainslie arrived at Eyemouth on Friday, May 18, and took up their abode in the house of Brother William Grieve, who was, the Poet informs us, “a joyous, warm hearted, jolly, clever fellow.” It was, no doubt, at the instigation of their host that the meeting of Royal Arch Masons, held on the following day, was arranged: Eyemouth 19th May 1787. At a general encampment held this day, the following Brethren were made Royal Arch Masons, namely: Robert Burns, from Lodge Saint James, Tarbolton, Ayrshire; and Robert Ainslie from the Lodge of Saint Luke, Edinburgh, by James Carmichael, William Grieve, Donald Dow, John Clay, Robert Grieve, etc., etc.
Robert Ainslie paid one guinea admission dues, but, on account of Brother Bum’s remarkable poetical genius, the encampment unanimously agreed to admit him gratis and considered themselves honoured by having a man of such shining annuities for one of their companions. It is suggested by Brother A. Arbuthnot Murray, formerly Grand Scribe E. of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland, who is an authority on the old working of the Scottish Royal Arch Chapters that Burns was probably made a Knight Templar as well, as under the old regime the two ceremonies were always given together. Dudley Wright in Robert Burns and Freemasonry says, “On December 27, 1788, Burns was unanimously assumed, being a Master Masson’ a member of the Saint Andrews Lodge, No. 179, Dumfries. The Secretary wrongly described him as of ‘Saint David Strabolton Lodge, No. 178.’” The poet’s last attendance at this Lodge was in 1796, a few months after which he contracted the fatal fever which led to his death. A word should be said here in refutation of the slanderous charge that Burns acquired the habits of dissipation, to which he was unfortunately addicted, at the festive meetings of the Masonic Lodges (see Freemasons Magazine, London, volume v, page 291), and his brother, Gilbert’s, testimony is given below, “Towards the end of the period under review, in his, twenty-fourth year, and soon after his father’s death, he was furnished with the subject of his epistle to John Rankin. During this period, also,
he became a Freemason, which was his first introduction to the life of a boon companion. Yet, notwithstanding these circumstances, and the praise he has bestowed on Scotch drink, which seems to have misled his historians, I do not recollect during these seven years, nor till towards the end of his commencing author, when his growing celebrity occasioned his often being in company, to have ever seen him intoxicated; nor was he at all given to drinking.” Notwithstanding this, however, the poet undoubtedly enjoyed convivial gatherings and he wrote to a friend, James Smith, “I have yet fixed on nothing with respect to the serious business of life. I am, as usual, a rhyming, Mason-making, rattling, aimless, idle fellow.” In spite of this “idleness,” Burns was very prolific in verse and especially did he give of his genius liberally in service to the Masonic Order, an example of one of these verses being given below: A’ ye whom social pleasure charms, Whose heart the tide of kindness warms, Wha hold your being on the terms, Each aid the others, come to my bowl, come to my arms, My friends, my Brothers. Among the various poetic Masonic effusions of this “heaven-taught ploughman” is the following, which was written in memory of his beloved friend, a fellow-poet and Brother, Robert Ferguson: Curse on ungrateful man that can be pleased, And yet can starve the author of his pleasure .
Oh, thou, my Elder Brother in misfortune, By far my elder Brother in the Muses, With tears I pity thy unhappy fate ! Why is the bard unfitted for the word, Yet has so keen a relish of its pleasures? Burns erected a tombstone over the remains of this same Scottish poet, Robert Ferguson, on which he inscribed the stanza: No sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay, No storied um, nor animated bust, This simple stone directs pale Scotis’s way, To pour her sorrows o’er her poet’s dust. A monument was erected for Robert Burns, himself, by public subscription, at his birthplace, January 25, 1820. The corner-stone was laid with appropriate Masonic honours by the Deputy Grand Master of the Ancient Mother Lodge at Kilwinning, assisted by all ‘the Masonic Lodges in Ayrshire. At a meeting in 1924 of the Scots Lodge of London in honour of Robert Burns, Sir John A. Cockbum, M.D., in the address of the evening explained to us that the poet when young had suffered from a rheumatic fever that frequently resulted in a condition peculiarly liable at any time later to sudden fatal consequences. Sir John also urged that due consideration should be given to the tendency and practice of the era when Burns flourished, when a free use of intoxicants was common. This look at Robert Burns and Masonry was sourced from the encyclopaedia of Freemasonry.
The Initiation of the Prince of Wales. The Craft owre a’ the land this day Adorns the Lodge wi’ garlands gay, Auld England shouts. In brave array, “Hail, Mason-Prince! And Scots in canty, couthie way, Their hopes evince! The Craft owre a’ the land this day Our Prince and Brither! Here’s our prayer! May B--z build thy Royal Chair In strength; may peace and pleasure mair Then fill thy cup; May walth o’ years be thine to share Our sign and grup! In spite o’ what the Paip asserts, May Jachin in Masonic hearts Establish thee, thou lad o’ pairts – Prince o’ the free; And loyalty frae o’ the airts Encompass thee! Thou’lt learn the knack o’ Rule and Line, The Square – The Compasses – The sign; Be tauld what Masons ne’er maun tine – Faith, Hope and Love – Their three great symbols o’ devine Grand Lodge above. So, Brither Masons, raise your hand! This day the highest in the land Joins wi’ the humblest: tak’s his stand At First Degree: Let’s enter him into our band Wi’ Three times three! By Bro. William Harvey
SPRIG OF ACACIA The acacia is a shrub or tree of the mimosa family, native of the warm regions of both hemispheres, particularly to be found in Africa, the Middle East and Australia. There are said to be some 550 species of the genus, which is distinguished by small regular globose headed, or cylindrically spiked yellow flowers. In Australia it is more usually known as wattle, having reference to the fact that, because of its hard, fine grain, its durability and it being heavier than water, it is practically impervious to insects that makes it ideal timber for the construction of huts and fences. There is so considerable a variety of species of wattle, or acacia, that one could plant a number of trees so selected that at least one would be flowering at any given time in the year. Indeed, at a sheep station near Mount Bryan, South Australia, the driveway to the homestead is lined with trees so selected, as a perpetual memorial to a son killed in action at Gallipoli. In the Middle East and Northern Africa it was the characteristic tree of the desert wadis, especially of the Sinai and Dead Sea areas, often to be found growing in small clefts between the rocks of the otherwise bare mountainsides. It was this which inspired Thomas Moore to pen the well known lines … “Our rocks are rough but, smiling there, Th’ acacia waves her yellow hair, Lonely and sweet, not loved the less For flow’ring in a wilderness.’
Various passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy of the Bible refer to the acacia as the shittah tree, source of shittim wood, so eminently suitable for
the manufacture of furniture, cabinets, etc., particularly where durability is a desirable factor. It comes as no surprise, then, that this was the timber selected for the manufacture of the Ark of the Covenant, and the boards, tables, etc., of the Tabernacle. Being put to such use a use undoubtedly accounted for the aura of sanctity with which it was surrounded in the minds of our ancient Hebrew brethren. According to Dr. F. Dalcho, a well known American Masonic author and orator, the ancient Hebrews always planted a sprig of acacia at the head of the grave of a departed friend. He claimed that this custom arose from circumstances associated with their ancient laws, which provided that no dead bodies would be allowed within the walls of their city. As their laws insisted that no priest could actually cross a grave, it was necessary to place some distinguishing mark as a warning. Undoubtedly because of its durability and other factors previously mentioned, a sprig of acacia was chosen for this purpose. However this does not apply in the 21st century. So, when one adds to the factors already discussed the fact that the acacia is an evergreen and, as such, a fitting emblem of immortality, it is easy to understand why a sprig of this tree is so meaningful to our fraternity and is used in so solemn a manner at a Masonic funeral.
Lodge Montefiore No.753 The Founding of the Lodge "Synagogue Chambers, Glasgow 23rd October 1887 A meeting of Jewish Freemasons was held this day at the above place to consider the advisability of forming a Masonic Lodge in Glasgow under Jewish auspices. Bro. M. Simons in the Chairâ€? Twelve Brethern met at Garnethill, on the above date, in the first recorded Minute. They resolved that it was "highly desirable to constitute" such a lodge and "in order to carry this to a successful issue" a further meeting was convened calling all interested parties together, including non-masons. A small working committee was formed, ad interim. The subsequent General Meeting of "Jewish residents favourable to the formation of a Masonic lodge in this City, under Jewish auspices" was held one month later on 27th November 1887 when a unanimous resolution was passed to proceed. The interim committee was then authorised "with full power" to collect subscriptions and take all necessary steps for opening the lodge. On the 22nd January 1888 the Committee met followed by a General Meeting held immediately afterwards. At the former meeting a number of important decisions were made. These were:NAME OF LODGE: Proposed "that the suggested lodge be called The Montefiore Lodge". Agreed
COLOUR OF REGALIA: Resolved "that royal blue and gold be the colours of the clothing and paraphernalia of this lodge". MEETING PLACE: Resolved "that the Lodge be held at St John's Masonic Hall, 213 Buchanan Street". DAY OF MEETING: Resolved "that Monday be the night of Meetings". FEES: Resolved "that the initiation fees be four guineas inclusive of the current year's subscription". A General Meeting was held shortly after when the Committee reported funds in hand and all of the above resolutions were submitted and unanimously adopted. It was further resolved to forward the petition for a charter to Grand Lodge and the interim treasurer was authorised to pay all the preliminary expenses including ten guineas for the charter. The selection of office-bearers was then proceeded the only comment to be made is that Bro. J. Levin, the interim secretary, who was elected at that time, tendered his resignation prior to the consecration and Bro. Julius Tinto the proposed Senior Steward took his place. One year's rent of St John's Hall, costing fifteen pounds, was paid. A further meeting was called for the "consideration and discussion of the bye-laws" one week later on January 29th 1888, "at 1.30pm". Proof copies of the bye-laws were submitted and byelaws 1 to 19 were passed. The Meeting then adjourned until the following day when the remaining bye-laws were
considered and "after several alterations had been agreed to" it was agreed that they be reprinted and submitted to the brethren for further consideration prior to a copy being sent to the Provincial Grand Lodge of the City of Glasgow. Bro. Humphreys, Senior Warden elect, was given permission to purchase the "Regalia and all necessary lodge implements according to samples shown by Bro. Kenning." The bye-laws were finally approved at a meeting held on 12th February 1888 and the corrected proofs were reprinted and submitted to the Provincial Grand Lodge. The Consecration The minute book records the names of an extremely long list of brethren including Bro. D. Murray Lyon, Grand Secretary, members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow City, (the Provincial Grand Master was in London on parliamentary business) and many visiting Provincial Grand Lodges, distinguished brethren from the Irish and English constitutions, a Past Grand Master of Gibraltar and the District Junior Grand Warden from Bengal. Over twenty lodges within the province were represented by their Masters and Wardens. The extracts speak for themselves. "St John's Hall 213 Buchanan Street Glasgow. 19th March 1888 The Erection and Consecration of Lodge Montefiore No.753 took place this evening. Bro John Graham S.P.G.M. in the unavoidable absence of Bro. Sir Wm Pearce officiated."
"The Ceremony of consecration according to printed form was gone through in a most impressive and fitting manner. GLASGOW HERALD 20th MARCH 1888 CONSECRATION OF LODGE MONTEFIORE An interesting Masonic event took place last evening in the St John's Lodge, Buchannan Street when Lodge Montefiore No. 753, the first Jewish Lodge in Scotland, was solemnly erected and consecrated by a deputation of Provincial Grand Lodge, accompanied by Bro. Lyon, Grand Secretary. There was a large attendance of the Brethren................ ( The article then gives a lengthy list of those present and apologies for absence )..............The Provincial Grand Lodge having been duly opened in the third degree, the ceremonial of erection and consecration was carried through with Grand Honours, and at the close Bro. Simons, the first R.W.M. of Lodge Montefiore took his seat beside the S.P.G.Master amid applause. In the course of the proceedings The Grand Chaplain (Rev.W.W.Tulloch) delivered a brief address, specially appreciated on the occasion. He reminded the brethren that the name of the new Lodge recalled that of Sir Moses Montefiore, the first Jew ever knighted by a British sovereign. Sir Moses was a sterling example of a man who had brought lasting renown to himself; while by his benificent activity, by the unceasing and brotherly devotion
with which he laboured for his race, it was chiefly through his exertions that the Jewish disabilities were removed, and that his nephew, Baron Rothschild was the first Jew who sat in our parliament. That was the beginning of a long series of successful endeavours on behalf of his brethren to break their bonds and to help them in their poverty and distress. Was it too much to hope that the Lodge Montefiore, animated by his spirit and inspired by his example, would be conspicuous among the lodges of the province and of Scotland for its philanthropy and beneficence.The R.W.M. and office-bearers of Lodge Montefiore were afterwards duly installed, and R.W.M Simons having taken the chair, was suitably addressed by S.P.G.Master Graham. In addressing the brethren in reply, R.W.M Simons said the Lodge, Montefiore, was, as they all knew, under Jewish auspices. That was a comprehensive term. He rejoiced to think that a lodge so constituted could be nothing less than a lodge conducted in accordance with the highest and best principles of Masonry. (Applause.) In the sister kingdom there were numerous lodges under Jewish auspices, and they were pleased to know that these lodges were for the most part presided over by masters who were not of the Jewish persuasion. They might therefore rest assured that there was nothing in those tenets of Judaism so touchingly referred to by Bro.Tulloch which were in any way inimical to the highest and most sacred professions of Masonry or the highest duties of citizenship. There was nothing to prevent them extending the right hand of fellowship in all truth to all those who recognised, as they did, the supreme authority of the Great Architect of the Universe. (Appluase.)
Brother Lyon, Grand Secretary, afterwards briefly addressed the brethren, and expressed the pleasure it afforded him to attend on so interesting an occasion. R.W.M Simons afterwards invited all the brethren present to partake of supper at his residence in Bath Street, whence they proceeded after the lodge had been closed in the usual manner. The Glasgow Evening News of the same date noted much of the above details and also remarked that "the regalia of the new lodge was much admired". A detailed report of events was also carried by the Jewish Chronicle dated 23rd March 1888. The remarks made by Michael Simons to the effect that brethren not of the 'Jewish persuasion' would play their role in the government of the Lodge, proved to be accurate. Of the first ten masters, five were not of that persuasion, and many more were to follow. The oration delivered on the occasion by Rev. Tulloch, the Provincial Grand Chaplain, made a deep impression on those present and is, in fact, recorded in full in the minute book. He was indeed a powerful orator. It is most interesting to note that Rev.Tulloch distinguished himself not only as Provincial Grand Chaplain but his reputation as a minister (he was elected in 1877 to serve Maxwell Parish) was complimented by the fact that he had a passion for writing. Indeed he contributed to many monthly magazines and had been on the staff of various newspapers. He was also a favourite at Court, being the only clergyman in Scotland, not a royal chaplain, to dine regularly with Her
Majesty and members of the Royal Family. The Lodge having been duly erected and consecrated, following the installation of the office-bearers, a number of founders were obligated in their allegiance to the lodge. Although 16 brethren signed the petition, the Roll Book records a further 9 brethren as "founders" registered in the books and it is clear that their affiliation came about because they were now resident in Glasgow and their Mother Lodges were for the most part in the east of Scotland. Applications for initiation were read from eleven gentlemen whose occupations and professions included a clergyman, a foreign bookseller, a mantle maker, a restaurateur and a master tailor. THE FIRST DECADE - FEBRUARY 1888 - FEBRUARY 1898 The first meeting of the office bearers took place at 206 Bath Street, the home of Michael Simons on the 21st March 1888 when it was decided to hold an Emergency Meeting in order to ballot the applications. This meeting duly took place on the 28th and to which the Provincial Grand Secretary had been invited to affiliate the remaining founders and petitioners. The minute book records that "in return for the very satisfactory way that the Erection and Consecration of the Lodge had been performed" it was unanimously agreed to confer Honorary membership on Bro. John Graham S.P.G.M., Bro. David Reid, P.G.
Secretary (|and Grand Bible Bearer ), W.W.Tulloch B.D., P.G.Chaplain and D.Murray Lyon, Grand Secretary. The Committee for General purposes was empowered “Owing to the Passover holidays occurring on the night of the next Regular Meeting to arrange for and fix a night in lieu.” The first Regular meeting of the Lodge took place on the 9th April 1888 when the work of the lodge began in earnest. The editor and the newsletter acknowledge Lodge 753 as the copyright owner of this history. The Lodge can be accessed at this link, from where this history was extracted. If your Lodge has a history that it might like our readers to read, contact the editor.
Rays of Masonry “Courage today insures Masonry tomorrow” Masonry, which does not claim strength through numbers, but through the fibre and moral power of the individual, has withstood the tyranny of kings and popes, and in all countries wherein Masonry prospers, there you will find the greatest individual prosperity and happiness, the greatest cultural progress and the highest standard of living for the greatest number of people. Let us not rest on our laurels. To make possible the advancement of Masonry from yesterday until today there was required the moral courage of many Masons. They were Masons who were determined that no personal cost was
too great to pay for Liberty, Justice and Tolerance. To make possible Masonry of Today there were Masons who suffered reprisals, financial sacrifice, and even death. While we cannot peer too far into the future, we must remind ourselves that, step, by step, by degrees, we are making Masonry of Tomorrow. We have Divine Assurance that if we do the work of Masonry, if we discharge our sacred obligations, if we hold fast to all that is true, Masonry will be a stronger force tomorrow than today. Then let us contemplate more and more on the ultimate objective of Masonry- to make of our candidates Master Masons. Let those who are capable of teaching be generous with their talents. Let us never cease to teach. To the patient teacher there will always come the eager pupil. Let the Worshipful Master and the officers of the lodge bring teacher and student together and there will result a strength that will be reflected in future generations. The teacher and the pupil inspired and enlightened by the Source of All Wisdom are the Masons who today are creating Masonry's place in the World of Tomorrow. Dewey Wollstein 1953.
Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these appear as a monthly regular feature in the newsletter.
Robinson wants me in his Commandery and Jackson says I mustn't think of going York but must go Scottish Rite, and Brown tells of what he is going to have done to me when I join the Shrine, and Peters wants me to become a Veiled Prophet and Lem says I mustn't forget the Tall Cedars, and old Jerry tells me he'll never let up on me until I join the Eastern Star... it makes me ill."
On Bring Asked to Join. "I think it's an outrage," announced the New Brother with great emphasis, talking to the Old Tiler. "Sure it is!" answered the Old Tiler. "Why don't you have it stopped, then?" "I dunno, what is it?" "You just agreed with me it was an outrage. And now you don't know what it is!" "No, I do not. But I am wise enough to agree with out-of-temper brethren. Then they don't get out of temper with me. So suppose you tell me what is an outrage?" "All these brethren who try to get me to join things! Ever since I was raised they have been after me. Jones wants me to join his Chapter and Smith says as soon as I do I must come in his Council, and
"You sure do get sick easily," answered the Old Tiler. "But I'll attend to it. Tomorrow I will see to it that at least ten brethren tell you you are not good enough for the Chapter, not wise enough to join the council, not brainy enough for the Rite, not sincere enough for the Commandery, not a good enough sport to stand the Grotto, Tall Cedars or Shrine initiation and not decent enough to join the woman's organization. That'll fix it all right and you can be well again." "Hey, wait a minute! What do you mean, I am not decent enough for the women or good enough sport to stand the Shrine? I'm perfectly decent and as good a sport as-" "Gently, gently! I did not say you were not- I said I'd arrange with a lot of brethren to tell you you were not." "But why?" "You get peeved when they tell you the other thing- I thought that was what you wanted." "Our wires are crossed somewhere!"
"No, it is you who are cross and therefore not able to see straight," snapped the Old Tiler. You say it's an outrage that many brethren invite you to join with them. What is there outrageous about it? The brother who wants you in his Chapter sees in you good material out of which to make a Companion. The Knight who wants you in his Commandery thinks you will grace its uniform, live up to its high standards, conform to its usages. The brother who would like to have you in the Scottish Rite thinks you have brains enough to appreciate its philosophic degrees and believes that Albert Pike had such as you in mind when he wrote 'Morals and Dogma.' The Noble or the Veiled Prophet who asks you to come with him thinks you are a good sport, able to be the butt of a joke for a while that others may laugh, and that you may, in turn, enjoy the antics of others. They all take you for a regular fellow.
sought. But once a Mason the matter is different. The lodge has investigated you. You were found not wanting by your fellows. Why wouldn't your brother ask you to join another organization in which he is interested and which he thinks will interest you?"
When you are asked to join the Eastern Star a great compliment is paid you- you are selected as a man fit to associate with fine women; you are accepted as a gentleman as well as a Mason, a man women will be proud to know. That is your outrage!"
"But I haven't the time; I don't know if I could afford it."
"I never looked at it in that way. Masons do not ask others to join with Masons in Masonry and I suppose I thought- I felt" "You didn't think; you just thought you thought." The Old Tiler was smiling now. "Think again. There is every reason why Masonry should not ask the profane to be of it. Masonry is bigger than any man. It never seeks; it must be
"Well, but-" "There is no 'but' which fits! There are many Masonic organizations, each filling its place. Chapter, Council, and Commandery extend the symbolic lodge story. The Scottish Rite tells it to the end in another way. Shrine, Grotto and Tall Cedars are happy places where Masons play. The Eastern Star practices charity, benevolence, kindness, the gentler side of life. None duplicate; all have work to do. The better the workers, the better the work. It is no outrage that they pay toy the compliment of asking you to join with them."
"That is another story. All these organizations cannot make you more a Mason than you are now, but they might make you a better one. Whether you have the time or the means needed is your affair. It would indeed be an outrage if any one questioned you about that. These brethren who ask you to join with them think you have leisure enough to be a better Mason and of sufficient means to indulge that laudable ambition." "Oh, of course, you are right and I am wrong, as usual. I guess I'm a-"
"A Mason," suggested the Old Tiler, gently.
for the widows and orphans of their fallen colleagues.
"And a prospective, Companion, Knight or whatever it is they will call me when I join the Scottish Rite and all the rest!"
Under the original title of the Knights of the Maccabees (the name was changed in 1914), each member of the society pledged to contribute 10 cents to the widow of a deceased “brother,” with a ceiling of $1,000 on the widow’s portion; any surplus was to be deposited with the treasurer. A constitution and rituals had been devised by the time of the first grand convention on August 7,1878. The organization grew very rapidly — there were 10,000 members by 1880— but the leadership was marred by the kinds of factional struggles familiar in the history of fraternal societies, and actuarial soundness was still a dream; essentially, the Maccabees functioned by a well-ordered and institutionalized form of passing the hat. Under a Major Boynton, there were extensive reorganizations in both 1881 and 1883, so that by 1900 there were about a quarter of a million members, and by 1915 there were almost a third of a million.
This is the twenty fourth article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The Maccabees’ The Maccabees was founded in 1878 in London, Ontario, as a fraternal order with mutual Assessment fraternal benefits. There were 3,500 members in the United States and Canada in 1994. The quarterly magazine, The Maccabees Bee Hive, is no longer published. The Maccabeans or Maccabees were a Jewish tribe of the second century B C, which revolted against Antiochus IV of Syria in the name of freedom of religion. Judas Maccabeus was a leader of military genius who secured a Jewish state, Judaea, in 143—42 B C The exploits of the tribe are recorded in two eponymous books of the Apocrypha. The aspects of Maccabeus’s feats that appealed to the founders of the modern Maccabees were steadfastness and persistence; his wisdom in the use of power; and (perhaps most relevantly) the fact that he seems to have been the first recorded military leader to order his soldiers to reserve a part of their spoils
The insurance aspect of the Maccabees has always been paramount. In 1921, the organization adopted the American Mortuary Table of Rates, and in 1961 it became a mutual life insurance company but retained the lodge structure for the benefit of those who had joined before the change and preferred to cling to the past. The lodges were called Subordinate Camps, with Great Camps at the district level and the Supreme Tent at the top. There are no more lodge publications, and the fraternal aspect of the society is probably on the way out, though the
society apparently changed little in size in the whole of the 1980s. In the middle of the Great Depression, in 1935, the Maccabees quietly absorbed the Brotherhood of America, an unremarkable society founded in 1890 in Philadelphia to provide fraternal insurance benefits for men and women on equal terms. By the 1920s almost four-fifths of the 14,000 or so members of the Brotherhood were “social” (uninsured), and this no doubt contributed to the end of the order. Then, in 1937, the Maccabees also absorbed the Slavic Progressive Beneficial Union, followed by the Michigan Union Life Association in 1941. Moving in the other direction, the Western Bees seceded from the Maccabees in 1905, but merged with the Highland Nobles by 1911. Ladies of the Maccabees of the World This auxiliary was founded in Muskegon, Michigan, and merged with the Maccabees proper in 1926. It began in about 1885 as a local auxiliary; expanded to statewide status in 1888; and became a national auxiliary in 1892. The Supreme Hive of the Ladies of the Maccabees of the World seem to have been the first fraternal benefit group to have been managed by women. A splinter group, which split off in the very year of foundation (1892), first called itself the Ladies of the Modern Maccabees and then went on to become the North American Benefit Association. These fraternal societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World, the reader will notice the similarity to the Craft.
The Origin of Masonry PART 1 – FROM OPERATIVE TO SPECULATIVE. The most prolific source of Masonic literature is that dealing with the origin of the Craft. It is a theme which has filled many volumes, and one which invariably follows the same pattern to the point of monotony. Practically all research along these lines starts with the stone masons of Europe, and ends up with the guilds, or associations, of ancient Rome. The Temple itself as a source of origin is avoided for two reasons, the first of which is a fear of encroaching upon the secret work of the Order. The second reason is a more logical one, for it is founded in the fact that very little is known about the Temple. There were three Temples built at Jerusalem, each of which was to replace an earlier structure. The last Temple was built by Herod, and is supposedly described by Josephus, the historian. He was an eyewitness to the destruction of this last Temple, but his lack of technical knowledge is painfully evident from his description of its structural details. The Temple previous to Herod's was built by Zerubbabel, a very brief account of which is set forth in the Book of Ezra. The so-called first Temple was built by Solomon, and a fairly complete description of it is set forth in the first Book of Kings. However, Masonry was founded long before the Temple of Solomon was built. The identification of our Craft with the Temple came about through the ambition of David. It was he who realized the importance of the
Tabernacle of Moses, and planned the Temple as s substitute therefor. Through it he sought credit for the establishment of the house and kingdom of God. This ambition of David is described in the second Book of Samuel, but more particularly in the words of II Samuel 7:13, "He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever." These words are supposedly the Lord's, uttered through the medium of Nathan, the prophet. However, they were prompted by David, for Nathan was a member of David's court. What David really sought was a vehicle which would perpetuate the divine power of the Tabernacle. That this structure was possessed of such power is quite evident from the fact that, within its confines, Moses established the word of God among men. The Word has come down to us practically intact in the form of the Pentateuch, or first five books of the Bible; and the House still stands today! Its original form is essentially unchanged, although some of its parts have been destroyed by the violence of fire and the quantity of water, which have been visited upon it from time to time. This House and this Book were founded at one and the same time, and both are an integral part of Masonry. This particular phase of the inquiry into the origin of Masonry deals with the shift from operative to speculative, for our ritual tells us that we no longer work in operative, but speculative Masonry only. An entirely new approach to this subject is to be had through the medium which has never changed since our Order was founded. That medium is the
Holy Bible, which is placed in the same setting as Moses placed it in the beginning. Save for the legendary part of our ritual, it contains all the factual details of our Craft. When these factual details are worked out to their ultimate conclusion, it will be found that the legendary part of our ritual comprises but a very small percentage of the whole. That the operative phase of our Order was in effect during the time of Moses is stated in Exodus 1:11, "And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pitham and Raamses." It was from the builders of these two cities that Moses recruited the founders of our Order. They were the enslaved workers of Ramses II. Ramses II reigned over Egypt from 1292 to 1225 B.C. His reign was singularly marked by a wealth of building activities. He completed Seti's Temple at Abydos, and added to the Temples at Luxor and Karnak. He constructed at Thebes the great mortuary Temple of the Rameseum, with its colossal statues of himself; and he built the rock-cut temple at AbuSimble. During the early part of his reign Ramses II engaged in an important campaign against the Hittites, and fought an indecisive battle at Kadesh on the Orontes River in Syria. In these forays across Palestine, and into Syria, the victor found a means to augment his labour supply in the form of prisoners of war. They were put to work building such cities as Pithom and Raamses, and it was from their ranks that Moses recruited the people of his Exodus. It is specifically stated that some of them worked in brick and mortar (Exodus 1:14). Any attempt to connect our membership with operative masonry at a
later period in history is an inconsistency, for it was these builders of Pithom and Raamses who established speculative Masonry when they built the Tabernacle on Mt. Rinai. The Tabernacle was really the first Temple, for it was, and still is, a masterpiece of the builder's art. Every part of it has a symbolic meaning far beyond anything incorporated into the Temple built by Solomon. The superb engineering employed in the design of the Tabernacle indicates that several years of study went into this feature alone prior to its actual building. Since Moses was a royal scribe by calling, he undoubtedly planned the Tabernacle in collaboration with an architect. This period of planning took place while they were still in Egypt, for a great many of its features were borrowed from those to be found in the Temples along the Nile. Its design was too intricate to have been improvised in the desert of Sinai. Ramses II died in 1225 B.C., and was succeeded by Merneptah. From all the evidence available, it is quite plain the Exodus must have taken place fairly close to this change in the administration of the affairs of Egypt. In summing up, operative Masonry flourished during the reign of Ramses II, and the transition to speculative Masonry took place during the reign of Merneptah. The transition to the speculative phase is definitely stated in the words of Exodus 36:8, "And every wise hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten curtains of fine twined linen." This is the first of a long list of specifications, wherein Moses describes the manner in which the
Tabernacle was built. It is placed first because these ten curtains of fine twined linen symbolized a pair of hands raised in supplication. Symbolically, they were so placed that Moses might tell us that no man should ever enter upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the blessing of God. As a protege of the royal household, Moses was raised in the pagan worship of Osiris, a deified king. The domain of Osiris was centred in an underground heaven, sealed with the doom of perpetual darkness. This great king of the spiritual world was flanked with a myriad of lesser deities, to whom tribute had to be paid before the novitiate could hope to enter. Associated with this monopoly of the Egyptian hierarchy was the tyranny and oppression of its rulers. As Moses grew to manhood he saw that the beneficence of God came from above, and that it was the Light from the celestial sphere which caused all nature to blossom forth and prosper. His problem was to present this new doctrine to a people whose ancestors had been steeped in paganism for centuries. To this end he endowed his House with the attributes of the heavens by making every part thereof symbolic of some feature of the celestial sphere. This master plan, of course, called for the utmost secrecy, and was tied in with a key. The plan itself he concealed by scattering it throughout all five of the books of the Pentateuch, but the key was left for future ages to discover. Since every one of the 7,625 parts of the Tabernacle played a part in its symbolic meaning, the building of this House coincided with the commencement of the speculative phase of Masonry. The book, The Origin of Masonry, is in 5 parts, part 2 will appear in the next issue.
Famous Freemasons Robert W. Service
While Scottish Masons around the world laud Bro. Robert Burns and English Masons sing the praise of Bro. Rudyard Kipling, Canadian Masons rarely take the same pride in referring to a Brother who was one of Canada's best known poets, penning the immortal phrase: A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon; The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune. Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew, And watching his luck was his light-o'love, the lady that's known as Lou. Brother Robert William Service was born in Preston, England on January 16th, 1874 to Robert Service, a Scottish bank clerk and Emily Parker, the daughter of an English factory owner. He was the first of ten children. It was in Kilwinning, at age 6 in 1880, Robert offers the blessing at supper on the occasion of his birthday; his first recorded poem.
Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond For us who are true to the trail; A vision to seek. a beckoning peak, A fairness then never will fail; A pride in our soul that mocks at a goal, A manhood that irks at a bond, And try how we will, unattainable still, Behold it, our Land of Beyond! You should easily see the Masonic sentiments expressed in this little verse. And no wonder. The author was... albeit briefly ... a Mason.
God bless the cakes and bless the jam; Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham. Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes, And save us all .from belly-aches. Amen Service got a job at a bank in Scotland, but in 1896, at the age of 22, he decided to go Canada with the idea of ranching and arrived in Victoria later that year. The following year, he moved to Duncan, then Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The common belief Service spent his time in the Yukon
during the gold rush is not true. He was in the south-western US the whole time. Service returned to Canada in 1903, getting a job with the Bank of Commerce in Vancouver and then transferring to Whitehorse in 1905. One day, when he had been asked to recite at a church concert, a friend suggested that Service write a poem himself He started thinking. Then came inspiration. As he later recollected: ''It was a Saturday night, and from the various bars I heard sounds of revelry. The line popped into my mind: 'A bunch of the boys were whooping it up' and it stuck there. Good enough for a start." Wanting a quiet place to work, Service went to his teller's cage at the bank. But he had forgotten the night guard. The startled man drew his revolver and fired. "Fortunately he was a poor shot or The Shooting of Dan McGrew might never have been written .... Anyhow, with the sensation of a bullet whizzing past my head, and a detonation ringing in my ears, the ballad was achieved .... " By 1909, he has moved to Dawson and his poetry proved so popular, he was financially independent. After a short visit to the US, he yearned again for the Yukon and decided in 1911 to return the hard way by the Edmonton Trail: By canoe down the Mackenzie River, over the Mackenzie divide via the Rat and down the Bell and the Porcupine to the Yukon River. Once home, he took up writing verse again, and was also at this time attracted to Freemasonry. In 1912, he received
his E.A. degree in Yukon No. 45 in Dawson.... but didn't enjoy his Lodge life for long. That June, he accepted an offer to cover the Balkan War for a newspaper. When World War One broke out, he became a correspondent for the Toronto Star, but soon joined the volunteer American Ambulance Unit. Following the war, Service returned to France to write, then travelled to New York and Hollywood in 1921, where he received $5,000 for the film rights for 'Dan McGrew'. Somewhere during this time, Service may have had time to receive the Fellowcraft Degree. Yukon Lodge carried him as an EA through the war, then the returns for 1920 list him as a FC. There is no record in the Lodge Minutes of him ever receiving the degree, and in 1922, he no longer appears on the Lodge's roll and it is the last we hear of his connection with Freemasonry. As he was neither suspended nor demitted, it's presumed he was simply dropped from membership. Service was not in the Yukon at this time; he had left Los Angeles for Paris. Service travelled through Europe, including the Soviet Union, until the outbreak of World War Two, when he returned to Canada, and spent only a few days in Whitehorse in 1940 before deciding to live in Hollywood in the winter and Vancouver in the summer. When the war ended, Service returned to France, then Monte Carlo with his family, where he continued to write until his death on September 11th, 1958.
Toward the end of his life, he penned: I guess this is the final score: Alas! 1 now shall M'ite no more, Though sad's my mood; Since I've been sixry years a bard, I must admit it's rather hard To quit for good. For three-score years I've roped in rhyme, Till weary of the worn-out chime l've sought for new,• But I've decided in the end, With thirty-thousand couplets penned. The old must do. So let this be the last of me; No more my personality I'll plant in verse; Within a year I may be dead Then if my books are no more read, I'm none the worse.
I'd rather be the Court buffoon than its most high-browed sage: So you who read, take heed, take heed, Ere yet you turn my page. And he may have scribed his own epitaph with these simple words: I who have been Life's rover This is all I would ask my friend A little space on a stormy hill... Eternity passing over. This article was sourced from the excellent Grand Lodge of B.C. and Yukon Website and was written by Bro. Jim Bennie of Lodge Southern Cross No.44 to whom our thanks go.
Far better scribes them 1 have gone I11e way to bleak oblivion With none to sigh; Ah. well! My writing's been such fun, And now my job of work is done, Dear friends, who've let me have my run, Good-bye, -good-bye! These lines from the Prelude from BarRoom Ballads might sum up his poetic philosophy: I’d rather be the Jester than the Minstrel of the King; I'd rather jangle cap and bells than twang the stately harp, I'd rather make His royal ribs with belly-laughter ring, Than see him sitting in the suds and sulky as a carp.
You need many fine attributes to be a Freemason ….. a thick skin can also be useful!
This cartoon is the copyright of Bro. Steve Chadburn and is used with his permission. It is sourced from his book the Festive Freemason which is available here. His website is at this link.
Scottish Connections The general view is that modern Freemasonry began on the European Continent, underwent a re-shaping in England, spread to Scotland and was reexported to the Continent. The connections to European cathedralbuilding are examined in another article of mine. This present article argues that the re-shaping took place not in England but in Scotland, and in time the Scottish connection was deliberately pushed under the carpet, allowing John Theophilus Desaguliers, James Anderson and others to deflect attention from the truth by inventing a history that never happened. Of course there were builders in England in the Middle Ages. There needed to be, especially after 1066 when there was a need for castles and cathedrals, but it is highly doubtful whether there were masons’ guilds in England. (“There is no historical evidence whatever,” says Wor Bro ET Rylands, “to support the theory of Operative Masonry existing in Medieval England.”) Hence when speculative Lodges emerged, it was not at first in England. On the other hand, Rylands shows, “the development of Operative Masonry in Scotland is well documented”. Edinburgh Masons were incorporated as a guild in 1475, and the Schaw Statutes in the 1590s regulated the operation of Scottish Masonry. There are minutes extant from Scottish Operative Lodges. From about 1620 a rudimentary ritual began to emerge. The 18th century saw considerable intellectual ferment in Edinburgh, leading to the formation of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. Philosophical societies flourished. Some led into Freemasonry. For a time there were parallel Operative
and Speculative groups until, after some tension, the Speculatives prevailed. Speculative Freemasonry, says Rylands, “filtered south by a kind of intellectual osmosis”, moving from the north of England down to the capital. There even appears to be evidence of Masons from Scotland demonstrating the degrees of Freemasonry in York in the early 17th century. English Freemasonry had more than one agenda. Some Freemasons, we cannot be certain how many, were involved in the religious and political changes that stabilised England in the early years of the 18th century, but with the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 the Freemasons were accused of being too Jacobite and antiHanoverian. It therefore became necessary to downplay the movement’s ties with Scotland and to re-position English Freemasonry in a new, patriotic form. This meant creating a new, safe history independent of Scotland, linking it with the Continental building trade and claiming Biblical origins that antedated both the Greeks and the Romans. Eventually the Duke of Sussex (who happened to be a Hebrew scholar) became the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge formed in 1813, removed any rituals that betrayed Stuart involvement, and led to the Masonic structure with which we are familiar. The Duke also became President of the Royal Society and disposed of Jacobite or Stuart material in the Society’s library. Thereafter the Society restricted itself to science, the Duke retired, and Freemasonry was set on the course we know today. By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Apprentice, Entered.
The First Degree of Freemasonry, in all the rites, is that of Entered Apprentice. In French it is called apprenti; in Spanish, aprendiz; in Italian, apprendente; and in German, lehrling; in all of which the radical or root meaning of the word is a learner. Like the lesser Mysteries of the ancient initiations, it is in Freemasonry a preliminary degree, intended to prepare the candidate for the higher and fuller instructions of the succeeding degrees. It is, therefore, although supplying no valuable historical information, replete, in its lecture, with instructions on the internal structure of the Order. Until late in the seventeenth century, Apprentices do not seem to have been considered as forming any part of the confraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. Although Apprentices are incidentally mentioned in the 01d Constitutions of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, these records refer only to Masters and Fellows as constituting the Craft, and this distinction seems to have been one rather of position than of degree. The Sloane Manuscript, No. 3,329, which Findel supposes to have been written at the end of the seventeenth century, describes a just and perfect Lodge as consisting of "two Entered apprentices, two Fellow Crafts, and two Masters," which shows that by that time the Apprentices had been elevated to a recognized rank in the Fraternity.
In the Manuscript signed "Mark Kipling,'' which Hughan entitles the York Manuscript, No. 4, the date of which is 1693, there is a still further recognition in what is there called "the Apprentice Charge," one item of which is, that "he shall keep council in all things spoken in Lodge or chamber by any Masons, Fellows, or Freemasons." This indicates they had close communion with members of the Craft. But notwithstanding these recognitions, all the manuscripts up to 1704 show that only "Masters and Fellows" were summoned to the Assembly. During all this time, when Freemasonry was in fact an operative art, there was but one Degree in the modern sense of the word. Early in the eighteenth century, if not earlier, Apprentices must have been admitted to the possession of this Degree ; for after what is called the revival of 1717, Entered Apprentices constituted the bulk of the Craft, and they only were initiated in the Lodges, the Degrees of Fellow Craft and Master Mason being conferred by the Grand Lodge. This is not left to conjecture. The thirteenth of the General Regulations, approved in 1721, says that "Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow Crafts only in the Grand Lodge, unless by a Dispensation." But this in practice, having been found very inconvenient, on the 22d of November, 1725, the Grand Lodge repealed the article, and decreed that the Master of a Lodge, with his Wardens and a competent number of the Lodge assembled in due form, can make Masters and Fellows at discretion. The mass of the Fraternity being at that time composed of Apprentices, they exercised a great deal of influence in the legislation of the Order; for although they could not represent their Lodge in the Quarterly Communications of the Grand Lodge---a duty which could only be discharged by a Master or Fellow-yet they were always permitted to be present at the grand feast, and no General Regulation could be altered or repealed Without their consent; and, of course, in all the business of their particular Lodges, they took the most prominent part, for there were but few Masters or Fellows in a Lodge, in consequence of the difficulty and inconvenience of obtaining the Degree, which could only be done at a Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge. But as soon as the subordinate Lodges were invested with the power of conferring all the Degrees, the Masters began rapidly to increase in numbers and in corresponding influence. And now, the bulk of the Fraternity consisting of Master Masons, the legislation of the Order is done exclusively by them, and the Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts have sunk into comparative obscurity, their Degrees being considered only as preparatory to the greater initiation of the Master's Degree. Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Dec 31, 2012