Difference between revisions of "GMMJohnson"

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The accomplishments of Masonry have never been gauged by financial consideration. When these become the criterion, then it is time to halt and to recast our activities for then the grand aims and purposes of our Fraternity are sure to be obscured.
The accomplishments of Masonry have never been gauged by financial consideration. When these become the criterion, then it is time to halt and to recast our activities for then the grand aims and purposes of our Fraternity are sure to be obscured.
''From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVII, No. 9, July 1922, Page 293:''
Freemasonry, which had more to do with the establishment of the fundamental principles of American civilization than any other agency, is the organization on which most depends on the saving of civilization today," declared Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, past grand master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in his address at a mass meeting of Spingfield Maons and their friends at the Springfield Auditorium recently.
"asonry is not a secret society," said Bro. Johnson. "There is no principle of Masonry which is not preached from pulpits and platforms all over the world. It does, of course, employ a secret method of teaching and a secret symbolism. Masonry is a constructive system of moral philosophy, whose principle and basic tenet is a belief in God.
There exists in the world today no other organization with the ability to unite all mankind, teaching- the brotherhood of man. Men of different countries cannot give their loyalty to the same flag, but they can give their loyalty to the same God. They may call Him by what name they will, in whatever language they speak, but it is the same God of whom they are talking, though indeed they may worship him in different ways.
We do not interfere with a man's right to worship as he pleases, and as a corollary, we permit no man to interfere with us. either in a civil or ecclesiastical capacity—whether he live in Springfield or Rome. All monotheistic religions are alike to us, but, religious liberty being one of our main principles, when an organization says, 'You must think the way we do,' it follows that a member of that organization cannot be a good Mason. That is the only reason for antagonism between that organization and ours.
==== FEAST OF ST. JOHN, DECEMBER 1928 ====
==== FEAST OF ST. JOHN, DECEMBER 1928 ====

Revision as of 21:31, 29 September 2015



Grand Marshal, 1906-1908
Senior Grand Warden, 1909
Grand Master, 1914-1916.


1914 1915 1916



From Proceedings, Page 1952-215:

The Grand Master directed that Most Worshipful Brother Melvin M. Johnson be presented to the East, and then addressed him as follows:

Most Worshipful Brother Johnson, it is a pleasure to welcome you here in the East where you have welcomed so many.

"A number of years ago, almost forty as a matter of fact, you presented the first Henry Price Medal, and thus established this medal as an award of honor in this jurisdiction. I have caused strict search to be made in the proceedings of this Grand Lodge, but can find no record that the medal has ever been presented to you. As this is a unique occasion, so is this Henry Price Medal unique. It is the only one of its kind in existence. It has an intrinsic value, as well as a symbolic and sentimental value, for it is made of solid gold.

"It had to be of gold, because gold symbolizes so much that is significant here. It symbolizes the opulence of your gifts. It symbolizes the untarnished loyalty with which you have served the cause of Freemasonry. This year marks the 60th anniversary of your initiation. You have been almost fifty years a Past Master of a Lodge, and almost fifty years an officer of this Grand Lodge. This gold symbolizes also the undimmed affection in which you are held by your Brethren, and the lasting admiration which they have for your Masonic achievements. I hope that as you wear this, it will be a continual reminder of the love of your Brethren, and I say this with all my heart."

Most Worshipful Brother Johnson acknowledged the gift with very sincere and deep feeling.



From New England Craftsman, Vol. IX, No. 4, January 1914, Page 105:


The new Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, enters on his official career under most auspicious conditions. He is still in early life, strong in the hopes and qualities of virile manhood, with keen intellect, scholarly attainments and a training in Masonic affairs that qualifies him in an especial way to perform the duties of his exalted station.

He has always lived within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He was born in Waltham, May 11, 1871. He was educated in the public schools of his native city and at Tufts College. He received the degrees of A.B. and Ph.B. from Boston University law school. He is a lawyer by profession and has won a wide reputation for his ability and success.

He was made a Mason in Monitor Lodge, Waltham, receiving the last degree December 19, 1892. After serving in other offices he was Master of his lodge in 1902-1903. He was District Deputy Grand Master of the 5th District in 1904-1905; Grand Marshal 1906-1908; Commissioner of Trial 1899-1903 and again in 1912. He was a member of the Board of Masonic Relief in 1910. He was Senior Grand Warden in 1909.

He was exalted in Waltham Royal Arch Chapter, April 20, 1893; greeted as Super Excellent Master December 10, 1908 in Adoniram Council Royal and Select Masters, Waltham, Knighted in Gethsemane Commandery K. T., Newtonville, November 28, 1893. He is a 32° Mason and a member of the Scottish Rite bodies, meeting in Masonic Temple, Boston.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVII, No. 3, December 1921, Page 85:

This distinguished Massachusetts Mason was elected to Active Membership in the Northern Supreme Council A. A. R. at the Chicago session, September 23, 1920. He has just passed his fiftieth year as we write these lines, being born in Waltham, Mass., May 11, 1871. He comes of colonial forebears. Captain Edward Johnson landed in America in 1628, settled in Charleston, was surveyor-general of the colony and one of the founders of what is now the city of Woburn. Byron B. Johnson, the father of the new active member was the first Mayor of Waltham.

Melvin M. Johnson graduated from the public school in 1888 and entered Tuft's College, graduating in 1892. He attended Boston University Law School, graduating "Magna cum laude" in 1895. After practicing law with his father until 1902 he formed the firm of Johnson & North which continues in active practice at this time.

Ill. Brother Johnson is professor of law in the law school of Boston University, and a trustee of Tuft's College. He is a member of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity and was admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society and is a member of the Phi Delta Phi law school fraternity. He belongs also to the American Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Middlesex Bar Association; in some of these he has held official position.

Masonically. Brother Johnson has labored steadily and faithfully since he reached manhood. He was raised in Monitor Lodge, Waltham, in 1892, and was Master in 1902-3. District Deputy Grand Master in 1904-5, Grand Marshal in 1906-08, Senior Grand Warden in 1909, and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1914-1916. Since 1910 he has been a member of the board of directors of the Grand Lodge and since 1911 a member of the board of masonic relief. Fifteen Massachusetts lodges and a lodge in Havana, Cuba, count him an honorary member. He is also honorary member of New Jersey Consistory A. A. S. R.

The National Masonic Research Society, the George Washington National Masonic Association, the Masonic Service Association of the United States all command his interest as member and officer.

Royal Arch Chapter, Adoniram Council R. and L. Masters, Gethsemane Commandery K. T. and the Scottish Rite bodies in the Valley of Boston, Mass. He received the 33d degree Honorary September 15, 1914, and was crowned active member in Chicago. He is a student of Masonic history, and an authority on American Masonry, a forceful speaker, and brings to the Supreme Council not only the experienced judgment of a well-equipped and active Masonic leader but also the vigor and zeal of an indefatigable worker.


Dean of Boston University Law School, 1935-43 and Sovereign Grand Commander, AASR, Northern Masonic Jurisidiction, 1933 -54. B. May 11, 1871 at Waltham, Mass. Graduate of Tufts and Boston U. Law School. He practiced law from 1895-1939, and gained an international reputation in the defense of the LeBlane-Glover murder case. In 1918 he became associate with the Boston U. Law School as a professor, and was dean emeritus from 1943. He was much in demand as a public speaker.

He was raised in Monitor Lodge, Waltham, Mass in 1892, served as Master in 1902 and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts from 1914-1916. He was a member of all York Rite Bodies and many other Masonic organizations. He received distinguished service medals from the grand lodges of Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Czechoslovakia and Norway, as well as the Gourgas Medal from the NMJ, AASR. An author of many Masonic articles, his best known book is The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America. Under the his leadership the membership of the northern jurisdiction rose from a low of 208,000 to 425,000 in 1954, at the the time of his retirement from office. It is through his efforts that the northern jurisdiction set up a foundation for research into schizophrenia, the chief mental crippler. Since 1924 this foundation has sponsored more than 50 separate projects at research centers across the U.S and Canada. Johnson was a member of the executive committee of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial Association. d. Dec. 18, 1957.

Denslow, William R. 10,000 Famous Freemasons. v 1-4. Fulton, MO: Missouri Lodge of Research, 1957. VOL. 2 p. 305


From Proceedings, Page 1958-36:

Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 11, 1871
Died at his home in Boston, Massachusetts, December 18, 1957

He had been in failing health following a heart attack which hospitalized him in London, England, in late March as he and his wife were beginning a vacation in Europe.

He attended the public schools of Waltham and graduated from high school in 1888 and then from Tufts College in 1892 with the degrees of A.B. and Ph.B. After a year of travel, he entered Boston University Law School, from which he graduated in 1895, receiving the degree of LL.B., magna cum laude. He was subsequently honored with the degree of LL.D. from the University of Vermont in 1936; the degree of L.H.D. was conferred upon him by Marietta College (Ohio) in 1941; the degree of D.C.L. was granted him by Illinois Wesleyan University in 1949; the LL.D. by Tufts College in 1949, and the degree of L.H.D. by Boston University in 1954. In addition, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1938 and an Honorary Member of the American Psychiatric Association in 1940.

He was admitted to the practice of law in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 1895 and the United States Supreme Court in 1903. He continued his active association with the legal profession until 1939 when he retired from the firm of Johnson and North. During his long career, Dr. Johnson was prominent in the field of corporation law and also served as an officer or director in a number of financial, industrial and charitable associations.

Most Worshipful Brother Johnson took a great interest in legal education, first, as a lecturer at Boston University Law School in 1918 and 1919, and then as Professor, 1920-1935; Dean, 1935-1942, and Dean Emeritus, 1942.

He married Miss Ina Delphene Freeman at Needham, Massachusetts, October 8, 1895. Mrs. Johnson died December 9, 1947. On August 14, 1954, he married Mrs. Eleanor Yeager Payzant at Woodstock, Vermont, who survives him, together with a son, Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr.

Most Worshipful Brother Johnson's long, distinguished and notable Masonic record follows:

  • Symbolic:
    • Member of Monitor Lodge, Waltham, 1892
    • Worshipful Master, 1902-1903
    • Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, District Deputy Grand Master, 1904-1905 (Fifth Masonic District); Member Board of Trial Commissioners, 1899-1905 and 1912; Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1913-1915; Member Masonic Education and Charity Trust; Representative of Scotland and Panama and, for many years, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. He received the Henry Price Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and was an Honorary Member of many Lodges and Grand Lodges. He was decorated by the Grand Lodge o{ Norway as Knight Commander with the Red Cross and Honorary Member of the 11th and last degree of the Norwegian Order of Freemasonry.
  • Capitular:
    • Exalted in Waltham Chapter, R.A.M., April 20, 1893.
  • Cryptic:
    • Greeted in Adoniram Council, R.&S.M., December 10, 1908.
  • Chivalric:
    • Knighted in Gethsemane Commandery, K.T., November 28, 1893. Demitted and affiliated with Sir Galahad Commandery, K.T., in 1922; demitted and affiliated with St. Bernard Commandery in 1933.
  • Scottish Rite:
    • Received the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second in the four Boston bodies in 1904-1905. Thrice Potent Master of Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection in 1917-1918.
  • Supreme Council:
    • Created an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, September 15, 1914, at Chicago, Illinois, and was crowned an Active Member on September 23, 1920, at Chicago. Elected Sovereign Grand Commander on September 28, 1933, at Bostoo. He was chairman of the delegation of this Supreme Council to the International Conference of Supreme Councils, Brussels, Belgium, in 1935, and made numerous other foreign trips, visiting Masonic Bodies throughout the world. Served as Representative near this Supreme Council for England, Ireland and Argentina, and was an Honorary Member of many Scottish Rite Valleys and other Supreme Councils.

He was a member of Aleppo Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., Boston; Bay State Conclave No. 29, Red Cross of Constantine; Royal Order of Scotland; and the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. He was a prime mover in the establishment of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association at Alexandria, Virginia, serving as Vice President in 1916-1920 and as a Director for many years. He was also a member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay, and was active as Deputy for Massachusetts during the formative period, 1922-24; and then as an Active Member of that Supreme Council, 1924-1951.

He was a noted Masonic author, publishing many articles, pamphlets and two widely-known books, Freemasonry in America Prior to 1750 (1916) and The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America (1924). He was a Fellow of the American Lodge of Research of New York and o{ The Philalethes Society. One of the projects closest to his heart was the initiation of research into the cause of Dementia Praecox (now better known as schizophrenia).

Private funeral services were held at the Church of the Advent, Boston, on Saturday morning, December 21st. A tribute to Dr. Johnson was also paid at the December meeting of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. Burial was at Mount Peake Cemetery, Waltham, Massachusetts.

Fraternally submitted,
Joseph Earl Perry
Thomas S. Roy
Claude L. Allen



From New England Craftsman, Vol. VI, No. 9, June 1911, Page 290:

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Ladies and Brethren:

There is a homogeneity or unity of principle to be found in every civilization the world has ever known, primitive or complex. The nomadic tribes of the ancients illustrate the patriarchal principle; Egyptian and Indian civilization, the theocratic principle; Greece, the social principle, unfolding with mushroom growth and decaying with nearly equal rapidity; Rome, first the municipal principle, its unit being that of the town, and then, under the Empire, administrative despotism, which fell because of lack of cohesion between the different towns — "no citizen desired to be of the Empire, each of his town;" monarchism, the domination of a victorious caste; feudalism, the principle of ownership of man and land. Whatever may be said to the contrary, all of them were essentially government by physical force, concentrated physical force, concentrated in the hands of a few, who ruled because, through physical force of their own and of those within their command, they could overthrow the usurper. And since this was the effective controlling element of government, physical force became the ambition and delight of mankind, war the greatest business of the world, and triumph over one's fellow-man the very height of man's desire. Naturally, his pleasures were greatest in witnessing the sufferings of others—in turning his thumbs down when his brother man lay prostrate, upon the sands of the Coliseum, from the blow of his neighbor. The vast populace, in holiday garb of white, were to be seen in their greatest ecstasy, with- delight, gazing down into the crater of Vespasian's Circus, where

"The tiered arena's waving girth of white
Vents roar on roar, as from one bellowing throat;
Cresting the din, cries of the jungle float,
Mad howl of rage and scream of ferine fright;
Turmoil and dust, and beasts in mangled might,
While over all the grave Augustans gloat.
Under their jutted bastion, tumult-tamed,
The embers of the combat in his eye,
Licking bis bloody jaws, a wild dog slinks;
And where the Caesar's flambeaus flare, a maimed
Mammoth in frenzy sweeps his trunk on high
And hurls against the wall a writhing lynx."
(" Vespasian's Circus." By John Myers O'Hara.)

But all these civilizations, built up upon power, have failed and are to be seen to-day only in those stagnant nations which stand as monuments of what the world has been, not of what it is.

For the last few centuries of the world's life, the submerged majority have been struggling for a recognition of their rights, and demanding independence — what they have called "liberty." And the nations in command of progress to-day are those where the rights of the individual, as against the domination of a few, have been proclaimed as the panacea. Condensed, we may read these in such documents as the Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence and (perhaps the latest instance) the bill to curtail the power of the House of Lords. But a civilization though grown strong upon this principle — because it is an improvement upon the old — is bound to fall. The unrest and turmoil of capital against labor, of class against class, of revolutionist against established government, are not novelties in history. He who reads will find their prototypes almost everywhere.

There can be but one philosophy for the civilization of the millenium; there can be but one principle upon which any country can stand, if it is to be successful unto the end. The heterogeneity of interests which has marked the decline and fall of civilizations in the past is showing itself in our own times and cities. With further increase we shall mark the beginning of the end of the triumphs of which our day is proud. A new homogeneity, a new unity, must become the underlying principle of every nation that shall not follow the history of its predecessors, and that unity is to be found only in the second Great Commandment. The world must stop making declarations of independence and must declare for dependence of man upon his fellow-man. It must cease to include the idea of un-confined immunity in its definition of liberty, and must define liberty as the right to do what one pleases, so far and only so fur as it does not interfere with the rights of others to do the same thing. The full development of individuality, i.e., absolute independence, leads to selfishness, to a condition where man considers no one but himself and obeys nothing but his own passions. In short, we must cease asserting our rights as against each other, and declare our duties towards each other. The days when greatest pleasure was to be found in the sufferings of others are fortunately behind us. The days are here when each individual seems to think that his greatest happiness is to be found in the gratification of his own senses. It is for us to take part in the ceremony of initiating mankind to the degree of "Good Samaritan," passing it to the degree of "Neighbor" and raising it to the degree of "Service." Service is the issue of the commandment that "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" to serve and to help others brings the greatest joy and satisfaction which life contains. That nation whose unity of principle is service will have no Gibbon as its historian, the great reaper will never witness its decline and fall, the sands of its hour-glass will never waste nor be exhausted, but its prosperity and progress will be triumphant and perennial.

Such a result can be accomplished by no one man, fraternity or generation. Each can do its share. To found, open and maintain this institution is one of the practical ways of doing something to this end.

We extol three virtues — Faith, Hope and Charity. And why is Charity the greatest of these? Because it is the active virtue. Faith and Hope are passive. One may be idle, yet be filled with faith and hope. Both may be merely mental processes. But one cannot be filled with charity without doing something. One cannot really love without serving. What we need is the active virtue of charity. What the world needs is service. What we should pray for is the deed.

"Lord, not for light in darkness do we pray,
Not that the veil be lifted from our eyes,
Nor that the slow ascension of our day
Be otherwise.

"Not for a clearer vision of the things
Whereof the fashioning shall make us great,
Nor for remission of the peril and stings
Of time and fate.

"Not for a fuller knowledge of the end
Wbereto we travel, bruised yet unafraid,
Nor that the little healing that we lend
Shall be repaid.

"Not these, O Lord. We would not break the bars
Thy wisdom sets about us; we shall climb
Unfettered to the secrets of the stars
In Thy good time.

"We do not crave the high perception swift
When to refrain were well, and when fulfill,
Nor yet the understanding strong to sift
The good from ill.

"Not these, O Lord. For these Thou hast revealed,
We know the golden season when to reap
The heavy-fruited treasure of the field,
The hour to sleep.

"Not these.
We know the hemlock from the rose,
The pure from stained, the noble from the base,
The tranquil holy light of truth that glows
On Pity's face.

"We know the paths wherein our feet should press,
Across our hearts are written Thy decrees.
Yet now, O Lord, be merciful to bless
With more than these.

"Grant us the will to fashion as we feel,
Grant us the strength to labor as we know,
Grant us the purpose, ribbed and edged with steel,
To strike the blow.

"Knowledge we ask not — knowledge Thou has lent,
But Lord, the will —there lies our bitter need.
Give us to build above the deep intent —
The deed, the deed."

("A Prayer." By John Drinkwater.)

It ought not to be overlooked that Masonic charities are peculiarly deserving, both because of the conservation and administration of the funds and the type of the beneficiaries.

Where else can you be so well assured of the character of the men who will in years to come administer the funds which you see fit to contribute? All our members are selected men in the first place. Then those who pass the chair are specially chosen and approved. Another selection is made from them of the officers of the Grand Lodge. Men must gain the approval of the Brethren of their own home, district and state before entrusted with the care and management of the charitable funds within our control. Now and then a mistake may be made, but we may be as confident as we can be of any human fact, that the picked Brethren who shall for all the future have these things in charge will be our kind of men — the men we would ourselves choose.

Some years ago my father made a study of the cost of administering the public and private charities of this Commonwealth so far as it could be ascertained. Much to his surprise, he learned that more than fifty cents of every dollar given for charitable use was spent in salaries of officials before the money reached the use where it really did any direct good to the beneficiaries. Officers are necessary to carry on such work. We shall have some expenses of this kind. It is safe to prophesy, however, that the percentage spent by us for such purposes will be insignificant when compared with the general average of which I have spoken; and that there are few, if any, institutions where the amount is or will be less than ours.

A word as to our beneficiaries. They are our Brethren, but it is not of that I would speak. Since our relief is dependent directly upon Masonic membership, we know that it is in every case distributed, directly or indirectly, only to or for those who have stood among their fellows with their heads upright, men among men. Every one has at some time been carefully passed upon by a committee and by his neighbors as one worthy of our association and of our right hand.

It has been said that every man is responsible for his own 
destiny. No other epigram, containing much that is true, ever
contained more that is false. Not that we should neglect per
sonal endeavor or do else than encourage it in others, but
remembering how environment and surroundings have shaped
our own lives, we should not too lightly condemn others whose
lives have been in some respects failures.

More than twenty-three hundred years ago, in a discussion between Cyrus, the king, and Croesus, the intimate friend and associate of Solon, one of the wisest of the Greeks, when Cyrus was not convinced by any argument that bis plans could fail, Croesus used these words, perhaps suggested to him by his friend, the wise law-giver: "Cyrus, if thou thinkest that thou are like one of the Gods and no harm can come to thee, it may do, but I am reminded, oh, king, and take this lesson to heart, that there is a wheel on which the affairs of men revolve and that its mechanism is such that it prevents any man from being always fortunate."

Each of our lives revolves upon such a Greek wheel. None of them are fortunate in all things, and it may well be that as much of our good fortune comes from the force of circumstances, so the ill fortune of others may likewise not be due to their own inherent fault or error. Are you wealthy? An earthquake or a panic may send you to the poor-house. Are you happy in the love of your home and family? A railroad accident may end that happiness forever. Are you strong and healthy? The snapping of a bolt may make you a lifelong cripple.

Socrates, the first moral philosopher, the energies of whose lifetime were given to pleading with men, young and old, convincing them of their ignorance and arousing within them the slumbering seeds of knowledge, — yet was forced to drink the poisoned cup and thus end his career, saying, " Farewell, my judges, it is now time to go away; for me to die; for you to live; yet which of us shall come to his reward and receive the homage due to upright conscience is known alone to Him who rules the world."

Demosthenes, the great thinker and orator, who devoted his life, also, to the uplifting of the youth of his time, was voted to death for his teaching, which the judges called false doctrines.

Caesar, probably the greatest general and king who ever lived, was struck down in the height of his glory by his own pretended friends. Napoleon died an outcast at St. Helena. Lincoln, after saving a race and a nation, fell by the hand of an assassin. There are many others — Webster and Clay, Blaine and Conkling, Colfax and Greeley, Sumner and Douglas, Grant — and yes, even Roosevelt and Diaz - to remind us that there is a wheel on which the affairs of men, of cities, and of nations revolve, and its mechanism prevents us all from being always fortunate.

How do we know what hearts have vilest sin?
How do we know?
Many like sepulchres are foul within
Whose outward garb is spotless as the snow,
And many may be pure-we think not so.
How near to God the souls of such hare been!
What mercy secret penitence may win!
How do we know?

How can we tell who hare sinned more than we?
How can we tell?
We think our brother walked guiltily,
Judging him in self-righteousness! Ah, well,
Perhaps had we been driven through the hell
Of his temptations we might be
Less upright in our daily walk than he —
How can we tell?

Dare we condemn the ills that others do?
Dare we condemn?
Their strength is small, their trials are not few.
The tide of wrong is difficult to stem,
And if to us more clearly than to them
Is given knowledge of the good and true.
More do they need our help and pity too!
Dare we condemn?

God help us all and lead us day by day!
God help us all!
We cannot walk along the perfect way;
Evil allures us, tempts us, and we fall!
We are but human and our power is small;
Not one of us may boast, and not a day
Rolls o'er our heads but each hath need to pray,
God help as all!
("Who can tell?" By Harry Larkyn.)

To one of the grandest figures in Masonry in this or any other Masonic jurisdiction in the world is due the inception and first promulgation of the idea of a Masonic Home in Massachusetts. After his self-sacrificing and arduous labors of years had succeeded in getting the Grand Lodge out of debt, he extended his congratulations for this happy event to the Brethren, at the Feast of St. John in 1888, and added, "But, Brethren, we have yet another duty to perform." That duty, he pointed out to be the establishment of a Masonic Home, saying, " We have already seen that this is a work which is yet to be done by the Masons of this Commonwealth, and that so long as it remains unperformed, we fall short of the true ideal of our Fraternity, and fail to interpret rightly its beneficent injunctions."

So must we pause for a moment in these our ceremonies, and give the credit for the initiation of this great work to that valiant leader, conservative guide, and safe counselor, the Senior Living Past Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Worshipful Samuel C. Lawrence.

One of the first official acts of Most Worshipful Richard Briggs, immediately after his installation in 1892, was to make an appeal for the establishment of a Home, saying, "It may require time to accomplish it, but let us press on widely and.perseveringly, and a monument to Masonic charity will be erected which will .honor the Brotherhood." These remarks were ably seconded by Right Worshipful Brethren James Taylor, then Senior Grand Warden, John Carr, Grand Treasurer, as well as by Past Deputy Grand Master Charles Levi Woodbury. The death of Most Worshipful Brother Briggs prevented the carrying out of his plans, but from time to time thereafter various Brethren have reminded the Fraternity of its duty in this regard. Time prevents calling attention to many of them, but I must mention the address of one of the ablest business men who has occupied the Oriental Chair of the Grand Lodge, and who, fortunately, on our Board of Directors and in other ways, to-day is a leader in the administration of its business affairs. In his address to the Grand Lodge in 1896, M. W. Edwin B. Holmes devoted considerable attention to recommendations on the subject of charity, reviewing the leading Masonic charitable work of the world, and calling particular attention to the Masonic Homes then existing in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and England, adding, "These are incentives to a larger, broader and more truly Masonic charity. Massachusetts can take no step backward nor can she be left in the rear. The work is before us, demands are upon us; and, with unfaltering faith in the permanence of our Order and the religious character of its principles, we should leave no effort untried to take up this work and to answer these demands."

Early in the year 1907, the then Grand Master requested the District Deputies informally to discuss with the Lodges of this jurisdiction the advisability of the establishment of a Home; and in June of that year, upon his recommendation, a Committee was appointed to examine into the matter and to report at the quarterly communication in the following December. That Committee energetically entered upon the discharge of its duties and through its chairman, Right Worshipful Thomas W. Davis, our present Recording Grand Secretary, reported recommending that it be allowed to continue its work and be empowered to solicit and receive subscriptions for the establishment of a Masonic Home.

The recommendation being adopted, the Committee, at the quarterly communication in June, 1908, reported more than $16,000 in hand and pledges amounting to more than $19,000. In September, its report showed receipts of more than $23,000 and pledges of nearly $48,000. At the December communication, the Grand Master asserted, in his address, "That the Brethren of this jurisdiction are determined that Massachusetts shall have a Masonic Home worthy of the name can no longer be questioned." The committee reported $40,000 in cash and additional pledges exceeding $36,000. It recommended the purchase of this property and the recommendation was adopted by the Grand Lodge unanimously. The last official signature of our Junior Past Grand Master was the execution of a document, as a result of which we are here to-day,— here dedicating an institution which shall forever hereafter exist as a credit to our fraternity and a perpetual monument to the indefatigable industry and zeal, the devoted and unselfish labors, and the practical application of the principle of charity of man to man, of bim who has to day requested the dedication of this building by you (turning to the Grand Master), Most Worshipful Sir. It is with no discredit to, or diminishment of, the glory of others that we unitedly and unanimously join in saying that we owe the practical and actual realization of the ownership of a Masonic Home to you (turning to Brother Blake), Most Worshipful Brother John Albert Blake. May you live to see the fruition of your hopes in the full use of this magnificent property for the benefit of our deserving Brethren and their dependents, and long enjoy the happy reflections consequent upon a work well done, and the love and congratulations of your Brethren.

But still the work was only begun, and Brother Blake's successor has been devoting the principal energies of his administration in hastening the equipment of the Home for dedication and reception of residents, and in obtaining accessions to the necessary fund, until it now amounts to about $160,000. The Brethren owe to him all the credit which goes with unceasing endeavor and the successful accomplishment which brings us here to-day. As the history of Masonry in Massachusetts is written in the centuries to come, this event will never be forgotten or overlooked, and future generations will read with pride that on May 25, A.L. 5911, the Masonic Home at Charlton was dedicated by Most Worshipful Grand Master Dana Judson Flanders.

Nor should we omit to extend our thanks for what has been so efficiently done in providing for the material needs and beauty of this building by the Ladies' Auxiliary, under the presidency of Mrs. Everett C. Benton.

Far short are we indeed of the funds necessary to make the most of what we have here. Many thousands — yes, hundreds of thousands of dollars — must be added to our endowment before we can make full use of our present opportunities or do all that we ought to do for those truly needy and deserving who have a right to demand our aid. But with all the confidence that is in me, may I assert that we are not far distant from this goal; for after all, the real ones who have done the work so far, with only the visions of hope before them and no tangible things to tie to, are the Masons of Massachusetts. As General Lawrence said in 1888, "It is only the Masons of the State, by their concerted action, who can found asylums where their orphans can be cared for, and provide refuges for aged and helpless Brethren."

If they have builded thus far upon intangible things only, what will they not now do, when the reality is actually in their grasp? Now is the time for the Masons of Massachusetts to open this Home which they have dedicated. And that means not somebody else, but you and me. I believe we shall do it, because I believe in the Masons of Massachusetts, and I believe in the men of to-day. The past has been great, but the present is greater. I believe in to-day; in to-day, which is the oldest day the world has ever known, as well as the youngest day to us; in to-day, which contains the wisdom of the ages; in to-day, which has in it all there is of human joy and human sympathy and human grief; in to-day, which is the last unwinding of the great scroll which we are told the angels began when time first was; in to-day, which is you and I and thousands of others who, though faltering now and then, are striving with our might — and succeeding — in making to-day a better day than yesterday, thereby laying the sure foundation of a far more beauteous and glorious to-morrow.



From Proceedings, Page 1914-181:

Thus, my Brethren, with our solemn and ancient ceremonies — ceremonies which go back into a time to which the mind of man runneth not — we have dedicated these halls to the purposes of Masonry in ancient and ample form.

On occasions of this kind, when we are marking the milestones, as you are in observing your fiftieth anniversary, when we are setting as it were a stone bound along the pathway of our history, we should pause for a moment in our undertakings and consider what our institution really is — what it has accomplished in the past — more than all, what it shall accomplish in the future,— what its meaning for to-day is in the world.

A changeable and varied history has that of Freemasonry been in the days that have gone — back to the times when we cannot trace it by authentic history. We nevertheless have the traditions which tell us of its existence, and we know indeed that architects and builders came into organized societies when men first learned the art of protecting themselves at all from the inclemencies of the weather.

For when one man had learned something which he could develop into the art of building, he gathered about him his scholars and taught them those secrets of the art; and so the societies of operative Masons were organized, that they might erect buildings for the benefit of mankind.

Singularly enough, in the old days, centuries ago, every organization which taught learning, whatever field of learning it dealt with, was a secret organization. All the ancient philosophies, all of the inner circles of the ancient religion, were secret. The arts and sciences were all secret. The ancient philosophies and religions were taught secretly because those master minds that bad looked into the future and beyond the creature needs of the daily life, saw that there could be but one great Creator of the Universe, and so, although their terminology was that of a polytheistic religion, the great centers of thought of all the religions, even those of Egypt and elsewhere which are now regarded as heathen, taught the monotheistic theology which has persisted from the oldest history throughout the development of civilization because it is the only true religion and basis of civilization. They did not dare, these teachers and priests of old, to teach to the public what they knew and what they taught to be true in their secret conclaves; for the preaching broadcast of monotheism or belief in one God meant that the preacher lost his life, because he was not preaching, those things which the State had adopted as the official religion. You will remember perhaps that Socrates, that great philosopher, lost his life because he dared publicly to proclaim in a polytheistic nation his belief in a single God.

And so the arts and sciences also were taught secretly because, as perhaps with the labor unions of to-day, the older organizations desired to pass down their learning only to the apprentices chosen by themselves, to keep the number who might be able to build — who might learn the secrets of building — restricted to those only who would have worked in their chosen trade. And so the secrets of architecture and of the construction of temples and buildings,— all of those secrets were taught likewise where the outsider could not hear them.

Naturally there came to be developed in these schools, both of theology and of the arts and sciences, a method of secret recognition, that each might know the others and so when one traveled away from home he might find those who would receive him as a brother, and he could really "travel in foreign lands, work, and receive master's pay."

Indeed, that was true and true literally as late as the day which has left the greatest impression upon the physical world of anything which Masonry has given,— that is, the days of the traveling Freemasons of the Middle Ages. The colleges of artificers of the Roman Empire taught the form of architecture which later developed into the Comacine School, the School of Lombardy, as it is sometimes known. — that of the traveling Freemasons of Lombardy.

Following the Roman legions, they stopped wherever the legions made a conquest, and in each place erected, in the midst of the civilization there established by the Romans, temples and great buildings which exist as monuments to-day to our predecessors, the operative Masons of the Middle Ages.

For as you travel throughout Europe and see there the Gothic temples which remain as massive monuments to the skill of our operative ancestors, you are looking upon a type of architecture invented and carried into execution by Freemasons, and the secrets of building and the art and development of Gothic architecture were kept within the body of traveling Freemasons. So when you see these monuments, you may take some pride in that wonderful skill which these traveling Freemasons exhibited in those days when science and art were in the hands of very few.

There came a great change in Masonry when Protestantism had made its mark upon civilization, there being no longer one religion which dominated all men. Religion was divided into various sects — none wealthy — and the art of building declined, and declined rapidly. There was less work for the Masons to do.

There came into their number, however, a large number of men who saw an opportunity of developing the operative science into something different, something greater, something which would be of more value to mankind.

In 1717 there gathered together on St. John the Baptist Day, in the little Goose and Gridiron Tavern in London, the only four Lodges which then existed in London. There they formed the first Grand Lodge of Speculative Masonry (the Masonry which we know to-day), that the world ever knew. Gathering together there the few operative Masons who remained and the many speculative Masons who had been taken into the institution, they organized a Grand Lodge and declared that no Lodge except the four which organized that Grand Lodge could thereafter exist as a lawful Lodge without a warrant from this Grand Lodge,— and from that Grand Lodge of England has come, directly or indirectly, every legitimate Lodge of Freemasons in the world.

Among those men who organized that Grand Lodge in London were a few who, as I have said, were thinkers in advance of their day. Looking far beyond the operative work, they saw the opportunity for the development of this speculative science, including and building around the germ of the secret work which had always existed so far as we are able to trace the organization at all. From the germ of that secret work they took the things which they developed into the ritual substantially as we know it to-day, for before that time all the instruction which was given to a candidate was given alike to the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason. There were no degrees. There were simply ranks of workmen as there are officers, for instance, in an army. All the instruction, however, was given to the Entered Apprentice so far as the speculative work went. In the operative work he was instructed as he became proficient therein.

But these men developed the three degrees. Indeed, there was only the first degree worked in the Iodges for a long time. About 1719 the second degree was worked, and about 1723 the third degree — the legend that we know as the third degree — was fabricated; though it was not until 1725 that that degree was worked outside of the Grand Lodge.

From that dream which came to life through the means of Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers, Dr. James Anderson, and Mr. John Payne — the great leaders of the speculative Masons of that day — there developed this science of speculative Masonry which we now have throughout the civilized world as an institution that has its force in the progress of civilization.

I have spoken of the past work, my Brethren, not so much because of its history as that we might quickly come to view the position in which Masonry stands, for Masonry did one thing in 1725 which has changed the entire institution and has made it unique among all human institutions of the world.

Not only in the development of the ritual was a change made, but in a greater thing, in the wiping out from our institution of all bigotry, of all dogma, and of all theology of every name and nature. Prior to that day a Mason had been charged to be of the religion of the country in which he lived. Were he a Mohammedan, he would be expected to be a Mohammedan in religion; were he in a Catholic country, he would be expected to be a Catholic in religion, or were he in a Protestant country he would be expected to be of the Protestant religion.

But all these things were struck out from our organization and these great farseeing men said that hereafter there should be no dogma, there should be no bigotry, in Masonry. There should be but one principle on which its philosophy should be founded,— and that is a belief in one God, by whatever name that Supreme Architect of the Universe might be known. And thus are we unique among the institutions of the world, in that we are enabled to unite men of every country and of every sect and every opinion so far as they are men of honor and standing and believe in the existence of one All-Wise and All-Powerful,— by whatever name that All-Wise and All-Powerful may be known to them.

Just as things which we call by certain names, my Brethren, are called by other names in other lands — so indeed may those who do not speak our tongue — so may those who do not indeed read the word of God which we have before us, call that Omnipotent Being by some different name, although the concept may be the same of Him who is All-Wise, All-Powerful, and Eternal; and upon that basis did these great men found our philosophy and have handed to us, upon that foundation, that great Masonic philosophy which we find in our ritual to-day.

In every land and by every sea, where some great mind and thought have touched the minds and the spirits of men and they have not been left to their own unguided ideas of religion,— in every religion which these men have preached which has made its impress upon the world, you will find that same monotheistic principle expressed, my Brethren. Read the words of Moses as recorded in the Old Testament of the Hebrews; or the words of Mohammed in the Koran of the Islamite; or the words of Zarathustra recorded in the Avestas of the Magians of Persia; or the words of Bodhisattva in those great sermons which he preached as he marched up and down the banks of the Ganges to those multitudes who followed him as they are recorded in the Sutras of the Buddhists; or read the Book of Kings, where Shun, the Chinese, speaks to the men of his religion; or the words of Christ, the [founder of the Christian religion. Everywhere, in all of them, you will find this spirit pervading all,— this spirit upon which Masonry is founded and upon which we say that in halls such as have to-day been dedicated, wherever they exist throughout the civilized world, we may gather together men of whatever business, of whatever profession, of whatever creed or sect, or whatever loyalty to flag they may have within their hearts,— gather them together as Brethren.

Thus, my Brethren, have we the great opportunity, as well as the great responsibility, of using these halls in which we meet to cement the bond of brotherly love and affection not only between you and me, not only between the Brethren of the Lodges, but more than that,— between the Brethren of sister Lodges, between the Brethren of sister jurisdictions,— yea, more than that,— between the citizens of a state and the citizens of its fellow states — and more than that — between the citizens of our great nation and the citizens of all our sister nations of the world.

With the power given to us of gathering in under our banner men whose loyalty may spread throughout all these fields, what a wonderful opportunity Masonry has in cementing the bonds of brotherly love and affection; in teaching mankind all not to declare independence of man from his fellows but to declare that no man can live in this world unless he depends upon his fellow-men.

Thus Masonry can teach mankind that it should cease making declarations of independence and that it should declare for dependence of man upon his fellow-men,— and thus, though we teach loyalty to each candidate who takes our obligations and charge it upon each officer at his installation,— yet more than that we teach loyalty of man unto his fellow-men. More than loyalty to country is that lesson of the second great commandment which we teach within these halls, which you will go on teaching to yourselves and your successors, and which shall echo in these halls so long as this building shall stand.

Thus we teach here and everywhere that mission of Masonry which leads men to say:—

"Beauteous the love of country is,
The love that gives so willingly its life:—
But, oh, we long for that more beauteous day
When love no boundaries shall know.

When man so love his fellow-man,
Where'er he dwell that he refuse to slay him.
Nor yet dare Send a soul into that great beyond
While yet that soul's experience on earth
For which God sent it forth is incomplete.

Beauteous the love of country is,
The love that gives so willingly its life,—
But may that day more beauteous soon come
When man, though loving not his country less,
Shall more than country love his fellow-man."


From Proceedings, Page 1915-191:

The origin of the custom of laying corner or foundation stones is lost in the mists of antiquity, but we do know that our operative predecessors built the Cathedrals of Cologne — beginning in 1248, of Strasburg — beginning in 1015, and of many others in the far distant past. Moreover, peculiar reverence was given to this stone not only in the days of Job (Job 38:6), of Isaiah (Isaiah 28:16), of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:26), and of David (Psalms 118:22, 144:12), but also at least as far back as the days when King Thotmes III participated in such a ceremony about sixteen hundred years before Christ. In 1853, a regular Corner-stone enclosing a box and contents was dug up, its inscription showing that it was laid by King Sargon of Assyria, eight or nine hundred years before Christ.

Laying aside all tradition, it is now definitely established by indisputable evidence that we are the direct descendants of the Colleges of Artificers of the Roman Empire, and of the Comacine Masters who have left us such marvelous monuments erected by themselves and their successors as the Cathedrals of Cologne, Strasburg, and Magdeburg and of Westminster, York, and Salisbury; the domes of Milan, Assisi, and Florence; and the churches of Narbonne, Tours and Rouen, to say nothing of the Basilica of San Ambrogio at Milan, Theodolinda's Church at Monza, San Fidele at Como, San Michele at Pavia, San Vitale at Ravenna, Sant' Agnese, San Lorenzo, San Clemente, and others in Rome; and the wondrous cloisters and aisles of Monreale and Palermo. Through these Comacine Masters, architecture and sculpture were carried into foreign lands — France, Spain, Germany, and England—and there "developed into new and varied styles according to the exigencies of the climate, and the tone of the people.

"It was the Comacine Masters who carried the classic germs and planted them in foreign soils; it was the brethren of the Liberi Muratori who, from their headquarters at Como, were sent by Gregory the Great to England with Saint Augustine, to build churches for his converts; by Gregory II to Germany with Boniface on a similar mission; and were by Charlemagne taken to France to build his church at Aix-la-Chapelle, the prototype of French Gothic." (Cathedral Builders by Leader Scott.)

From these great Freemasons are we descended, and from them and their operative arts have we developed our ceremonies and symbolism. We are the custodians of the arts, legends, and traditions of these and the other Freemasons of old.

We have laid this corner-stone substantially in accordance with the ceremonies of September 13, 1753, when the Grand Master of Scotland deposited the foundation stone of the new Exchange of Edinburgh, as that ceremony was recorded by our Brother William Preston. The Grand Master of those days had notable precedents. For instance, in 1673 the foundation stone of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London, designed by the then Deputy Grand Master, Dr. Christopher Wren, was laid in solemn form by King Charles the Second, attended by Grand Master Thomas Savage, the Earl of Rivers, his architects and craftsmen; in 1607, the corner-stone of the Palace at Whitehall was laid by King James and Grand Master Inigo Jones, attended by the Fraternity, amid ceremonies of great pomp and splendor; and on June 24, 1502, King Henry the Seventh, presiding in person as Grand Master and attended by John Islip, Abbot of Westminster, and Sir Reginald Bray, Knight of the Garter, as his Wardens, proceeded in Ample Form to the east end of Westminster Abbey and laid the foundation stone of that rich masterpiece of Gothic architecture known by the name of Henry the Seventh's Chapel.

A few of the more notable ceremonies of this nature in these United States are the following, viz.:

  • April 15, 1791, the so-called Corner-stone of the District of Columbia was laid by Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick who had succeeded George Washington as Master of Alexandria Lodge, No. 22.
  • September 18, 1793, the Corner-stone of the Capitol at Washington was laid by George Washington, then President of the United States, acting as Grand Master pro tempore of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, Washington's Lodge (Alexandria, No. 22) holding the post of honor in the procession and acting as personal escort to the President. The gavel which he used is now in the possession of Lodge No. 9 of Georgetown, while the trowel used and the apron and sash worn by him are in the collection of Alexandria Washington Lodge, No. 22. (The same trowel was used by President Roosevelt and the Grand Master of the District of Columbia in laying the Corner-stone of the New Masonic Temple in Washington.)
  • May 1, 1847, the Corner-stone of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington was laid by the Grand Master of the District of Columbia.
  • July 4, 1848, the Corner-stone of the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., was laid by the Grand Master of the District of Columbia.
  • July 4, 1795, the Corner-stone of the State House in Boston was laid by Most Worshipful Paul Revere, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. 2 Mass. 74, 1898 Mass. 53.
  • On August 7, 1855, while the workmen employed in making repairs to the foundation of the State House were removing a portion of the earth at the southeast corner of the building, they were surprised by the appearance of a few copper coins and two pieces of sheet lead loosely put together without the usual solder used by workers in that metal. This accident disclosed the fact that the rough granite stone still in its place was the Corner-stone of the Capitol, and that the deposit made in 1795 was placed upon the soil with no other protection than a small quantity of the cement employed by the operatives in the construction of the foundation of the building. All of the deposits were secured by the Commissioners in charge of the alterations and, after consulting His Excellency the Governer, were placed with others in a securely prepared metal box hermetically sealed. On Saturday, August 11, 1855, the ancient and new deposits in this new metallic box were replaced by Most Worshipful Winslow Lewis, Grand Master, and other Officers and Brethren of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in the presence of His Excellency Henry J. Gardner, Governor of the Commonwealth, in the same corner of the building under a newly hammered granite ashler resting upon another block of granite securely laid upon a new foundation. 1855 Mass. 12. (Contrary to the usual custom, the Corner-stones of the United States and of Massachusetts were each laid in the southeast corner.)
  • December 21, 1889, the Corner-stone of the extension of the State House in Boston was laid by Most Worshipful Henry Endicott, Grand Master, His Excellency Oliver Ames being the Governor and participating in the ceremonies. 1889 Mass. 197.

That you may know the variety of structures the foundations of which have been laid with Masonic honors, I call your attention to a few other of the more prominent modern instances of the laying of Corner-stones of non-Masonic buildings within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  • September 29, 1813, St. Mary's Episcopal Church at Newton Lower Falls. (This Corner-stone was relaid by the Grand Lodge on September 29, 1913.) 1913 Mass. 175, 181.
  • July 4, 1818, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • August 2, 1824, Town Hall, Worcester. 1896 Mass. 254.
  • April 19, 1825, Monument at Concord. See records for that date (not in print).
  • June 17, 1825, the Corner-stone of Bunker Hill Monument by Grand Master John Abbot, assisted by our Brother the Marquis de Lafayette. See records for that date (not in print) and 1881 Mass. 261.
  • July 4, 1825, County Court House at Dedham. See records for that date (not in print).
  • September 28, 1833, County Court House in Boston. See records for that date (not in print); and 1912 Mass. 131.
  • August 11, 1855, State House at Boston, relaid; see supra.
  • July 4, 1856, State Hospital, Northampton. 1858 Mass. 90. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 2, 1858, Minot's Ledge Lighthouse. 1858 Mass. 87. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • August 2, 1859, Monument and another structure in honor of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth (dedicated thirty years later). 1859 Mass. 29; 1889 Mass. 80.
  • September 18, 1871, the Army and Navy Monument on Boston Common. 1871 Mass. 161. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 16, 1871, the Post Office and Sub-treasury in Boston. 1871 Mass. 172; 31 M.F.M. 18. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • June 14, 1872, Grace Church at North Attleborough. 1872 Mass. 147. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 7, 1872, Miles Standish Monument, Duxbury. 1872 Mass. 151. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 27, 1874, First Methodist Episcopal Church, Somer-ville. 1874 Mass. 116. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 17, 1874, Town Hall, Saugus. 1874 Mass. 116. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 28, 1876, Town Hall, Merrimac. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.) 1876 Mass. 110.
  • July 10, 1878, Town Hall, Holbrook. 1878 Mass. 65. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 18, 1882, First Universalist Church, North-Attleborongh. 1882 Mass. 186. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 31, 1884, Memorial Hall, Milford. 1884 Mass. 57. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 21, 1885, First Universalist Church, Norwood. 1885 Mass. 90.
  • August 26, 1886, County Court House, Northampton. 1886 Mass. 71. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
June 28, 1887, Town Hall, Winchester. 1887 Mass. 79. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 4, 1888, Town Hall, Southbridge. 1888 Mass. 204. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • February 22, 1889, Post Office, Springfield. 1888 Mass. 364. (Program in Grand Office Library.)
  • May 15, 1889, City Hall, Cambridge. 1889 Mass. 36. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • August 8, 1889, County Court House, Fall River. 1889 Mass. 92. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • December 21, 1889, Extension State House, Boston. 1889 Mass. 198. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 22, 1890, Memorial Hall and Public Library, Palmer. 1890 Mass. 63. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 11, 1890, City Hall, Lowell. 1890 Mass. 87. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 30, 1892, City Hall, Brockton. 1892 Mass. 43. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • June 30, 1892, County Court House, Taunton. 1892 Mass. 80. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • June 16, 1894, Memorial Library, North Attleborough. 1894 Mass. 35. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 23, 1894, Public Library, Nahant. 1894 Mass. 41. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 29, 1894, First Universalist Church, Roxbury. 1894 Mass. 77. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)

  • May 25, 1895, Grace Universalist Church, Lowell. 1895 Mass. 71. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • November 30, 1895, Virginia St. Church, Dorchester. 1895 Mass. 253. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)

  • September 12, 1896, City Hall, Worcester. 1896 Mass. 239. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 3, 1896, Waverley Unitarian Church, Belmont. 1896 Mass. 276. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)

  • June 1, 1897, High School, Springfield. 1897 Mass. 65. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 10, 1897, Town Hall, Revere. 1897 Mass. 241. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 7, 1898, Bank Building, Ayer. 1898 Mass. 24.
  • June 17, 1898, Court House, Chelsea. 1898 Mass. 103. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 23, 1898, Public Library, Lynn. 1898 Mass. 111. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • April 25, 1899, Christ Church Parish House, Medway. 1899 Mass. 27. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 31, 1900, First Baptist Church, Lowell. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • December 25, 1900, All Saints' Episcopal Mission, Attleborough. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 2, 1902, Town Hall, Needham. 1902 Mass. 136. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • November 1, 1902, Armory, Everett. 1902 Mass. 159. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • April 11, 1903, Second Congregational Church, Attleborough. 1903 Mass. 23. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 20, 1903, Larned Memorial Library, Oxford. 1903 Mass. 28. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 10, 1903, St. Paul's Church, Holyoke. 1903 Mass. 130. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 25, 1904, First Universalist Church, Amesbury. 1904 Mass. 45. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 15, 1904, Bronson Building, Attleborough. 1904 Mass. 72. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 28, 1904, High School, Nahant. 1904 Mass. 75. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 30, 1904, Holder Memorial, Clinton. 1904 Mass. 80. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 19, 1904, High School, Brockton. 1904 Mass. 111. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 28, 1905, Federal Building, Marblehead. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.) 1905 Mass. 133.
  • November 16, 1905, Post Office, Amesbury. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.) 1905 Mass. 152.
  • June 16, 1906, Beacon Universalist Church, Brookline. 1906 Mass. 68. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • September 29, 1906, Town Hall, Whitman. 1906 Mass. 127. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • August 20, 1907, Pilgrim Memorial Monument, Province-town. 1907 Mass. 65. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 30, 1908, Soldiers' Monument, Somerville. 1908 Mass. 49. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • June 30, 1908, Universalist Church, Maiden. 1908 Mass. 86. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 31, 1909, Soldiers' Monument, Maiden. 1909 Mass. 47. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • October 3, 1909, First Universalist Church, Chelsea. 1909 Mass. 117. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.) * November 19, 1910, United States Post Office, Woburn. 1910 Mass. 150. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.) * May 20, 1911, Federal Building, Beverly, 1911 Mass. 31. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • December 21, 1911, Schoolhouse, Swampscott. 1911 Mass. 235. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • April 18, 1912, Town Hall, Nahant. 1912 Mass. 62. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • May 30, 1912, Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, Melrose. 1912 Mass. 76. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • November 10, 1912, Methodist Church, Medford Hillside. 1912 Mass. 153. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)

  • September 29, 1913, St. Mary's Church, Newton Lower Falls, relaid. 1913 Mass. 175.) (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • November 23, 1913, St. Andrew's Church, Orient Heights. 1913 Mass. 193. (Program in Grand Lodge Library.)
  • July 3, 1914, First Congregational Church, Wareham. 1914 Mass. 336.
  • November 26, 1914, First Presbyterian Church, Everett. 1914 Mass. 336.

As the Freemasons of ancient days taught and wrought with their tools and implements that the world might be adorned with structures for the comfort of mankind, the administration of government, and the worship of God, so we in these modern days use the same tools and implements of these Ancient Masters for the teaching of charity, philosophy, morality, patriotism, and spirituality, that the world of today may be adorned with real men, seeking the good of mankind, the highest ideals of civil government, and loving reverence and obedience to the only true God. Utterly devoid of bigotry, we impose a form of theology upon no man, we inquire his creed of no man—indeed, we prohibit the discussion within our lodge rooms of dogma, of creed, and of theology, as well as of politics and of all other matters about which men may righteously and conscientiously differ in opinion. Two centuries ago our Fraternity adopted a charge, saying: — "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.

We demand only belief in monotheism, the worship of the one and only true God, but we demand recognition of that God as the perpetually enduring Corner-stone of civilization. With loyal patriotism, devotion, and reverence, we throw all the weight of our organization against the red flag of "No God, No Master" being raised with authority in this our good land, where the spire of the house of worship should ever be protected by the flag-pole of the waving Stars and Stripes. This material Corner-stone we therefore lay in testimony of our belief that the Corner-stone of all successful and permanent human endeavor is filial recognition of the Fatherhood of God. Its corollary is to be found in the mortar or cement which shall bind together the bricks and stones of the structure here to be erected into one common mass and which typifies the Brotherhood of Man.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVI, No. 5, February 1921, Page 132:

Large or Small Lodges — Which?

I have long been of the opinion that many of our lodges are altogether too large, and that better Masonic and equally good financial results would be attained if there were more lodges with smaller membership. You may be interested to learn that the average membership of lodges in Massachusetts is higher than in any other jurisdiction in America with the single exception of the District of Columbia, which being compact and having no country lodge is really not comparable. The only lodges in that District having less than two hundred members are the seven last chartered lodges.

Consequently the average membership in the District is high, viz., 339. This is more comparable with metropolitan Boston. The average membership of our Districts Nos. 1 to 7, inclusive, is 335. Because of peculiar conditions we must lay these figures aside and compare ourselves with other jurisdictions having both city and country lodges. Of them all our average membership is the highest, or 260. There are only five other jurisdictions having an average membership of over two hundred, namely, Rhode Island, 247; Pennsylvania, 244; Connecticut. 236; New York, 229, and New Jersey, 209. Twenty other jurisdictions in the United States average between one and two hundred and twehty-two others less than one hundred. The average lodge membership for the whole United States is 124. Our average therefore is more than twice the average membership of all the lodges in this country. This is unhealthy growth. That does not mean that a lodge of two hundred and sixty members is by any means necessarily too large. One hundred and forty-three of our lodges, or more than half, have less than that number. Only fifty-seven of our lodges have as small a membership as the average of the whole United States.

It is hard to say that there is any fixed number of members which should not be exceeded. Conditions vary in different places. It is, however, always true that where the membership is so large that each member present cannot know all the others, and where only a very small percentage of the members can ever have the opportunity of serving the lodge in official capacities, the interest of the members lessens and each individual member feels less responsibility for the welfare of the lodge and for the exercise of the duties and responsibility of Masonry as well. It is practically a universal rule that the smaller the membership the larger percentage of members attend the meetings. Elephantiasis is a disease equally injurious to an animal, a human or a lodge. Many lodges, however, are afflicted with it. Let us see the result. One lodge initiated sixty-six last year, and another sixty-four. Another with a membership of nearly five hundred raised forty-six. Another with a membership of over five hundred admitted forty. Another with a membership of over four hundred and fifty, admitted forty. In one of our cities with a population of nearly thirty-eight thousand where there is a single lodge having a membership of over six hundred (which admitted forty last year), the sentiment against the establishment of a second lodge is so strong as to be preventive. In another city with a population of nearly seventeen thousand where there is a single wealthy lodge with a membership of about five hudred and fifty (thirty-eight being admitted last year), there is a similar sentiment preventing the establishment of another lodge. There is another city in the Commonwealth having a population of over twenty-five thousand where there is no lodge at all, and the establishment of a new lodge there has been prevented by the adverse action of two lodges in an adjoining city, each one of which has a membership of over four hundred.

If but one of these neighboring lodges had declined, its objection could be overruled by the grand master, but the Grand Constitution prevents his issuing a dispensation for the formation of a new lodge in this city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants without a lodge, because of two objections in an adjoining community. In this particular case fifteen lodges have joint jurisdiction over this virgin territory, yet the objection of two of them absolutely vetoes the petition for a dispensation and neither the Grand Master or even this Grand Lodge as the Constitution now stands, can consider the wisdom of the objection. I have not examined it in the present instance nor do I attempt to pass upon its merits, but the power granted to two lodges out of fifteen to retard the proper growth or development of our institution, as an abstract proposition is wrong. I believe it is time that the rules should be relaxed for the good of the whole Fraternity. But what is even more necessary is the creation of a sentiment in favor of more and smaller lodges where the brethren may be more united, may be thrown into closer fraternal intercourse, may have more opportunity to serve, and where the tenets of our institution can better be inculcated.

It it be argued that for financial consideration large lodges must be built up, the complete answer is that no other jurisdiction in the whole Masonic world (save only the D. C.) averages such large lodges as does Massachusetts and certainly other jurisdictions are prosperous and successful. We have no conditions in this regard which are peculiar to this Commonwealth. Even Michigan, which shows us the anomaly of one single lodge of 3,000 members, and five others of over 1,000 averages throughout the State only 182.

The tendency of great lodges is to lessen rather than to enhance the Masonic development of each individual member.

The accomplishments of Masonry have never been gauged by financial consideration. When these become the criterion, then it is time to halt and to recast our activities for then the grand aims and purposes of our Fraternity are sure to be obscured.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVII, No. 9, July 1922, Page 293:


Freemasonry, which had more to do with the establishment of the fundamental principles of American civilization than any other agency, is the organization on which most depends on the saving of civilization today," declared Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, past grand master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in his address at a mass meeting of Spingfield Maons and their friends at the Springfield Auditorium recently.

"asonry is not a secret society," said Bro. Johnson. "There is no principle of Masonry which is not preached from pulpits and platforms all over the world. It does, of course, employ a secret method of teaching and a secret symbolism. Masonry is a constructive system of moral philosophy, whose principle and basic tenet is a belief in God.

There exists in the world today no other organization with the ability to unite all mankind, teaching- the brotherhood of man. Men of different countries cannot give their loyalty to the same flag, but they can give their loyalty to the same God. They may call Him by what name they will, in whatever language they speak, but it is the same God of whom they are talking, though indeed they may worship him in different ways.

We do not interfere with a man's right to worship as he pleases, and as a corollary, we permit no man to interfere with us. either in a civil or ecclesiastical capacity—whether he live in Springfield or Rome. All monotheistic religions are alike to us, but, religious liberty being one of our main principles, when an organization says, 'You must think the way we do,' it follows that a member of that organization cannot be a good Mason. That is the only reason for antagonism between that organization and ours.


From Proceedings, Page 1928-476:

Most Worshipful Grand Master and Brethren:

Usually with hoary old age comes being the Dean of any group. Massachusetts presents the youngest Grand Master in the world, as the "Dean"' of all the Grand Masters of the world. (Applause).

We have just heard from one of our Past Grand Masters whom we love, respect, and venerate, and I am sure the out-pouring of every heart is the hope that his gentleness, his firmness, and his benign influence may remain with us for many, many years and he who opened the Home continue to he the Dean of the Past Grand Masters of Massachusetts. (Applause.)

One has no right to speak of the subjective accomplishments of an administration. He can speak only of the objective ones.

We met a severe loss in the death of a prominent Grand Lodge officer during the years 1914. 1915, and 1916, and there were many candidates who cropped up to fill the vacancy. There was one Brother of the Fraternity who did not appear as a candidate for the position. He was sent for and asked if he would accept it, provided he was elected. After some consideration he agreed, and as a result, one of the great accomplishments of the three years mentioned was the fact that Massachusetts has given to the Masonic world and to its own Grand Lodge one of the ablest, best equipped, and most efficient Grand Secretaries that any Grand Lodge has ever known; our Right Worshipful Brother Hamilton. (Applause.)

Past Grand Masters began to be recognized as such during those years, for the first time, in a sense. Never had the Grand Lodge before honored them with the presentation of Past Grand Masters' jewels, although, of course, a similar thing had for many years been done by the Lodges of the Commonwealth. When Most Worshipful Brother Benton retired, for the first time the Grand Lodge honored the Past Grand Master with a Past Grand Master's jewel. That turned attention, no doubt, to the regalia, and it was discovered that since the Temple burned down in 1864 the regalia of the Grand Lodge had not been in exact accordance with the provisions of the Grand Constitutions. The regalia for the first four officers, which was entirely out of order, was restored in accordance with the Constitutions and it has continued in such accordance ever since. Also the Henry Price medal came into vogue in those days. It had been struck originally merely as a memorial medal, in memory of the founder of duly constituted Free Masonry in the Western Hemisphere. Its use as such had been forgotten by the Fraternity. The medal was adopted as an honorary medal and was first presented in Athol in June of 1914. Its use has been very much restricted since, and it has become known to the world as one of the most prized jewels of the Fraternity.

Education also was given attention during those years. The most erudite Masonic scholar in the world, barring none, Right Worshipful Brother Roscoe Pound, Dean of the Law School of Harvard University, was induced to prepare and deliver two lectures, one on "Masonic Philosophy" and the other on "Masonic Jurisprudence," which have since been printed in book form and circulated throughout the Fraternity. They are and will remain the standard works on those subjects in the Masonic world. Brothers Hamilton, Bush, and the Grand Master also contributed to the development of that lecture course, and in connection with that, a great deal of attention was given to the history of the Fraternity, some two hundred pages o£ the Proceedings of 1916 were taken up with the results of an exhaustive research concerning the history of Free Masonry in the Western hemisphere prior to 1750, and so thorough was that research that but one correction has up to this time been authoritatively made, although there have been several more recent discoveries of great historical value.

We dedicated also a monument to Past Provincial Grand Master Jeremy Gridley, finding that his grave had never been marked by any memorial. There was also presented to the Grand Lodge a short sketch of the history of all of its Past Grand Masters during the older years.

For sixteen years the Masonic Education and Charity Trust, which had the custody of the invested funds of the Grand Lodge, had never made a report to the Grand Lodge of the condition of those funds in accordance with the provisions of the Grand Constitutions. This is said not by way of criticism, but purely as a statement of fact. No funds had ever been more faithfully or assiduously administered by any fiduciary than those funds were, but perhaps that they might be built up, perhaps by sheer accident, no report of them for sixteen years had been made to the Grand Lodge, with the result thai unfortunately there was a growing feeling of distrust toward the Trustees, and indeed some feeling of hostility. During the year 1914, there was made known to the Fraternity the exact condition of that trust; the exact terms of every will from which the trust had received money; the exact amount of the income; the allocation of the income, what was permitted to be spent and how, and what could not be spent by reason of
the terms of the deeds of gift. With a knowledge of what
 had been done there disappeared immediately that disposi
tion to hostility to which reference has been made, and in
deed, no such hostility has since existed.

The charity funds of the Grand Lodge were materially increased during those years, though no credit for that should be given to the administration. It was, as is frequently the case, due to the fact that generously minded Brethren of the Fraternity had previously deceased, and the legacies given under their wills happened to become payable during that administration. But the funds were not sufficient to support the Home and do the other charitable work. Therefore many of you will remember the Rainy Day Fund, at that time originated, which supplied the deficit in the maintenance of our Home and our charities which had existed for years.

Strange to say, it was found thai the Grand Lodge had no system of accounting. The Masonic Home had adopted a system, but the Grand Lodge accounting had been a sort of a haphazard affair, like when you put in the back of your diary what you have received on one side and what you have paid out on the other. There was no allocation of our business and Masonic expenditures. A system of accounting was then adopted which gave us enlightenment concerning the funds of the Grand Lodge, and which sufficed, with some changes, until the great increase of funds within the last few years made it necessary in make material changes in that type of accounting.

We have Lodges, as you know, in China, Chile, and the Canal Zone. They were organized into District Grand Lodges, in accordance with the ancient English custom. District Grand Masters were appointed for those districts and the rules of organization and conduct of such District Grand Lodges were then laid down.

One of the most important things with which those of that day had to deal came to the attention of the Grand Lodge when there was a petition for a Dispensation for International Lodge in China. On the petition there were a large number of names of Chinese Freemasons, men who had taken their degrees in this country while here at college, and who had returned to China. Then there came to our attention the question of what procedure should be adopted in China. There were and are other Grand Lodges having Lodges in China. Again not by way of criticism hut merely as a statement of fact, it may be said that none of them welcome candidates of Chinese blood, and yet there are many able men in China, of Chinese blood, well worthy of being members of the Masonic Fraternity.

It was also desired that there should be welcomed into their Lodges men who were non-Christians; men who did not look upon the Holy Bible as their Volume of the Sacred Law. Therefore there came at once to the attention of the Grand Lodge the question of what its future policy should be in the missionary work which it was doing that great country, and whether or not it would admit to affiliation with us men of Chinese blood, who might not be adherents to the Christian religion.

Great study was given to that question, and in the spirit in which Massachusetts Masonry has always been a missionary Grand Lodge. It was finally decided after definite study and careful report, that Massachusetts would admit to affiliation men who were not of the Christian religion, and permit them to take their obligation upon the volume which was to them the Volume of the Sacred Law, provided they were worthy of affiliation with us and were believers in a single Cod. This accomplishment in 1916 started a definite new development of Freemasonry in China.

There is no nation on earth whose ideals are more in accord with those of Freemasonry than the Chinese nation. Their philosophy, indeed, runs parallel to ours; so much so that some of their organizations have been believed to be Freemasonry in another form. It is believed by many who have studied the question — and I think one of the Past Grand Masters who is to speak to you may perhaps have something to say upon this subject, because he had a part in it — that Freemasonry has a wonderful opportunity, which may be developed to full accomplishment only along the lines determined in those days.

Such were those things which appear objectively to be the principal accomplishments of the years 1914, 1915, and 1916.

There was a rich and eccentric man who died, and a clergyman was standing with his widow by bis casket, attempting to comfort her. He said. "You should not weep; what is before you is not your husband. That is a mere husk; an empty shell. The nut has gone to Heaven." (Laughter.)

All these accomplishments of past years are gone. Those who have participated in them are no longer in the center of the stage of activities of the Grand Lodge. Results remain and still have potency. The thing after all, to do, is to use the past as a background of (he scene, but the actors upon the stage of today are those to whom we look for the carrying on of greater purposes and greater development than the days of the past have known. So the Past Grand Masters of this Grand Lodge unitedly pledge to the Grand Master of today their unselfish, altruistic, devoted service. He may count on them in every way in which they may be of service. They will be as much of a stay and support to him as he cares to have them he. They wish him well. They say, '"Do not look to the past, except so far as you find information and inspiration in it. Look to today." Indeed, as the ancient Arab said, we now say, "Let us look to this day for its life, the very life of life. Within its brief span lie all the verities and realities of our existence; the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty.

For yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision. But each today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

In that spirit, let us join with the Grand Master of now, and look well to today. Such, to him, is our salutation.


From Proceedings, Page 1932-65:


"And God said, let there be light; and there was light."

One of the most exalted desires of man is for light—physical light to guide the body, intellectual light to guide the mind, spiritual light to guide the soul.

A famous symbol of light was erected more than two thousand years ago in Egypt—the Pharos of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, a magnificent stepped-up ziggurat tower bearing a constant blaze upon its summit to guide manners on a safe course to a secure haven. That celebrated lighthouse furnished the inspiration for the design of the Pharos of an Alexandria in the new world which towers before you.

This Pharos, sufficiently completed to become utilitarian, is today consecrated to the memory of Washington. It has an even greater value. It is a shrine, a Mecca, for the Freemasons of the world. It is a symbol to all humanity of the ideals and Purposes of Freemasonry. Millions of feet will tread its halls. Myriads of eyes will gaze upon its majestic beauty. Through daylight hours it will carry its message to vast multitudes. As the beacon light upon its summit will send out its rays to all the compass in the hours of night, so does Freemasonry diffuse light, that it may penetrate more and more, further and further, into the tenebrous recesses of human life. In the midst of iconoclasm and of change, which, wisely controlled, are essential to progress, but which, unrestrained, are certain to bring destruction and chaos, this monument will for ages to come typify those landmarks of religion, of morality, of character, and of fraternity which must persist if civilization is not again to be plunged into the abyss of dark ages. Before you stands a tangible symbol of intangible ideals. It may crumble with the lapse of time and the ruthless hand of ignorance, but the ideals which it proclaims must endure till time shall be no more.

In ancient days, Freemasonry was concerned primarily with building structures made with hands, incidentally inculcating a moral philosophy. For the last two centuries, its mission has been to build character, the sum of the active moral forces motivating an individual's career. Hence, after leaders of our fraternity in 1910 had organized for the purpose of erecting a safe depository for the priceless relics of our Worshipful Brother George Washington owned by Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, there came to the Craft of our country a mighty vision and inspiration. Here was the opportunity to construct the most superb memorial ever to be dedicated to the memory of a single mortal man, the most conspicuous Freemason of all history, whose character makes him an ideal exemplar of our fraternity's professions and aims. Here also was the opportunity to symbolize those fundamental principles so essential to this mystic Craft that, without them, Freemasonry would cease to be; principles which became so predominantly the guide of the life of the Master Builder of the United States of America that he wrought them into its framework, thereby building it of stuff robust and, we believe, imperishable.

This solemn ceremony of dedication is a proclamation to the world that millions of American Freemasons are determined to preserve in our civic structure those primary postulates basic in Masonry, basic in Washington's life, which are and must remain basic in our government and in the lives of its citizens, if our nation, indeed our civilization, is to endure.

Few historians, few even of our Brethren, realize the potent influence of Freemasonry in the creation of this nation, in the laying of its foundations, and in the welding together of its structure. A hostile pen writes truly that the Masonic fraternity was "the most important intercolonial network." Certain and demonstrable as these things are, yet now is not the occasion for their proof. That would require an elaboration of the structure, philosophy, and history of our fraternity, as well as a critical study of the lives of such Freemasons as:

  • Benjamin Franklin, diplomat and sound adviser;
  • Mordecai Gist, life-time soldier;
  • Alexander Hamilton, organizer of the business world of the new nation;
  • John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress;
  • The Marquis de Lafayette, friend and counsellor, as well as warrior;
  • Robert R. Livingston, great Chancellor;
  • John Marshall, who found the Constitution of the United States little more than words on paper and made of it a virile instrument;
  • James Otis, at whose argument on the Writs of Assistance, "the child, Independence, was born";
  • Israel Putnam, organizer in war and peace;
  • Peyton and Edmund Randolph, flashing swords of the South and leaders of men;
  • Paul Revere, dramatic patriot and herald;
  • John Sullivan, power in both military and civil life;
  • Joseph Warren, whose martyrdom welded the Colonies;

And many others. Today we must confine ourselves to Washington.

During this nation-wide celebration under the able guidance of the United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission, the many brilliant facets of this diamond among men are being portrayed throughout America. It is to all the phases of his life, to Washington in all his grandeur, that this Memorial is dedicated. The instant occasion, however, calls for a consideration of Washington as a Freemason and for a review of those things in his career vital yesterday, today, and tomorrow to our fraternity, and also to the nation of which he is the first citizen.

On the first day of September, 1752, in Fredericksburg, a town in Virginia with less than one thousand inhabitants, a new Masonic Lodge was opened. Tradition, probably but not demonstrably true, tells us that the Lodge was constituted by authority of Thomas Oxnard of Boston, who, from March 6, 1743-4, until his death ten years later, was "Provincial Grand Master of North America" by virtue of a commission from John, Lord Ward, Baron of Birmingham, and Grand Master of Masons in England.

The small group composing this Lodge were friends of the maturing youth, just returned from the Barbados where he had accompanied his brother Lawrence, who was in search of health — the only journey which Washington made outside of the confines of the United States. On the fourth of November, 1752, its first candidate, George Washington, was made a Mason, although at the time he was but twenty years, eight months and thirteen days of age. Two days thereafter he was appointed one of the four District Adjutants General of Virginia Militia with the rank of Major, and the following month came into possession of Mt. Vernon. He was passed Fellowcraft on March third, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on the fourth of August, 1753.

Although Fredericksburg was then the nearest Lodge to his home in Mt. Vernon, yet with the existing methods of transportation, they were a day and a half apart. With more comfort, we can now travel by train from here to New Orleans or to Quebec in less time than Washington could travel from Mt. Vernon to Fredericksburg.

From the day of his making to the hour of his death, Washington was a loyal and zealous Mason. He attended Lodge meetings at convenient opportunities, and ineradicably absorbed into his character all the good the Craft has to give. To us, his heritors, it is vastly more important that he lived the beneficent principles of our fraternity, day by day, and wrought them into his accomplishments.

Minutes of Lodge meetings in those early days were seldom kept. When recorded, they were usually brief notations. Many have been lost or destroyed by carelessness and catastrophe. Others, like those of Alexandria-Washington Lodge, have suffered from the vandal hand of the autograph and souvenir collector. In spite of all lapses, there yet remain records and other documentary proofs of Washington's visits to his Mother Lodge and his participation in other Masonic meetings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Even while burdened with the actual duties of Commander-in-Chief during the War of the Revolution, he often sought the peaceful atmosphere, comfort, amenities, and inspiration of the tiled Lodge. For example, we have the minutes of one meeting of American Union — a traveling military Lodge, where Washington and sixty-seven other distinguished officers of the Revolutionary Army are recorded present. Washington's visits to an Army Lodge named after him were related by its then master, Captain Greenleaf, to his son, who later became Grand Master of Masons in Maine. Benjamin Russell, afterwards Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts (1814-1816), often told that while a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, he once by accident saw a Lodge of Freemasons in session in a tent. A sergeant major of one of the regiments sat on an elevated seat in the master's chair, while the Commander-in-Chief was sitting uncovered among his brethren. Charmed with the idea of the practical equality of the brotherhood, Russell applied for membership soon after his return home.

Washington would have been Grand Master of Masons in Virginia if he had not declined for two reasons — one, that as he had not then served as Master of a Lodge he was ineligible; and the other, that his military duties precluded added responsibilities. Thrice, at least, he was by solemn vote proposed as General Grand Master, an office which has never existed, but might have come into being if he had consented.

Some years after Washington became a member of the Lodge in Fredericksburg—a membership which he retained throughout his life — Alexandria Lodge No. 39 was constituted in this city under the auspices of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. It was natural that this Lodge, composed of his friends and neighbors, and the nearest to Mt. Vernon, should seek his affiliation. Two days after Washington returned home at the close of the war, Alexandria Lodge wrote "to assure your Excellency that we as a mystical body rejoice in having a brother so near us whose pre-eminent benevolence has secured the happiness of millions." At the succeeding celebration by this Lodge of the Festival of St. John the Baptist, Washington was personally in attendance and accepted its unanimous election as an honorary member.

March 3, 1787, Alexandria Lodge No. 39, having learned that it was agreeable to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for it to seek charter from the newly organized Grand Lodge of Virginia, resolved to make an application therefor and recommended the following persons as officers under the charter:

  • George Washington — Master.
  • Robert McCrae — Deputy Master.
  • William Hunter, Jr. — Senior Warden.
  • John Allison, Jr .— Junior Warden.

The others named, together with Brother Powell, were officially requested to wait upon George Washington to ascertain whether it would be agreeable to him to be named as Charter Master. (Fifteen days later, Brother Hunter spent the night at Mt. Vernon and was in conference with him twice more before the Lodge (October 25, 1787) sent its application forward.) On April 28, 1788, Edmund Randolph, describing himself as "Governor of the Commonwealth aforesaid (Virginia) and Grand Master of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Freemasons within the same," chartered Alexandria Lodge as No. 22 of the Virginia Registry. This charter, signed by Randolph, today hangs upon the walls of the Lodge-room, carrying its appointment, as Master, of our "Illustrious and Well-Beloved Brother, George Washington, Esquire, late General and Commander-in-Chief of the forces of the United States of America."

Washington served as Charter Master until December 20 of the same year, when he was unanimously elected to succeed himself. During his second term, Washington was unable to devote much time to his duties as Worshipful Master. It was already obvious that he would be elected President. That was settled in February, 1789. The election was formally declared on April 6, and ten days later Washington left Mt. Vernon for New York to be inaugurated. On April 30, while actually Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22, he was inaugurated as the first President of the United States, the oath being administered by Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State of New York and Grand Master of Masons, upon the Bible of St. John's Lodge No. 1 of New York City.

(At least eleven Masons have been Presidents of the United States. President Andrew Jackson was 'a Past Grand Master. Washington is the only President who was at the same time Master of his Lodge.)

Perhaps the most prominent appearance of Washington as a Mason was on September 18, 1793, while President, when he marched between his successor as Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 and the Grand Master of Maryland, pro tern, and shared in the Masonic service at the laving of the corner stone of the United States Capitol. He was clothed in a Masonic apron (embroidered by nuns at a convent in Nantes) presented to him (1782) by Brothers Watson and Cassoul, and now in possession of Alexandria-Washington Lodge. Another Masonic apron, embroidered by the hands of the Marquise de Lafayette and presented to Washington by Brother Lafayette in person (1784), is now in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Washington's letters, written to Brothers Watson and Cassoul (1782); to Alexandria Lodge of Virginia (1783, 1784 and 1797); St. John's Lodge of North Carolina (1791); King David's Lodge of Rhode Island (1790); Prince George's Lodge of South Carolina (1791); to the Grand Lodges of South Carolina (1791), Georgia (1791), Pennsylvania (1792 and 1796), Massachusetts (1792 and 1797), and Maryland (1798), and to an anti-Mason of Fredericktown, may still be read in the original or in fully authenticated copies. These letters are filled with protestations of the value of and his loyalty to Freemasonry. Moreover, his public documents and addresses are replete with the phraseology of its ritual.

Listen to his words in a letter still preserved—"Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the Masonic Fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving brother."

In youth, Washington identified himself with our ancient Craft. In maturity, he clung to it. In retirement, when he neared the end, almost forty-five years after his initiation and less than three before his death, he replied to an affectionate address from Grand Master Paul Revere and associated officers, "My attachment to the Society of which we are members will dispose me always, to contribute mv best endeavors to promote the honor & interest of the Craft."

To others he wrote of the fraternity as an association "founded in justice and benevolence . . . whose principles lead to purity ot morals, and are beneficial of action."

No one would contend that Washington owed his greatness of character solely to Freemasonry. His mother, his brother, his wife, his books, his church, and his other associations did their full share. Naught but prejudice, however, would deny the influence of Freemasonry. Amazing, almost beyond belief, is the exemplification in Washington's life of the principles and teachings of our fraternity. Moreover, in no other one institution of his day could all of them be found.

This magnificent Memorial, dedicated to such an exemplar of these principles and teachings, is placed upon this conspicuous hill-top to symbolize them to all the world. Let us, therefore, as the lesson of the day, draw the parallel between the most important principles and teachings of Freemasonry and the words and acts of Washington. This we may freely do because the objects and philosophy of our international society of friends and brothers are now-a-days neither secret nor concealed. They are broadcast for the good of humanity at every opportunity. Our only remaining secrets are our means of recognition and the symbolism of our ritualistic teaching. Our Lodge-rooms are tiled, not so much to keep secrets hidden as to keep dissension and discord without, that there may be only concord and harmony within.

The sole dogma (i. e. arbitrary dictum) of Freemasonry is the Landmark of Belief in God. No neophyte ever has been or ever will be permitted participation in the mysteries of legitimate and recognized Freemasonry until he has solemnly asserted his trust in God. Beyond that we inquire and require nothing of sectarianism or religious belief.

Freemasonry's idea of God is universal. Each may interpret that idea in the terms of his own creed. The requirement is solely a belief in one Supreme Being whom we sometimes call the Great Architect of the Universe. Upon this, the enlightened religions of all ages have been able to agree. It is proclaimed not only in the New Testament of the Christian, but in the Pentateuch of the Hebrew, in the Koran of the Islamite, in the Avesta of the Magians of Persia, in the Book of Kings of the Chinese, in the Sutras of the Buddhist, and even in the Vedas of the Hindu.

"Father of all! in every age, In every clime adored, By Saint, by Savage, and by Sage, Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!"

Freemasonry is religious in that it teaches monotheism; the Volume of the Sacred Law is open upon its altars whenever a Lodge is in session; worship of God is ever a part of its ceremonial; and to its neophytes and Brethren alike are constantly addressed lessons of morality; yet it is not theological, nor does it attempt to take the place of the church.

To God, Washington turned in hours of adversity for aid and comfort. Picture him kneeling in the snows of Valley Forge, amidst seemingly insoluble perplexities and baffling difficulties. To God, Washington turned with thanksgiving in hours of success. Paeans of praise poured from his lips when victory came. He constantly avouched his profound conviction that the Supreme Architect of the Universe "is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is or that will be." He declared that "it is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being."

Freemasonry was probably the greatest single influence toward establishing the doctrine of Liberty of Conscience as a maxim of our Government. Many of those who settled the Colonies came to these shores seeking the privilege of worshipping God according to their own ideas. Unfortunately, many of these groups refused to others that which they crossed the ocean to obtain for themselves.

In the midst of sectarian antagonism, our fraternity's first Grand Lodge was organized in 1717, by four Lodges then existing within the "Bills of Mortality" of London, England. It almost immediately reached out, planting new Lodges and successfully establishing systematized Grand Lodge control over all Lodges, including those which had theretofore met "according to the old customs"; that is to say, without charter or warrant, but by the authority inherent in members of the Craft who, finding themselves together in a locality, met and worked.

In 1723, the Constitutions of this Mother Grand Lodge of the World were published. These declared "Concerning God and religion" . . . "Though in ancient Times Masons were charged 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."

These Constitutions further declared "No private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the Lodge, far less any 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 resolv'd against all Politicks, as what never yet conduc'd to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will."

Proselyting has its place in the world, but not in the halls of Masonry. Sectarian missionary spirit and its exercise have been of incalculable value to the human race. However much we should give it our support as individuals or as members of other societies, it has no place within this fraternity. In our Lodge-rooms, upon the single bond of belief in Deity, we may thus "conciliate true friendship" among men of every country, sect and opinion.

Washington inherited the ideal of liberty of conscience from his father in whose letters it is often manifest. Nurtured by his Masonic association, he expounded this ideal, declaring, "If I could conceive, that the General Government might ever be so administered, as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, no one would be more zealous than myself, to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. . . The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshipping Almighty God agreeable to their conscience, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights."

A widely heralded and disseminated biography of George Washington, published last year, states that, in his time, Freemasonry "had already begun its campaign against Catholicism." This statement is utterly false.

No authoritative spokesman of legitimate and recognized Symbolic Freemasonry has ever engaged in a campaign against or antagonized any religion. Freemasonry never has been, is not now, and never will be a party to the reviling of any faith, creed, theology, or method of worship.

The Bull of Pope Clement XII in 1738, and other later Papal Bulls and Edicts, one as recent as 1884, have scathingly denounced Freemasons and Freemasonry. Of the reasons assigned, two are based on fact; one, that Freemasonry is tolerant of all religious creeds; the other, that oaths of secrecy are demanded. All other reasons given are incorrect; so wrong, indeed, that we of the Craft wonder how it was possible that anyone could have been persuaded to proclaim or even believe them.

Freemasons are human. It is human to resent the definitive condemnation and proscription, officially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church, of an institution which our brethren love and revere. As a result, certain members of our Craft have replied with some asperity. The Masonic Fraternity, however, is totally devoid of bigotry and intolerance.

Many members of the Roman Catholic Church have held Masonic membership and office. Until they were ordered out of our fraternity, one-half of the Masons in Ireland were of that faith. A Papal Nuncio, as a Freemason, laid the corner stone of the great altar of the Parisian Church of St. Sulpice (1733). Some eminent Catholics have held the highest possible office in the gift of the Craft, that of Most Worshipful Grand Master (e. g. the Duke of Norfolk, 1730-31; Anthony Brown, Viscount Montacute, 1732-33; Benedict Barnewall, Viscount Kingsland, Ireland, 1733-34; Robert Edward, Lord Petre, 1772-77). If that church sees fit to bar its members from belonging to our fraternity, it has a perfect right to do so. It is the sole judge of the qualifications of its own members. Freemasonry, however, does not bar an applicant for its degrees because he is a member of that, or of any other church. Whether or not he can be true both to his church and to the fraternity is a question the applicant's conscience must determine. Belief in his sincerity and fitness will be determined by the ballot box.

No discussion of the creed of anv church is permitted within the tiled Lodge-room, and the attitude of Freemasonry toward any and all sects and denominations, toward any form of the honest worship of God, is not one of antagonism but of respect. It could not be better stated today than it was by Worshipful Brother George Washington himself in a letter (December, 1789), to the Roman Catholics of the United States in which he said, "May the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our Free Government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity."

This Memorial, with its doors open to all, symbolizes a Freemasonry which welcomes and bids Godspeed to all who worship Him in spirit and in truth, by whatever name they call Him. Freemasonry, however, is unalterably and unequivocally op-•posed to attempts by any man or body of men, any authority civil or ecclesiastical, any organization religious or bolshevistic, to abate by one jot or tittle the right of others to their own beliefs, to their own methods of manifesting their devotion to the Deity of their consciences.

If within the power of Freemasons to prevent it, no sect, atheistic, agnostic, or supremely religious, will be permitted to dominate, dictate, or control civil government. Freemasonry has never attempted to do this, and would not if it had the power. Our fraternity asks no man to carry Freemasonry as an institution into his civic life, to vote as a Mason either in the ballot box or in legislative halls, to perform executive duties as a Mason, or to adjudicate as a Mason. Freemasonry has no fear of the practices, policies, or acts of any man whose character is sound. Its ambition is to aid in implanting and nurturing ideals of equality, charity, justice, morality, liberty, and fraternity in the hearts and minds of men. It concerns itself with principles and not with policies. It builds character, not faction. Freemasonry will join hands not only with its friends but with its enemies—though no God-fearing, liberty-loving man should be its enemy—to establish and perpetuate in all nations where it has a foothold the spirit of this ringing message of our Brother George Washington, "I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."

In the printed Trestle-boards and Monitors of Freemasonry which may now be read by all the world, it is declared that the four cardinal virtues are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. Is it not remarkable that John Adams, who was neither a Mason nor familiar with its ritual, but who was Washington's contemporary, Vice-President, and successor, should, in his inaugural address as President, select these four words as summarizing the outstanding characteristics of the man in honor of whom we are assembled? Adams referred to his predecessor as one "who, by a long course of great actions, regulated by prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude, has merited the gratitude of his fellow citizens, commanded the highest praises of foreign nations and secured immortal glory with posterity."

The tenets of a Mason's profession are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.

Freemasonry's ideal of Brotherly Love is not confined to love of its own votaries. Its greatest secret is that universal peace can be attained only by the true friendship of all mankind based upon the common bond of worship of the Maker of us all. This is a secret only because the world will not learn it. Power, might, authority have been tried and have failed. Words written upon paper, no matter how formal or how ceremoniously exchanged, cannot bring abiding peace to mankind. Only Brotherly Love can attain to this millennial goal.

Washington paraphrased our ritual when he declaimed, "As the member of an infant empire, as a philanthropist by character, and, if I am allowed the expression, as a citizen of the Great Republic of Humanity at large, I cannot help turning my attention sometimes, to the Brotherhood of Man . . . On these occasions I consider how mankind may be connected, like One Great Family, in fraternal ties."

Freemasonry teaches relief of the poor and distressed as a duty. That duty is exemplified in that none of its income inures to the benefit of any individual, but all is devoted to the improvement and promotion of the happiness of mankind. Its benevolences cannot be measured in money, but records indisputably show that organized Freemasonry in the United States spends, with little ostentation, a sum ranging from fifty thousand to seventy-five thousand dollars a day in charity and benevolence. This is not sporadic or merely in times of depression, but steadily year in and year out.

It is unnecessary here to assemble the countless instances of Washington's benevolence and charity. Let one phrase suffice from a letter to his secretary directing certain sales of property, "that I may be enabled ... to do as much good as my resources will admit."

Need we discuss Truth, the first lesson taught in Masonry? Truth and the name of Washington are synonymous. He said that the principles of our Society are "founded in the immutable laws of truth and justice." Equally this applies to the words and deeds of him to whose memory we dedicate this structure.

Reasonable limitations forbid discussion of all the teachings of Freemasonry. Let us add but one more—the ultimate lesson of Masonic philosophy, the greatest truth which God has permitted the minds of mortals partially to comprehend—the immortality of the soul.

Washington builded his character for "that spiritual temple, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." It is enough to quote from a letter to his brethren: "I sincerely pray that the Great Architect of the Universe may bless you here, and receive you hereafter into His immortal Temple." And again: "Permit me . . . to supplicate that we may all meet hereafter in that eternal temple whose builder is the Great Architect of the Universe."

The parallel is before you. More would be but cumulative.

George Washington still lives, not only in his celestial home, but here on earth. His words and deeds so projected themselves into the life of America that they still influence the minds of men and the halls of legislation. This is well for the world in which we live and in which we pray our descendants may find happiness and prosperity. The greatest nation the world has ever known is here because of Washington. The War of Independence could not have been won without him. The Constitution could not have been adopted without him. No personality of our formative days had more influence in solidifying the states into a nation and in building strength, righteousness, and justice, into its structure. The story of his day written as fiction would be scoffed at as too improbable. If its events had not actually happened, it would be unbelievable that one man, enmeshed in hardships and handicaps which seemed beyond endurance and insuperable, could be the hub or pivot to hold together a scattered and diverse people, could win their independence and then cement them firmly into one nation. All this was accomplished by the sheer force and persuasive power of his character.

"God left him childless that the nation might call him father." Generations yet unborn will avail themselves of his guidance and advice in the perpetuity and betterment of the United States of America.

George Washington was not great because he was a brother of our Craft. He was great because his natural abilities, willed into action, were guided and inspired by the fundamental principles which Freemasonry inculcates, and which so saturated every fiber of his being that he thought them, spoke them, and lived them. Through him and other earnest members of our Craft they have irradiated our citizenry.

Our Memorial is now dedicate. With the Prophet Isaiah, we proclaim, "It is left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign upon an hill." "All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountain."

Memorial to Washington! Heed the mandate of the Masons of America! — Point ever to the sky to direct faith heavenward, hope to that place prepared for our immortal home. By thy symmetry and beauty, bid men to fashion their character according to the plans drawn by the Great Architect of the Universe upon His mundane trestle-board. By the breadth of the welcome of thy facades, thy entrances, thy halls, lead them to foregather in brotherly love. By the majesty of thy form and Hie purposes of thy dedication, guide the course of their lives safely past noxious perils to that harbor where lies the sure anchorage of trust in God and love of fellowmen.

Stand forth forever, a Pharos to blazon the light of Freemasonry to all the world!


On February 24, 1942, Past Grand Master Johnson delivered this speech to the Conference of Grand Masters in Washington, D.C. He was at that time Massachusetts' senior Past Grand Master and had been a Mason for a half-century. The speech was delivered only a few months after Pearl Harbor, and America's entry into the Second World War.


Brethren of the Conference of Grand Masters:

I ask for a word of prelude as a matter of personal privilege.

I have never given to any address so much serious thought as to this one. I have never before consulted about an address so many sound-headed brethren in my whole career in Freemasonry - 50 years a member, 49 an officer, 45 a member of Grand Lodge and serving it in some official capacity for 45.

The first draft of this address was prepared in early January. Shortly thereafter, it was submitted to a member of those whose opinions I greatly value. The printed draft, a month later, was submitted to others. Copies of that will be distributed to you, although I am making a few minor changes in reading it. I have requested advice and criticism from sixty-nine brethren in all, a substantial portion of whom have attended former Conferences or are here today. They live in widely separated parts of this country so that their viewpoints are different. Some of them have been good enough to indicate their disagreement with my views on certain specific matters and their reasons. Three, and only three, have expressed the hope that I would not include those matters which are the most vital. No one of the three, however, has said in his answer to me that in his opinion my facts or conclusions are wrong.

I should be much happier if I could take the advice of this small minority; but I have the firm conviction that since my facts are indisputable and my argument seems, at least to myself, unanswerable, it is my duty to speak of these things notwithstanding the certainty that what I say will hurt the feelings of some who have done and are doing wonderful things in and for Freemasonry. I know that I face abuse and perhaps loss of friendships if I do that duty. It will be a severe penalty, and I can gain nothing personally by frankness. In all ages, those who have spoke unpleasant truths have had for their reward revilement and persecution. One of the lessons taught me by the Master of masters, however, is that in my humble way I must be willing to suffer personally for the good of a cause that is greater than any individual. So it is that with both intensive seriousness and a heartache that I speak.

The subject assigned me is: Do Naziism, Fascism and Communism present a danger that American Freemasonry should meet? If so, how?

The answer to the first part of the question has already been given and is so indisputable as not to need discussion. The philosophy of totalitarianism is a menace to democracy and religion as well as to Freemasonry. American Freemasonry must not disregard this danger. How to meet it is a matter for serious consideration. In my judgment, the only ways now to meet it are to support our government 100% in this war and to strengthen Freemasonry itself.

Freemasonry cannot be strengthened by changing its fundamental principles. Just as in the material world. man cannot change the laws which God decreed when He created the world but can only adapt human ways to conform to them, so in the activities of human life, such as religion, philosophy and even economics, there are fundamental principles equally God-given, equally unchangeable, the violation of which results equally in disaster. If my philosophy is sound, God created not only the laws of physics, chemistry and biology but also the laws of the mind and of the spirit, of morality and of ethics. Puny men cannot stand in the way of a speeding mechanized Juggernaut and stop its momentum; if he tries it, he will be crushed. No more can puy man defy honor, virtue, love of God, love of fellowmen, or other of the laws of God by which human conduct must be regulated, without disaster, slow or swift but sure.

Freemasonry has but one dogma, monotheism; and it does ot attempt a definition of the Supreme Being. It cannot do so because that which is finite cannot measure, define or even comprehend that which is infinite, although it may dimly envision some of its attributes. Based on the whorship of God, we teach the love of our fellowmen, both being unchangeable essentials of civilization. The two Great Commandments always have been and ever will be as immutable as that two and two are four or that the human body must ultimately die. They are basic principles of this fraternity of ours. Inasmuch as the further tenets which we teach in the development of our moral philosophy logically flow from these principles, we have nothing in the teachings of Freemasonry which calls for a change.

Freemasonry cannot meet the danger presented in our subject by attacks upon others. Every school of business administration teaches and every competent business executive knows that in the whole history of the world. no business ever succeeded which spent its energy in abusing its competitors. Instead, it must gain and hold customers by demonstrating to them that it has something so worth while that they want it. Likewise, if Freemasonry devotes its labor and strength to hurling anathemas against competitive philosophies - whether of government, religion, or other human activities - it will land, with other waste products, upon the public dump. It will survive and gain stature only if it can sell its philosophy to men.

The effect of propaganda of abuse is evanescent. Temporarily it engenders hatred toward the enemy but not loyalty or patriotism toward one's own cause. Its effect wanes and disappears as time - only a moment in the aeons of God's plan - unrolls its lengthening scroll. Freemasonry, to succeed, must be constructive, not destructive.

There are three fields, and only three, where I can see the possibility of beneficial change in Freemasonry:

  • First: In its ritual;
  • Second: In its mechanical structure and organzation;
  • Third: In the practical applications of its principles in the field of human endeavor.

First: Should it make any change in its ritual? (I am speaking solely of the ritual of symbolic Freemasonry.)

More than two centuries have found no weaknesses in the essentials of the ritual. Wisely, we are conservative about tampering with it in spite of the great divergences in our different jurisdictions. In this field, I have but one suggestion: Our Mother Grand Lodge, that of England, and three Grand Lodges in this country explain in the ritual itself that Freemasonry's continued use of the imprecations in its obligations is purely figurative and that the only penalties which Freemasonry imposes are expulsion, suspension and reprimand. It is our duty to make it clear to the candidate that no obligations which he takes in our fraternity violate any duty he owes to God, his country, his neighbor or himself. It would remove a ground of legitimate criticism if all rituals would clarify this situation which shocks many. If we mean what we say, we require an oath which violates all of these obligations. Hw can we insist upon our sincerity in the use of the language of our ritual when in its most solemn moments we include things which Freemasonry does not mean, which its officers and members do not mean, which the candidates do not mea, and which everybody concerned recognizes as merely a traditional repetition of anciet common law provisions now, fortunately, obsolete?

Why continue to furnish our enemies with material with which to fashion ordnance to be used against us? It was used with great effectiveness a little more than a century ago.

Second: Freemasonry's mechanical structure and organization.

Here there are obvious weaknesses.

The two principal defects are disunity and the selection of titular leaders by ladder promotion, even then giving the leaders no real opportunity to function.

In the United States, there are forty-nine Grand Lodges, each supreme. There is no man or body of men entitled to speak for the Grand Lodges of the United States and, therefore, for the membership of these Grand Lodges. Aesop's fable is as true today as it has ever been of the dying father who showed his quarreling children a bundle of fagots, each one of which alone could easily be broken but when bound together the strength of all his sons could not break the bundle. Little respect is given to an institution so disunited as Freemasonry in America. In August, 1918, the official representative of the Secretary of War said to Most Worshipful Townsend Scudder, then representing the Grand Lodge of New York: "It is your lack of co-ordination as a Fraternity which has hampered the Government in its effort to deal with you." This lack of co-ordination was never more evident than at the present moment. After the last war, Freemasonry set up an Association to be an arm or agency to be used by the forty-nine Grand Lodges of the United States that they might function together, might unite their influence and their efforts whenever there was occasion for unity of action. This organization, the Masonic Service Association, neither is nor does it seek to be dominant in Masonic affairs. Its only members are Grand Lodges.

If there are Grand Lodges which disapprove either the procedure or personnel of the Association, why not get within it and there constructively seek corrective changes instead of staying outside and wounding it with destructive criticism? The Association is only what its Grand Lodge members make it or allow it to be; they have absolute control.

Is this not the only hope of unity? Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry's suggestion of a senate two years ago fell upon ears which would not hear. The only other possibility, a General Grand Lodge, is a spectre of such horrific mien that even to glance at it is generally regarded to be as fatal as to look at Medusa's head.

What recognition Freemasonry would get in America if the forty-nine Grand Lodges - having within their jurisdictions 3,000,000 of citizens who are Freemasons - spoke through the Masonic Service Association with a common voice! In these days of stress and trial, when many Masons and their sons are longing for some human contract of brotherhood with their fellows, but instead, are dumped into great cantonments amid total strangers, what a wonderful thing it would be if a united Freemasonry would provide not doughnuts or cigarettes, or even checkerboards and magazines, but the hands and voice of friendship and service, the manifestation of brotherhood! Only a few weeks ago, a mother living close to the Atlantic Ocean told me about one of her sons in an army camp near the Pacific Ocean who, though anxious to serve his country, was oppressed and depressed by lonesomeness and homesickness because not another man among the thousands in that camp reached out the hand of brotherhood; and yet that boy's father was so prominent in Masonic activities during his life that all of you either knew him personally or knew of him.

There is no greater lonesomeness in life than to be insulated in a great crowd - alone, indeed, although touching elbows with thousands happy in their contacts. In the state where his camp is located, the Grand Lodge has undertaken service to brethren there in our armed forces, excluding the Masonic Service Association. An appeal to the Grand Lodge brought the response that their representative "was refused admittance into the reservation as that is now a closed area and heavily guarded." Had the Masonic Service Association been allowed to function in that state, its representative would have been admitted to enter and establish the contact because the Masonic Service Association has official army recognition.

There are Grand Lodges who are not sharing in this common service, and grand officers who are publicly proclaiming their opposition to the attempt by a majority of the Grand Lodges of the United States to render such Masonic service to our brethren and those allied to them by family ties. No greater shame can come to Freemasonry in these days, when the very existence of our country and its institutions, including Freemasonry, is at stake than results from such disunity. I can understand why some people are unwilling for financial reasons to share in the expenditure although each jurisdiction could do something if it were only a token gift; I can understand why there may be honest differences of opinion about methods; but it is beyond understanding how any voice of destruction can emanate from those prominent in our Craft, seeking to prevent Freemasonry's demonstrating its brotherhood to those wearing the uniform of our country or of our allies. To my mind, this exhibition of disunity is aiding in the sabotage of the strength, power and influence of Freemasonry in the world Unity is of vastly more importance today in this public demonstration of Freemasonry's brotherly benevolence than the preservation of minority dissent. Our countrymen today have put loyalty ahead of politics. Why may not Freemasonry also unite in displaying a common purpose?

The other great structural weakness to which I venture to allude is that in many jurisdictions one who can get appointed or elected to a minor position in Grand Lodge will, if he lives long enough and keeps free from scandal, be Grand Master some day. Why not admit to ourselves, what all of us know, that this results in an undue proportion of incompetent leadership? Its only justification is that more brethren are given honors. Is this, however, more important than maintaining the strength, power and influence of Freemasonry, to which it does not contribute?

Again, in a large proportion of our Grand Lodges the annual Communication adjourns as soon as a new Grand Master is installed, and at the next meeting of that Grand Lodge his successor is elected and installed. Such a procedure utterly prevents any leader, no matter how competent, from initiating and making effective long-term policies of administration, however efficient or wise they may be. It is only in times of great emotional stress that large groups of men can quickly be persuaded to favor substantial changes in policy. Otherwise, iteration and reiteration, experiment and and experience must contribute to enlighten and satisfy them of the wisdom of a change. The inventory of what has been accomplished is remarkable in view of the fact that most Grand Masters in this country have no opportunity to propound and discuss policies with all the members and officers of their respective Grand Lodges until the day they go out of office. Wiser practices prevail in certain jurisdictions. Some of our Grand Lodges have semi-annual or quarterly Communications; some retain their Grand Masters for more than one term; some choose their leaders because of the qualifications for valuable service, because they are Masonic statesmen, not because they have been put into the "line".

Third: The practical application of the principles of Freemasonry to the field of human endeavor.

Here there are many concrete instances which might be discussed. I have time for only two, and they both demonstrate the lack of unity of which I have already spoken.

Freemasonry has put into practice the benevolent teachings of its ritual in several advantageous and successful ways. Homes for aged Freemasons and their dependents are to be found in many jurisdictions. In others, there are hospitals for the sick. In some, there are homes for children. Thirty-five grand jurisdictions support such eleemosynary institutions; the fourteen others give only non-institutional relief. A great organization, composed entirely of Masons, maintains an outstanding benevolence in its children's hospitals. Our fraternity itself functions for the development of character in mature men. There is one gap to which proper attention has not been given and that is the field of youth, too old for children's homes, too young to be members of our Craft, but nevertheless in a formative period when proper influences are more needed than at any other time. If Freemasonry somehow can show its benevolence through its membership in reaching this great mass of the youth of America, it will be doing a mighty thing for them and for our country, as well as inspiring these youths with ideals which might lead them to become Masons when they reach maturity. Here Freemasonry neglects one of the most fertile fields for the building of character and preserving the American habit of life as well as furnishing prospective candidates for our degrees. When, however, there was a concerted effort by means of the Order of DeMolay to bring these youths under proper influences, it met and still meets with antagonism, although no one has proposed any better way of spreading the ideals of Freemasonry among the youth of our land during the period when such influences are more necessary and effective than at any other time in their lives. Those of us who are Freemasons and who are not furthering the work of the Order of DeMolay are, it seems to me, guilty of neglect of a great opportunity if we do not either join therein or energetically develop some better way to reach and touch the hearts and minds of youth.

Our Mother Grand Lodge, that of England, regarded it not only as advisable but necessary to make a Declaration of the Principles of Freemasonry that they might not be misunderstood by the profane. The same thought motivated some Grand Lodges and leaders of the Craft in this country. Consequently, in one of these Conferences of Grand Masters an attempt was made to draft a statement of the fundamental principles of our Craft in such a way that they could be suggested for consideration to the Grand Lodges of this country in a form that might unanimously be declared to the world. Such a declaration of principles was so carefully thought out that when, after discussion, it was finally drafted by a committee of this Conference no voice of further suggestion, amendment or opposition was heard from. The Conference had no sooner adjourned, however, than a secret drive against its adoption by Grand Lodges was initiated. One attack was made by the circulation of mimeographed documents urging opposition from which I quote a paragraph:

"You can readily see that the duty devolves upon us to maintain the warmest and friendliest relations with all Masonic Grand Bodies. Therefore, it may be the part of wisdom to be very discreet in active opposition to the proposal . . . hence everyone must act for himself individually, and none should mention the names of any other members . . . and, therefore, those communications are strictly personal and confidential."

Hew does that method of submarine torpedo attack against proposed Grand Lodge legislation strike you? I refrain intentionally from indicating its source. But it is common knowledge, at least among he best informed, that the hostility of certain officers in Masonic bodies, not now responsible officers of Grand Lodges but nevertheless in a position to control honors which Grand Lodges do not grant, has had a powerful adverse effect. Do you regard it as Masonic for other bodies of our fraternity or their officers to make a secret attack upon any proposed Grand Lodge legislation, the impropriety of which attack is so clearly recognized by its makers that it is accompanied by a request to conceal its source? The next emanation from that same source will probably be directed against these conferences. Individual Grand Lodges can be manipulated better if dealt with singly and without cooperative action or discussion. This is Hitler's successful strategy. If unity among other nations had begun when he first violated the Versailles Treaty, this terrible war would, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have been prevented. Disunity is the vitamin of defeat. In my judgment, no other Masonic body, directly or through its officers, has any business to intermeddle with the affairs of Grand Lodges except so far and so far only as its officers act individually as members or officers of their respective Grand Lodge jurisdictions. The acme of impropriety is covertly to use the power to grant or withhold extra-mural honor and rank as bait or threat to influence action in Grand Lodge. Speaking for myself (and this address does not purport to state the opinion of anybody else), I regard it as unMasonic for any body, not a Grand Lodge, to flout, deny or set at naught what has been a Landmark or at least a Regulation recognized by Symbolic Freemasonry for more than two centuries since Anderson's Constitutions were promulgated in 1723.

A Past Grand Master of Ohio, after relating certain facts, made some pertinent remarks in 1919, from which I quote:

"Thus again is the pernicious doctrine that one or a small number of men who happen to hold Masonic office may assume the name of Freemasonry and bring upon us the contempt of the Craft throughout the world by a wrongful claim of rank and power."

The principal reason urged against the adoption of the proposed Declaration of Principles was that it declared the "conviction that it is not only contrary to the fundamental principles of Freemasonry, but dangerous to its unity, strength, usefulness and welfare, for Masonic Bodies to take action or attempt to exercise pressure or influence for or against any legislation, or in any way attempt to procure the election or appointment of governmental officials, or to influence them, whether or not members of the Fraternity, in the performance of their official duties. The true Freemason will act in civil life according to his individual judgment and the dictates of his conscience."

This is merely an elaboration of what was laid down as fundamental in Anderson's Constitutions shortly after the organization of the Mother Grand Lodge of the world. These Constitutions of 1723 declared that we "are resolved against all politics, as what never yet conduced to the welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will."

In my opinion, unless Freemasonry adheres to this Regulation its destruction is certain, and there is no greater existing danger to Freemasonry than to lead or even allow the public to believe that it has departed from its primary purpose of building character in men and has become a protagonist in politics, however good may be its motives.

It is not mingling in politics for Freemasonry to oppose intolerance and bigotry, whether in the field of knowledge, in the field of religion, or in affairs of state. It would be imbecile for Freemasonry not to recognize that "unfortunately there are in this world, and perhaps there always will be, rights that cannot be vindicated, wrongs that cannot be righted, abuses that cannot be extirpated, and tyrannies that cannot be overthrown without the use of the sword." However, it is not for Freemasonry, as an institution, to use that sword. It is for its membership, who are Freemasons but who act in civil life in their individual capacity as honorable and loyal citizens, to do their duty as God, their Country and their fellows shall call them to do.

Neither does Freemasonry's continued reiteration that it does not mingle in politics mean that Freemasonry abandons its advocacy of principle. Freemasonry openly stands for freedom and against tyranny, for the worship of God and against atheism, for the right of each human individual to seek the truth and against intellectual slavery. Sincere men who are not bigots and not bent upon the control and domination of other men's minds and bodies will not differ upon such principles. They may differ as to the policies which should be used in carrying those principles into effect. It is partisanship for or against policies about which sincere men may honestly differ that Freemasonry abjures.

It is true that there is no mathematical, mechanical line which can invariably be drawn between principles and policies. As in almost all human affairs, it is impossible at times to make distinctions with unerring accuracy. Even those who are called upon solemnly to determine matters of life and death beyond a reasonable doubt, sometimes make mistakes. Here and there, officers and bodies of Freemasons may unintentionally err. They must use their common sense and sound judgment, and in any doubtful case should, when acting as Freemasons, avoid those things which cause cleavage between honorable, tolerant men. As citizens, they should go into the world advocating with all their energy such policies as they believe will transmute principle into policy and policy into practice. As a citizen, each Freemason should choose those policies which satisfy the dictates of his individual conscience and judgment.

The attempt to weaken and destroy this ancient Masonic prohibition against the Fraternity's entering into politics is a cause of present disunity and a seed of destruction.

In the practical application of the principles of Freemasonry in the field of human endeavor, it is it not possible for the minority of our membership to allow that the majority who are equally sincere may be right and join with them when the majority have united in action? Is the dissent so fundamental that the minority cannot for the duration of the war lay it aside, close our ranks and move forward to give the demonstration of a total impact of Freemasonry in America?

"Those opposed eyes
Which like meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in th' intestine shock,
Shall now in mutual, well-beseeming ranks
March all one way."

Thus only can our beloved institution function in unity toward successful attainment of its mission. Thus only can it stick to that mission, which is to build character in men and inspire them, joining in the worship of a common God, to teach mankind that its only hope for the preservation and advance of civilization is to rebuild our crushed and bleeding world upon that which still remains untried as the basis of a state, - the power of love.


Freemasonry is a charitable, benevolent, educational, and religious society. Its principles are proclaimed as widely as men will hear. Its only secrets are in its methods of recognition and of symbolic instruction.

It is charitable in that it is not organized for profit and none of its income inures to the benefit of any individual, but all is devoted to the promotion of the welfare and happiness of mankind.

It is benevolent in that it teaches and exemplifies altruism as a duty.

It is educational in that it teaches by prescribed ceremonials a system of morality and brotherhood based upon the Sacred Law.

It is religious in that it teaches monotheism; the Volume of the Sacred Law is open upon its altars whenever a Lodge is in session; reverence for God is ever present in its ceremonial, and to its Brethren are constantly addressed lessons of morality; but it is not sectarian or theological.

It is a social organization only so far as it furnished additional inducement that men may forgather in numbers, thereby providing more material for its primary work of education, of worship, and of charity.

Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community. Thus it impresses upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and personal responsibility, enlightens them as to those things which make for human welfare, and inspires them with that feeling of charity, or good will toward all mankind which will move them to translate principle and conviction into action.

To that end, it preaches and stands for the worship of God, truth and justice; fraternity and philanthropy; and enlightenment and orderly liberty, civil, religious, and intellectual. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the government of the country to which he owes allegiance and to be obedient to the law of any state in which he may be.

It believes that the attainment of these objectives is best accomplished by laying a broad basis of principle upon which men of every race, country, sect and opinion may unite rather than by setting up a restricted platform upon which only those of certain races, creeds, and opinions can assemble.

Believing these things, this Grand Lodge affirms its continued adherence to that ancient and approved rule of Freemasonry which forbids the discussion in Masonic meetings of creeds, politics, or other topics likely to excite personal animosities.

It further affirms its conviction that it is not only contrary to the fundamental principles of Freemasonry, but dangerous to its unity, strength, usefulness, and welfare, for Masonic bodies to take action of to attempt to exercise pressure or influence for or against any legislation, or in any way to attempt to procure the election or appointment of governmental officials, or to influence them, whether or not members of the Fraternity, in the performance of their official duties. The true Freemason will act in civil life according to his individual judgment and the dictates of his conscience.


From Proceedings, Page 1947-499:

Most Worshipful Grand Master and my Brethren:

It would be a mistake for me to make an address following the magnificent presentation of the duty of Freemasonry in today's world. There are some of us who are beginning to feel that we of this day do know something; that we of this day have gained in science and all other fields in which mankind has advanced, and hence we are entitled to believe that our minds, our ideas, our hearts and our philosophy are keeping pace with our ideas in material things.

At last there comes a voice, such as this one and a few others that are now being raised, that it is time Freemasons stopped being sitters — who sit by the side of the road and watch the world go by. When Freemasonry was organized, it was no society of sitters, but it actively sought liberty — civil, religious and intellectual. That has gone on steadily, but there are still too many Masons who allow themselves to be controlled by their own misconception of the dead hand of those who have gone before.

There is a theory in Freemasonry that we have no right to say anything about public affairs. There is that theory among many men who think they are good Masons. In the early part of the 18th century when constitutions were adopted from which they took their text — in those very constitutions they changed the position of Freemasonry in the world. Prior to that time, Freemasonry, according to the ancient constitutions, was a Trinitarian religious organization, and almost all of the ancient constitutions began with an invocation to the Trinity. I am not decrying that belief. I belong to a church where we recite the Apostles' Creed. Many of you, if not most of you, are really believers in the Trinity. With that, however, Freemasonry has no concern. Freemasonry at that time was actuated by the spirit which we have had described by Most Worshipful Brother Brown.

More than that, it is time that we should disregard creed; not that we should disregard principle, but nevertheless, that our people should teach participation in civil life. For fear somebody might object, there are those who have not advanced as far today in their thought of the mission of Freemasonry in the world as the Masons did in 1723, when they reversed themselves and took a position more consonant with the needs of the day. They were responsible for the acceleration which was given to that spirit of liberty in the world, which has brought about the democracies which we know, and it was their influence in teaching liberty that was the deciding factor in building the democracies which have come to mean the greatest civilization the world has ever known. Now, again, Masonry should have a mission; again we should stand for that same liberty; again we should teach the doctrine of liberty — civil, religious and intellectual, giving each man the right, under God as he defines Him, as he sees Him, to worship Him as he sees fit; to seek the truth as he sees it; to make up his mind about his civil duties according to the dictates of his conscience. Masonry should do these things today, and should again become a leader in the civilization of the world.

I am proud of such a man as our good Brother from New York, who has come and told us Freemasonry should be virile. It should have life; it should give an altruistic spirit to the world in which we live, injecting once more into the civilization of America the spirit of liberty, which is fast departing from us unless somebody awakens to recover and preserve for men the liberty which our forefathers won.

I think such addresses as Most Worshipful Brother Brown has made today are necessary to the preservation of this institution of ours, and it is the way in which we can have a vital role and a productive part in regaining the rights to comfort and happiness in this world. For this noble address of Brother Brown, I heartily thank him.


From Proceedings, Page 1950-285:

Most Worshipful Grand Master and my Brethren of every Station:

If I never did anything else worthwhile in Freemasonry, to help start the present Grand Master in his career will pay for all the effort I have put in to it.

You were talking about years of service, Most Worshipful. I start today on my fiftieth year as an official of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. At that time, the then Grand Master put me on the Commission of Trials, while I was only a Master of my Lodge. It was a position which I did not deserve, but nevertheless gave me an opportunity to become a servant, which I had hoped to be. We all of us seek to serve symbolic Freemasonry and not to call ourselves higher or better or superior to it. For it is our purpose to work out the philosophy of Freemasonry and extend it as the great Master of Masters extended his philosophy, which is all contained in two verses of the Bible. Yet it took hundreds of thousands of words by allegory, by poetry, by story, by sermon, for Him to explain those two verses of the Bible — we shall love God and our fellow man — so that they would sink into men's minds.

For fifty years I have been very happy, therefore, to serve.

You spoke of my being the senior Past Grand Master. Yes, seventeen years ago and a fraction, I became the senior Past Grand Master of this Grand Lodge, and it was a great loss to the Grand Lodge that some of the leaders who were much older than I have passed on long ago.

I wonder if there is anyone else here who served on the first Masonic Home Committee. It was at the motion of Grand Master Blake that we toured the Commonwealth to start the movement of a Masonic Home and finally a Hospital.

You ask me to say a word of greeting. I have no right to say such a word. That is your right, Most Worshipful, and you are the only one who can say that word of greeting. I am going to assume from my years of service that I may have the opportunity to speak the minds of your Brethren here and all over the state. We are both proud and humble in your presence. We are humble because we recognize that your life has been committed to the service of God. We are proud because you have the spirit to serve and have the opportunity to serve and lead onward in the fight to which the Deputy Grand Master has referred to save the world from utter destruction; to further the spiritual life of men rather than the temporal.

The Deputy Grand Master spoke of one weakness. I have spoken of that before. Our greatest weakness in Freemasonry is our lack of unity. We have forty-nine Grand Lodges. We have forty-nine Grand Chapters and Councils. We have forty-eight Grand Commanderies. We have a General Grand Chapter, a General Grand Council and a Grand Encampment. Each has its own head. We have two Scottish Rite separates. There is no unity among them and it is almost impossible to find anything on which all can unite. There is our greatest weakness.

In the Scandinavian system, where the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge is at the head of all the Freemasonry in his nation, there is someone who can speak for all and lead. We have just lost one of the great leaders, His Majesty King Gustaf V of Sweden, a wonderful man and Free Mason. He was a wonderful teacher of unity who brought his Masons together in a unified body, and the Swedish system is also found in Norway and Denmark.

Most Worshipful Grand Master, assuming that these years you have heaped upon me give me the right to speak for Freemasonry for the moment, I want to assure you that in your leadership of the Craft you will find the Craft behind you as we find in you a man who has a spirit that is human and who will not isolate himself from the world. You will lead us in the only direction to save civilization — the restoration of the spiritual life rather than the selfishness that pervades the world. God grant you that power which you have shown. We shall gain by it more than you.


From Proceedings, Page 1955-187:

Beginnings of Freemasonry in Massachusetts

Most Worshipful Grand Master, our Distinguished Guests and Brethren of every station:

Our Grand Master has thought it fitting to call for a short summary of the beginnings of Freemasonry in Massachusetts. After the first-born Grand Lodge was organized in London in 1717, our Fraternity spread very rapidly from the four Lodges who organized this Mother Grand Lodge to all sections of the then civilized world. Of course there were occasional or spontaneous meetings of unchartered Lodges, both before its organization and for years thereafter. The new Grand Lodge began with a claim to jurisdiction only over the City of London; but within the next few years it asserted jurisdiction with authority Masonically to occupy countries not only in Europe but in America and the rest of the world.

Freemasonry grew like a mushroom. There were often processions of the Brethren which caused so much attention that they were even mocked by groups who endeavored publicly to ridicule Masonry. Of such mock processions there are contemporaneous pictures still existing.

Such wild claims have been made by pretended historians of the Craft as to befog the real facts. Reverend Brother Oliver, you will remember, started with Adam as the first Grand Master, followed by a list from Adam down to the date of Oliver's writing. We know, however, that there are reliable authorities proving the existence of many Lodges without Charter but meeting spontaneously. When the first duly constituted Lodge in Boston was organized, for instance, we know that a number of members of the new Lodge had been initiated in Boston at a time when there was no governing Grand Lodge in this hemisphere. After years of Freemasonry "according to the old customs," the need for regularity and foreign affiliation was keenly felt.

Henry Price, then a very young man, is listed as being a member of Lodge No. 75 on the English list. He decided to make his home in the new land and came to New England, where he settled first in Boston. There he found a number of others, one of them being Governor Belcher of Massachusetts, who were members of the Fraternity. The Governor's son, at some time prior to July 30, 1733, was made a Mason on this side of the Atlantic. This was true of at least nine others.

There are indications that a Lodge was meeting in King's Chapel in Boston in the early 18th century. We believe it, but the most intensive search has failed to give us evidence warranting any assertions. On June 4, 1721, the Mother Grand Lodge of the Masonic world at London adopted a regulation reading: If any set or number of Masons shall take upon themselves to form a Lodge without the Grand Master's Warrant, the regular Lodges are not to countenance them nor own them as fair Brethren and duly formed, nor approve of their acts and deeds; but must treat them as rebels, until they humble themselves, as the Grand Master shall in his prudence direct, and until he approve of them by his Warrant, which must be signified to the other Lodges, as the custom is when a new Lodge is to be registered in the list of Lodges.

Evidently Henry Price was sufficiently informed in England of this regulation. He sought to have American Masons made regular by seeking authority from the Grand Lodge in London. In 1733, when he was about thirty-six years of age, he made a visit to London, where he received in person from Thomas Batson, Esquire, then Deputy Grand Master, by the direction of Lord Viscount Montague, the Grand Master, a Deputation as "Provincial Grand Master of New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging." in the Deputation of the Duke of Beaufort to John Rowe in 1768, Price is referred to as having been "Constituted Provincial Grand Master for North America by Viscount Montague, Grand Master, April 13, 1733." His was known as the St. John's Grand Lodge.

Price started in business as a tailor and shopkeeper, but he seems to have been more interested in Real Estate. Before giving up his tailoring business, he had purchased a large lot of land on what is now Bedford Street in Boston. He had already assembled substantial funds, for in 1740 he paid 1,000 Pounds for a lot of land on the northern side of King Street, now State Street, Boston, occupying it as a shopkeeper.

He became engaged to Miss Mary Townsend, then seventeen years of age, but her uncle, James Townsend, of Boston, who was her guardian, was bitterly opposed to the marriage. This was due doubtless to religious differences for Price was an Episcopalian and Townsend a rigid Puritan. In July of that year her uncle James forbade the banns just published, but that did not prevent the marriage which took place in the fall. Uncle James died in 1738 leaving an estate appraised at 21,000 Pounds, a very large estate for those days. By his will he left several public and private bequests, but his niece, Mary Price, was not remembered.

Henry Price continued his real estate investments, for we find the record of his selling a lot of land in 1740 and acquiring the Hartshorn Farm and certain other real estate in the Town of Townsend and he also purchased a piece of land at Menotomy Fields in that part of Cambridge which is now the Town of Arlington, and there he and his wife made their summer residence. Brother Price once offered the use of his house at Menotomy for the celebration of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, and, although the Brethren proceeded there in regular procession, they were switched to the house of Mr. Richardson in Cambridge, "Brother Price's house at Menotomy being encumbered by sickness." Evidently his wife was then fatally ill, for on April 29, 1752, the banns of Henry Price and Mary Tilden were published and they were married by the Rector of Trinity Church on the following 25th of May.

During Price's Grand Lodge activity, the Episcopal Clergyman of Boston and Newburyport frequently officiated before the Grand Lodge upon Feast Days, in spite of the fact that the general feeling in Boston was then hostile to those who adhered to what was called the "religion of the prayerbook." In 1750, he retired from business passing the summer season at his country seat in Cambridge, where he took up his permanent residence in 1775 with his wife and daughter Mary. He had become a rich man for the times and, upon the death of his daughter, he moved away from Cambridge to Boston and shortly moved to Townsend, Massachusetts, where he continued to reside until his death. He represented Townsend in the Provincial Legislature in 1764 and 1765 and obviously became Townsend's leading citizen. On September 7, 1771, he married again, his third wife being Lydia Randall, a resident of Town-send, by whom he had two children who survived their father. His estate there was large, even hundreds of acres with many buildings.

On May 14, 1780, while he was splitting rails, his axe glanced and struck him in the abdomen, inflicting a severe and fatal wound. His will is still in the files of the Registry of the Probate Court for the County of Middlesex, Massachusetts, and it is interesting to know that he then possessed three pews in meeting houses not of his own faith. No descendants are known. His was an interesting life, but we shall deal with little but its Masonic phase. He was the Founder of duly constituted Freemasonry in America and our highest Decoration of Honor is the Henry Price Medal.

In 1726, Price was appointed sub-Brigadier and Cornet in the Second Troop of Horse Guards commanded by Algermore, Earl of Hartford, and in 1733, on this side of the ocean, Governor Belcher appointed him Cornet with the rank of Major and from that time he was known as Major Price. He was so referred to by his executors in 1792 when they listed his uniform. (Note that the office of Cornet was not musical but was that of standard-bearer, and under the system then existing special privileges were accorded by law to the gentlemen of the Governor's Troop and additional favors to its officers.)

On July 30, 1733, Henry Price founded a Provincial Grand Lodge in Boston by the authority from London. The event was ceremonious, suitable to the Feast of St. John the Baptist. He appointed Andrew Belcher, son of the Governor of the colony, Deputy Grand Master, and also appointed his other officers. Then Price ordered his commission read and also a petition of eighteen Brethren addressed to him praying that they might be constituted into a regular Lodge by virtue of said Deputation. They had already been "made here," i.e., had been made Masons in Boston in some of the earlier meetings held, like those in Pennsylvania and perhaps elsewhere in America, without charter or warrant but "according to the old customs." Price granted this prayer immediately and the new Lodge was formally constituted "in the most solemn manner according to ancient custom and form prescribed by the book of Constitutions." It has had a continuous life and is functioning now in Boston as St. John's Lodge. Thus was born the first duly constituted Freemasonry in the Western Hemisphere.

Price returned three times to the Oriental Chair when it became vacant by death and presided until a successor was appointed from London.

There are official records of this Grand Lodge to the present day, except for an hiatus during the Revolutionary War from December 28, 1774, to February 17, 1787. Those days were very early in the history of duly constituted Freemasonry since the organization of the Mother Grand Lodge of England and Schisms were rampant. Masonic laws were unknown or unsettled.

What happened in Massachusetts later with another Grand Lodge during the balance of the 18th century has been recently dealt with as a result of the researches of our present Grand Secretary, Right Worshipful Earl W. Taylor, who read a paper to the Grand Lodge which will appear in our printed Proceedings for the year 1955.

A word as to this other Grand Lodge. The latter part of the year 1752, a group of Boston Freemasons began to meet "according to the old customs." They were not recognized by the local Masonic authorities because they were working without apparent authority; so they petitioned the Grand Master of Scotland for a charter. This was granted on November 30, 1756, under the name of "Lodge of St. Andrew."

In 1764, this Lodge purchased the famous historical Green Dragon Tavern, from which the "Indians" are said to have issued lor the "Boston Tea Party," known to every American school child. John Rowe, Grand Master of St. John's Grand Lodge, referred to the Tea Party in his diary on 16th December 1773, as follows:

The Body Meeting in the Forenoon adjourned until! Afternoon. Broke up at Dark. . .

A Number of People Appearing in Indian Dresses went on board the three Ships Hail Bruce & Coffin, they Opin'd the Hatches, hoisted Out the Tea & flung it Overboard, . . .

Tis said near two thousand People were present at this Affair.

Here the word "Body" in Rowe's diary does not refer to the Lodge of St. Andrew, but to the group of aroused citizens. The Lodge did meet that evening by adjournment from the preceding week, but soon adjourned again "on account of the few members present." There is no reference to the "Tea Party" in the minutes of that Lodge meeting.

There was considerable friction between this Lodge and the St. John's Provincial Grand Lodge, which resented this trespass on its occupied territory. Later the British Government sent a large number of troops to Boston to quiet the outbursts of people dissatisfied with what they called the "British Tyranny." At least three Lodges were in these military bodies: Lodge No. 58 in the 14th Regiment, Lodge No. 106 in the 64th Regiment, and Lodge No. 322 in the 29th Regiment. The first of them was English (Antient), the second was Scottish and the third Irish.

These military Lodges joined with the Lodge of St. Andrew, and the Grand Master of Scotland issued to them all a warrant for the appointment of General Joseph Warren as Provincial Grand Master for "Boston, New England, and within a 100 miles of the same." On December 27, 1769, this Scottish Provincial Grand Lodge was organized with Joseph Warren as its Grand Master and became known as the Massachusetts Grand Lodge.

Six years afterwards, Warren was commissioned as a General and went to take charge of the troops defending Bunker Hill. There he found two Generals in command who had planned the defense, and battle was imminent. Warren believed in their plans. Leaving them in command, although he outranked them, he secured a rifle and joined the ordinary troops in the first line and was killed by a shot in the forehead during the first attack by the British. His Massachusetts Grand Lodge did not reassemble until 1777. Then, Joseph Webb, who had been Warren's Deputy Grand Master, with ten other officers and members, organized an independent Grand Lodge and later added at least a dozen Lodges to its roster. The old Lodge of St. Andrew, however, continued to function under the Scottish charter, although a part of Massachusetts Grand Lodge. Five years later, the issue of specific allegiance came to the fore and for some time was a cause of considerable confusion.

At a meeting back as far as February 25, 1782, when Paul Revere was Master, a committee had been appointed to petition the Massachusetts Grand Lodge for a charter. Four days later the petition was granted, but there was no indication on the part of the Lodge of St. Andrew that it would change its allegiance from Scotland.

On December 6, 1782, there was an unequivocal declaration of independence from Scotland passed by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. At an emergency session of St. Andrew's Lodge on December 16th, it voted by a substantial majority not to recognize the independence of Massachusetts Grand Lodge. But the next month the Lodge voted in favor of sending the Master and Wardens to the "Massachusetts Grand Lodge to represent them and pay their dues until there is a peace between this State and Scotland at which time this Lodge will determine whether they will be under Scotland or America."

The matter continued under discussion in and out of meetings and finally on January 22, 1784, fifty-three members of the Lodge of St. Andrew being present, including Joseph Webb the Grand Master, twenty-nine voted in favor of Scotland and twenty-three in favor of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. Webb did not vote. They went so far as to provide on February 5, 1784, "that no person should be admitted a member of this lodge who acknowledges the authority of the aforesaid Massachusetts Grand Lodge." Some time during that month of February 1784, a new Lodge, St. Andrew by name, was organized by the dissenters under the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, and its name was later changed to Rising States Lodge. Their charter is lost, but it is clear that for seven months there was a schism, resulting in two St. Andrew's Lodges in Boston.

The history of the times cannot be fully understood without considering the revolutionary atmosphere which expanded into the revolt of the American Colonies against the British King, not the British people. A group of prominent citizens here, of which Paul Revere, Joseph Webb and John Lowell were leaders, revolted from those few in high places who followed the King. They fed the growth of free-thinking among the patriots of Freemasonry and made good use of the time when the Lodges were closed or called from labor to refreshment to promote liberty. The principles which inspired them for generations were readily grasped by these early Brethren of ours who sought to establish a working fraternity and equality before the law on the single dogma of belief in God and, as a sequence, the Brotherhood of Man.

Some loyal Tories called the lodge-room a "nest of traitors."

In spite of this, there was growing an ever increasing body of citizens in America who were God-fearing men of the best character and community-standing who were, as now we of the Craft all are, laboring to develop the idea of Brotherhood as a practical reality. They, as now, faced much pessimistic skepticism. Our Lodges taught theism and democracy. The attitude of George the Third, Gibbon and Dr. Johnson was chiefly responsible for what we call the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence of 1776.

It was no quarrel with the British people; George III did more than anyone else to set his subjects aflame with what our Masons called "tyranny." New England and Virginia were, indeed, the homes of the leaders of the rebels who are "patriots" because of the results. If they had failed, they would be called "traitors." One needs only to remember the names of such Masons as Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Putnam, Greene, Warren, and Adams. Their memory and principles are strong in the world today. Then the St. John's Grand Lodge and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge began to get friendly. Without going into further detail, the St. John's Grand Lodge on March 2, 1792, reported several meetings on the subject of unity with the Massachusetts Grand Lodge and recommended means to perfect their merger. Debate between the St. John's and Massachusetts Grand Lodges ended March 5, 1792, when they united, and Right Worshipful John Cutler of St. John's Grand Lodge became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the "Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." The Massachusetts Grand Lodge, having joined with the St. John's Grand Lodge, voted its own dissolution.

The Lodge of St. Andrew clung to its Scottish Charter until on September 7, 1809, it appointed a committee "to wait upon and inform the Grand Lodge of this Commonwealth . . . that St. Andrew's Lodge will, at the next Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, become one of its members agreeable to the communications made in December 1807." We read on the records of this, our Grand Lodge, of December 7, 1809:

The R. W. Master of St. Andrew's Lodge, James Green, Esquire, rose and addressed the M't W. Grand Master on behalf of that Lodge in terms expressive of the high satisfaction that Lodge had received in the candid and honorable proceedings of the M. W. Grand Lodge in completing and confirming the admission of St. Andrew's Lodge under its Jurisdiction; and declarative of their resolution strictly to conform to all its rules and Regulations; and also deliver'd the charter of St. Andrew's for record and endorsement. All of which was cordially and affectionately reciprocated by the Grand Master in behalf of the Grand Lodges.

Copies of the Scottish Charter of the Lodge of St. Andrew and our endorsement thereof appear in the first volume of our printed proceedings on pages 420ff".

Since that day, the symbolic Freemasonry of Massachusetts has been one happy family.



Grand Masters