LOUIS AGASSIZ JONES 1880-1949
From Proceedings, Page 1949-104:
Right Worshipful Louis Agassiz Jones was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 25, 1880, and died on April 1, 1949, at York, Pennsylvania, while en route from Florida to his home in Belmont, Massachusetts.
He was educated in the Cambridge public schools, Rindge Technical School and Northeastern University School of Law, with the degree of LL.B. His professional career was devoted first to mechanical engineering, but during all his later years, he was an outstanding specialist in the field of patent, trade-mark, and copyright law, where his meticulous thoroughness was an important factor in his success.
He received his Entered Apprentice Degree on March 31, 1913; Fellow Craft, April 27, 1913; and Master Mason Degree May 29, 1913, all in Charity Lodge of Cambridge. He became a member of Belmont Lodge June 6, 1918, and was its Worshipful Master in 1927 and Marshal in 1928 and 1929. He was a charter member of Beaver Lodge in Belmont from October 15, 1923, until March 28, 1927.
He was Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts in 1930, and was Acting Grand Master for five months while Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean was making an official visit to our Lodges in China. His wise handling of an unusual number of difficult problems received the warm commendation of the Grand Master. He became a member of the Board of Trial Commissioners in 1928 and was President of the Board from 1929 to 1939. He received the Henry Price Medal in 1930.
He received the Royal Arch Degree in Cambridge Chapter on November 14, 1913; Super Excellent Degree February 2, 1921, in Cambridge Council; and the Order of the Temple lanuary 26, 1915 in Cambridge Commandery.
In Scottish Rite Masonry he was a member of Giles Fonda Yates Council of the Princes of Jerusalem; Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection; Mt. Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix; and Massachusetts Consistory.
He was a member of the Massachusetts Bar, the U. S. District Court Bar, the U.S.C.C.A. Bar, and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He also belonged to the American Bar Association, the American Patent Law Association and various professional societies.
His particular hobby was amateur photography and he had a fine laboratory in his home. His excellent pictures received many awards at salons held in all parts of the United States.
He was public spirited and generous with his time and talents in many a worthy cause. Thus he was a member of the Belmont School Committee for six years, and a Town Meeting Member for many years.
R.W. Brother Jones was an active member of the Payson Park Church in Belmont, serving as deacon for four years and for seven years as Moderator. A few excerpts from his Church paper, printed at the time of his passing, sum up his character:
"A man of deep convictions, of penetrating insight, of great devotion to Christian ideals. He was no 'rubber stamp' man; he weighed the problems under consideration with care and gave his honest opinion, even if he stood alone. As moderator he presided with patience, kindness, consideration and a dignity not too severe. He exalted worship. He came to church to worship God. The church service was, for him, a period for inspiration and spiritual communion and he brought to it receptivity of mind and soul and went from it to practice justice, fairdealing and brotherly love."
In spite of his achievements he was singularly modest and unassuming. His courtesy and kindness endeared him to a wide circle of friends and admirers. He will be widely and sincerely missed.
Joseph Earl Perry, Chairman
Paul C. Whitney
Frank F. Pierce
AT THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF GATE OF THE TEMPLE LODGE, MARCH 1930
From Proceedings, Page 1930-216, Acting Grand Master's Address:
Worshipful Master and Brethren:
It is a great privilege to be able to come here tonight and to share with you the joy of this celebration. The lapse of seventy-five years has brought about many interesting changes in the conditions of Freemasonry in Massachusetts, and I have assembled a few of those facts which I thought might interest you.
Seventy-five years ago there were approximately eighty Lodges in Massachusetts. Today within the geographical confines of Massachusetts I believe there are three hundred and eight. There are eighteen outside of our borders which come within the jurisdiction of our Grand Lodge.
There are no figures available that I have been able to locate to show how many members of the Craft there were in Massachusetts in 1855, but our Grand Secretary has kindly obtained for me the figures for 1857. At that time there were eighty-six Lodges. The total membership was 5,320, an average of almost exactly sixty-three members per lodge. At present we have in this jurisdiction only five Lodges with as small a membership as sixty-three. Two of these are in Massachusetts, two in China, and one in Chile. The largest Lodge in the jurisdiction at that time was Star in the Last, of New Bedford, with 211 members. Columbian was a close second, with 207. Just contrast those figures with those we have today, with a number of Lodges having a membership in excess of 1,000.
These figures show you, in a way, what tremendous changes have taken place in seventy-five years. At the time this Lodge was constituted there were ten Masonic Districts in Massachusetts, to which may be added a special District in Provincetown and one in Nantucket. Today we have within the confines of Massachusetts forty-seven Districts, to which should, of course, be added our China District, our Canal Zone District, and our Chile District.
Those of you who have had the privilege of attending Grand Lodge meetings will be interested to know that seventy-five years ago Grand Lodge meetings were held in the evening, instead of in the afternoon. The Grand Lodge usually assembled at about 6.3O or 7 o'clock, except when there were to be exemplifications of the work and lectures of the three degrees. Now, of course, we have exemplifications in each of the various Districts every two years. In those days the exemplifications were in Grand Lodge, at the Stated Communication December 27th, and when they had an exemplification the Grand Lecturer would organize a temporary Lodge of Instruction early in the forenoon, at about 9.80 or something like that. They would exemplify the first degree, and perhaps the second. Then they would adjourn for lunch, and they would exemplify the third degree and the lectures in the afternoon. Then a dinner was served and the Grand Lodge would re-assemble in the evening for the usual business meeting.
It is interesting to see the difference between relief work in those days and what it is today. The proceedings of the Grand Lodge of 1855 show that relief cases were brought directly to the Grand Lodge, by petition. The petition set forth the circumstances of the case, and the needy person was mentioned by name in the petition, a thing which we do not do today. Today we try to save the unfortunate Brothers and their widows and orphans and dependents the humiliation of having their names brought before the Fraternity if there is a call for aid.
In those days the- amount of money which was expended by the Grand Lodge in charitable work was comparatively small. We find in the proceedings that sometimes the committee on charity was authorized to spend, between Quarterly Communications of the Grand Lodge, an amount not exceeding fifty dollars. .Just contrast that with conditions today, Brethren, when 1 tell you that at the last meeting of the Board of Masonic Relief more than $3,000 was appropriated for the assistance of Lodges in caring for their needy cases. Also contrast that amount, if you will, with the total amount which was expended by our Grand Lodge last year for the support and maintenance of the Masonic Home at Charlton, the Hospital, and all charitable work in the assistance of the Lodges and Brothers, amounting to $156,783.56. Think of it, Brethren! That tremendous change in seventy-five years, from an amount running, we will say from $200 to $500 per year seventy-five years ago, to $156,000 today.
It is an interesting fact that for quite a period of time the proceedings of the Grand Lodge were not printed. It was felt that they should be printed, because they were important records and should be made available to the Craft, but I find it was defeated for the reason, it was stated, that the primary purpose of Masonry was the work of benevolence, and that no money should be spent for anything except benevolence unless it was absolutely necessary.
So you see, Brethren, although these old proceedings have now been printed and are available for use, they had well in mind at that time the importance of the benevolent work of our institution.
That benevolent work has developed more and more as the years have gone by, and 1 shall tell you presently something about what it is accomplishing today. As I have said, the primary purpose, or one of the primary purposes of Masonry is benevolence, the importance of wliich cannot be overestimated. Today, conditions are quite different from what they were seventy-five years ago. We find among many Lodges expenditures of very large sums of money for entertainment and for expensive building programs, and relatively small amounts of money for benevolence. That is one of the dangers within our organization today; one of the things which is giving the officers of your Grand Lodge and other members very serious concern.
In those early days it was quite common for a Lodge to have a rental of perhaps $40 a year for its Masonic apartments. I remember reading in the proceedings of a Lodge down on the South Shore — I do not remember just which one it was — which paid $40 a year for the use of the Masonic apartments, and when the owner raised the rent to $80 they thought it was altogether too much, and so they moved.
Contrast that with some of the conditions today, with some of the monumental Temples which have been built, and the struggles which are being engaged in by some of our Lodges in their efforts to carry those expensive building programs with the real purpose of Masonry, which, as I have said, is benevolence, in those days there was a spirit of conservation. Today, in some quarters, there is too much, I fear, of the spirit of extravagance in Lodge affairs. That is not true of this Lodge, I am glad to say.
In those days Masonry worked very quietly. Today, in some quarters, it is quite otherwise. In those days, Masonry was relatively unpopular; that is to say, it had just passed through the period of persecution and was beginning to gain ground. In those days when a man said he was desirous of joining our Fraternity, and he said that he had no mercenary motives, it would well be believed. Today, with the popularity of Masonry and with such large numbers knocking at our doors, we sometimes wonder if they are actuated by a sincere desire to be serviceable to their fellow creatures, or whether they are actuated by some selfish motive.
Among the dangers which we have to face today within our Fraternity are an improper conception of the purposes and spirit of Masonry, self-interest of the individual; and the indifference of many as soon as they have become members ; a lack of knowledge of the fundamentals and purposes of Freemasonry; a lack of a proper benevolent spirit, and many other things which I shall not attempt to enumerate. Today we are engaged in an attempt to correct those evils by a program of education, and we are in hopes that as the years go by we shall succeed in renewing the old-time conception of the true spirit of Masonry and the true spirit of benevolence.
My Brothers, it has sometimes been said in regard to religion that it is caught; not taught. I sometimes think that perhaps is true of Freemasonry; that no matter how much we attempt to teach, unless the individual Brother can really catch the spirit of Masonry, can catch the true vision of what we have been trying to accomplish in our Fraternity our efforts at education are in vain. But those efforts will be carried on, and they are succeeding more and more every day. There is a greater and greater attendance at our Lodges of Instruction, and those who have been Masons for many years are attending as well as the candidates.
We are building for the future. Fifty years hence, with the members coming into Masonry as they are today, we shall find quite a large body of well-informed Masons who know a great deal about our Masonic law, the principles of our Institution, and the spirit of benevolence which we are seeking to inculcate. One splendid example of this benevolent spirit is your own departed Brother, Orlando H. Davenport. He is a shining example which every one of us should emulate. His example made possible a large addition to the Masonic Home at Charlton. It made possible a wonderfully generous gift to your Lodge, and it put your Lodge in the position of being able to do a great deal of benevolent work.
We have a wonderful Home and Hospital, which every one of the Fraternity should visit. Every Brother owes it to himself and to the Fraternity to visit both of our great institutions, and to see the splendid work which is being done for those who are less fortunate than we. I should speak, perhaps, of the relative burdens of our charitable work. As I said a few moments ago, the Board of Masonic Belief makes appropriations to assist the Lodges in their charitable endeavors. Every Lodge should do its part, and if it is able to take care of its relief eases alone, it should not make appeal to the Board of Masonic Relief, because we are struggling under a very heavy load. The individual Lodges must take up more of this load and therefore make fewer requests upon the Hoard of Masonic Relief; otherwise it will be necessary to increase the Grand Lodge dues, and that we do not wish to do.
Now, Brethren, I have only a few more words to say to you, and they are in regard to the relations of the Grand Lodge officers to the Craft in general. Your Grand Lodge officers are the shepherds of the flock. There is an interesting difference between the shepherd of the Orient and the shepherd of the Occident. The shepherd of the Orient leads his flock, whereas the shepherd of the Occident drives his flock. The first method leads to peace and pleasantness. The second method leads to clamor and confusion. The effectiveness of the Eastern pastoral scene, with lack of noise and shouting and lack of wasted effort, contrasts very sharply with the Western method of driving. Brethren, your Grand Lodge officers of today pursue the method of tin- Orient, by trying to lead and not drive their flock. Your Grand Master feels that if he can only teach the Craft what we are trying to do and ask them for their co-operation, we shall have it, and very generously, without any compulsion whatever.
Just another thought, Brethren, and T shall close, and that is that as Lodge officers grow older and more experienced in Lodge work, and as they go up in the Grand Lodge offices, they acquire a wider and wider perspective of the needs of our Fraternity. They are raised above the narrow confines of the individual Lodge, and see the needs of the Fraternity as a whole, and whatever they do, remember, is intended to be for the best interests of the Fraternity.
AT THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF AMICABLE LODGE, JUNE 1930
From Proceedings, Page 1930-255, Acting Grand Master's Address:
Worshipful Master and Brethren:
The lapse of time since this lodge was instituted has brought many changes within our Fraternity. There are no available records to show what our membership was in this jurisdiction at the time that this Lodge was instituted, but from later developments it may be inferred that the membership was perhaps between 3,000 and 4,000. Today our membership is upward of 125,000. The number and size of our Lodges and the number of our members have increased enormously, and with this increase there has been a corresponding increase in the number and size of the problems with which we have to deal, especially as regards benevolence.
Masonry has become popular, perhaps too much so for its own good. This rapid growth has brought into the Fraternity many individuals who are utterly incapable of appreciating the dignity and high importance of its aims or of discharging the delicate duties which devolve on them of caring for our distressed Brothers, their widows and orphans. Many years ago a prominent Mason said that he would be glad to have every applicant told as to the advantage of becoming a Mason, "If you wish to join an association for the sake of the good you can do, go to the Masons. If for the sake of what personal benefit you can get, keep away from them." If all inquirers were made to understand this, the increase of members would be much less than at present, but what a band of Brothers they would become!
Let us take a survey of the early history of Freemasonry, and look back upon the period when this Lodge was instituted. Let us learn something of the real aims and purposes of Freemasonry. Thirteen years prior to the institution of this Lodge, the two Grand Lodges theretofore existing in this jurisdiction united, and in the Grand Constitutions which were adopted at that time, in the first section we find, Being desirous to promote the benevolent designs of this ancient fraternity, we do mutually agree in a complete union."
Now, Brothers, there is a plain, simple, and straightforward statement of the principal aim of Freemasonry — the benevolent designs of our institution. It is borne out in the serious declaration which every candidate makes in the preparation room, before he is permitted to take his Entered Apprentice degree. He solemnly declares that he is desirous of being serviceable to his fellow creatures. That is really the greatest aim of Freemasonry. Ritual, the working of degrees, and social affairs bring us together. They are important, but they are merely secondary to the primary purpose of Masonry, which, as I have said, is benevolence. If Freemasonry is to consist merely in a beautiful ritual faultlessly expressed, and in dramatic exhibitions in the Lodge-room, Masonry has no place in the world. But the Lodge-room is merely the school where we come to learn Masonry, and when the Lodge closes we go out into the world to practice Masonry among our fellow citizens, and to let the world know by our conduct and by our benevolent deeds what Masonry really means.
Six years after this Lodge was instituted, a Committee of the Grand Lodge which was called on to pass upon the financial affairs of one of our Lodges, in its report to the Grand Lodge stated, "Your Committee are of the opinion that the principal advantage to be derived to society from the Masonic institution is the encouragement and extension of its benevolent and charitable principles, and when this ceases to be the governing object of its members, the institution is disrobed of its greatest ornament. It is a regulation of many Lodges to appropriate the initiatory fees to a charity fund. This appropriation is made on strict Masonic principles, for in the opinion of your Committee all moneys received for initiations, excepting the regular sums required for the Grand Lodge, belong exclusively to this fund, because every initiate thereby contributes to that stock from which lie is entitled to relief in the day of adversity, and every well regulated Lodge is in duty bound to establish such quarterages and make such assessments as are adequate to its ordinary support and festive inclinations. A fund thus raised and sacredly devoted becomes the exclusive property of the poor and needy, and is deposited with the several Lodges as their Trustees, who under the all-seeing eye of God are with a careful and discriminating hand to apply it to their several necessities. To divert it from this sacred and noble object by applying it for the purposes of festivity or the aggrandizement of the Lodge is removing the ancient Landmarks of the institution and destroying its usefulness."
This report, Brethren, was accepted by unanimous vote of the Grand Lodge. One hundred years later, in 1911, another Committee appointed to consider the financial affairs of another Lodge made a somewhat similar report, quoting with approval what I have just read to you, and their report was accepted by the Grand Lodge by a vote of more than three to one. The common law of Freemasonry, as enunciated by this report, has been reaffirmed at other times.
In recent years, with the rapid growth of our members, our burdens of benevolence have grown enormously, yet many Lodges, instead of appropriating their initiation fees for charitable purposes have spent the money for entertainments and good times, and for that reason have been unable to take care of the relief of their distressed Brethren, their widows and orphans.
Let us get back to the good old days of our predecessors and the wise practice of nearly one hundred and twenty-five years ago, which I have outlined to you. Let us get back as speedily as possible to the days when benevolence was regarded as the keynote of Freemasonry, so that we shall be enabled to discharge those sacred duties which devolve upon us, and contribute to the aid of those whom we have promised so solemnly at the altar that we would help in their hour of distress.
Amicable Lodge, very early in its history, (I believe it was in 1820) established a charity fund which was invested wisely during the anti-Masonic excitement and added to from time to time until, by 1905 it amounted to $5,825. This fund enabled the Lodge to carry on its charitable undertakings with great distinction. Today, Amicable Lodge is struggling very nobly with its charitable work, which is indeed very heavy, and is to be congratulated upon the wonderful work which it is doing. I hope that it will long continue to sustain the remarkable record of benevolence which it has made ever since it was instituted.