Masonic Traveler, The Book

Masonic Traveler - the book by Greg Stewart
Masonic Traveler – the book by Greg Stewart

A book  review by Frederic L. Milliken

Masonic Travelerthe book, was something I looked at often on the site I am part of, Freemason Information, and said to myself I have to order that book. Next month I reminded myself, order that book but I didn’t. Next month I reminded myself again but I didn’t. Next month…and so it went until the day I met Greg Stewart in person for the first time and he gave me a copy as a gift. And I am so glad he did because this is a book that fills in a lot of blanks, those parts of Freemasonry that were never questioned and never answered.

Masonic Traveler is a book that will bring many Freemasons into the esoteric part of Freemasonry that a Mason never gets in Lodge. It is a journey, the journey of Gregory Stewart who is a Masonic Traveler.

Brother Tim Bryce, no stranger to either one of us or Freemason Information, wrote the introduction to the book in which he said,

Bro. Greg Stewart is a Renaissance Mason with a ravenous curiosity for all things Masonic.

The content of the book comes from a number of essays, some of which have been reworked, on Stewart’s Masonic Traveler blog from 2005-2008. Stewart is the type of individual that always has questions, always wants to know why, always wants the story behind the story and the philosophical underpinnings behind the answers if there are any. He tells us,

Of all the conclusions I have come to the most prominent to me is that the system of Freemasonry today is not merely one of a weekly social hour or ‘fish fry’ as is so often the accusation, but instead a rich philosophical society with fingers both in the ‘third way’ of faith and in the ‘new age’ idea of a metaphysical spiritual development.

So Stewart takes us on his journey. We are on board with him and as the train leaves the station we are introduced to some simple concepts such as The Beehive and Anno Lucis, then proceeding to the slightly heavier subjects of esoterica, education and the place of religion in Freemasonry, from there on to the really heavy topics of symbolism, King Solomon’s Temple, Hermetic tradition and its intertwining with Freemasonry, and the same for the Kybalion, the First Degree Tracing Board finally to Faith ,Hope and Charity.

On this journey we feel a real need to spread the light of some really good Stewartisms.

Chapter  One titled “What Is A Freemason” starts us off with a simple basic explanation.

“A Freemason,” Stewart writes,

is a man who in searching for life’s ineffable questions, finds his way into the company of fellow seekers. Comprised of men from every nation, races, social and economic level, all hold similar ideals and beliefs. The uniting idea is a faith in the divine founded in the certitude in an afterlife. This ‘belief’ is grounded by certain landmark tenants and virtues which ultimately lead in exploration of those invisible questions, leading ultimately to the betterment of all mankind.

Later on he says, “Freemasonry strives in its membership to bring like minded men together to explore the four cardinal virtues in hopes to glimpse the divine transcendence of God.”

Next we do some basic “Digging” into esoterica before we later are treated to the real heavy stuff.

Stewart explains,

What I have come to see is that at some point early in the 1600s, Freemason and Rosicrucian thought crossed paths and likely merged for a time together to form a large degree of esoteric (occult) and organizational knowledge.

He goes on to say,

These ideas came from the alchemists and proto scientists who brought an air of this Hermetic Magick born anew in the coalesced ideas of the Rosicrucian movement, to manifest in the writing of texts such as the Fama Fraternitas.

Expounding on this theme further in Chapter Five, Stewarts writes, “Some writers such as Anderson, Mackey, and later Hall, have made great strides in linking allegorical meanings and symbolic teachings to a broader history with an ethereal connection to the past.”

From the Ziggurats of Ur to the Egyptian mysteries, the breadth of Hinduism and the creation of the Torah, the school of Pythagoras, the Hermetic traditions, the Evolution of Christianity and later Islam the Kabbalah traditions to the Christian mysticism and unfoldment of the self in the new age and in modern psychology, each of these ideas evolving through time to later merge and meld with a Rosicrucian alchemy whose roots go back to the Roman empire and passed from one seeker to another, one esoteric group to another, to eventually be taken in by the societies sub rosas and emerge in the hands of the Free-stone masons and practiced in Lodge.

Many Masons reject this connection of esotericism and see only an institute that caters to the community aspect, basing the fraternity on their own personal faiths and choosing not to see its associations with other seekers.

But I believe that the true nature of Freemasonry at its core exists in both realms, a balance of fraternity and ceremonial initiation of letter and law whose value is in the creation of its shared experience. From it we can delve into this esoteric past from whence we came and explore the ideas of our generations and shape them in our time for how the future will study them.

When we turn to Masonic education Stewart even is philosophical here:

Perhaps it is that Freemasonry is not really a ‘thing’ as such, but instead the essence, ethereal and intangible. It is not necessarily a cause of an action but a contributor, the unseen impetus of our existence.

Directly I see Masonic light coming from within. We carry the light, learning from its reflection on the things we illuminate with our wisdom.

The illumination we seek is an internal understanding of our relationship to the divine and I would argue that all light leads to the same divinity though known by different names in different lands. Freemasonry is but one path to that end. It not being a faith, it is rather a way to conceive the divine, a way to conceive God.

Moving on to Oaths in chapter seven Stewart writes:

That the idea of God does not just exist in one conception; it instead resides in all of us and in all of our myriad faiths and faith teachings. With that in mind and our own individual beliefs at bay, is any one faith greater than the other? Remember there is a divine spark in man that bears a close resemblance to the supreme intelligence of the universe. In a situation where men meet upon the level and in a faith neutral environment, should one text be held above another? How could we not see the value in all faiths?

Next comes my personal favorite chapter in the book – “Freemasonry, The Religion Of Not Being A Religion,” not only because it is a subject I have written about, researched and taken to heart myself but also because of the outstanding job Stewart does with the subject.

Ready for some more Stewartisms?

Masonry is the universal morality which is suitable to the inhabitants of every clime, to the man of every creed. It has taught no doctrines, except those truths that tend directly to the well- being of man; and those who have attempted to direct it toward useless vengeance, political ends, and Jesuitism, have merely perverted it to purposes foreign to its pure spirit and real nature.

With these quotes in mind is Freemasonry a faith? No, not at all. Is Freemasonry a Religion? Perhaps in its practice, yes, as it carries forward a tradition from the past to be taught to generations in the future, but not a dogmatic belief system with specifics to salvation. Is Freemasonry tolerant of all faiths? Yes. Does that frighten, distance and otherwise disenfranchise all fundamental ideologues? Yes, it does which is why every organized dogmatically proscribed faith denounces Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is the religion of not being a religion, the faith of all faiths. It says that no one faith is right, and no one faith is wrong, which is diametrically opposed to what any fundamentalist body wants to tell you is right.

One of the aspects I have found in Freemasonry is that it is like a religion, but not a faith. The practice is liturgical and the catechism is universally teaching a message, but the message is not on divinity, or on faith. It is, the religion of not being a religion. It is a difficult concept, as there is nothing else to compare it to, as no other system promotes faith without saying in who that faith resides, which is how we come to the idea of the Great Architect. In this embodiment, we can collect all ideas of the divine as the creation of the universe, the Monad, or point of creation.

It is in this lack of a dominating opinion of how the practice should be conducted where we find the most infuriating issue. Because of the open stance of the Fraternity and the willingness that it has as being an ecumenical and non sectarian practice, it puts all faiths on an equal footing, not allowing any one faith to leverage power or authority over another.

Stewart goes on to bemoan the loss of study and meaning in the symbols of Freemasonry.

Our symbols today speak to an era long gone by and have become lost to the uninitiated on their meaning, purpose, and importance which has been drowned by an overload of icons. The studies of these internal symbols are quickly becoming relegated to a modern history that is forgetting its near past, by ignoring its archaic origins, and decrying its ideals. Ironically, they are the very ideas that are in even more need today.

The book then segways right into the deeper philosophical contributions of Hermeticism and the Kybalion.

Today this tradition may seem antiquated and even superfluous, but it is the model of our origin and a shining example of the progress towards the city upon the hill. History may consider the secret societies as below the sight of the mainstream, but it was not the membership that passed itself on through the ages, but rather the ancient communication of the development of the self, the vestige of Thoth and the Thrice great Hermes, as the message brought forward to us today. It is that message of self discovery that is transferred to us, as we become the inheritors of its memory to be re-communicated to the future.

It is to Hermes that all western esoteric teaching is said to have originated, in that through this philosophy, Hermes planted the ‘great seed of truth’ instead of founding a teaching school as many other great philosophers of his age did. It was by mouth to ear communication that this wisdom was passed through the ages. But also it was cautioned that it is not for everyone in that the lips (words or wisdom) are closed, except to those with the ears of understanding. To preserve the wisdom, the ancient teachers warned against allowing the secret doctrine to become crystallized into a creed which would allow it to become dogmatic and inflexible.

Much of this history is fanciful and well imagined, but the Hermetic teachings have been linked to a late period of Egypt, and like most ancient or religious in nature texts their true origin and history is in shadow. It is from this tradition that it is supposed that Freemasonry originated. As a continuation of the Egyptian mystery schools, the method of teaching, and the philosophy taught was promulgated forward. Perhaps of significance is the point of preventing the philosophy from becoming dogmatic or crystallized into a specific creed. But even faced with that question, the philosophy has at various points been studied and adopted as an aspect of their faiths, including Christianity and Judaism. And it is in this connection that we can draw parallels to Gnosticism, which was in a sense a middle way between them.

From there the book goes into the seven applied Hermetic principals from the Kybalion.


By understanding these principles and the Kybalion, we can better attune their operation and function in our daily lives. By doing this, we can embark on a path to Mastery and unfold that inner lotus of knowing. By knowing, we take on the word of creation ‘I am” and become creators and shapers ourselves. It is here that we find the lost word in the lessons of the Kybalion which is the key to our Mastery as a Mason.

On the chapter on King Solomon’s Temple Stewart has this to say:

The presence of King Solomon’s Temple in ancient thought, from the  earliest Old Testament writings to the pinnacle of renaissance occult philosophy has preserved it as an iconographic representation of the path of the divine. Solomon’s temple is not a solitary place in history, used as a simple metaphor in which to base an allegorical play.  Instead, it is a link in early Christian Cabala and Hermetic thought, which is just as vital today, as it was then, to the tradition of Freemasonry, to define and create a construct to relate our movement through its several chambers . Just as it represented the pinnacle of holy practice, so too can it be equated to our own spiritual development by progressive degrees. It is still a metaphor worthy of deeper reflection and thought.

Further chapters deal with St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist and the many symbols and their meaning of a First Degree Tracing Board . What is noteworthy here is Stewart’s excellent treatment of The Point Within A Circle.

Then it is on to Faith, Hope and Charity and we are done.  Stewart does a commendable job of intertwining Charity with love and on Faith he has this to say:

By seeking Sophia, that wisdom and knowledge, those things to which we hold our faith inviolate can only then be understood. Through wisdom, we can coalesce our ideas of divine revelation into tangibles that we can then attribute as a part of our faith.

L- Greg Stewart and R- Frederic L. Milliken
Greg Stewart (left) and Frederic L. Milliken (right) in 2015.

Masonic Traveler is a book that should be a part of every Mason’s library.

Normally I am not enthralled by a collection of essays merged into a book because the message seems to get so splintered. But Stewart does a great job in creating a flow where one topic naturally flows into the next, with one exception. A chapter we didn’t mention “So What” which is a dissertation on the decline of Freemasonry accompanied by statistics that show the trouble that Freemasonry is in, seemed to be just artificially inserted into the middle of some deep philosophical thought in chapters surrounding it. It stuck out like a sore thumb as being out of place and might have fit better as a lead off first chapter.

But withstanding that criticism there is nothing else to say that would put this book in a less than a stellar light. The great thing about it is that in reading Masonic Traveler it will open and expand your mind and you will be taken on an adventure of possibilities and insights that you might not yet have come across. For that reason, among many, I highly recommend this book.

You can find Masonic Traveler on Amazon.

Mediocrity in Masonry…Shame on us!

How long have we been talking about boring business meetings, poor food, lousy fellowship and run down Masonic buildings?

The answer is since Chris Hodapp and friends published Laudable Pursuit, and that was way back in the 90s. But we don’t seem to learn form our mistakes nor do we seem capable of doing what the ancient mystery schools were most adept at doing, namely providing knowledge that lead to wisdom leading to actually making  a better man. We don’t teach Masonic philosophy anymore and for that reason many Masons don’t know that we are a very special and unique society.

Writing today expressing the same theme is renowned author, speaker and Masonic leader – Robert G. Davis, 33° – Grand Cross

Mediocrity in Masonry . . . Shame on us!

By Robert G. Davis, 33° – Grand Cross

Robert Davis, 33 - Grand Cross

Robert Davis, 33 – Grand Cross

One of the questions that occasionally eats at me when I am driving home from a Masonic event, degree, or function that has been woefully mediocre is how our members can sit through such Masonic happenings month after month and still believe our fraternity is relevant and meaningful to men’s lives? How honest are we in claiming we make good men better while persistently repeating practices and behaviors which are so distinctively average, or worse? Self improvement involves some form of positive change. It requires some level of progress; entails some elevated sense of being. Explain to me how a lodge facilitates self improvement by offering its members a venue that doesn’t “feel” any different when they are inside the lodge than outside of it.

Perhaps many of us come into Masonry looking for nothing more than fraternal association. But, if that’s the case, it ought to be the best fraternal association we have ever had!

Dead Lodge

Cheap Duse and Cheap Meals equal a Dead Lodge

Once we encounter the preparation room, or make our progress through the degrees, it is hard to dismiss the awareness that we are engaged in something wholly different from our other community experiences. We quickly learn that Masonry has a higher calling which requires that we make an ascent into the very center of our being.

An endeavor of such high importance and due solemnity is not a run of the mill undertaking. It becomes clear there is nothing mediocre about Masonry. So why do we make it that way?

Here’s the problem. Accepting mediocrity in our lodge practices is the same as living a mediocre life. By making un-extraordinary acts and behaviors our ordinary practice, we entrap ourselves from knowing how precious life really is. We don’t use opportunities that come our way as a means of expressing how special we really are. Instead, we walk the walk with the rest of the herd and soon find ourselves in such a deep rut of limitations we lose sight of our own value. We become trapped in mediocrity.

Regrettably, this too often seems the condition in which lodges, Scottish Rite Valleys, York Rite Chapters, Councils and Commanderies find themselves. When nothing extraordinary, educational, insightful, compelling, intellectual, contemplative, spiritual, or fraternal occurs in our private, sacred, fraternal spaces, then we become only another ordinary, average, run of the mill, dime-a-dozen organization. It is hard to see how this kind of Masonry takes good men and makes them better.


It is not the kind of Masonry we should want to share with our friends.

I believe that if we truly want to move “from the square to the compasses,” we have to dare to be different. And we can’t dare to be different by following someone else’s expectations. When a lodge does the same thing year after year, it is accepting by default someone else’s expectations. There is nothing creative, inspiring, or different about parroting ritual, paying bills, and going home. That’s doing only what many others have done before us.

To distinguish ourselves among men and organizations, we first have to perceive in our own minds that we have something to do which will ultimately set us above the average. We start by thinking about the choices before us.

bio-davisDo we choose what is safe rather than what is right? Do we only do things right, or do we do the right things? Do we set out on a new path, or take the same old, comfortable way? Do we bring credit to our teachings, or debit them as ideals of the past? Do we become the examples that young men want to emulate, or do we seem to them as just another group of ho hum guys?

You see, the choice always controls the chooser. To be exemplary men, or an exemplary organization, we have to be exceptional in our awareness of who we are, what we are here to be doing, what we know, and how we practice what we know. We have to have the courage to be different from the rest of the crowd—nobler in our expectations and more refined in our state of mind.

Because that’s just the way Masonry is.

He who wants milk should not sit himself in the middle of a pasture and wait for a cow to back up to him.

Want more? Listen to his appearance on Masonic Central in 2008.

Dating the Foundation of English Masonry

Here is the second in a series from writer/researcher Hank Kraychir from his website Gnosis Masonry.


I think some may have missed the most important point in the first article , namely that today’s Freemasonry did not grow out of ancient stone guild operative Lodges that gradually became speculative but rather from aristocratic speculative Lodges that were brought to Britain by the Romans and existed long before the Stone Mason Guilds.

Kraychir makes that point here in article number two.

Dating the Foundation of English Masonry to 557 AD

 Posted by Hank Kraychir

I recently stumbled upon a book called, Illustrations of Masonry (originally published in 1772– p. 8), which was written by William Preston, with copious notes and additions added by George Oliver. I used the 1867 version of the book for this research; although, the information contained within is the basically same.

In essence, Preston and Oliver gave a detailed background of Masonry in England, from Druid and Roman influences to its transformation into a popular fraternity without direct political influence. You see, for much of British history, Masonry fell under the direct influence of a King (or Queen), which will be explained further down in this blog.

On page 105 Preston wrote about the departure of the Romans. and confirmed Masonry’s presence during the period, “After the departure of the Romans from Britain, Masonry made but a slow progress, and was almost totally neglected, on account of the irruptions of the Picts and Scots, which obliged the southern inhabitants of the island to solicit the assistance of the Saxons, on order to repel these invaders.”

In short, Preston wrote the Roman Empire was forced out by the Picts, Scots and Saxons about 407 AD. Thus a war took place, which hurt, but did not destroy, Masonry in England. You see, Masonry was in Britain while Rome ruled it, which would lead me to believe they brought it with them. We also know that Masonry (Mithraism, Collegia) was very popular within the ranks of the Roman Military. And the Druids were early Masons as well; although they battled Rome for years and were eventually defeated by them before their departure in 407. Thus, it makes more sense that Roman Masonry was the primary form in England during the 4th and 5th centuries AD.

Preston continued, “Masonry got into repute, and Lodges were again formed” (p. 105). Therefore, there were Lodges before and after the 407 AD departure of the Romans. He continued, “but these, being under the direction of foreigners, were seldom convened, and never attained to any degree of consideration or importance” (p. 105). So again, Masonic Lodges existed, but they were under the rule of foreigners, perhaps the Saxons from Germany, so most native Britain’s did not want to participate.

Now this is where the story gets most interesting, Preston wrote in the following paragraph, “Masonry continued in a declining state till the year 557, when Austin, with forty more monks, among whom the sciences had been preserved, came into England… Masonry flourished under the patronage of Austin…” who was the “first Archbishop of Canterbury” (p. 105). Thus, St. Austin, a religious leader, became the patriarch or father of English Masonry. You see, although Masonry existed in England before 557, it was not fully accepted until Archbishop Austin took over its control. This, according to Preston, was the start of a long line of either religious or Royal control of the Craft in England; it would not be until the 18th century before Masonry in England became independent. This statement is also confirmation that religion played an important part of the formation and establishment of English Masonry; and dismisses the idea that early English Masons were simply a bunch of stone workers. This important point was made by Preston on page 7, “Masonry passes under two denominations,-operative and speculative,” which confirmed Masonry during the period was both operative and speculative in nature. Unlike today, which is speculative only.

On page 106, we also read about Bennet, Abbot of Wirral in 680 AD, who would eventually become inspector of Lodges and superintendent of all Masons in England; an appointed position by the King.  Masonry again stayed in a low state until about 924 AD when King Edward died, and Athelstane, his son, became King. Athelstane “appointed his brother Edwin patron of the Masons” in England (p. 107).

This resulted in the “first Grand Lodge of England” being established in 926 (p. 107); an issue I have discussed previously. These facts still support the previous statement that Masonry remained under the control of the King, this time through his brother Edwin. And yet still Royal control of the Craft remained through the 17th century, which led to its limited participation by the British population and the common man. But everything changed by the 18th century (1717).

I know there will be critics who will attack the authors as stating unsubstantiated facts; I would expect nothing less from deniers of ancient Masonic history. Nevertheless, authors William Preston and George Oliver’s credentials are of the highest Masonic order, and their written works reflect this important fact. Also, Preston was a member of the Grand Lodge of England during the period of publication, which helped his research greatly. I would also remind Masonry that much of what we teach in our Lodges cannot be substantiated, and has been passed down through Masonic traditions; like the building of King Solomon’s Temple and even the Holy Bible that sits in the middle of our Lodge rooms – where are the references for these one might ask as well (*Smile*)!  You see, it is far easier to be a denier of Masonic history than it is to prove it; that is why we have so many Masonic deniers of our own history.  These deniers throw their denials around with no other proof than claiming something is false – I must ask, where is their proof when they make their claims of denial? Get my point.     

In conclusion, it becomes even clearer that English Masonry can be dated to 557 AD, and even before under Roman control through Mithraism or Collegia  It also looked like English Masonry was controlled by political authorities for much of its history, which hindered its growth and acceptance; but once it become an independent body (after 1717), it truly thrived and followed the British Empire around the globe, as its power and influence also grew. I know this conclusion is a simplistic interpretation of the book, but I don’t see any other way to get my points across in such short order. If you don’t believe me, read the book, Illustrations of Masonry, yourself, which will prove my points conclusively.

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

Dissecting The 1723 Constitutions Of Freemasons; Dispelling Revisionist Myths


I have come across one of the most thought provoking articles in a long time. It’s not the same old hash but from a fellow Masonic writer Hank Kraychir who is a top rate Masonic researcher. His website, GnosisMasonry, has many wonderful and thoughtful articles on it. But this one strikes a cord that is so important to us all – OUR HISTORY.


So with permission from Brother Kraychir here is his wonderful article:

Dissecting The 1723 Constitutions Of Free-Masons; Dispelling Revisionist Myths.

A note from the author:

Please take your time reading and understanding this important article. I do not make my claims lightly, and I hope this article will lead others into researching this important topic further. I personally believe a hoax has occurred upon Freemasonry by revisionist pundits. I think it might have started out innocently enough, but it has gone on so long now that the 1717-1723 narrative claim has become fact within the minds of many within Freemasonry. In short, the document they claim proves the 1717 narrative does not support their positions. This article tells a different story than the one most Masons unjustifiably believe. To date, I believe this is the most important discovery I have made in my personal journey and research about Masonic history. I hope you enjoy reading this article, as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it ~/G|~

I have heard it time and time again that Freemasonry began with the formation of the first Grand Lodge of England in 1717; and the adoption of its Constitution in 1723. This is an all too easy statement to make, but it’s not a supportable narrative when honestly investigated. When Freemasonry actually began will perhaps always be debated, but let’s not create false narratives in order to satisfy immediately wanted answers; like the 1717-1723 narrative.

Pundits of the 1717-1723 narrative often refer to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons as the document that proves their theory. And to be honest, since I was not familiar with the document, and had to rely on other writings and opinions, I had no response to the claim. That was until I was given an opportunity to buy a copy from Brother Michael Doxsee, who also sells other out-of-print Masonic books for those who might be interested in such things.

I took several weeks to read the book, and wrote notes along the way. The most obvious clue was found on the cover, which had two dates, “In the Year of Masonry-5723″ and “Anno Domini-1723,” (Anno Domini stands for A.D.). You see, as I will prove with words from the document, the authors of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons held the position that they were upholding the ancient traditions passed down to them through Masonic history, its documents and traditions. The dates listed above prove they believed they held a lineage of some four thousand years. Now, I am not here to debate the validity of such a claim; rather, I hold the position that they only intended to continue with the traditions of the craft from the time period.


Also, notice how I used the word “they” above; rather than the commonly understood author’s name of James Anderson. I did this for a reason. Yes, on page 74, the name of James Anderson was written, with a note underneath that appears to read (my copy is a little blurry), “The author of this Book.” Nevertheless, after reading the publication, it became evident that Anderson was essentially the compiler of the work, not its sole author, as so many pundits have proclaimed. This belief is confirmed by David Stevenson, who wrote, “There was a good deal in it that was new in detail, but Anderson’s work of compilation did not involve any major innovation or attempt to take Freemasonry in fresh directions” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 121).

To further make my point, please consider the header page, which reads, “Printed by William Hunter, for John Senex at the Globe, and John Hooke at the Flower-deluce over against St. Dunstan’s Church, in fifth street.” So I beg the question, if John Hunter was the printer, who were John Senex and John Hooke in relationship to this book; and why do their names appear on the cover page and not James Anderson, who was mentioned way back on page 74, along with 60 other named individuals? These 61 names, including Anderson, are from the section entitled “Approbation.” The names listed, I assume, are in order of Masonic importance, only because they are not in alphabetical order, as one might presume. The word Approbation can be defined as, “an act of approving formally or officially.” Therefore, this was the final approval committee, which included Anderson.

Most interestingly, Anderson’s name was listed near the end of the page with the Roman Numeral XVII (17th out of 20 subsections that were listed) next to it. This ranking could lead to several speculations, of which that Anderson was simply a compiler, and performed some writings tasks, but was beholding to the views of other Masons; unlike his 1738 second edition, where he was much more involved, which would account for the major differences between the two Constitutions. This belief is confirmed by andThe Builder (1923):

“His own account of the work, as given in 1738, is that he was ordered to digest the Old Gothic Constitutions in a new and better method by Montagu on 29th September, 1721, that on 27th December, Montagu appointed fourteen learned brothers to examine the MS., and that after they had approved it was ordered to be printed…”

Therefore, we can presume that at least 60 other Masons approved this document and had a hand in its formation. And more specifically, the committee of fourteen had an even greater hand in its development, “…they are part of the committee of fourteen’s revision of the text…” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 117-118).

Interestingly, unlike today, where some reviewers of the document argue it is nothing but unsubstantiated historical errors, the biggest claim after its publication was that it did not go far enough; that the history section had been watered down from the origins of true Masonic history, “A masonic reviewer took exception to parts of the History… tended to rebuke him for not making even larger historical claims for Masonry” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 120-121).

After the header, a dedication section followed, which dedicated the book to the Right Worshipful Grand-Master, the Duke of Montagu, who served the previous year. The importance of the section, written by Deputy Grand-Master J.T. Desaguliers (not Anderson), was that great pains had been taken to make sure the document aligned with old Records, History and Chronology:

“I need not tell your GRACE what Pains our learned AUTHOR has taken in compiling and digesting this Book from the old Records, and how accurately he has compar’d and made every thing agreeable to History and Chronology so as to render these New CONSTITUTIONS a just and exact Account of Masonry from the Beginning of the World to your Grace’s MASTERSHIP still preserving all that was truly ancient and authentic in the old ones.”

Following the Dedication sectional, “The Constitution” section was displayed, which essentially started the History of Freemasonry; portions of which were presumably compiled and written by Anderson, and edited and approved by the committee of fourteen. On the very first page, it was written, “Collected from their general RECORDS, and their faithful TRADITIONS of many ages” (p. 1). Notice the two words RECORDS and TRADITIONS were capitalized; so what exactly were these early 18th century Masons trying to tell the brethren? Simply stated, that they painstakingly gathered the old Records and combined them with their ancient traditions when they formed the historical section of the Constitutions. Again, I must stress, as I will stress throughout the writing of this article, they did not believe they were forming anything new; rather, they believed they were upholding ancient traditions.

Furthermore, how important was this history to these early Masons? Well, lets take a look at what they had to say on the matter, “At the admission of a NEW BROTHER, when the Master or Warden shall begin, or order some other Brother to read as follows…” (p. 1). Therefore, every new Mason was read this particular history. Again, I know some Masons have written negatively about this historical section; however, I must remind every Mason reading this post, our Masonic history should not always be taken literally, which sadly some pundits of the 1723 Constitutions had sorely forgotten or neglected on purpose? Case in point, if a Mason still thinks the story of Hiram Abiff is an accurate tale than he or she has never been instructed in the use of Masonic allegory; or as Albert Pike wrote about Hiram Abiff:

“Whatever Hiram really was, he is the type, perhaps an imaginary type, to us, of humanity in its highest phase; an exemplar of what man may and should become, in the course of ages, in his progress toward the realization of his destiny; an individual gifted with a glorious intellect, a noble soul, a fine organization, and a perfectly balanced moral being; an earnest of what humanity may be, and what we believe it will hereafter be in God’s good time; the possibility of the race made real” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 225).

As such, much of Masonic history is allegorical lessons based on historical events and people, which means these lessons have a deeper meaning, as Pike confirmed when he wrote about the ancient belief of using allegory to teach the mysteries:

“Nothing excites men’s curiosity so much as Mystery, concealing things which they desire to know: and nothing so much increases curiosity as obstacles that interpose to prevent them from indulging in the gratification of their desires… In this spirit of mystery they professed to imitate the Deity, who hides Himself from our senses, and conceals from us the springs by which He moves the Universe. They admitted that they concealed the highest truths under the veil of allegory, the more to excite the curiosity of men, and to urge them to investigation. The secrecy in which they buried their Mysteries, had that end. Those to whom they were confided, bound themselves, by the most fearful oaths, never to reveal them. They were not allowed even to speak of these important secrets with any others than the initiated; and the penalty of death was pronounced against any one indiscreet enough to reveal them, or found in the Temple without being an Initiate; and any one who had betrayed those secrets, was avoided by all, as excommunicated” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 384).

So when it was written, “No doubt Adam taught his Sons Geometry, and the use of it, in the several Arts and Crafts convenient, at least, for those early Times…” (p. 2), what did this mean? The story of Adam and Eve is nothing but a metaphor for men and women in the beginning of creation by God. Yet, some have gone out of their way to claim Anderson and the committee of fourteen did not know what they were writing about when they began the history of Masonry with Adam. REALLY? David Stevenson surmised the issue of starting the document with Adam, when he wrote:

“Thus, whatever faults later generations have found, the book satisfied those who had commissioned it. Over half of it, the History, describes the Craft’s ancient and exalted past. Taken as history as judged by modern scholarly standards, Anderson’s account is clearly absurd, but in some respects the abuse heaped on it, and therefore on Anderson himself, is unjustified. There is little point in raging against him for starting withAdam and then wending his way through the Old Testament, for in his time that was the conventional mainstream of the past, not a bizarre aberration. Moreover beginning the story of Masonry with Adam was to be expected. Everything started with the Creation, so a history naturally started there. To do otherwise would have been unsatisfactory, a starting in the middle of a subject. Masonry should be traced back to Adam, just as dynastic history traced royal families and national histories their origins to Adam” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 110-111).

I will not go into the details from this particular section, but I will state that Anderson and the committee of fourteen gave a basic understanding of Masonry from a biblical perspective, which included Adam, Noah, Moses, etc; and added to it by mentioning Mitzraim and the Magi (p. 5). There was also an emphasis on King Solomon and the building of his Temple,  which would be expected.

Nevertheless, what I found most interesting was discovered on pages 11 and 12; which was the fact that the name Hiram was written, “But above all, he sent his namesake Hiram, or Huram, the most accomplish’d Mason on Earth*.” I mentioned this particular point, only because some have stated that the Legend of Hiram Abiif did not start until after 1717, or after the 1723 Constitution was written; again, to which I had no answer until reading the document itself. Well, one only had to follow the footnotes at the bottom of the pages to see that Anderson and the committee of fourteen were writing about both Hiram, the King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff, which, by the way, tells an entirely different account than the one I was taught in Blue Lodge Masonry:

“*We read (2 Chron. ii. 13.) Hiram, King of Tyre, (called there Huram) in his letter to King SOLOMON, Says, I have sent a cunning Man, le Huram Abhi, not to be translated according to the vulgar Greek and Latin, Huram my Father, as if this Architect was King HIRAM”S father; for his discrition, ver. 14. refutes it, and the Original plainly imports, Huram of my Father’s, viz. the Chief Master-Mason of my father, King ABIBALUS; (who enlarg’d and beautify’d the City of Tyre, as ancient Histories inform us, whereby the Tyrians at this time were most expert in Masonry) tho’ some think HIRAM the king might call Hiram the Architect Father, as learned and skillful Men were wont to be call’d of the old Times, or as Joseph was call’d the Father of PHARAOH; and as the same Hiram is called Solomon’s FATHER, (2 Chron. iv. 16.) where tis said

Shelomoh lammelech Abhif Churam ghnafah,

Did Huram, his Father, make a King Solomon.

But the Difficulty is over at once, by allowing the Word Abif to be the Surname of Hiram the Mason, called also (Chap. ii. 13.) Hiram Abi, as here Hiram Abif; for being so amply describ’d, (Chap. ii. 14.) we may easily support his Surname would not be conceal’d: And this Reading makes the sense plain and compleat, viz. that HIRAM, King of Tyre, sent to King Solomon his Namesake HIRAM ABIF, the Prince of Architects,describ’d (1 Kings vii. 14.) to be a Widow’s Son of the Tribe of Naphtbali;and in (Chron: ii. 14.) the said King of Tyre calls him the Son of a Woman of the Daughters of Dan; and in both places, that his Father was a man ofTyre: which Difficulty is remov’d by supporting his Mother was either of the Tribe of Dan, or of the Daughters of the City called Dan in the Tribe ofNaphthali, and his deceased Father had been Naphthalite, whence his mother was call’d a Widow of Naphthali; for his father is not call’d aTyrian by Descent, but a Man of Tyre by Habitation; or Obed Edom the Levite is call’d a Gittite by living among the Gittites, and the Apostle Paula Man of Tarsus. But supporting a Mistake in Transcribers, and that his Father was really a Tyrian by Blood, and his Mother only of the Tribe either of Dan or of Naphthali, that can be no Bar against allowing of his vast Capacity; for as his father was a Worker in Brass, so be himself wasfill’d with Wisdom and Understanding, and Cunning to work all works of Brass: And as King SOLOMON sent for him, so King HIRAM, in his letter to Solomon, says, And now I have sent a cunning Man endued with Understanding, skillful to work in Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, Stone, Timber, Purple, Blue, fine Linnen and Crimson; also to grave any manner of Graving, and to find out every Device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning Men, and with the cunning Men of my Lord David thy Father. This divinely inspired Workmen maintain’d this Character in erecting the Temple, and working the Utensils thereof, far beyond the Performances of Aholiab and Bezaleel, being Also universally capable of all sorts of Masonry.”

So what can be learned by reading the above footnote? Well first off, there were a few spelling mistakes, which Masonic historians continually gripe about. My response is, “get over it!” As I have stated before in other writings on this blog, history is replete with examples of spelling errors, many of which had nothing to do with the author, but rather the printer of the publication. Printing a document was far more difficult to perform some 300 years ago than it is today; and any comparisons between the two are simply disingenuous, and not worthy of a Mason seeking a high moral character. Furthermore, many Masons have incorrectly claimed that the legend of Hiram Abiff did not occur prior to the modern era; however, after reading the above footnote, which covered almost two pages within the 1723 Constitutions, it is obvious Anderson and the committee of fourteen felt differently. Sadly, no degree ritual was included in the Constitutions, which would aid us greatly today in understanding this important legend. Nevertheless, it is obvious the writers of this document understood its importance and included, at length, the history of the legend and its importance to Masonry during this period. Also, their version of Hiram Abiff had several twists and turns of which I was not familiar with, some of which left me puzzled. Like, what was the actual relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff; especially when they used of the words “namesake” and “Prince,” which would lead me to believe Hiram Abiff was of Royal Blood and a member of King Hiram’s family? I will not delve into this query any further, other than to say, the above footnote left more questions than answers.

It should also be mentioned that the historical section included countless references, which I considered unusual for the time period. I have read many Masonic documents and books that had been written over the last two to three hundred years; most of which included either no referencing material, or very few at all. This point should be greatly considered when discussing the validity of the document and the true intent of its authors. Here is a general list of references, with some notes included, particularly its length:

Page 1: One side date reference.

Page 2: One bottom reference, three lines long; referencing metal working of Tubal Cain, music of Jubal, etc.

Page 3: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, eight lines long. It made references to the Vestiges of Antiquity, Enoch, Vespasian the Emperor, etc.

Page 4: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, six lines long. It referenced Nimrod, Moses, Bacchus, etc.

Page 5: One side date reference.

Page 6: One bottom reference, seven lines long. References to the Quarries of Arabia, and the building of ancient Egyptian monuments to honor the Empire.

Page 7: Two side date references.

Page 8: One side date reference.

Page 9: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, six lines long. It referenced Sampson, the Philistines, Secrets to his wife, honour (honor) among Masons, etc.

Page 10: One bottom reference, fourteen lines long, or about a third of the page. Referenced King Solomon, number of workers building the Temple, Hiram, etc.

Page 11: One bottom reference, twenty-six lines long, or 80% of the page. referenced the relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff.

Page 12: One bottom reference, twenty-one lines long, or about 60% of the page. This reference was a continuation of the relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff.

Page 13: One side date reference.

Page 15: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or about 50% of the page. Referenced the Temple of Diana, Dresiphon and Archiphrom, and other Temples in Greece, etc.

Page 16: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced the architecture of Grand Monarch Nebuchadnezzar, his gardens, palaces, etc.

Page 17: One bottom reference, twenty-three lines long, or 70% of the page. This is a continuation of page 16 reference, with additions on the tower of Babel, etc.

Page 18: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, twenty-two lines long, or 75% of the page. This is yet another continuation of pages 16 and 17, with additions of Solomon’s Temple, Great Babylon, Grand Cyrus in Persia, etc.

Page 19: One side date reference.

Page 20: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seven lines long. Referenced the Grecians and their barbarism.

Page 21: Three side date references; and one bottom reference, ten lines long. Referenced Pythagoras traveling into Egypt, the Magi, Cambyles~King of Persia, etc.

Page 22: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, nine lines long. Referenced Anaxagoras, Oenopides, Beiso and many others.

Page 23: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, fourteen lines long, or 45% of the page. Referenced Alexandria, Julius Caesar, Siege of Troy, etc.

Page 24: Two side date references: and one bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced Eratosthenes, Conon, Apollonius, etc.

Page 26: One bottom reference, eighteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Phidias, Nemefis, Minerva at Athens, etc.

Page 27: One bottom reference, eight lines long. Referenced Menelaus, Claudius, Ptolomeus, etc.

Page 28: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, eleven lines long, or 40% of the page. Referenced Roman Colonies, Citadels, Bridges, Art, etc.

Page 29: One bottom reference, fifteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Saxon and Scottish Kings, and Grand Masters of earlier Lodges, Laws, Charges, Regulations, etc.

Page 30: Three side date references. Also, it was claimed that King Athelstan was “…prevail’d…  to improve the CONSTITUTION of the English Lodges.”

Page 31: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, six lines long. Referenced William the Conqueror, Roger de Montgomery, Nobility and Clergy, etc.

Page 32: One side date reference.

Page 34: One bottom reference, twenty-two lines long, or 70% of the page. Referenced ancient manuscripts, Lodges and Masonry, etc.

Page 35: One bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced “Tertio Henrici Sexti, Cap. 1. An. Dom. 1425.”

Page 36: One bottom reference, sixteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced the battle between the clergy and the ancient brethren of Masonry.

Page 38: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, ten lines long. Referenced Queen Elizabeth and her jealousies with Masonry.

Page 40: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Henricus Comes Danby, 1632.

Page 41: One bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced an ancient Royal Palace, Judges, etc.

Page 42: One bottom reference, thirty-four lines long, or 85% of the page. Referenced King Charles the II. Mr. Grinlin Gibbons, etc.

Page 43: One bottom reference, nineteen lines long, or 60% of the page. Referenced Archbishop Sheldon, Sir Christopher Wren, King Henry VII, etc.

Page 44: One bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced the Bishop of Salisbury, three knocks, etc.

Page 45: One bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 60% of the page. This reference is a continuation of the earlier page.

Page 46: One bottom reference, twenty-even lines long, or 70% of the page. Referenced Roman influence on Great Britain, Inigo Jones, Sir Charles Hotham, etc.

Page 47: One bottom reference, twenty-one lines long, or 45% of the page. This reference is a continuation from the previous page.

Page 48: One bottom reference, twenty-three lines long or 70% of the page. This reference is a continuation from the two previous pages.

So what can be learned from this basic reference overview of the historical section? Well, first off, it’s obvious the authors took much more care in presenting their case than pundits of the book led me to believe. Again, I am not here to prove or disprove the accuracy of the historical claim; nevertheless, I now believe that Anderson and the committee of fourteen, as well as the 60 other signers of the document, attempted to back up their claim, and used hundreds of references to prove it, which I believe was unusual for the period. In many cases, the authors used more than half a page to back up their claim; how these obvious references were missed by earlier writers is beyond me. In fact, almost every page included some type of reference.

I highlighted several references above that stood out. Like on pages 29 and 30, which mentioned the fact that there were earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations. Simply stated, how can pundits make the claim that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons proved that the first Grand Lodge was formed in 1717, when the document itself claimed there were other Grand Lodges; and how can these pundits also claim that this document formed the first Constitution when the document claimed there were other Constitutions, and that they simply compiled from other ancient Constitutions, Documents, Laws, Charges and Regulations. In your author’s mind, any claims made about the date 1717 and the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons being the “first” is nothing but revisionism; it is an out and outright lie by revisionists with an agenda to disprove Masonic lineage!

The references listed also help support Anderson and the committee of fourteen’s assertion that Masonry started with the first records of recorded history; and evolved and immersed itself into and through many great cultures from the past. Most notably the Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks and in particularly the Romans, who left their mark on British culture before their departure from the island. This history has been well documented by other authors, including Joseph Newton, the author of The Builders (1914), which is a topic I wrote about previously on this blog.

Of particular interest, here are a few quotes, with my comments following, which further make my point:

Page 29: “No doubt several Saxon and Scottish Kings, with many of the Nobility, great Gentry, and Eminant Clergy, become Grand Masters of those early Lodges… which would also prompt them to enquire after the Laws, Charges, Regulations, Customs, and Usages, of the ancient Lodges… “

Comment: Here is a quote from the referenced section that mentioned other Grand Masters and previous Laws, Charges, Regulations, etc.

Page 30: “particularly by Charles Martell King of France, who according to the Old Records of Masons sent over several expert Crafts-men and learned Architects into England…”

Comment: Here is a quote that mentioned Charles Martell from the 8th century. This is a topic that I have discussed previously on this blog. I find it most interesting that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons would make a note of this important historical figure.

Page 31: “for we read King EDWARD III. had an officer call’d the King’s Free-Masons…”

Comment: I have heard it time and time again that the term Freemason or Freemasonry began with the 1717 date and the writing of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; yet, the above quote proved the term was used much earlier. This again is proof of revisionism. The term itself may in fact have to do with a Mason being free to travel; and has nothing to do with the speculative overtones many pundits have proclaimed. Therefore, when someone tells you that there is a destination between the terms Masonry and Freemasonry based on the 1717-1723 dates, they are simply continuing and espousing a revisionist tale propagated to divide the Craft under a cover of lies.

Page 32: “yet King ATHELSTAN, (the Grandson of King ALFREDE the Great, a mighty Architect) the first anointed King of England… encourag’d many Masons from France… brought with them the Charges and Regulations of the Lodges preserved since the Roman times, who also prevail’d with the King to improve the CONSTITUTION of the English Lodges according to the Foreign model…”

Comment: And yet again, King Athelstan is a topic I have written about previously on this blog; however, also notice how the authors of the document mentioned that some Charges and Regulations came from France, and that other ones came from the time of the Roman empire. My question is, how would they know these were the same Charges and Regulations that came from Rome? They wouldn’t unless they had something to compare them with, like the ones in England. Also, notice the word CONSTITUTION was used with all capital letters! Do you think they were trying to say something? Like perhaps there was a previous Constitution. Yes!!! You see, according to Anderson and the committee of fourteen, the King only wanted to improve the Constitution, not create a new one.

Page 33: “and having brought with them all the writings and Records extant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and other languages, from the contents thereof that assembly did frame the CONSTITUTION and Charges of an English Lodge…”

Comment: Anderson and the committee of fourteen were writing about the period revolving around King Athelstan, who, according to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, used records that were compiled from other languages, notably Greek, Latin and French, to form a better or new Constitution. You want proof of Masonic lineage, here it is. A new Constitution was formed in Britain during the reign of King Athelstan using documents from Greece, Rome (Latin) and France. That would mean earlier Constitutions, Charges, Regulations and Customs were easily traced back to Greece; and since Greek was the primary scholarly language prior to the rise of Rome (Latin), this maybe further anecdotal proof that Masonic lineage goes back to Egypt or before? Although it was not mentioned by the authors, they were probably referencing the Ancient Collegia system.”

Page 38: “King James VI of Scotland… being a Mason King, reviv’d the English Lodges…”

Comment: First off, how could or would a King be a common Mason? You see, he would never be a member of a Masons guild; however, in a system of Operative and Speculative Masonry, a King could easily be a Mason King, but not the other way around. Therefore, any claim that modern Masonry simply copied the ancient traditions of workman guilds, is another false claim made by revisionists. Throughout the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, Anderson and the committee of fourteen made no distinction about Masonry being nothing but an ancient science of both Operative and Speculative Masonry; just like our traditions teach us today.

This exercise could go on and on and on, but for the sake of time and space, I will simply conclude the historical section; and now proceed to the next section, “The Charges of a Free-Mason, Extracted from the Ancient Record of Lodges…,” which also holds several clues into the thinking of these early 18th century Freemasons.

Page 49: “The ancient Records of Lodges beyond Sea, and of those in England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the Use of the Lodges in London: TO BE READ At the Making of NEW BRETHREN, or when the MASTER shall order it.”

Comment: This quote is supported by an earlier quote on page 33, which dealt with the old Records from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece; and the Records from England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the Records beyond the sea. Also, notice how it was a requirement to read these Charges to new brethren, just like in the historical section.

Page 50: “1. Concerning God and Religion… But thought 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…”

Comment: A big distinction can be made at this point. The authors readily admit that the old Charges required a Mason to be a member of the faith of the particular country he resided in; however, they declared that it was now thought more expedient to simply remain silent about religion when residing in a country. This maybe one of the more progressive changes made in the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; one in which they readily admitted to changing.

Page 50: “II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE Supreme and Subordinate… A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers… for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and  Princes have been much disposed to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity…”

Comment: We see the authors mentioned the “ancient Kings and Princes” in reference to civil authority; and that Masonry had always been injured because of war, despite being loyal to civil authority. My thoughts immediately hypothesized this to mean the enemies of the state, who thought that Masons were loyal only to the state, would consider them to be their enemies as well. This uneasy relationship between warring parties maybe the link to the rise and fall of Masonry throughout the history of man.  Nevertheless, the most important point made is that the authors did not simply make this rule up; rather, they gathered it from the ancient records.

Page 51-52: “IV. Of MASTERS, WARDENS, Fellows, and Apprentices… These Rules and Governors, supreme and subordinate, of the ancient Lodge, are to be obey’d in their respective Stations by all the Brethren, according to the old Charges and Regulations…”

Comment: Again, we see the authors referring to the “ancient Lodge” and “old Charges and Regulations.” I have to say it again, Masons during this period were only adhering to the traditions from the old Charges ~ for the most part, they did not create new Charges, unless otherwise specified.

Page 57: “POSTSCRIPT. A worthy brother, learned in the law, has communicated to the Author (while this sheet was printing) the opinion of the great Judge Coke upon the act against Masons, 3 Hen. VI. Chap. 1. which is printed in this Book, page, 35, and which quotation the Author has compared with the original, Yiz:


The cause wherefore this offence was made felony, is for that the good course and effect of the statutes of laborers were thereby violated and broken. Now, (says my Lord Coke) all the statutes concerning laborers, before this act, and whereunto this act doth refer, are repealed by the statute of 5. Eliz. Cap. 4. whereby the cause and end of the making of this act, is taken away; and consequently this act is become of no force or effect: for cessante ratione Legis, cessat i’psa Lex: And the indictment of felony upon this statute must contain, that those Chapters and Congregations were to the violating and breaking of the good course and effect of the statutes of laborers; which now cannot be so alleged, because the statutes be repealed. Therefore, this would be put out of the charge of justices of peace, written by Master Lambert, p. 227.

This quotation confirms the tradition of old Masons, that this most learned Judge really belonged to the ancient Lodge, and was a faithful brother.”

Comment: The above post-scripted quote referred to the Sir Edward Coke ~ [Cook] ( 1 February 1552 – 3 September 1634) who they believed was a Free-Mason; and who also adhered to the traditions of old Masons and the ancient Lodge.

The General Regulations Constitution:

Page 58: “GENERAL REGULATIONS… And now, by the Command of our said Right Worshipful GRAND-MASTER MONTAGU, the Author of this book has compar’d them with, and reduc’d them to the ancient Records and immemorial Usages of the Fraternity, and digested them into this new method, with several proper Explications, for the Use of the Lodges in and about London and Westminster.”

Comment: Here we see Anderson and the committee of fourteen commenting on the General Regulations, not their History or their Charges, just the General regulations, which was a separate Constitution. This too dealt with the old Records, but they did take certain liberties with regard to a “new method” regarding General Regulations. I do hope the reader of this article can see the difference between each of these sections or Constitutions. No where in the history section or Constitution was this claim made.


Page 72: “Upon this the Deputy shall rehearse the Charges of a Master, and the GRAND-MASTER shall ask the candidate, saying, Do you submit to the Charges, as Masters have done in all ages?”

Comment: Take note of the highlighted section above, which referred to Masters in all ages; again I write, Masons during this period were only following the traditions from earlier periods.


Page 73: “APPROBATION… And WHEREAS the old Constitutions in England have been much interpolated, mangled and miserably corrupted, not only with false Spelling, but even with many false Facts and gross Errors in History and Chronology, through Length of Time, and Ignorance of Transcribers, in the dark illiterate Ages…”

Comment: Here we see the reason for the compilation of the new Constitutions, which was because the old Constitutions had become corrupted. I have heard the term new Constitutions used several times in the book; therefore, they referred to their work as a new Constitution not the “first” Constitutions, as many pundits of Masonic history have misapplied.

History of Masonry Songs:


Comment: For the sake of time and space, I combined the last music section into one segment. Needless to say, I could easily go on and on to make my point; but let me just write that the music within the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons only confirms what was written in earlier sections and by myself in this analysis. Which is, Anderson, the committee of fourteen and the other signers of this work felt deeply about maintaining the Masonic tradition of adhering to the old doctrine. In no way did they believe they were starting anything new, other than those issues explicitly written about; like in the General Regulations. These songs were written by a variety of Masons, which are listed above, including Anderson, who wrote “The Master’s Song.”


So what did I learn by dissecting the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons? Well, first and foremost, I learned that an improper revisionist agenda has been propagated against Masonry for decades, if not longer. When the 1717 fairy tale began is not certain? Yet, by dissecting the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, the document these revisionist pundits claim proved their point that Freemasonry began in 1717, I learned their allegation is unsupportable. Throughout the document, the authors repeatedly wrote that they were simply compiling a new Constitutions, which was based on old Constitutions, and old Records; some of which came from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece. It can be easily assumed that the authors of the 1717 Constitutions of Free-Masons took great care in researching their historical roots. And during the discovery process they discovered many historical errors, which they readily admitted to and did their best to correct. In no way did these men take their work lightly; rather, they understood the gravity of the task and sought out all available information to help create a new, not a “first,” beginning for Masonry in England.

I learned that James Anderson was not the exclusive author of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; rather, he was simply the principle compiler of the document, who was accountable to a committee of fourteen other prominent Masons. And that the document was ultimately approved by at least 61 Masons total, including Anderson. Therefore, any abhorrent claims against Anderson must now be rethought. You see, pundits continually argue that Anderson, who by the way was a prominent minister, had an agenda of rewriting Masonic history and making money off of the book. Claims I believe have been falsely and disingenuously applied. In fact, it has never been proven that he personally benefited from his work regarding the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, which took about fifteen years to sell out of all first printed copies before another printing was conducted in 1738. Needless to say, very little money could have been earned between these printing dates.

Furthermore, I learned that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons was an adulterated version of the old Constitutions and other related documents. In fact, the most profound claim against the book was made shortly after its initial publication, which claimed that it did not go far enough in supporting previously viewed Masonic history. This belief stands in stark contrast to contemporary claims that say the document is nothing but unsupportable falsehoods, which were made by the authors to glorify Masonry in England that had been previously struggling for recognition.

Moreover, I learned that the document used the age-old instruction of allegory, like when it applied the Biblical account of Adam to start Masonic history; a point pundits claim proved the inaccuracy of the document. To strike out against this claim simply shows a lack of knowledge regarding the use of Masonic allegory; like the story of Hiram Abiff, which is simply a metaphor for a variety of lessons.

I also learned that the story of Hiram Abiff was actually included in the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; an issue pundits claim was not added to Masonry until about 1730 or so. Now, I will readily admit it was not included in the general writings; however, it was included in the detailed reference for Hiram on pages 11 and 12, which could have been easily found by simply reading the references on both pages.

The 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons also detailed countless references, which I believe was unusual for the period, and a topic pundits neglected to credit. In truth, nearly every page from the historical section showed a reference; and in many cases showed several references that often took up more than half a page. The sad fact is, pundits of the document either showed outright scholarly neglect, or an outward bias, by forgetting to follow these important references. In short, the historical section clearly proved that the committee of fourteen and the 61 signers, including Anderson, of the document attempted to back up their claim with unusual scholarly references for the time. By following these references, I discovered that earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations existed. This is important, for you see, pundits continually claim there is simply no proof of earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations. Really? That is not what the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons continually wrote about and referenced. Simply stated, how can pundits make the claim that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons proved the first Grand Lodge began in 1717, when the document itself wrote that there were other Grand Lodges; and how can these pundits also claim that this document formed the first Constitution when the document claimed they simply compiled from another (other) Constitutions and other ancient Documents, Laws, Charges and Regulations. In your author’s mind, any claims made about the 1717 date and the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons being the “first” is nothing but revisionism. In actual fact, such claims are an out and outright lie by revisionists with an agenda at disproving Masonic lineage!

The document also supports the works of other Masonic writers, like Joseph Newton, the author of The Builders (1914), who I wrote about previously on this blog. It also made mention of Masonic legends like Charles Martell, King of France and King Athelstan, King of England, and their efforts at promoting Masonry. I have heard it time and time again, that there is simply no proof that these two men were affiliated with Masonry. Really? Well, we now have the supreme document from the period that say’s otherwise. And one of the biggest discoveries came from page 33, which demonstrated that King Athelstan used records that came from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece to rewrite the Masonic Constitution during his reign.

Needless to say, I could add to this discussion at length; however, I think I have written enough to make my point in this article. But let it be said here, if you don’t believe my research, please purchase the book yourself and do your own research. And if you do, you will find the same findings I did, which stand in stark contrast to many of the revisionist fairy tales that have been propagated against Freemasonry for decades, if not for at least a century now. Thank you for reading ~/G\~

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

Interview With Masonic Author Frederic Milliken, His Life And Times and Texas’ New Intervisitation

I recently had the pleasure to interview one of Phoenixmasonry’s own, Bro. Frederic Millken, Executive Director for the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Frederic is a prominent and hard working Masonic author. The reason for the interview, however, was the recent intervisitation between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Lodge of Texas. Frederic has a fascinating personal and Masonic history included here that I hope readers will find as interesting as I have.

Elena Llamas (EL): Frederic, first things first! Give us a bit of your personal background.

Frederic Milliken (Frederic): I was born and brought up in Lexington, Massachusetts the birthplace of the American Revolution. It was the battles of Lexington and Concord that started the Revolution. Lexington came first. Here Paul Revere rode into town hollering, “The British are coming,” the British are coming” (although he probably really said the Regulars or the Redcoats).

Buckman tavern in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on April 19, 1775 as, having received word that the regular army had left Boston in force to seize and destroy military supplies in Concord, several dozen militiamen gathered on the town common, and then eventually went to the Buckman tavern to await the arrival of the British troops. Following the arrival of the British army, a single shot was fired, by whom, we still do not know. With this shot, the American Revolutionary War began.
Buckman tavern in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on April 19, 1775 as, having received word that the regular army had left Boston in force to seize and destroy military supplies in Concord, several dozen militiamen gathered on the town common, and then eventually went to the Buckman tavern to await the arrival of the British troops. Following the arrival of the British army, a single shot was fired, by whom, we still do not know. With this shot, the American Revolutionary War began.

When I was 5 years old my father died. My mother worked three jobs to support me and my two sisters. She had a day job, part time night job and a weekend job. On the weekend she manned the Buckman tavern where the Minute Men gathered in the wee hours of the morning of April 19,1775. The Buckman tavern was on the northeast corner of the Lexington Green in 1775 and that same building is still there today. On the northwest corner today stands Simon W. Robinson Lodge where I went to DeMolay and on the southwest corner stands the First Parish Church where my Mom was secretary, her day job.

On weekends at the Buckman Tavern my Mom’s job was to be a tourist guide and she would go through the story of Paul Revere riding into town and the subsequent battle with the British that took place on the Lexington Green for any who wanted to hear. I can remember as a young boy sitting on the stone step just outside the screen door listening to her tell that tale over and over again. That’s why it was such an honor for me later on in life to become Master of Paul Revere Lodge and to participate in a Colonial Degree Team.

Every Patriot’s Day (April 19th) Lexington held a recreation of Paul Revere’s ride and a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington. In the afternoon there was a huge two hour parade. As a DeMolay I marched in that parade.

(EL): At what age did you join Freemasonry and where?

Frederic: I joined Freemasonry at the age of 45 in Plymouth, Massachusetts where the Pilgrims landed.

I worked in the next town over and my wife worked in Plymouth so we had many Plymouth acquaintances. Plymouth Lodge had just completed its brand new building a few years before my arrival. I was initiated in 1989 and immediately went into line as Junior Steward. The next year I jumped to Senior Deacon and three years later was Master. In 1992 I affiliated with Paul Revere Lodge in Brockton, Massachusetts where I lived. It was not long after that I entered Paul Revere’s two year line as Senior Deacon. I was Senior Deacon at Paul Revere the year I was Master in Plymouth. I can remember doing the Masters ritual for the First Degree on a Monday night in Plymouth and the next night, Tuesday, performing the Middle Chamber lecture in the Second Degree in Brockton. Immediately upon affiliating with Paul Revere Lodge I joined the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team and as Master I brought that team to Plymouth Lodge for a historic night where over a hundred Masons gathered with five District Deputies in attendance, one from Rhode Island, to watch the degree team. I had to get permission for overflow parking from a business next door and hire a policeman to handle the traffic. That experience greatly influenced my philosophy on how, as Master, to put a yearly program together for a Lodge. My theme from then on became, “We Need To Celebrate Our Freemasonry.” And celebrate it we would!

Paul Revere Lodge AF & AM #2
Paul Revere Lodge AF & AM #2
Kilwinning Degree Team performing at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic Milliken as Master
Kilwinning Degree Team at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic as Master

Kilwinning Degree Team at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic as Master

Both Plymouth Lodge and Paul Revere Lodge were high profile Lodges that had a lot going on. Paul Revere Lodge was looked upon as one of the five top Lodges in the state. I was honored to sit in the East in both these Lodges which were in two different Masonic Districts.

Portion Of The Paul Revere Degree Team Prepares To Install Frederic as Master Year 2000
Portion Of The Paul Revere Degree Team Prepares To Install Frederic as Master Year 2000

EL: Please elaborate on celebrating Freemasonry!

Frederic: What I am saying is THINK BIG! Many Lodges meet twice a month and they spend the majority of their time in boring business meetings where the topics of discussion are how much toilet paper should we buy and what do we do for the next fundraiser? How about inviting a guest speaker to enlighten the Brethren?

But even better than that how about planning and executing a big event where many Masons gather for some special brotherhood? When you do that you increase the pride Brothers feel for their fraternity and bolster their enthusiasm for the Craft. That all works for more camaraderie and perhaps more candidates.

After that first big bash with the Colonial Degree Team at Plymouth Lodge I continued to put on Masonic Events as large as I could come up with.

The Grand Daddy of them all was the Colonial Degree Team’s visit to Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana is my wife’s hometown and there you will find Monroe Lodge. Monroe (family name also spelled Munroe) was a natural, the name of the Revolutionary War Masonic patriot I had adopted for the Degree Team.

My correspondence with the Master of Monroe Lodge in Bloomington, Indiana, lasting for more than a year, proved fruitless in trying to put this undertaking together. After I stepped down from the East at Paul Revere Lodge and Monroe Lodge got a new Master talks picked up again and finally it was a go.

So on a Friday morning 18 Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team members boarded a plane for Indianapolis. There we were met by a small bus and a Past Grand Master of Indiana, MW Richard Hickham, and the Worshipful Master, Wor. Gary Denson, and some Brethren from Monroe Lodge. They transported us to Bloomington, about a 2 hour drive, where we stopped at the Bloomington Shrine Club for a steak dinner and welcoming speeches. Afterward we were taken to the state DeMoaly Chateau for billeting.

Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team entering the DeMolay Chateau
Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team entering the DeMolay Chateau

The next morning we were picked up by the bus and transported to the Lodge where we were served breakfast. After breakfast we visited the Lodge room and laid out what the degree would look like for the officers of Monroe Lodge. Then back in the bus we received a tour of Bloomington and Indiana University.

Saturday night we had dinner at the Lodge followed by the degree. The Lodge room was packed! After it was all over we went downtown to an Irish Pub and celebrated. Following that we were bused back to the DeMolay Chateau for some shuteye. The next morning, Sunday, the bus picked us up and transported us back to Indianapolis to the airport. By Sunday night we were back in Boston.

At the Irish Pub with Wor. Gary Denson of Monroe Lodge #22 Bloomington, Indiana
At the Irish Pub with Wor. Gary Denson of Monroe Lodge #22 Bloomington, Indiana

What a great time we all had and how rewarding it was to make new friends. That was really celebrating our Masonry!

EL: What attracted you to Freemasonry?

Frederic: My best friend in school introduced me to DeMolay. Battle Green DeMolay met at Simon W. Robinson Lodge AF & AM in Lexington, Massachusetts. Eventually I became Master Councilor. Our Dad Advisors were Freemasons and I became very acquainted with a Masonic Lodge and some of its workings by belonging to DeMolay. Joining DeMolay was the main reason for my later joining Freemasonry. But there is still another important reason. I reached a stage in my life where I really wanted to associate and become friendly with like minded men, that is those that value honesty, morality and uprightness. I found that every Mason I knew was a good man and that perhaps associating with many good men would keep me from straying into the less than noble world.

Frederic’s DeMolay diploma 1959
Frederic’s DeMolay diploma 1959

When I was elected to become Master for the first time at Plymouth Lodge I gathered an installation team of five Past Masters of Simon W. Robinson Lodge who were also Past Master Councilors of Battle Green DeMolay and all old friends of course. They installed me and my officers.

EL: Tell us more about The Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team

Frederic: The Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team was formed as a tribute to our nation’s Centennial in 1976. It was only supposed to be for that one year but was such a great hit that it continued on and is still active today. Each member of the team dresses in Colonial costume which always includes a tri-cornered hat and takes the name of a Revolutionary War Mason. The Team performs the second and third sections of the 3rd degree. At the end the Team’s Historian gives a lecture on our American Flag and the sacrifices that Colonial Mason’s made to make our country free. At the conclusion each Team member rises and gives a brief bio of the Revolutionary War Mason he represents.

While the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team performs in its own Lodge its claim to fame is the travelling it does to put on this degree for other Lodges. I accompanied the Team to the 200th anniversary celebration of Provincetown Lodge on Cape Cod, to a Lodge in the state of Maine and to an outdoor degree held in the woods of the Grand Lodge’s retirement home with the Grand Master present, to name just a few. At the retirement home stone stations and altar had been carved out in a clearing in the woods at the bottom of a hill. As Master I took the Degree Team to Plymouth Lodge as we have already heard, to Simon W. Robinson Lodge in Lexington, MA and to Putnam, Connecticut, again to mention just the most memorable.

The visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge was a really a big time affair. Along with our usual 3rd degree exemplification we also participated in a tri Table Lodge. Three Lodges came together with the District Deputy of that District so that we had three Masters in the East, three Senior Wardens in the West and three Junior Wardens in the south. We started at 4:00 PM on a Saturday and finally finished up at 11:00 PM.

The Putnam, CT performance was our second visit to this Lodge. The first visit was precipitated by a church member of mine who upon selling her house and cleaning out the basement found an old Masonic diploma. It was from the 1800s for a Mason completing his degrees at Putnam Lodge. So, after going through channels, I contacted the Lodge and arranged for us to bring a bus load of Paul Revere members to formerly return the diploma. That got us a return visit 6 months later with the Colonial Degree Team.

Frederic interviewing mother and child for Paul Revere's Child Identification Program (CHIP)
Frederic interviewing mother and child for Paul Revere’s Child Identification Program (CHIP)

EL: What role did you have in the Team?

Frederic: My role was to do the Charge at the end of the degree before the Historian came on. I tried many different charges but eventually settled on one called “The Canadian Charge” in Massachusetts. This charge is known in many other states by a different name. For a historical sketch of this charge see the article penned by a friend here –

From Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Magazine "The Trowel"
From Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Magazine “The Trowel”

As you remember each member of the Paul Revere Degree Team adopted the name of a Revolutionary War Mason. When I arrived onto the team all the famous names had been taken. With permission from the team leader I researched my own name. I wrote to the Grand Lodge Of Massachusetts Library and asked them if there were any Freemasons that fought in that battle against the British on April 19,1775. The reply stated that of some 70 Patriots that lined up to fight the British some where near 26 were Masons. That was remarkable because Lexington did not have a Masonic Lodge at that time. From that list I chose William Munroe.

William Munroe was a Sergeant in the Lexington Minute Man and he was stationed by the Lexington Green on an all night vigil the night of April 18,1775. He was to warn the Minute Men of any British activity in the area. When Paul Revere rode into town he woke up sleeping Masons in the area and had word sent to Captain Parker the leader of the Lexington Minutemen. Munroe was also the proprietor of the other tavern in town, the Munroe Tavern which still stands today just a stone’s throw down the street from the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum.

In 1797 William Munroe went into Grand Lodge to receive a charter for Lexington’s first Masonic Lodge with himself as its first and founding Master. He was escorted to the East of Grand Lodge there to be received by Most Worshipful Paul Revere. Hiram Lodge met for some 40 years in the backrooms of Munroe Tavern in Lexington.

EL: Who were the other team members representing?

Frederic: I can’t remember all the names chosen by Colonial Degree Team members but some of them were Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Israel Putnam, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, George Washington, John Marshall, Henry Knox, Robert Livingston, General Hugh Mercer, Ethan Allen, Patrick Henry, Benedict Arnold, Joseph Warren and of course the honorary American Marquis de LaFayette, These are some of the Revolutionary War Freemasons represented by the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team.

EL: How fun! What led you to join Prince Hall Masonry?

I was Master of Plymouth Lodge in 1994 when Prince Hall recognition was being worked out. Recognition was formerly signed in 1995. Thereafter I was active in receiving Prince Hall visitations into Paul Revere Lodge. I was very impressed with their Masonic knowledge and work.

A few years later I started to become very active with Masonry on the Internet. There I met and corresponded with such stalwarts as Jeff Naylor, Chris Hodapp, Errrol Hinton, Stephen Dafoe and Theron Dunn to name a few. We all seemed to be involved with the reform Freemasonry movement. And among those reforms was recognition of Prince Hall. These were the days when “Laudable Pursuit” was penned. And I added my 2 cents in, often with biting sarcasm.

When I moved to Texas I joined the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM and went to their Grand Lodge Session. I was not impressed with some of the leadership and disappointed with the racial divide that was part of the tradition. I had some unfortunate incidents which I do not wish to go over again.

It was then I figured out that the best way I could work for racial justice within Freemasonry was to join Prince Hall. After all I had been an advocate for many years for Prince Hall recognition across the board in every state. I decided to put my feet where my mouth was and walked on over into Prince Hall Texas. I have never regretted that decision. I love and am much loved.

Prince Hall Texas Grand Lodge - Fort Worth Texas
Prince Hall Texas Grand Lodge – Fort Worth Texas
Rooftop Raising Dallas Texas MWPHGLTX
Rooftop Raising Dallas Texas MWPHGLTX

EL: Any other special personal Masonic history you want to share with the readers?

Frederic: The Fellowship Players of Fellowship Lodge in Bridgewater , Massachusetts, a town close to Brockton, invited me to take the part of Squire Bentley in the Masonic play “A Rose Upon The Altar,” by Carl Claudy. This is a very moving play about a man who disowns his daughter for marrying a man he disapproved of and the discussion that goes on in the Lodge room about his plight and his subsequent change of heart. By removing all Masonic signs, tokens and grips from the play, the Fellowship Players was able to get permission from the Grand Master to perform this play to the public at large.

We played for Lodges, Ladies nights and to the public. I can remember one performance for the Bridgewater Knights of Columbus and their wives and another in New Bedford for Masons visiting from England and their wives and the public.

These performances gave the Craft another way to feel proud of themselves and enthusiastic for their membership in the fraternity. It also introduced non Masons to a little slice of Masonic life and opened the door for a dialogue about Freemasonry.

Lastly it was one of the biggest joys of my Masonic career to be able to do this.

EL: Wow! That is awesome! Now, let’s talk about the recent events in Texas. What are your thoughts on the historic intervisitation between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Lodge of Texas?

Frederic: I think intervisitation was long overdue and that now that it is here those that have a difficulty with Prince Hall are going to recede into the background and not be heard from hardly at all. A new day has dawned on Texas Freemasonry and it will be one of shared brotherhood. As the two Grand Lodges cooperate in a wide range of efforts together, all the fears and the fairy tales will disappear and we will become one in Masonic purpose and practice.

Prince Hall Grand Master Wilbert Curtis is in the middle with the top hat on and to his left (our right) is the Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM PGM Jerry Martin together at the Prince Hall Grand Session June 25-28, 2015. A historic fraternal exchange.
Prince Hall Grand Master Wilbert Curtis is in the middle with the top hat on and to his left (our right) is the Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM PGM Jerry Martin together at the Prince Hall Grand Session June 25-28, 2015. A historic fraternal exchange.

There were many forces behind the scene on both sides working for recognition for years and then for intervisitation. I was one of them but also from the Grand Lodge of Texas was Blake Bowden and his website “My Freemasonry.” Many other unknown and unheralded Masons on both sides of the aisle worked behind the scenes, especially to see that we could visit each other’s Lodges. There was literally a ground swell of sentiment from the rank and file that this was something that needed to be done. And I don’t think anything could have come of it all if Prince Hall Texas did not have such a gentle, soft spoken, easy going Grand Master in Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis.

EL: Really? You think Grand Master Curtis’ personality had a lot to do with it?

Frederic: You would really have to get to know the man to see how much his personality has kept the peace. I know that I am nowhere near that personality type. Cross me and I will let you have it, both barrels. But in the face of false accusations, finger pointing, lies and deceit Grand Master Curtis has remained calm, cool and collected. He has not fought fire with fire but rather with brotherly love and affection. He can be firm and commanding but never mean or derogatory. In some tough negotiations he was solid as a rock.

Frederic With Grand Master Curtis At York Rite Conclave
Frederic With Grand Master Curtis At York Rite Conclave

EL: This marks the first time in history that both Grand Lodges sat in a regular session together. How does this feel to you on a personal level?

Frederic: It is exhilarating! To know I have played a small, miniscule part, but one nevertheless, that is rewarding. I think that Prince Hall Freemasonry has been vindicated. I think that some of the misconceptions of Prince Hall will now disappear.

EL: Which misconceptions are you referring to?

Frederic: That Prince Hall Freemasonry is not regular; that it is Clandestine; that it does not perform acceptable ritual; that it is disrespectful to the Craft; that it is rowdy and raucous; that it doesn’t take Freemasonry seriously enough, that its first Grand Lodge was not formed according to Masonic protocol. These are all false misconceptions.

Race relations in the state will improve. My only disappointment was that I was too ill to participate on this historic occasion. But I know that years of opening my big mouth and even at times inserting my foot into it have paid off. That when it came time to choose the fork in the road, I didn’t take what I thought was the easiest path but the one that was the right thing to do. It means my rebel rousing days are over for Texas. However we have nine US Grand Lodges left who still do not recognize Prince Hall. This battle is won but the war is not yet over.

EL: What would you like to see happen in the future?

Frederic: I would like to see the two Grand Lodges do more things together inside and outside the Lodge room. Intervisitation opens up a whole new world to many Masons. Both Grand Lodges can celebrate some Masonic historical remembrances together. They can have a joint Table Lodge. They can join together on some charitable events. They can study Freemasonry together and pull lecturers from each Grand Lodge to speak at the other.

As it stands now each side must apply to its Grand Secretary to visit the other’s Grand Lodges and permission must be granted by the other side. I think that in time this requirement should just disappear and a more free flow of cross visitation assume its place.

They say time heals all wounds. I’m not so sure that is true but I am willing to give it a shot. As each Grand Lodge does more together it will cement the bounds of peace and harmony and brotherly love will freely flow.

EL: Hopefully! Are there other Caucasian Brothers in your Lodge?

Frederic: There was one other Brother who was Caucasian who has since demited and moved away. My Lodge also has a Brother of Filipino heritage.

EL: Do you want to share any racial insights from your perspective?

Frederic: I think that to rehash old instances and war stories does more harm than good. Suffice it to say that there was some animosity between Caucasians and African Americans in the state of Texas that bled over into Freemasonry. Those feelings have not all gone away but we are on the road to peace and harmony in Freemasonry.

All it really took was for some association to take place. I have maintained for years that if you sit down and break bread with a stranger or an enemy or someone you don’t understand, that that act of having a meal together opens up the common humanity you have with each other and promotes a mutual respect. Upon that can be built real friendship.

There will always be people who can’t see beyond skin color. This is not Utopia. Evil exists. But when you greet another Freemason on the five points of fellowship it matters not what race he is.

We would be wise to remember our ritual, “By the exercise of Brotherly Love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one Family – the high and low, rich and poor, who as created by one almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet are to aid, support and protect each other.”

Frederic With Brothers from Cote d'Ivoire 2014 Grand Session, MWPHGLTX
Frederic With Brothers from Cote d’Ivoire 2014 Grand Session, MWPHGLTX

EL: Seems like you have a positive and hopeful view of the future.

Frederic: There is only one place to go and that is up. Every close association, every time of togetherness will meld Brothers from both Grand Lodges into fraternal love. We can learn a lot from each other and in so doing we can come closer and closer together. New traditions will soon be formed. Some joint fellowships will become part of those new traditions. As that unfolds disharmony will become a thing of the past. As I said before a new day has dawned on Texas Freemasonry. It will never be what it was again.

EL: Wonderful! Frederic, you are an avid blogger and Masonic author. Tell us about your work and where it can be found.

Frederic: I write in other areas besides Freemasonry but it is my wish that these areas remain separate and unknown to each other. In this manner I can remain more open to other ideas and interface better with people of all different views without others having a preconceived notion of what I am all about. There is nothing worse than an agenda driven person who will not get off your ear. My thing is to approach fields from a point of view that fosters knowledge, education and understanding.

My Masonic writing started on the early well known Masonic websites with forums of the 90s. Masonic Light started by Jeff Naylor and frequented by Hodapp, Dafoe and Dunn gave way to The Lodge Here I was in constant discussion on Masonic issues especially with my nemesis Theron Dunn who after he suddenly passed was replaced by Grayson Mayfield. When that Forum died I went on to Master and then got out of the forum talk back and forth show altogether.

I formed my own blog “The Beehive” which I merged with Freemason Information by invitation of Greg Stewart. Those forum discussions formed the basis of the articles I then wrote which can be found on either Freemason Information or Phoenixmasonry. It is in these two places that I continue to write but with less frequency.

I have evolved over time. Much of my early Masonic writing was about the abuses of Freemasonry and certain Grand Lodges and the reforms needed. I really took some Grand Lodges to task and I wasn’t afraid to be vocal about it. Some of the high profile cases I wrote about were PGM Frank Haas, Derek Gordon, Mike McCabe, Victor Marshall and Gate City Lodge No 2 and Corey Bryson & Duke Bass Fortesque.

PM Mike Bjelajac, Me, PM Beaux Pettys, Victor Marshall Gate City Lodge No 2
PM Mike Bjelajac, Me, PM Beaux Pettys, Victor Marshall Gate City Lodge No 2

I actually got to meet in person Derek Gordon who resigned from the GL of Arkansas and Victor Marshall who the GL of Georgia attempted to expel because he was an African-American. Mike McCabe was expelled unjustly from New Jersey and Bryson & Fortesque were forced to resign from Florida for not being Christians.

I have gradually steered myself into a more philosophical approach and find great joy in telling the stories of some super Masonic Craftsmen. I was able to meet Masonic artist Ryan Flynn last year and record a session with him about his work.

There are two other places I write for which may not be open to all Masons. I write and deliver articles to the Phylaxis Society and to my Grand Lodge publication “The Texas Prince Hall Freemason.”

EL: You are also Executive Director for the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Tell us about your work and experience there.

Frederic: It was President and owner David Lettelier who approached me about the position of Executive Director of Phoenixmasonry. He had read some of my writings and liked what he read. One of the first things I did upon coming aboard was to convince David that we needed to get into Social Media. I felt this was where Freemasonry on the Internet was going. So Dave and I put our heads together and opened a Phoenixmasonry Facebook page. I then added Twitter followed by Rebel Mouse. David starting putting many of my articles into the Phoenixmasonry essay session.

Soon I was to open a special Prince Hall section of the main website inaugurating its inception with the William Upton videos which tell such a heart rendering story. We added a few more article writers such as Nelson King and Ian Donald and the poetry of Ezekiel Bey. The Essay section was rapidly increasing. Adding books was very time consuming and proceeded at a slower pace.

Frederic Giving The Charge At Grand Session, MWPHGLTX
Frederic Giving The Charge At Grand Session, MWPHGLTX

But we wanted to give our readers the widest possible choice of Masonic content. It wasn’t long before we started to invest heavily into You Tube videos. We added a You Tube section to our Facebook page. This became very popular.

I spent a lot of time as Executive Director in marketing Phoenixmasonry especially among the Prince Hall brethren. I got the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas to add a link to us on the Grand Lodge’s website. I worked with David on his project of a 10 year (2009) medallion minted as a thank you to all who had contributed to Phoenixmasonry’s success. That became a tremendous marketing tool as I carried a bunch of them with me wherever I went and gave to many influential Masons one as a gift.


My job concentrated on disseminating whatever we were doing to various Grand Lodges, Masonic websites and forums, Masonic Yahoo Groups and an extensive E-Mail list. It was my goal to always keep the name and content of Phoenixmasony on the lips of as many Masons as possible.

I took over the project of getting us a 501(c) 3 status with the IRS, filling out the laboriously long form and making sure all the information was correct. This designation will facilitate contributions to Phoenixmasonry from those who are looking for a good cause to contribute to.

What I started with David to increase our visibility has been continued with the addition of new blood to our team. We have added editorial assistants to our Facebook page who help us add the most interesting Masonic material we can find. We recently added

Phoenixmasonry’s 10 year anniversary medallion
Phoenixmasonry’s 10 year anniversary medallion

you, Public Relations Director Elena Llamas, and you have carried on right where we left off. You have spruced up our Facebook page, created a Phoenixmasonry You Tube channel adding many videos and put Phoenixmasonry on Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, Reddit and Tumblr. It’s a team effort and I am proud what all of us have been able to accomplish. Phoenixmasonry is the most complete and best Masonic website on the Internet.

EL: It is a pleasure to work with you at Phoenixmasonry! Thank you so much, Frederic, for sharing such a fascinating personal history and all you insights. I hope the readers have enjoyed this interview. For more information on Frederic’s work, you can find him at

If You Truly Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat

“If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”

I was watching a video by Dennis Prager on happiness recently when it suddenly came to me that this had much significance for my Freemasonry and what the Craft meant to me. Now you might not see any Masonic connection with the video included here. One of the reasons is that we all join Freemasonry for different reasons and we all participate in the aspect of Freemasonry that speaks loudest to us.

Some of us use Freemasonry to network. The connections you make within the Fraternity can do wonders for your business.

Some of us enjoy the camaraderie of Freemasonry and that is what we get out of the Craft. Being close to a circle of buddies is important to human beings who are by nature social animals. It is especially important to those who do not make friends in their other walks of life.

Some of us want to give back to society, to leave something behind that contributed to the well being of humankind. We take part in some of the many charitable works of Freemasonry and the institutions Freemasonry has set up to make life better.

Some of us are seekers of a moral way of life outside of organized religion. The virtues of Freemasonry fill a need for those of us who seek to lead a noble life, to lift our spirits into the next realm and who want to do it here, right now.

Some of us are intrigued by the esoteric side of Freemasonry and desire to pursue Hermetic and Gnostic study. We see a connection from the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome right up into our present time. This knowledge, we believe, will show us a path to a greater way of life.

Many of us pursue more than one of these sides of Freemasonry; many of us only one. It is true that Freemasonry is a way of life, but that way of life may be different to different Freemasons. The overriding factor that ties all these factors together is our desire to take control of our lives and make a difference – to other people but even more so to ourselves.

That’s what Dennis Prager is trying to do. He is purposefully trying to change his behavior for the better. He sees a moral obligation to be the best person he can be. Does that not sound like Freemasonry? Do we as Masons not see a moral obligation to be a better person? Is it not possible that many who have joined Freemasonry have made a conscious step to be a better person by joining with others who have the same goals? This becomes not a mutual admiration society but a mutual self improvement society. Dennis Prager is doing it all by himself but we as Freemasons are doing it together in a group.

So let me pause here to add two rules of thumb that have guided me in this quest to take control of my life and point it in the right direction.

1) We all need a cheering section in our lives, a group of people who will shore us up in our time of need and encourage us to be the best we can be. We do not need people who bring us down.

Gregory Scott Reid put it this way:

“A few years back, I looked around and noticed that all I did was hang around with other salespeople such as myself. Realizing that I wanted more from my life than to simply sit around talking about the great deal or the money I’d made that day, I sought out a new group of people to associate myself with—people who could help me on my new journey to become an author and motivational speaker. I ran ads on the Internet and in the newspaper seeking new people to associate with and “soak up the success” with, so to speak.”

“When I couldn’t find such a club, I decided to create one of my own. I called it the Influential Men’s Group. We met once a month and discussed our ideas and plans to make them become realities. Most important, we supported and held one other accountable to see those dreams come true.”

“As I write this now, I think to myself how grateful I am for all the wonderful people who’ve come into my life this past year. Due to this great group of people, I’ve gone from a business owner/salesman, to a number one best-selling author.”

“We are the company we keep. Choose your company wisely.”

Freemasonry is not only a way of life it is a family and as one big family there are always family members there to help you through the rough times and to bolster your spirit.

That’s why:

2) We are who we associate with

When you run with the wrong group you start to pick up their ways. When you run with the right group their righteousness rubs off on you.

Colin Powell offers these words of advice:

“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.”

Consider this:

“Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”

“With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. ‘A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.’”

“The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”

So I, as a Freemason, consciously sought out the Masonic Fraternity to help me with the ups and downs of life and to bond with others who are on the same path, knowing that I have surrounded myself with people of good will and a genuine interest in my well being. For me that was a good enough reason to join the Craft. And my life has been the better for it, because like Dennis Prager I have tried to modify my behavior for the better, only I am not doing it alone. I am doing it with my Brothers and Sisters who are my family and who love me as if I was blood.

We leave the last word to Steven Conn:

“Often times I look at people and see so much potential. I see the people they surround them selves with and look at what they do with their spare time and am saddened by the reality of the potential waiting to burst out, but yet will never come.”

“Who we are now is based on past experiences and decisions that we have made and the influence we have received from others, but we can’t dwell on the past if we want to accomplish great things. Sometimes we need to make tough choices and make some changes in the friendships we have. At least we have to rethink who we are getting advice from.”

“If we are going to make a change in our life, it requires effort and surrounding ourselves with new people of influence. Find someone that has changed for the positive in any area and they will tell you that someone helped them through it all, that without that person they would have failed miserably. Look around at the people you associate with. Are they constantly learning and researching new ideas, expanding their minds and keeping up with new technology. Are they looking to have a positive impact on the people around them or are they filled with unending sarcasm and belittling of anyone that tries to change or make a difference.”

“Are you hanging around with people that think change is too hard and things will never get better, or are you surrounding yourself with people that have eyes of a child and think anything is possible.”

“It takes faith to believe in what we cannot see. Have faith and seek out people that are looking to make a difference and you will be amazed at how you too, will accomplish what you want.”

“I believe that if you truly want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”


Boston Time Capsule Returned To Its 1795 Burial Place, With A Few Modern Items

The Guardian reports:

In an elaborate ceremony steeped in tradition, a time capsule dating to 1795 was returned on Wednesday to the cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, with a set of 2015 US mint coins and a silver plaque added to its contents for a future generation to discover.


A procession of freemasons marched up Beacon Hill as a fife and drum corps, clad in Colonial garb, played on the statehouse lawn. Military units stood at attention and a 19-gun salute was fired, all part of an effort to approximate the historically documented atmosphere of 4 July 1795, when the newly built cornerstone was drawn by 15 white horses from Boston’s Old South Church, across Boston Common to the construction site for the new state capitol.

Cornerstone Ceremony

On that day, the then Massachusetts governor, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere, then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons, presided over a ceremony in which the time capsule was first deposited into the cornerstone.

During Thursday’s ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker joked that Adams is today better known to many people as a beer-maker than a key Revolutionary-era figure. But he said it was humbling to consider that the original capsule was placed just 15 years after Massachusetts adopted its constitution.

“What makes this time capsule so unusual is it’s not an interpretation from a historian, it’s not a passage in a text book, it’s the story that our predecessors from that Revolutionary time wanted us to know and understand,” Baker said.

The original container included an engraved silver plaque, a medal in honor of George Washington and a set of coins including one believed dated to the mid-1600s.

The capsule was removed in 1855 during construction of a new wing of the building. Its contents were transferred to a sturdier brass box and new items, including coins and newspapers, were added. Rediscovered last year during a water filtration project, the box was gingerly excavated from the building and later opened by conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The latest contents, not revealed until Thursday’s ceremony, were a 2015 US mint coin set – including dollar coins of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson – and a silver plaque commemorating Thursday’s event.

As was the case in 1855, the contents were placed in a new container, this one made of stainless steel with an oxygen-free interior to prevent deterioration.

The secretary of the Commonweath of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin, Governor Charlie Baker and Masonic grand master Harvey Waugh

The secretary of the Commonweath of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin, Governor Charlie Baker and Masonic grand master Harvey Waugh

The secretary of state, William Galvin, who presided over the ceremony with Baker and Harvey Waugh, current Grand Master of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons, said it could be hundreds of years before the box is opened again but when it is, “the history we made today will be fondly remembered.”

Groups of invited schoolchildren, wearing T-shirts that read “Time To Go Back”, watched the ceremony along with state workers and curious tourists.



Mutual Intervisitation in Texas

Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM Grand Session 2005
Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM Grand Session 2005

Intervisitation with The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas has just been approved by the Grand Lodge of Texas on Saturday December 6, 2014 at 12 Noon. The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas approved the same in its mid-winter Grand Session in November. The two Grand Lodges have been under mutual recognition without visitation for a number of years. Now that cross visitation has been approved by both parties it is a reality.

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Of Texas Grand Lodge Building
Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Of Texas Grand Lodge Building

The two Texas Grand Lodges signed a compact of mutual recognition on April 23, 2007 but without cross visitation. So for the past seven years Freemasons from one Grand Lodge could not attend the Communications of the other Grand Lodge.

This is all water over the dam now. A new day has dawned and a new era of brotherly love and affection has begun.

Most Worshipful Jerry L. Martin Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM
Most Worshipful Jerry L. Martin Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM
Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas
Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas

Labor Day and the Masonic Nexus

Equality, Fraternity, Justice and Labor.

Can America celebrate Labor Day without celebrating the Laborer?

Could there be a connection between Labor Day and Freemasonry through which they share an intersection in the forgotten halls of history and why we celebrate this national American holiday?

The U.S. Department of Labor defines the Labor Day holiday as a day

…dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

As a day to recognize the common laborer in America, Labor Day can be traced to 1882 when it was first proposed as a holiday by machinist Matthew Maguire who proposed the idea while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York.  In just a short time the momentum to make the day a National Holiday grew to a crescendo on the heels of the violent conflict between rail workers and the US military in 1894.

Stemming from, essentially, an unfair control of labor and housing, the Pullman Strike began as the result of a refusal to include reductions in housing costs for the laid-off workers forced to live in the company town of Pullman, today a suburb of Chicago in Illinois.

The town, George Pullman envisioned, would be

a model community, a total environment, superior to that available to the working class elsewhere…[from which] he hoped to avoid strikes, attract the most skilled workers and attain greater productivity as a result of the better health, environment and spirit of his employees.

When laid off workers, who had been forced to live in company housing, were let go the company who owned the town (and the housing therein) refused to lower their rents on company owned properties. The result of the layoff and unaltered rents created undue hardships for the laid off workers and their families who had few options because of the sudden loss of income. Company owner George Pullman refused to address the issue, or go into arbitration over it, prompting a wildcat strike with the local Pullman Palace Car Company.

Drawing from Machinists’ monthly journal, Volume 27, By International Association of Machinists, page 413, 1915, from Wikipedia.

Gradually the work stoppage grew into a national strike organized by the American Railway Union reaching its height when it became a national boycott that included train stoppages through the efforts of close to 250,000 workers in 27 states disrupting national transportation lines, and consequently mail delivery.

With a growing strike, the Federal Government under President Grover Cleveland, procured a court injunction and moved in with the Army to end the boycott and alleviate the obstruction of trains which (carrying mail) ultimately cost $80,000,000 in damage due to riots and sabotage. In the end 13 strikers lay dead and another 57 wounded.

At its conclusion the U.S. Army, with its court injunction, broke the blockade of trains in Lockwood, Montana, precipitating the end of the strike.

In the end the union was dissolved, the trains were moving, mail began to flow, the American Railway Union leader was imprisoned and American workers were given Labor Day as a national holiday six days following the collapse of the strike. 

Interesting to note, President Grover Cleveland, with the full support of Congress, unanimously voted to create the Labor Day holiday we celebrate today in a conciliatory gesture towards American Labor.

In its foundation, the national celebration of the holiday was to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations, with the Sunday before the Holiday a Labor Sunday, dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.”

So how does Freemasonry factor into the complex composition of the creation of this national Holiday?

The Masonic Connection

George Mortimer Pullman

As it turns out, the city of Pullman,and its parent company, the Pullman Palace Car Company, were founded by Freemason George Pullman, a member of Renovation Lodge No. 97, in Albion, New York.

Pullman established Pullman Palace Car Company in 1862 with the goal of building luxury train cars with all the amenities of the day. 

In support of his early factory, the Pullman Company constructed a company town, uniquely named Pullman, within which some 4,000 acres housed 6,000 company employees and their dependents, many of whom were at the center of the Pullman Strike and the creation of Labor Day. 

In one entry about the town, it is suggested that employees were required to live in the town even when cheaper housing was nearby.  Reading the Wikipedia entry on the Pullman Company, its easy to see today how the conflict of corporate and worker interest would conflict. It reads:

The company built a company town, Pullman, Illinois on 4,000 acres (16 km²), 14 mi (23 km) south of Chicago in 1880. The town, entirely company-owned, provided housing, markets, a library, churches and entertainment for the 6,000 company employees and an equal number of dependents. Employees were required to live in Pullman, despite the fact that cheaper rentals could be found in nearby communities. One employee is quoted as saying “We are born in a Pullman house, fed from the Pullman shops, taught in the Pullman school, catechized in the Pullman Church, and when we die we shall go to the Pullman Hell”. Alcohol was prohibited in the town, as George Pullman found it a distasteful habit for his workers; though it was available in the company’s Hotel Florence, primarily for the benefit of the hotel guests as it was generally too expensive for laborers.

Pullman, a member of Renovation Lodge No. 97, Albion, New York, in his construction of the city of Pullman converted the swampy southern Chicago landscape into a planned industrial town complete with facilities for a Masonic Temple. The temple housed Palace Lodge No. 765, A.F. & A.M., Pullman R.A.M. Chapter, and Woodlawn-Imperial R. & S.M. Council.

Such was Pullman’s association with Freemasonry that in 1894 he was given a Masonic Cornerstone laying ceremony in honor of his father, Lewis Pullman (also a Freemason), which hosted two hundred Masons from Albion, Medina, Holley, and Lockport who processed along the Main Street for the cornerstone ceremony at Pullman Memorial Universalist Church of Albion, New York, today part of the Unitarian Universalist tradition.

The Labor Connection

Eugene V. Debs

On the other side of the labor dispute was labor leader Eugene V. Debs.  Also a man of great passion, Debs was a man possessed with the welfare and well being of the worker who was greatly involved in the developing American labor movements making five runs for the White House under the Socialist Party, his 1912 run receiving 5.99% of the popular vote on a working man political ticket.  While not a Freemason, Debs was an interesting luminary becoming, the most well known socialist living in America.  As the organizer behind the Pullman Strike and boycott, Debs served a six month jail sentence for violating the federal injunction.

While Debs has no Masonic connection, what is interesting to note are his many associations that were grounded in the foundation of fraternal brotherhood namely in the trade unions which you can see carry the earmarks of that mystical chain of union in his  own motto of “Equality, fraternity and justice.” 

Personal ideals aside, Debs held memberships in several national unions including the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, Brotherhood of Railway Firemen, the Industrial Workers of the World, and, of course, the American Railway Union.  Through those affiliations, you can get a sense of his passion for epitomizing what it means to be in fellowship with those you are in union with.

Ultimately, Debs passion was the betterment of the working class based on fairness, the basis for which he found in his saying “Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most – that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least.”  This could, perhaps, summarize his involvement with the labor movements.  Today, Debs work is remembered through a Terre Haute Indiana foundation founded in his name, The Eugene V. Debs Foundation, whose mission is to “keep alive the spirit of progressivism, humanitarianism and social criticism epitomized by Debs.

From these two, Pullman and Debs, we can see parallels in passion for brotherhood and, while at odds with the promulgation of those passions, both at the nexus of recognizing the importance of Labor in America.  Pullman, a Freemason, saw at some level the importance of the spiritual need to belong to a fraternal chain of union and Debs the physical political manifestation of that ideal in the real life condition of workers in brotherhood raising the common lot of those whose blood and sweat continue to serve the growth of American prosperity.

From their intersection of history, the Pullman and Debs conflict gave us the Labor Day holiday so that while we take a much appreciated rest at the end of summer we can celebrate the esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations whose efforts have given us this day to be celebrated.

Happy Labor Day.