I recommend the following for your reading pleasure:
Bro. Washington on St. John's Day
‘The Persecution of Freemasonry’
4 days ago
That the Grand Lodge do constitute our worthy Brother, Joel R. Poinsett, the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, near the Republic of Mexico, the Agent and Representative of the Grand Lodge, for the purpose of establishing friendly relations with the Lodges of that Republic. That our said Representative be authorized, in the manner of the Grand Lodge, to visit and inspect the working of the said Lodges, and, if deemed expedient, to grant dispensations for the constituting and working of Lodges according to the ancient landmarks, as fixed by this Grand Lodge; with a request that he will communicate to the Grand Lodge such information and advice as will enable it to promote the cause of Masonry in that country.3There is, therefore, little doubt that the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina clearly desired to establish Lodges in Mexico. South Carolina, like several Grand Lodges of the time, had a history of establishing Lodges in territories not already occupied by another Grand Lodge. It had done so before in places such as Alabama and Cuba.4
and neither the Grand Lodge of South Carolina nor any other Grand Lodge had the right to intrude and interfere with the lawful sovereignty of the Grand Lodge of Mexico. The Grand Lodge of South Carolina certainly did not – it granted to one of its Past Officers, it is true, while it was ignorant of the real condition of affairs, the authority so to do, but we have no evidence that he ever availed himself of the authority, nor is it likely, with the knowledge he possessed of the condition of things, of which his superiors in South Carolina were ignorant, that he would commit so egregious an error as to interfere with the legally organized jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of a foreign country in which he was temporarily residing.6The story of Poinsett’s Masonic activities in Mexico does not end there. Mackey, referencing a pamphlet issued by a George Fisher in 1859 and entitled “Freemasonry in Mexico: It’s Origin, etc.: Illustrated by original documents not heretofore published,” claims that Poinsett was actually working as the proxy of the Grand Master of New York and, in 1825, obtained charters from New York for three Lodges in Mexico. Fisher, who Mackey reports to have been a Mason from California who was residing in Mexico in 1825, may have been in a position to be an accurate observer of the Masonic conditions in that country. Based on this information, Poinsett could possibly be considered as the man who brought Freemasonry to Mexico; not on behalf of his own Grand Lodge in South Carolina but on behalf of the one in New York.7
In the character of a Master Mason, you are authorized to correct the errors and irregularities of your uninformed brethren…From these excerpts, it is recognized that a Master Mason has certain responsibilities concerning uninformed Brethren. Maybe somewhat strangely, the Charge of a Master Mason does not identify who are considered the uninformed Brethren. It could possibly be argued that the uninformed are the Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts, but the charge does not specifically say that. If Master Masons are included as possible members of the group of the uninformed or less informed, however, then a contradiction of sorts appears.
…and by the regularity of your own behavior afford the best example for the conduct of others less informed.1
Such Masons are distinguished, not by the amount of knowledge that they possess, but by the number of jewels that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration, but not fifty cents for a book.2So what does an informed Master Mason have on his reading list? He can have many books but – in the Grand Jurisdiction of South Carolina – there is one book that he must have as his primary reference. It is the Ahiman Rezon which contains the Constitution and Code. He must also have that personal working knowledge of the rituals, which includes the lectures. If he has those two things, studies them, and understands them; then he very likely cannot be grouped with the uninformed Brethren. He will also be able to comply with his Master Mason’s Charge.
Often we hear that, as Masons, we should be good men, of good morals, etc – and that learning is not what makes us Masons. While this may be true – in that being a good man of good morals is the prerequisite for membership – it is not the Alpha and Omega of the Craft! If we look carefully at the Degrees, we will notice that the First Degree discusses the character of the member, but that the Second Degree urges the candidate to focus on learning the liberal arts and sciences. In some rituals this is more explicit than in others, but it's present in every single one. In order to become a Master Mason, one needs to be a Fellow Craft first. By just by being a good man – of good morals – he is merely qualifying himself to be an Entered Apprentice. Many Brethren choose to remain as Entered Apprentice Masons for their entire life and focus strictly on the goodness and the charity. There is nothing wrong with that and I congratulate them on their efforts as I understand that the Craft cannot function without them. Yet, if we want to fulfill our duties as Craftsmen, we need to devote to studying liberal arts and sciences. That includes studying Freemasonry – it being a very important Art and Science – but it does not end there. It is only after we have fulfilled our duties as Fellow Craft Masons that we can strive to become Masters of our Craft. We know what happened to those who tried to obtain the rank of a Master Mason without fulfilling the duties of a Craftsman first and we also know how that story ended. We are all Masons and, as long as we are good man with strong values and morals, that qualifies us to be here - but only as Entered Apprentice Masons. Going further in the Craft requires much more work than just "being."2I think I will let the above quote exist on its own for now. It says a lot.
II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES supreme and subordinate.On its surface, the Second Charge is rather specific. A Free Mason is not to plot or conspire against his nation. However, how would the likes of Brothers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington – the Charges having been around for some time by the beginning of the American Revolution – reconcile themselves to the possibility that they could honor the Second Charge and be involved in a revolution against Britain, which was their nation? It is possible that there is a loophole in the Charge and it is further possible that the American Masons who involved themselves in “plots and conspiracies” against Britain may have recognized it or have at least used it to justify their actions.
A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State he is not to be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.*
“I regard the non-affiliate, in most instances, as a parasite on the body of Masonry,” he said, “and is generally one who is wanting in appreciation of the true nature and purpose of the Order, and when admitted finds himself out of harmony with the whole trend of its teachings, or one who has sought admission from unworthy and improper motives….” What was to be the solution to the “bane of Masonry in the present age”? Bro. Dendy suggested that the Lodges take a more critical look at applicants for admission, “a more searching inquiry, not only as to the physical qualifications and moral fitness, but also as to the intellectual capacity of candidates to apprehend and appreciate the sublime teachings and mysteries of Free Masonry.” 11. Source: Cornwell, Ross & Willis, Samuel M. A History of Freemasonry in
Just before the union, Lodge No. 8, an Ancient York Lodge, expelled one of its members for having visited a Lodge of the Moderns, and although this might tend to prove that the Ancients sometimes visited the Moderns, it shows that such visitations were not considered as legal, and that of course there was no reciprocation on the part of the Ancient Yorks, who always strenuously refused to admit the Moderns to visit their Lodges.When Mackey referenced the union, he was referring to the Union of 1808 – sometimes called the First Union – which briefly united the two Grand Lodges. Mackey went on to state…
It must be confessed, however, the Modern Masons do not appear to have acted with the same scrupulous consistency, and it is possible, or even probable, that they sometimes admitted the Ancients to visit them. But this was certainly in violation of the regulations of their Grand Lodge, and the principles for which they contended when they declared the Ancient Masons to be irregular.Attempts to create a union between the two grand bodies began in 1807. In September 1808, both Grand Lodges adopted the Articles of Union and – on 17 December 1808 – they met in a joint communication to elect the officers of the “United Grand Lodge.” This united body was formally styled as the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. This First Union began to unravel the very next month – in January 1809. On 3 May 1809, the Ancient York Grand Lodge was revived and the First Union partially collapsed. In 1816, procedures were again put into motion with a goal of uniting the two Grand Lodges. On 26 December 1817, these efforts resulted in the Second Union – the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina – which exists to this day.
…those that believe all of the Masonic teachings are imparted by their initiations into the various degrees.The acceptance of these types of men into the Ancient Fraternity of Freemasonry does a disservice to the individual man by creating the false impression that he is something that – in all practicality – he is not. It also weakens his lodge and Freemasonry in general since he now has become an example to the profane world and to new Masons. Not all good men are capable of understanding Freemasonry and – therefore – not all good men should be made Masons.
Such Masons are distinguished, not by the amount of knowledge that they possess, but by the number of jewels that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration, but not fifty cents for a book.
These men do great injury to Masonry. They have been called its drones. But they are more than that. They are the wasps, the deadly enemy of the industrious bees. They set a bad example to the younger Masons – they discourage the growth of masonic literature – they drive the intellectual men, who would be willing to cultivate masonic science, into other fields of labor – they depress the energies of our writers – and they debase the character of Speculative Masonry as a branch of mental and moral philosophy.
The Masons who do not read will know nothing of the interior beauties of Speculative Masonry, but will be content to suppose it to be something like Odd Fellows, or the Order of the Knights of Pythias – only, perhaps, a little older. Such a Mason must be an indifferent one. He has laid no foundation for zeal.
If this indifference, instead of being checked, becomes more widely spread, the result is too apparent. Freemasonry must step down from the elevated position which she has been struggling, through the efforts of her scholars, to maintain, and our lodges, instead of becoming resorts for speculative and philosophical thought, will deteriorate into social clubs or mere benefit societies.1
In a few minutes after my line halted, the enemy advanced across the wheat-field in two lines of battle, with a very small interval between the lines, in such a manner as to take the Seventh South Carolina in flank. I changed the direction of the right wing of the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel [Elbert] Bland, to meet the attack, and hurried back to General Semmes, then some 150 yards in my right rear, to bring him up to meet the attack on my right, and also to bring forward my right regiment (Fifteenth South Carolina, Colonel De Saussure), which, separated from the command by the artillery at the time of the advance, was now cut off by Semmes' brigade. Its gallant and accomplished commander had just fallen when I reached it, and it was under the command of Major [William M.] Gist. General Semmes promptly responded to my call, and put his brigade in motion toward the right, preparatory to moving to the front. I hastened back to the Seventh Regiment, and reached it just as the enemy, having arrived at a point about 200 yards from us, poured in a volley and advanced to the charge. The Seventh received him handsomely, and long kept him in check in their front. One regiment of Semmes' brigade came at a double-quick as far as the ravine in our rear, and for a time checked him in their front. There was still an interval of 100 yards between this regiment and the right of the Seventh, and into this the enemy was forcing his way, causing the Seventh to swing back more and more, still fighting at a distance not exceeding 30 paces, until the two wings were doubled on each other, or nearly so.The observant reader will notice the names of relatives of Generals Gist and Desaussure in Kershaw’s report. Kershaw was not always the producer of detailed battle reports, however, and he incurred the wrath of General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard early on in the war. Author Larry Tagg wrote,
-- Kershaw irritated commanding general Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard by writing a self-promoting article for a South Carolina newspaper. Beauregard later referred to him as “that militia idiot.” After Beauregard was transferred away from the Virginia army, Kershaw took command of a brigade in January 1862 when its previous commander, Brig. Gen. Milledge Bonham, resigned in a huff over a seniority dispute. Two weeks later Kershaw was promoted to brigadier general.It seems that Kershaw learned his lesson well. Kershaw would go on to command a division and achieve the rank of Major General before being captured at Saylor’s Creek, Virginia, three days before General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House. Kershaw is undoubtedly one of the few Confederate Generals to see the beginning and the end of the War Between the States.
Worshipful - British. a formal title of honor used in announcing or mentioning certain highly regarded or respected persons or groups. Source: Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/worshipful (accessed: September 27, 2009).Freemasonry is not a religion and it never has been. Seekers of truth or knowledge – as Freemasons are – know this fact. However, there is a much more sinister group than the folks that dislike Freemasonry simply out of ignorance. The second group consists of the dictators, tyrants, and extremists of the world. Here one finds the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Franco, and Ahmadinejad.