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The Principles of Masonic Law by Albert G. Mackey

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officers, or of the right to hold office, will be freely admitted. But the
words of the old regulation seem expressly, and without equivocation, to
require that _every member present_ shall vote. The candidate shall only
be admitted "by the unanimous consent of all the members of that lodge
then present when the candidate is proposed." This right of the members to
elect or reject their candidates is subsequently called "an inherent
privilege," which is not subject to a dispensation. The words are
explicit, and the right appears to be one guaranteed to every member so
long as he continues a member, and of which no bye-law can divest him as
long as the paramount authority of the Thirty-nine General Regulations is
admitted. I should say, then, that every member of a lodge present at
balloting for a candidate has a right to deposit his vote; and not only a
right, but a duty which he is to be compelled to perform; since, without
the unanimous consent of all present, there can be no election.

Our written laws are altogether silent as to the peculiar ceremonies which
are to accompany the act of balloting, which has therefore been generally
directed by the local usage of different jurisdictions. Uniformity,
however, in this, as in all other ritual observances, is to be commended,
and I shall accordingly here describe the method which I have myself
preferred and practised in balloting for candidates, and which is the
custom adopted in the jurisdiction of South Carolina.[70]

The committee of investigation having reported favorably, the Master of
the lodge directs the Senior Deacon to prepare the ballot box. The mode in
which this is accomplished is as follows:--The Senior Deacon takes the
ballot box, and, opening it, places all the white and black balls
indiscriminately in one compartment, leaving the other entirely empty. He
then proceeds with the box to the Junior and Senior Wardens, who satisfy
themselves by an inspection that no ball has been left in the compartment
in which the votes are to be deposited. I remark here, in passing, that
the box, in this and the other instance to be referred to hereafter, is
presented to the inferior officer first, and then to his superior, that
the examination and decision of the former may be substantiated and
confirmed by the higher authority of the latter. Let it, indeed, be
remembered, that in all such cases the usage of masonic _circumambulation_
is to be observed, and that, therefore, we must first pass the Junior's
station before we can get to that of the Senior Warden.

These officers having thus satisfied themselves that the box is in a
proper condition for the reception of the ballots, it is then placed upon
the altar by the Senior Deacon, who retires to his seat. The Master then
directs the Secretary to call the roll, which is done by commencing with
the Worshipful Master, and proceeding through all the officers down to the
youngest member. As a matter of convenience, the Secretary generally votes
the last of those in the room, and then, if the Tiler is a member of the
lodge, he is called in, while the Junior Deacon tiles for him, and the
name of the applicant having been told him, he is directed to deposit his
ballot, which he does, and then retires.

As the name of each officer and member is called he approaches the altar,
and having made the proper masonic salutation to the Chair, he deposits
his ballot and retires to his seat. The roll should be called slowly, so
that at no time should there be more than one person present at the box;
for, the great object of the ballot being secrecy, no Brother should be
permitted so near the member voting as to distinguish the color of the
ball he deposits.

The box is placed on the altar, and the ballot is deposited with the
solemnity of a masonic salutation, that the voters may be duly impressed
with the sacred and responsible nature of the duty they are called on to
discharge. The system of voting thus described, is, therefore, far better
on this account than the one sometimes adopted in lodges, of handing round
the box for the members to deposit their ballots from their seats

The Master having inquired of the Wardens if all have voted, then orders
the Senior Deacon to "take charge of the ballot box." That officer
accordingly repairs to the altar, and taking possession of the box,
carries it, as before, to the Junior Warden, who examines the ballot, and
reports, if all the balls are white, that "the box is clear in the South,"
or, if there is one or more black balls, that "the box is foul in the
South." The Deacon then carries it to the Senior Warden, and afterwards to
the Master, who, of course, make the same report, according to the
circumstances, with the necessary verbal variation of "West" and "East."

If the box is _clear_--that is, if all the ballots are white--the Master
then announces that the applicant has been duly elected, and the Secretary
makes a record of the fact.

But if the box is declared to be _foul_, the Master inspects the number
of black balls; if he finds two, he declares the candidate to be rejected;
if only one, he so states the fact to the lodge, and orders the Senior
Deacon again to prepare the ballot box, and a second ballot is taken in
the same way. This is done lest a black ball might have been inadvertently
voted on the first ballot. If, on the second scrutiny, one black ball is
again found, the fact is announced by the Master, who orders the election
to lie over until the next stated meeting, and requests the Brother who
deposited the black ball to call upon him and state his reasons. At the
next stated meeting the Master announces these reasons to the lodge, if
any have been made known to him, concealing, of course, the name of the
objecting Brother. At this time the validity or truth of the objections
may be discussed, and the friends of the applicant will have an
opportunity of offering any defense or explanation. The ballot is then
taken a third time, and the result, whatever it may be, is final. As I
have already observed, in most of the lodges of this country, a
reappearance of the one black ball will amount to a rejection. In those
lodges which do not require unanimity, it will, of course, be necessary
that the requisite number of black balls must be deposited on this third
ballot to insure a rejection. But if, on inspection, the box is found to
be "clear," or without a black ball, the candidate is, of course, declared
to be elected. In any case, the result of the third ballot is final, nor
can it be set aside or reversed by the action of the Grand Master or Grand
Lodge; because, by the sixth General Regulation, already so frequently
cited, the members of every particular lodge are the best judges of the
qualifications of their candidates; and, to use the language of the
Regulation, "if a fractious member should be imposed on them, it might
spoil their harmony, or hinder their freedom, or even break and disperse
the lodge."

Section VII.

_Of the Reconsideration of the Ballot._

There are, unfortunately, some men in our Order, governed, not by
essentially bad motives, but by frail judgments and by total ignorance of
the true object and design of Freemasonry, who never, under any
circumstances, have recourse to the black ball, that great bulwark of
Masonry, and are always more or less incensed when any more judicious
Brother exercises his privilege of excluding those whom he thinks unworthy
of participation in our mysteries.

I have said, that these men are not governed by motives essentially bad.
This is the fact. They honestly desire the prosperity of the institution,
and they would not willfully do one act which would impede that
prosperity. But their judgments are weak, and their zeal is without
knowledge. They do not at all understand in what the true prosperity of
the Order consists, but really and conscientiously believing that its
actual strength will be promoted by the increase of the number of its
disciples; they look rather to the _quantity_ than to the _quality_ of the
applicants who knock at the doors of our lodges.

Now a great difference in respect to the mode in which the ballot is
conducted, will be found in those lodges which are free from the presence
of such injudicious brethren, and others into which they have gained

In a lodge in which every member has a correct notion of the proper moral
qualifications of the candidates for Masonry, and where there is a general
disposition to work well with a few, rather than to work badly with many,
when a ballot is ordered, each Brother, having deposited his vote,
quietly and calmly waits to hear the decision of the ballot box announced
by the Chair. If it is "clear," all are pleased that another citizen has
been found worthy to receive a portion of the illuminating rays of
Masonry. If it is "foul," each one is satisfied with the adjudication, and
rejoices that, although knowing nothing himself against the candidate,
some one has been present whom a more intimate acquaintance with the
character of the applicant has enabled to interpose his veto, and prevent
the purity of the Order from being sullied by the admission of an unworthy
candidate. Here the matter ends, and the lodge proceeds to other business.

But in a lodge where one of these injudicious and over-zealous Brethren is
present, how different is the scene. If the candidate is elected, he, too,
rejoices; but his joy is, that the lodge has gained one more member whose
annual dues and whose initiation fee will augment the amount of its
revenues. If he is rejected, he is indignant that the lodge has been
deprived of this pecuniary accession, and forthwith he sets to work to
reverse, if possible, the decision of the ballot box, and by a volunteer
defense of the rejected candidate, and violent denunciations of those who
opposed him, he seeks to alarm the timid and disgust the intelligent, so
that, on a _reconsideration_, they may be induced to withdraw their

The _motion for reconsideration_ is, then, the means generally adopted, by
such seekers after quantity, to insure the success of their efforts to
bring all into our fold who seek admission, irrespective of worth or
qualification. In other words, we may say, that _the motion for
reconsideration is the great antagonist of the purity and security of the
ballot box_. The importance, then, of the position which it thus assumes,
demands a brief discussion of the time and mode in which a ballot may be

In the beginning of the discussion, it may be asserted, that it is
competent for any brother to move a reconsideration of a ballot, or for a
lodge to vote on such a motion. The ballot is a part of the work of
initiating a candidate. It is the preparatory step, and is just as
necessary to his legal making as the obligation or the investiture. As
such, then, it is clearly entirely under the control of the Master. The
Constitutions of Masonry and the Rules and Regulations of every Grand and
Subordinate lodge prescribe the mode in which the ballot shall be
conducted, so that the sense of the members may be taken. The Grand Lodge
also requires that the Master of the lodge shall see that that exact mode
of ballot shall be pursued and no other, and it will hold him responsible
that there shall be no violation of the rule. If, then, the Master is
satisfied that the ballot has been regularly and correctly conducted, and
that no possible good, but some probable evil, would arise from its
reconsideration, it is not only competent for him, but it is his solemn
duty to refuse to permit any such reconsideration. A motion to that
effect, it may be observed, will always be out of order, although any
Brother may respectfully request the Worshipful Master to order such a
reconsideration, or suggest to him its propriety or expediency.

If, however, the Master is not satisfied that the ballot is a true
indication of the sense of the lodge, he may, in his own discretion, order
a reconsideration. Thus there may be but one black ball;--now a single
black ball may sometimes be inadvertently cast--the member voting it may
have been favorably disposed towards the candidate, and yet, from the
hurry and confusion of voting, or from the dimness of the light or the
infirmity of his own eyes, or from some other equally natural cause, he
may have selected a black ball, when he intended to have taken a white
one. It is, therefore, a matter of prudence and necessary caution, that,
when only one black ball appears, the Master should order a new ballot. On
this second ballot, it is to be presumed that more care and vigilance will
be used, and the reappearance of the black ball will then show that it was
deposited designedly.

But where two or three or more black balls appear on the first ballot,
such a course of reasoning is not authorized, and the Master will then be
right to refuse a reconsideration. The ballot has then been regularly
taken--the lodge has emphatically decided for a rejection, and any order
to renew the ballot would only be an insult to those who opposed the
admission of the applicant, and an indirect attempt to thrust an unwelcome
intruder upon the lodge.

But although it is in the power of the Master, under the circumstances
which we have described, to order a reconsideration, yet this prerogative
is accompanied with certain restrictions, which it may be well to notice.

In the first place, the Master cannot order a reconsideration on any other
night than that on which the original ballot was taken.[71] After the
lodge is closed, the decision of the ballot is final, and there is no
human authority that can reverse it. The reason of this rule is evident.
If it were otherwise, an unworthy Master (for, unfortunately, all Masters
are not worthy) might on any subsequent evening avail himself of the
absence of those who had voted black balls, to order a reconsideration,
and thus succeed in introducing an unfit and rejected candidate into the
lodge, contrary to the wishes of a portion of its members.

Neither can he order a reconsideration on the same night, if any of the
Brethren who voted have retired. All who expressed their opinion on the
first ballot, must be present to express it on the second. The reasons for
this restriction are as evident as for the former, and are of the same

It must be understood, that I do not here refer to those reconsiderations
of the ballot which are necessary to a full understanding of the opinion
of the lodge, and which have been detailed in the ceremonial of the mode
of balloting, as it was described in the preceding Section.

It may be asked whether the Grand Master cannot, by his dispensations,
permit a reconsideration. I answer emphatically, NO. The Grand Master
possesses no such prerogative. There is no law in the whole jurisprudence
of the institution clearer than this--that neither the Grand Lodge nor the
Grand Master can interfere with the decision of the ballot box. In
Anderson's Constitutions, the law is laid down, under the head of "Duty of
Members" (edition of 1755, p. 312), that in the election of candidates the
Brethren "are to give their consent in their own prudent way, either
virtually or in form, but with unanimity." And the regulation goes on to
say: "Nor is this inherent privilege _subject to a dispensation_, because
the members of a lodge are the best judges of it; and because, if a
turbulent member should be imposed upon them, it might spoil their
harmony, or hinder the freedom of their communications, or even break and
disperse the lodge." This settles the question. A dispensation to
reconsider a ballot would be an interference with the right of the members
"to give their consent in their own prudent way;" it would be an
infringement of an "inherent privilege," and neither the Grand Lodge nor
the Grand Master can issue a dispensation for such a purpose. Every lodge
must be left to manage its own elections of candidates in its own prudent

I conclude this section by a summary of the principles which have been
discussed, and which I have endeavored to enforce by a process of
reasoning which I trust may be deemed sufficiently convincing. They are
briefly these:

1. It is never in order for a member to move for the reconsideration of a
ballot on the petition of a candidate for initiation, nor for a lodge to
entertain such a motion.

2. The Master alone can, for reasons satisfactory to himself, order such a

3. The Master cannot order a reconsideration on any subsequent night, nor
on the same night, after any member, who was present and voted, has

4. The Grand Master cannot grant a dispensation for a reconsideration, nor
in any other way interfere with the ballot. The same restriction applies
to the Grand Lodge.

Section VIII.

_Of the Renewal of Applications by Rejected Candidates._

As it is apparent from the last section that there can be no
reconsideration by a lodge of a rejected petition, the question will
naturally arise, how an error committed by a lodge, in the rejection of a
worthy applicant, is to be corrected, or how such a candidate, when once
rejected, is ever to make a second trial, for it is, of course, admitted,
that circumstances may occur in which a candidate who had been once
blackballed might, on a renewal of his petition, be found worthy of
admission. He may have since reformed and abandoned the vicious habits
which caused his first rejection, or it may have been since discovered
that that rejection was unjust. How, then, is such a candidate to make a
new application?

It is a rule of universal application in Masonry, that no candidate,
having been once rejected, can apply to any other lodge for admission,
except to the one which rejected him. Under this regulation the course of
a second application is as follows:

Some Grand Lodges have prescribed that, when a candidate has been
rejected, it shall not be competent for him to apply within a year, six
months, or some other definite period. This is altogether a local
regulation--there is no such law in the Ancient Constitutions--and
therefore, where the regulations of the Grand Lodge of the jurisdiction
are silent upon the subject, general principles direct the following as
the proper course for a rejected candidate to pursue on a second
application. He must send in a new letter, recommended and vouched for as
before, either by the same or other Brethren--it must be again referred to
a committee--lie over for a month--and the ballot be then taken as is
usual in other cases. It must be treated in all respects as an entirely
new petition, altogether irrespective of the fact that the same person had
ever before made an application. In this way due notice will be given to
the Brethren, and all possibility of an unfair election will be avoided.

If the local regulations are silent upon the subject, the second
application may be made at any time after the rejection of the first, all
that is necessary being, that the second application should pass through
the same ordeal and be governed by the same rules that prevail in relation
to an original application.

Section IX.

_Of the necessary Probation and due Proficiency of Candidates before

There is, perhaps, no part of the jurisprudence of Masonry which it is
more necessary strictly to observe than that which relates to the
advancement of candidates through the several degrees. The method which is
adopted in passing Apprentices and raising Fellow Crafts--the probation
which they are required to serve in each degree before advancing to a
higher--and the instructions which they receive in their progress, often
materially affect the estimation which is entertained of the institution
by its initiates. The candidate who long remains at the porch of the
temple, and lingers in the middle chamber, noting everything worthy of
observation in his passage to the holy of holies, while he better
understands the nature of the profession upon which he has entered, will
have a more exalted opinion of its beauties and excellencies than he who
has advanced, with all the rapidity that dispensations can furnish, from
the lowest to the highest grades of the Order. In the former case, the
design, the symbolism, the history, and the moral and philosophical
bearing of each degree will be indelibly impressed upon the mind, and the
appositeness of what has gone before to what is to succeed will be readily
appreciated; but, in the latter, the lessons of one hour will be
obliterated by those of the succeeding one; that which has been learned in
one degree, will be forgotten in the next; and when all is completed, and
the last instructions have been imparted, the dissatisfied neophyte will
find his mind, in all that relates to Masonry, in a state of chaotic
confusion. Like Cassio, he will remember "a mass of things, but nothing

An hundred years ago it was said that "Masonry was a progressive science,
and not to be attained in any degree of perfection, but by time, patience,
and a considerable degree of application and industry."[72] And it is
because that due proportion of time, patience and application, has not
been observed, that we so often see Masons indifferent to the claims of
the institution, and totally unable to discern its true character. The
arcana of the craft, as Dr. Harris remarks, should be gradually imparted
to its members, according to their improvement.

There is no regulation of our Order more frequently repeated in our
constitutions, nor one which should be more rigidly observed, than that
which requires of every candidate a "suitable proficiency" in one degree,
before he is permitted to pass to another. But as this regulation is too
often neglected, to the manifest injury of the whole Order, as well as of
the particular lodge which violates it, by the introduction of ignorant
and unskillful workmen into the temple, it may be worth the labor we shall
spend upon the subject, to investigate some of the authorities which
support us in the declaration, that no candidate should be promoted,
until, by a due probation, he has made "suitable proficiency in the
preceding degree."

In one of the earliest series of regulations that have been
preserved--made in the reign of Edward III., it was ordained, "that such
as were to be admitted Master Masons, or Masters of work, should be
examined whether they be able of cunning to serve their respective Lords,
as well the lowest as the highest, to the honor and worship of the
aforesaid art, and to the profit of their Lords."

Here, then, we may see the origin of that usage, which is still practiced
in every well governed lodge, not only of demanding a proper degree of
proficiency in the candidate, but also of testing that proficiency by an

This cautious and honest fear of the fraternity, lest any Brother should
assume the duties of a position which he could not faithfully discharge,
and which is, in our time, tantamount to a candidate's advancing to a
degree for which he is not prepared, is again exhibited in the charges
enacted in the reign of James II., the manuscript of which was preserved
in the archives of the Lodge of Antiquity in London. In these charges it
is required, "that no Mason take on no lord's worke, nor any other man's,
unless he know himselfe well able to perform the worke, so that the craft
have no slander." In the same charges, it is prescribed that "no master,
or fellow, shall take no apprentice for less than seven years."

In another series of charges, whose exact date is not ascertained, but
whose language and orthography indicate their antiquity, it is said: "Ye
shall ordain the wisest to be Master of the work; and neither for love nor
lineage, riches nor favor, set one over the work[73] who hath but little
knowledge, whereby the Master would be evil served, and ye ashamed."

These charges clearly show the great stress that was placed by our ancient
Brethren upon the necessity of skill and proficiency, and they have
furnished the precedents upon which are based all the similar regulations
that have been subsequently applied to Speculative Masonry.

In the year 1722, the Grand Lodge of England ordered the "Old Charges of
the Free and Accepted Masons" to be collected from the ancient records,
and, having approved of them, they became a part of the Constitutions of
Speculative Freemasonry. In these Charges, it is ordained that "a younger
Brother shall be instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the materials
for want of judgment, and for increasing and continuing of brotherly

Subsequently, in 1767, it was declared by the Grand Lodge, that "no lodge
shall be permitted to make and raise the same Brother, at one and the same
meeting, without a dispensation from the Grand Master, or his Deputy;"
and, lest too frequent advantage should be taken of this power of
dispensation, to hurry candidates through the degrees, it is added that
the dispensation, "_on very particular occasions only_, may be

The Grand Lodge of England afterwards found it necessary to be more
explicit on this subject, and the regulation of that body is now contained
in the following language:

"No candidate shall be permitted to receive more than one degree on the
same day, nor shall a higher degree in Masonry be conferred on any Brother
at a less interval than four weeks from his receiving a previous degree,
nor until he has passed an examination in open lodge in that degree."[74]

This seems to be the recognized principle on which the fraternity are, at
this day, acting in this country. The rule is, perhaps, sometimes, and in
some places, in abeyance. A few lodges, from an impolitic desire to
increase their numerical strength, or rapidly to advance men of worldly
wealth or influence to high stations in the Order, may infringe it, and
neglect to demand of their candidates that suitable proficiency which
ought to be, in Masonry, an essential recommendation to promotion; but the
great doctrine that each degree should be well studied, and the candidate
prove his proficiency in it by an examination, has been uniformly set
forth by the Grand Lodge of the United States, whenever they have
expressed an opinion on the subject.

Thus, for instance, in 1845, the late Bro. A.A. Robertson, Grand Master of
New York, gave utterance to the following opinion, in his annual address
to the intelligent body over which he presided:

"The practice of examining candidates in the prior degrees, before
admission to the higher, in order to ascertain their proficiency, is
gaining the favorable notice of Masters of lodges, and cannot be too
highly valued, nor too strongly recommended to all lodges in this
jurisdiction. It necessarily requires the novitiate to reflect upon the
bearing of all that has been so far taught him, and consequently to
impress upon his mind the beauty and utility of those sublime truths,
which have been illustrated in the course of the ceremonies he has
witnessed in his progress in the mystic art. In a word, it will be the
means of making competent overseers of the work--and no candidate should
be advanced, until he has satisfied the lodge, by such examination, that
he has made the necessary proficiency in the lower degrees."[75]

In 1845, the Grand Lodge of Iowa issued a circular to her subordinates,
in which she gave the following admonition:

"To guard against hasty and improper work, she prohibits a candidate from
being advanced till he has made satisfactory proficiency in the preceding
degrees, by informing himself of the lectures pertaining thereto; and to
suffer a candidate to proceed who is ignorant in this essential
particular, is calculated in a high degree to injure the institution and
retard its usefulness."

The Grand Lodge of Illinois has practically declared its adhesion to the
ancient regulation; for, in the year 1843, the dispensation of Nauvoo
Lodge, one of its subordinates, was revoked principally on the ground that
she was guilty "of pushing the candidate through the second and third
degrees, before he could possibly be skilled in the preceding degree." And
the committee who recommended the revocation, very justly remarked that
they were not sure that any length of probation would in all cases insure
skill, but they were certain that the ancient landmarks of the Order
required that the lodge should know that the candidate is well skilled in
one degree before being admitted to another.

The Grand Lodges of Massachusetts and South Carolina have adopted, almost
in the precise words, the regulation of the Grand Lodge of England,
already cited, which requires an interval of one month to elapse between
the conferring of degrees. The Grand Lodge of New Hampshire requires a
greater probation for its candidates; its constitution prescribes the
following regulation: "All Entered Apprentices must work five months as
such, before they can be admitted to the degree of Fellow Craft. All
Fellow Crafts must work in a lodge of Fellow Crafts three months, before
they can be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Provided,
nevertheless, that if any Entered Apprentice, or Fellow Craft, shall make
himself thoroughly acquainted with all the information belonging to his
degree, he may be advanced at an earlier period, at the discretion of the

But, perhaps, the most stringent rule upon this subject, is that which
exists in the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Hanover, which is in the
following words:

"No Brother can be elected an officer of a lodge until he has been three
years a Master Mason. A Fellow Craft must work at least one year in that
degree, before he can be admitted to the third degree. An Entered
Apprentice must remain at least two years in that degree."

It seems unnecessary to extend these citations. The existence of the
regulation, which requires a necessary probation in candidates, until due
proficiency is obtained, is universally admitted. The ancient
constitutions repeatedly assert it, and it has received the subsequent
sanction of innumerable Masonic authorities. But, unfortunately, the
practice is not always in accordance with the rule. And, hence, the object
of this article is not so much to demonstrate the existence of the law, as
to urge upon our readers the necessity of a strict adherence to it. There
is no greater injury which can be inflicted on the Masonic Order (the
admission of immoral persons excepted), than that of hurrying candidates
through the several degrees. Injustice is done to the institution, whose
peculiar principles and excellencies are never properly presented--and
irreparable injury to the candidate, who, acquiring no fair appreciation
of the ceremonies through which he rapidly passes, or of the instructions
which he scarcely hears, is filled either with an indifference that never
afterwards can be warmed into zeal, or with a disgust that can never be
changed into esteem. Masonry is betrayed in such an instance by its
friends, and often loses the influence of an intelligent member, who, if
he had been properly instructed, might have become one of its warmest and
most steadfast advocates.

This subject is so important, that I will not hesitate to add to the
influence of these opinions the great sanction of Preston's authority.

"Many persons," says that able philosopher of Masonry, "are deluded by the
vague supposition that our mysteries are merely nominal; that the
practices established among us are frivolous, and that our ceremonies may
be adopted, or waived at pleasure. On this false foundation, we find them
hurrying through all the degrees of the Order, without adverting to the
propriety of one step they pursue, or possessing a single qualification
requisite for advancement. Passing through the usual formalities, they
consider themselves entitled to rank as masters of the art, solicit and
accept offices, and assume the government of the lodge, equally
unacquainted with the rules of the institution they pretend to support, or
the nature of the trust they engage to perform. The consequence is
obvious; anarchy and confusion ensue, and the substance is lost in the
shadow. Hence men eminent for ability, rank, and fortune, are often led to
view the honors of Masonry with such indifference, that when their
patronage is solicited, they either accept offices with reluctance, or
reject them with disdain."[76]

Let, then, no lodge which values its own usefulness, or the character of
our institution, admit any candidate to a higher degree, until he has made
suitable proficiency in the preceding one, to be always tested by a strict
examination in open lodge. Nor can it do so, without a palpable violation
of the laws of Masonry.

Section X.

_Of Balloting for Candidates in each Degree._

Although there is no law, in the Ancient Constitutions, which in express
words requires a ballot for candidates in each degree, yet the whole tenor
and spirit of these constitutions seem to indicate that there should be
recourse to such a ballot. The constant reference, in the numerous
passages which were cited in the preceding Section, to the necessity of
an examination into the proficiency of those who sought advancement, would
necessarily appear to imply that a vote of the lodge must be taken on the
question of this proficiency. Accordingly, modern Grand Lodges have
generally, by special enactment, required a ballot to be taken on the
application of an Apprentice or Fellow Craft for advancement, and where no
such regulation has been explicitly laid down, the almost constant usage
of the craft has been in favor of such ballot.

The Ancient Constitutions having been silent on the subject of the letter
of the law, local usage or regulations must necessarily supply the
specific rule.

Where not otherwise provided by the Constitutions of a Grand Lodge or the
bye-laws of a subordinate lodge, analogy would instruct us that the
ballot, on the application of Apprentices or Fellow Crafts for
advancement, should be governed by the same principles that regulate the
ballot on petitions for initiation.

Of course, then, the vote should be unanimous: for I see no reason why a
lodge of Fellow Crafts should be less guarded in its admission of
Apprentices, than a lodge of Apprentices is in its admission of profanes.

Again, the ballot should take place at a stated meeting, so that every
member may have "due and timely notice," and be prepared to exercise his
"inherent privilege" of granting or withholding his consent; for it must
be remembered that the man who was worthy or supposed to be so, when
initiated as an Entered Apprentice, may prove to be unworthy when he
applies to pass as a Fellow Graft, and every member should, therefore,
have the means and opportunity of passing his judgment on that worthiness
or unworthiness.

If the candidate for advancement has been rejected once, he may again
apply, if there is no local regulation to the contrary. But, in such a
case, due notice should be given to all the members, which is best done by
making the application at one regular meeting, and voting for it on the
next. This, however, I suppose to be only necessary in the case of a
renewed application after a rejection. An Entered Apprentice or a Fellow
Craft is entitled after due probation to make his application for
advancement; and his first application may be balloted for on the same
evening, provided it be a regular meeting of the lodge. The members are
supposed to know what work is before them to do, and should be there to
do it.

But the case is otherwise whenever a candidate for advancement has been
rejected. He has now been set aside by the lodge, and no time is laid down
in the regulations or usages of the craft for his making a second
application. He may never do so, or he may in three months, in a year, or
in five years. The members are, therefore, no more prepared to expect this
renewed application at any particular meeting of the lodge, than they are
to anticipate any entirely new petition of a profane. If, therefore, the
second application is not made at one regular meeting and laid over to the
next, the possibility is that the lodge may be taken by surprise, and in
the words of the old Regulation, "a turbulent member may be imposed on

The inexpediency of any other course may be readily seen, from a
suppositions case. We will assume that in a certain lodge, A, who is a
Fellow Craft, applies regularly for advancement to the third degree. On
this occasion, for good and sufficient reasons, two of the members, B and
C, express their dissent by depositing black balls. His application to be
raised is consequently rejected, and he remains a Fellow Graft. Two or
three meetings of the lodge pass over, and at each, B and C are present;
but, at the fourth meeting, circumstances compel their absence, and the
friends of A, taking advantage of that occurrence, again propose him for
advancement; the ballot is forthwith taken, and he is elected and raised
on the same evening. The injustice of this course to B and C, and the evil
to the lodge and the whole fraternity, in this imposition of one who is
probably an unworthy person, will be apparent to every intelligent and
right-minded Mason.

I do not, however, believe that a candidate should be rejected, on his
application for advancement, in consequence of objections to his moral
worth and character. In such a case, the proper course would be to prefer
charges, to try him as an Apprentice or Fellow Craft; and, if found
guilty, to suspend, expel, or otherwise appropriately punish him. The
applicant as well as the Order is, in such a case, entitled to a fair
trial. Want of proficiency, or a mental or physical disqualification
acquired since the reception of the preceding degree, is alone a
legitimate cause for an estoppal of advancement by the ballot. But this
subject will be treated of further in the chapter on the rights of Entered

Section XI.

_Of the Number to be Initiated at one Communication._

The fourth General Regulation decrees that "no Lodge shall make more than
five new Brothers at one time." This regulation has been universally
interpreted (and with great propriety) to mean that not more than five
degrees can be conferred at the same communication.

This regulation is, however, subject to dispensation by the Grand Master,
or Presiding Grand Officer, in which case the number to be initiated,
passed, or raised, will be restricted only by the words of the

The following, or fifth General Regulation, says that "no man can be made
or admitted a member of a particular lodge, without previous notice, one
month before, given to the same lodge."

Now, as a profane cannot be admitted an Entered Apprentice, or in other
words, a member of an Entered Apprentices' lodge, unless after one month's
notice, so it follows that an Apprentice cannot be admitted a member of a
Fellow Crafts' lodge, nor a Fellow Craft of a Masters', without the like
probation. For the words of the regulation which apply to one, will
equally apply to the others. And hence we derive the law, that a month at
least must always intervene between the reception of one degree and the
advancement to another. But this rule is also subject to a dispensation.

Section XII.

_Of Finishing the Candidates of one Lodge in another._

It is an ancient and universal regulation, that no lodge shall interfere
with the work of another by initiating its candidates, or passing or
raising its Apprentices and Fellow Crafts. Every lodge is supposed to be
competent to manage its own business, and ought to be the best judge of
the qualifications of its own members, and hence it would be highly
improper in any lodge to confer a degree on a Brother who is not of its

This regulation is derived from a provision in the Ancient Charges, which
have very properly been supposed to contain the fundamental law of
Masonry, and which prescribes the principle of the rule in the following
symbolical language:

"None shall discover envy at the prosperity of a Brother, nor supplant him
or put him out of his work, if he be capable to finish the same; for no
man can finish another's work, so much to the Lord's profit, unless he be
thoroughly acquainted with the designs and draughts of him that began it."

There is, however, a case in which one lodge may, by consent, legally
finish the work of another. Let us suppose that a candidate has been
initiated in a lodge at A----, and, before he receives his second degree,
removes to B----, and that being, by the urgency of his business, unable
either to postpone his departure from A----, until he has been passed and
raised, or to return for the purpose of his receiving his second and third
degrees, then it is competent for the lodge at A---- to grant permission
to the lodge at B---- to confer them on the candidate.

But how shall this permission be given--by a unanimous vote, or merely by
a vote of the majority of the members at A----? Here it seems to me that,
so far as regards the lodge at A----, the reasons for unanimity no longer
exist. There is here no danger that a "fractious member will be imposed on
them," as the candidate, when finished, will become a member of the lodge
at B----. The question of consent is simply in the nature of a
resolution, and may be determined by the assenting votes of a majority of
the members at A---. It is, however, to be understood, that if any Brother
believes that the candidate is unworthy, from character, of further
advancement, he may suspend the question of consent, by preferring charges
against him. If this is not done, and the consent of the lodge is
obtained, that the candidate may apply to the lodge at B---, then when his
petition is read in that lodge, it must, of course, pass through the usual
ordeal of a month's probation, and a unanimous vote; for here the old
reasons for unanimity once more prevail.

I know of no ancient written law upon this subject, but it seems to me
that the course I have described is the only one that could be suggested
by analogy and common sense.

Section XIII.

_Of the Initiation of Non-residents._

The subject of this section is naturally divided into two
branches:--First, as to the initiation by a lodge of a candidate, who,
residing in the same State or Grand Lodge jurisdiction, is still not an
inhabitant of the town in which the lodge to which he applies is
situated, but resides nearer to some other lodge; and, secondly, as to the
initiation of a stranger, whose residence is in another State, or under
the jurisdiction of another Grand Lodge.

1. The first of these divisions presents a question which is easily
answered. Although I can find no ancient regulation on this subject,
still, by the concurrent authority of all Grand Lodges in this country, at
least, (for the Grand Lodge of England has no such provision in its
Constitution,) every lodge is forbidden to initiate any person whose
residence is nearer to any other lodge. If, however, such an initiation
should take place, although the lodge would be censurable for its
violation of the regulations of its superior, yet there has never been any
doubt that the initiation would be good and the candidate so admitted
regularly made. The punishment must fall upon the lodge and not upon the
newly-made Brother.

2. The second division presents a more embarrassing inquiry, on account of
the diversity of opinions which have been entertained on the subject. Can
a lodge in one State, or Grand Lodge jurisdiction, initiate the resident
of another State, and would such initiation be lawful, and the person so
initiated a regular Mason, or, to use the technical language of the Order,
a Mason made "in due form," and entitled to all the rights and privileges
of the Order?

The question is one of considerable difficulty; it has given occasion to
much controversy, and has been warmly discussed within the last few years
by several of the Grand Lodges of the United States.

In 1847, the Grand Lodge of Alabama adopted the following regulation,
which had been previously enacted by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee:

"Any person residing within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, who has
already, or shall hereafter, travel into any foreign jurisdiction, and
there receive the degrees of Masonry, such person shall not be entitled to
the rights, benefits, and privileges of Masonry within this jurisdiction,
until he shall have been regularly admitted a member of the subordinate
lodge under this Grand Lodge, nearest which he at the time resides, in the
manner provided by the Constitution of this Grand Lodge for the admission
of members."

The rule adopted by the Grand Lodge of Maryland is still more stringent.
It declares, "that if any individual, from selfish motives, from distrust
of his acceptance, or other causes originating in himself, knowingly and
willfully travel into another jurisdiction, and there receive the masonic
degrees, he shall be considered and held as a clandestine made Mason."

The Grand Lodge of New York, especially, has opposed these regulations,
inflicting a penalty on the initiate, and assigns its reasons for the
opposition in the following language:

"Before a man becomes a Mason, he is subject to no law which any Grand
Lodge can enact. No Grand Lodge has a right to make a law to compel any
citizen, who desires, to be initiated in a particular lodge, or in the
town or State of his residence; neither can any Grand Lodge forbid a
citizen to go where he pleases to seek acceptance into fellowship with the
craft; and where there is no right to compel or to forbid, there can be no
right to punish; but it will be observed, that the laws referred to were
enacted to punish the citizens of Maryland and Alabama, as Masons and
Brethren, for doing something before they were Masons and Brethren, which
they had a perfect right to do as citizens and freemen; and it must
certainly be regarded as an act of deception and treachery by a young
Mason, on returning home, to be told, that he is 'a clandestine Mason,'
that he 'ought to be expelled,' or, that he cannot be recognized as a
Brother till he 'joins a lodge where his residence is,' because he was
initiated in New York, in England, or in France, after having heard all
his life of the universality and oneness of the institution."[77]

It seems to us that the Grand Lodge of New York has taken the proper view
of the subject; although we confess that we are not satisfied with the
whole course of reasoning by which it has arrived at the conclusion.
Whatever we may be inclined to think of the inexpediency of making
transient persons (and we certainly do believe that it would be better
that the character and qualifications of every candidate should be
submitted to the inspection of his neighbors rather than to that of
strangers), however much we may condemn the carelessness and facility of a
lodge which is thus willing to initiate a stranger, without that due
examination of his character, which, of course, in the case of
non-residents, can seldom be obtained, we are obliged to admit that such
makings are legal--the person thus made cannot be called a clandestine
Mason, because he has been made in a legally constituted lodge--and as he
is a regular Mason, we know of no principle by which he can be refused
admission as a visitor into any lodge to which he applies.

Masonry is universal in its character, and knows no distinction of nation
or of religion. Although each state or kingdom has its distinct Grand
Lodge, this is simply for purposes of convenience in carrying out the
principles of uniformity and subordination, which should prevail
throughout the masonic system. The jurisdiction of these bodies is
entirely of a masonic character, and is exercised only over the members of
the Order who have voluntarily contracted their allegiance. It cannot
affect the profane, who are, of course, beyond its pale. It is true, that
as soon as a candidate applies to a lodge for initiation, he begins to
come within the scope of masonic law. He has to submit to a prescribed
formula of application and entrance, long before he becomes a member of
the Order. But as this formula is universal in its operation, affecting
candidates who are to receive it and lodges which are to enforce it in all
places, it must have been derived from some universal authority. The
manner, therefore, in which a candidate is to be admitted, and the
preliminary qualifications which are requisite, are prescribed by the
landmarks, the general usage, and the ancient constitutions of the Order.
And as they have directed the _mode how_, they might also have prescribed
the _place where_, a man should be made a Mason. But they have done no
such thing. We cannot, after the most diligent search, find any
constitutional regulation of the craft, which refers to the initiation of
non-residents. The subject has been left untouched; and as the ancient and
universally acknowledged authorities of Masonry have neglected to
legislate on the subject, it is now too late for any modern and local
authority, like that of a Grand Lodge, to do so.

A Grand Lodge may, it is true, forbid--as Missouri, South Carolina,
Georgia, and several other Grand Lodges have done--the initiation of
non-residents, within its own jurisdiction, because this is a local law
enacted by a local authority; but it cannot travel beyond its own
territory, and prescribe the same rule to another Grand Lodge, which may
not, in fact, be willing to adopt it.

The conclusions, then, at which we arrive no this subject are these: The
ancient constitutions have prescribed no regulation on the subject of the
initiation of non-residents; it is, therefore, optional with every Grand
Lodge, whether it will or will not suffer such candidates to be made
within its own jurisdiction; the making, where it is permitted, is legal,
and the candidate so made becomes a regular Mason, and is entitled to the
right of visitation.

What, then, is the remedy, where a person of bad character, and having, in
the language of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, "a distrust of his
acceptance" at home, goes abroad and receives the degrees of Masonry? No
one will deny that such a state of things is productive of great evil to
the craft. Fortunately, the remedy is simple and easily applied. Let the
lodge, into whose jurisdiction he has returned, exercise its power of
discipline, and if his character and conduct deserve the punishment, let
him be expelled from the Order. If he is unworthy of remaining in the
Order, he should be removed from it at once; but if he is worthy of
continuing in it, there certainly can be no objection to his making use of
his right to visit.

Chapter II.

Of the Rights of Entered Apprentices.

In an inquiry into the rights of Entered Apprentices, we shall not be much
assisted by the Ancient Constitutions, which, leaving the subject in the
position in which usage had established it, are silent in relation to what
is the rule. In all such cases, we must, as I have frequently remarked
before, in settling the law, have recourse to analogy, to the general
principles of equity, and the dictates of common sense, and, with these
three as our guides, we shall find but little difficulty in coming to a
right conclusion.

At present, an Entered Apprentice is not considered a member of the Lodge,
which privilege is only extended to Master Masons. This was not formerly
the case. Then the Master's degree was not as indiscriminately conferred
as it is now. A longer probation and greater mental or moral
qualifications were required to entitle a candidate to this sublime
dignity. None were called Master Masons but such as had presided over
their Lodges, and the office of Wardens was filled by Fellow Crafts.
Entered Apprentices, as well as Fellow Crafts, were permitted to attend
the communications of the Grand Lodge, and express their opinions; and, in
1718, it was enacted that every new regulation, proposed in the Grand
Lodge, should be submitted to the consideration of even the youngest
Entered Apprentice. Brethren of this degree composed, in fact, at that
time, the great body of the craft. But, all these things have, since, by
the gradual improvement of our organization, undergone many alterations;
and Entered Apprentices seem now, by universal consent, to be restricted
to a very few rights. They have the right of sitting in all lodges of
their degree, of receiving all the instructions which appertain to it, but
not of speaking or voting, and, lastly, of offering themselves as
candidates for advancement, without the preparatory necessity of a formal
written petition.

These being admitted to be the rights of an Entered Apprentice, few and
unimportant as they may be, they are as dear to him as those of a Master
Mason are to one who has been advanced to that degree; and he is, and
ought to be, as firmly secured in their possession. Therefore, as no Mason
can be deprived of his rights and privileges, except after a fair and
impartial trial, and the verdict of his peers, it is clear that the
Entered Apprentice cannot be divested of these rights without just such a
trial and verdict.

But, in the next place, we are to inquire whether the privilege of being
passed as a Fellow Craft is to be enumerated among these rights? And, we
clearly answer, No. The Entered Apprentice has the right of making the
application. Herein he differs from a profane, who has no such right of
application until he has qualified himself for making it, by becoming an
Entered Apprentice. But, if the application is granted, it is _ex gratia_,
or, by the favour of the lodge, which may withhold it, if it pleases. If
such were not the case, the lodge would possess no free will on the
subject of advancing candidates; and the rule requiring a probation and an
examination, before passing, would be useless and absurd--because, the
neglect of improvement or the want of competency would be attended with no

It seems to me, then, that, when an Apprentice applies for his second
degree, the lodge may, if it thinks proper, refuse to grant it; and that
it may express that refusal by a ballot. No trial is necessary, because no
rights of the candidate are affected. He is, by a rejection of his
request, left in the same position that he formerly occupied. He is still
an Entered Apprentice, in good standing; and the lodge may, at any time it
thinks proper, reverse its decision and proceed to pass him.

If, however, he is specifically charged with any offense against the laws
of Masonry, it would then be necessary to give him a trial. Witnesses
should be heard, both for and against him, and he should be permitted to
make his defense. The opinion of the lodge should be taken, as in all
other cases of trial, and, according to the verdict, he should be
suspended, expelled, or otherwise punished.

The effect of these two methods of proceeding is very different. When, by
a ballot, the lodge refuses to advance an Entered Apprentice, there is
not, necessarily, any stigma on his moral character. It may be, that the
refusal is based on the ground that he has not made sufficient proficiency
to entitle him to pass. Consequently, his standing as an Entered
Apprentice is not at all affected. His rights remain the same. He may
still sit in the lodge when it is opened in his degree; he may still
receive instructions in that degree; converse with Masons on masonic
subjects which are not beyond his standing; and again apply to the lodge
for permission to pass as a Fellow Craft.

But, if he be tried on a specific charge, and be suspended or expelled,
his moral character is affected. His masonic rights are forfeited; and he
can no longer be considered as an Entered Apprentice in good standing. He
will not be permitted to sit in his lodge, to receive masonic instruction,
or to converse with Masons on masonic subjects; nor can he again apply for
advancement until the suspension or expulsion is removed by the
spontaneous action of the lodge.

These two proceedings work differently in another respect. The Grand Lodge
will not interfere with a subordinate lodge in compelling it to pass an
Entered Apprentice; because every lodge is supposed to be competent to
finish, in its own time, and its own way, the work that it has begun. But,
as the old regulations, as well as the general consent of the craft, admit
that the Grand Lodge alone can expel from the rights and privileges of
Masonry, and that an expulsion by a subordinate lodge is inoperative until
it is confirmed by the Grand Lodge, it follows that the expulsion of the
Apprentice must be confirmed by that body; and that, therefore, he has a
right to appeal to it for a reversal of the sentence, if it was unjustly

Let it not be said that this would be placing an Apprentice on too great
an equality with Master Masons. His rights are dear to him; he has paid
for them. No man would become an Apprentice unless he expected, in time,
to be made a Fellow Craft, and then a Master. He is, therefore, morally
and legally wronged when he is deprived, without sufficient cause, of the
capacity of fulfilling that expectation. It is the duty of the Grand Lodge
to see that not even the humblest member of the craft shall have his
rights unjustly invaded; and it is therefore bound, as the conservator of
the rights of all, to inquire into the truth, and administer equity.
Whenever, therefore, even an Entered Apprentice complains that he has met
with injustice and oppression, his complaint should be investigated and
justice administered.

The question next occurs--What number of black balls should prevent an
Apprentice from passing to the second degree? I answer, the same number
that would reject the application of a profane for initiation into the
Order. And why should this not be so? Are the qualifications which would
be required of one applying, for the first time, for admission to the
degree of an Apprentice more than would subsequently be required of the
same person on his applying for a greater favor and a higher honor--that
of being advanced to the second degree? Or do the requisitions, which
exist in the earlier stages of Masonry, become less and less with every
step of the aspirant's progress? Viewing the question in this light--and,
indeed, I know of no other in which to view it--it seems to me to be
perfectly evident that the peculiar constitution and principles of our
Order will require unanimity in the election of a profane for initiation,
of an Apprentice for a Fellow Craft, and of a Fellow Craft for a Master
Mason; and that, while no Entered Apprentice can be expelled from the
Order, except by due course of trial, it is competent for the lodge, at
any time, on a ballot, to refuse to advance him to the second degree. But,
let it be remembered that the lodge which refuses to pass an Apprentice,
on account of any objections to his moral character, or doubts of his
worthiness, is bound to give him the advantage of a trial, and at once to
expel him, if guilty, or, if innocent, to advance him when otherwise

Chapter III.

Of the Rights of Fellow Crafts.

In ancient times there were undoubtedly many rights attached to the second
degree which have now become obsolete or been repealed; for formerly the
great body of the fraternity were Fellow Crafts, and according to the old
charges, even the Grand Master might be elected from among them. The
Master and Wardens of Subordinate Lodges always were. Thus we are told
that no Brother can be Grand Master, "unless he has been a Fellow Craft
before his election," and in the ancient manner of constituting a lodge,
contained in the Book of Constitutions,[78] it is said that "the
candidates, or the new Master and Wardens, being yet among the Fellow
Crafts, the Grand Master shall ask his Deputy if he has examined them,"
etc. But now that the great body of the Fraternity consists of Master
Masons, the prerogatives of Fellow Crafts are circumscribed within limits
nearly as narrow as those of Entered Apprentices. While, however,
Apprentices are not permitted to speak or vote, in ancient times, and up,
indeed, to a very late date. Fellow Crafts were entitled to take a part in
any discussion in which the lodge, while open in the first or second
degree, might engage, but not to vote. This privilege is expressly stated
by Preston, as appertaining to a Fellow Craft, in his charge to a
candidate, receiving that degree.

"As a Craftsman, in our private assemblies you may offer your sentiments
and opinions on such subjects as are regularly introduced in the Lecture,
under the superintendence of an experienced Master, who will guard the
landmark against encroachment."[79]

This privilege is not now, however, granted in this country to Fellow
Crafts. All, therefore, that has been said in the preceding chapter, of
the rights of Entered Apprentices, will equally apply, _mutatis mutandis_,
to the rights of Fellow Crafts.

Chapter IV.

Of the Rights of Master Masons.

When a Mason has reached the third degree, he becomes entitled to all the
rights and privileges of Ancient Craft Masonry. These rights are extensive
and complicated; and, like his duties, which are equally as extensive,
require a careful examination, thoroughly to comprehend them. Four of
them, at least, are of so much importance as to demand a distinct
consideration. These are the rights of membership, of visitation, of
relief, and of burial. To each I shall devote a separate section.

Section I.

_Of the Right of Membership._

The whole spirit and tenor of the General Regulations, as well as the
uniform usage of the craft, sustain the doctrine, that when a Mason is
initiated in a lodge, he has the right, by signing the bye-laws, to
become a member without the necessity of submitting to another ballot. In
the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of New York, this principle is
asserted to be one of the ancient landmarks, and is announced in the
following words: "Initiation makes a man a Mason; but he must receive the
Master's degree, and sign the bye-laws before he becomes a member of the
lodge."[80] If the doctrine be not exactly a landmark (which I confess I
am not quite prepared to admit), it comes to us almost clothed with the
authority of one, from the sanction of universal and uninterrupted usage.

How long before he loses this right by a _non-user_, or neglect to avail
himself of it, is, I presume, a question to be settled by local authority.
A lodge, or a Grand Lodge, may affix the period according to its
discretion; but the general custom is, to require a signature of the
bye-laws, and a consequent enrollment in the lodge, within three months
after receiving the third degree. Should a Mason neglect to avail himself
of his privilege, he forfeits it (unless, upon sufficient cause, he is
excused by the lodge), and must submit to a ballot.

The reason for such a law is evident. If a Mason does not at once unite
himself with the lodge in which he was raised, but permits an extended
period of time to elapse, there is no certainty that his character or
habits may not have changed, and that he may not have become, since his
initiation, unworthy of affiliation. Under the general law, it is,
therefore, necessary that he should in such case submit to the usual
probation of one month, and an investigation of his qualifications by a
committee, as well as a ballot by the members.

But there are other privileges also connected with this right of
membership. A profane is required to apply for initiation to the lodge
nearest his place of residence, and, if there rejected, can never in
future apply to any other lodge. But the rule is different with respect to
the application of a Master Mason for membership.

A Master Mason is not restricted in his privilege of application for
membership within any geographical limits. All that is required of him is,
that he should be an affiliated Mason; that is, that he should be a
contributing member of a lodge, without any reference to its peculiar
locality, whether near to or distant from his place of residence. The Old
Charges simply prescribe, that every Mason ought to belong to a lodge. A
Mason, therefore, strictly complies with this regulation, when he unites
himself with any lodge, thus contributing to the support of the
institution, and is then entitled to all the privileges of an affiliated

A rejection of the application of a Master Mason for membership by a lodge
does not deprive him of the right of applying to another. A Mason is in
"good standing" until deprived of that character by the action of some
competent masonic authority; and that action can only be by suspension or
expulsion. Rejection does not, therefore, affect the "good standing" of
the applicant; for in a rejection there is no legal form of trial, and
consequently the rejected Brother remains in the same position after as
before his rejection. He possesses the same rights as before, unimpaired
and undiminished; and among these rights is that of applying for
membership to any lodge that he may select.

If, then, a Mason may be a member of a lodge distant from his place of
residence, and, perhaps, even situated in a different jurisdiction, the
question then arises whether the lodge within whose precincts he resides,
but of which he is not a member, can exercise its discipline over him
should he commit any offense requiring masonic punishment. On this subject
there is, among masonic writers, a difference of opinion. I, however,
agree with Brother Pike, the able Chairman of the Committee of
Correspondence of Arkansas, that the lodge can exercise such discipline. I
contend that a Mason is amenable for his conduct not only to the lodge of
which he may be a member, but also to any one within whose jurisdiction he
permanently resides. A lodge is the conservator of the purity and the
protector of the integrity of the Order within its precincts. The unworthy
conduct of a Mason, living as it were immediately under its government, is
calculated most injuriously to affect that purity and integrity. A lodge,
therefore, should not be deprived of the power of coercing such unworthy
Mason, and, by salutary punishment, of vindicating the character of the
institution. Let us suppose, by way of example, that a Mason living in San
Francisco, California, but retaining his membership in New York, behaves
in such an immoral and indecorous manner as to bring the greatest
discredit upon the Order, and to materially injure it in the estimation of
the uninitiated community. Will it be, for a moment, contended that a
lodge in San Francisco cannot arrest the evil by bringing the unworthy
Mason under discipline, and even ejecting him from the fraternity, if
severity like that is necessary for the protection of the institution? Or
will it be contended that redress can only be sought through the delay and
uncertainty of an appeal to his lodge in New York? Even if the words of
the ancient laws are silent on this subject, reason and justice would seem
to maintain the propriety and expediency of the doctrine that the lodge at
San Francisco is amply competent to extend its jurisdiction and exercise
its discipline over the culprit.

In respect to the number of votes necessary to admit a Master Mason
applying by petition for membership in a lodge, there can be no doubt that
he must submit to precisely the same conditions as those prescribed to a
profane on his petition for initiation. There is no room for argument
here, for the General Regulations are express on this subject.

"No man can be made or _admitted a member_ of a particular lodge," says
the fifth regulation, "without previous notice one month before given to
the said lodge."

And the sixth regulation adds, that "no man can be entered a Brother in
any particular lodge, or _admitted to be a member_ thereof, without the
unanimous consent of all the members of that lodge then present."

So that it may be considered as settled law, so far as the General
Regulations can settle a law of Masonry, that a Master Mason can only be
admitted a member of a lodge when applying by petition, after a month's
probation, after due inquiry into his character, and after a unanimous
ballot in his favor.

But there are other rights of Master Masons consequent upon membership,
which remain to be considered. In uniting with a lodge, a Master Mason
becomes a participant of all its interests, and is entitled to speak and
vote upon all subjects that come before the lodge for investigation. He is
also entitled, if duly elected by his fellows, to hold any office in the
lodge, except that of Master, for which he must be qualified by previously
having occupied the post of a Warden.

A Master has the right in all cases of an appeal from the decision of the
Master or of the lodge.

A Master Mason, in good standing, has a right at any time to demand from
his lodge a certificate to that effect.

Whatever other rights may appertain to Master Masons will be the subjects
of separate sections.

Section II.

_Of the Right of Visit._

Every Master Mason, who is an affiliated member of a lodge, has the right
to visit any other lodge as often as he may desire to do so. This right is
secured to him by the ancient regulations, and is, therefore,
irreversible. In the "Ancient Charges at the Constitution of a Lodge,"
formerly contained in a MS. of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, and whose
date is not later than 1688,[81]it is directed "that every Mason receive
and cherish strange fellows when they come over the country, and set them
on work, if they will work as the manner is; that is to say, if the Mason
have any mould stone in his place, he shall give him a mould stone, and
set him on work; and if he have none, the Mason shall refresh him with
money unto the next lodge."

This regulation is explicit. It not only infers the right of visit, but
it declares that the strange Brother shall be welcomed, "received, and
cherished," and "set on work," that is, permitted to participate in the
work of your lodge. Its provisions are equally applicable to Brethren
residing in the place where the lodge is situated as to transient
Brethren, provided that they are affiliated Masons.

In the year 1819, the law was in England authoritatively settled by a
decree of the Grand Lodge. A complaint had been preferred against a lodge
in London, for having refused admission to some Brethren who were well
known to them, alleging that as the lodge was about to initiate a
candidate, no visitor could be admitted until that ceremony was concluded.
It was then declared, "that it is the undoubted right of every Mason who
is well known, or properly vouched, to visit any lodge during the time it
is opened for general masonic business, observing the proper forms to be
attended to on such occasions, and so that the Master may not be
interrupted in the performance of his duty."[82]

A lodge, when not opened for "general masonic business," but when engaged
in the consideration of matters which interest the lodge alone, and which
it would be inexpedient or indelicate to make public, may refuse to admit
a visitor. Lodges engaged in this way, in private business, from which
visitors are excluded, are said by the French Masons to be opened "_en

To entitle him to this right of visit, a Mason must be affiliated, that
is, he must be a contributing member of some lodge. This doctrine is thus
laid down in the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England:

"A Brother who is not a subscribing member to some lodge, shall not be
permitted to visit any one lodge in the town or place in which he resides,
more than once during his secession from the craft."

A non-subscribing or unaffiliated Mason is permitted to visit each lodge
once, and once only, because it is supposed that this visit is made for
the purpose of enabling him to make a selection of the one with which he
may prefer permanently to unite. But, afterwards, he loses this right of
visit, to discountenance those Brethren who wish to continue members of
the Order, and to partake of its pleasures and advantages, without
contributing to its support.

A Master Mason is not entitled to visit a lodge, unless he previously
submits to an examination, or is personally vouched for by a competent
Brother present; but this is a subject of so much importance as to claim
consideration in a distinct section.

Another regulation is, that a strange Brother shall furnish the lodge he
intends to visit with a certificate of his good standing in the lodge from
which he last hailed. This regulation has, in late years, given rise to
much discussion. Many of the Grand Lodges of this country, and several
masonic writers, strenuously contend for its antiquity and necessity,
while others as positively assert that it is a modern innovation upon
ancient usage.

There can, however, I think, be no doubt of the antiquity of certificates.
That the system requiring them was in force nearly two hundred years ago,
at least, will be evident from the third of the Regulations made in
General Assembly, December 27, 1663, under the Grand Mastership of the
Earl of St. Albans,[83] and which is in the following words:

"3. That no person hereafter who shall be accepted a Freemason, shall be
admitted into any lodge or assembly, until he has brought a certificate
of the time and place of his acceptation, from the lodge that accepted
him, unto the Master of that limit or division where such a lodge is
kept." This regulation has been reiterated on several occasions, by the
Grand Lodge of England in 1772, and at subsequent periods by several Grand
Lodges of this and other countries. It is not, however, in force in many
of the American jurisdictions.

Another right connected with the right of visitation is, that of demanding
a sight of the Warrant of Constitution. This instrument it is, indeed, not
only the right but the duty of every strange visitor carefully to inspect,
before he enters a lodge, that he may thus satisfy himself of the legality
and regularity of its character and authority. On such a demand being made
by a visitor for a sight of its Warrant, every lodge is bound to comply
with the requisition, and produce the instrument. The same rule, of
course, applies to lodges under dispensation, whose Warrant of
Dispensation supplies the place of a Warrant of Constitution.

Section III.

_Of the Examination of Visitors._

It has already been stated, in the preceding section, that a Master Mason
is not permitted to visit a lodge unless he previously submits to an
examination, or is personally vouched for by some competent Brother
present. The prerogative of vouching for a Brother is an important one,
and will constitute the subject of the succeeding section. At present let
us confine ourselves to the consideration of the mode of examining a

Every visitor, who offers himself to the appointed committee of the lodge
for examination, is expected, as a preliminary step, to submit to the
Tiler's Obligation; so called, because it is administered in the Tiler's
room. As this obligation forms no part of the secret ritual of the Order,
but is administered to every person before any lawful knowledge of his
being a Mason has been received, there can be nothing objectionable in
inserting it here, and in fact, it will be advantageous to have the
precise words of so important a declaration placed beyond the possibility
of change or omission by inexperienced Brethren.

The oath, then, which is administered to the visitor, and which he may, if
he chooses, require every one present to take with him, is in the
following words

"I, A. B., do hereby and hereon solemnly and sincerely swear, that I have
been regularly initiated, passed, and raised, to the sublime degree of a
Master Mason, in a just and legally constituted lodge of such, that I do
not now stand suspended or expelled, and know of no reason why I should
not hold masonic communication with my Brethren.

This declaration having been given in the most solemn manner, the
examination must then be conducted with the necessary forms. The good old
rule of "commencing at the beginning" should be observed. Every question
is to be asked and every answer demanded which is necessary to convince
the examiner that the party examined is acquainted with what he ought to
know, to entitle him to the appellation of a Brother. Nothing is to be
taken for granted--categorical answers must be required to all that it is
deemed important to be asked. No forgetfulness is to be excused, nor is
the want of memory to be accepted as a valid excuse for the want of
knowledge. The Mason, who is so unmindful of his duties as to have
forgotten the instructions he has received, must pay the penalty of his
carelessness, and be deprived of his contemplated visit to that society
whose secret modes of recognition he has so little valued as not to have
treasured them in his memory. While there are some things which may be
safely passed over in the examination of one who confesses himself to be
"rusty," or but recently initiated, because they are details which require
much study to acquire, and constant practice to retain, there are still
other things of great importance which must be rigidly demanded, and with
the knowledge of which the examiner cannot, under any circumstances,

Should suspicions of imposture arise, let no expression of these
suspicions be made until the final decree for rejection is pronounced. And
let that decree be uttered in general terms, such as: "I am not
satisfied," or, "I do not recognize you," and not in more specific terms,
such as, "You did not answer this inquiry," or, "You are ignorant on that
point." The visitor is only entitled to know, generally, that he has not
complied with the requisitions of his examiner. To descend to particulars
is always improper and often dangerous.

Above all, the examiner should never ask what are called "leading
questions," or such as include in themselves an indication of what the
answer is to be; nor should he in any manner aid the memory of the party
examined by the slightest hint. If he has it in him, it will come out
without assistance, and if he has it not, he is clearly entitled to no

Lastly, never should an unjustifiable delicacy weaken the rigor of these
rules. Let it be remembered, that for the wisest and most evident reasons,
the merciful maxim of the law, which says, that it is better that
ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should be
punished, is with us reversed, and that in Masonry _it is better that
ninety and nine true men should be turned away from the door of a lodge
than that one cowan should be admitted_.

Section IV.

_Of Vouching for a Brother._

An examination may sometimes be omitted when any competent Brother present
will vouch for the visitor's masonic standing and qualifications. This
prerogative of vouching is an important one which every Master Mason is
entitled, under certain restrictions, to exercise; but it is also one
which may so materially affect the well-being of the whole
fraternity--since by its injudicious use impostors might be introduced
among the faithful--that it should be controlled by the most stringent

To vouch for one, is to bear witness for him; and, in witnessing to truth,
every caution should be observed, lest falsehood should cunningly assume
its garb. The Brother who vouches should, therefore, know to a certainty
that the one for whom he vouches is really what he claims to be. He should
know this not from a casual conversation, nor a loose and careless
inquiry, but, as the unwritten law of the Order expresses it, from
"_strict trial, due examination, or lawful information_."

Of strict trial and due examination I have already treated in the
preceding section; and it only remains to say, that when the vouching is
founded on the knowledge obtained in this way, it is absolutely necessary
that the Brother so vouching shall be _competent_ to conduct such an
examination, and that his general intelligence and shrewdness and his
knowledge of Masonry shall be such as to place him above the probability
of being imposed upon. The important and indispensable qualification of a
voucher is, therefore, that he shall be competent. The Master of a lodge
has no right to accept, without further inquiry, the avouchment of a
young and inexperienced, or even of an old, if ignorant, Mason.

Lawful information, which is the remaining ground for an avouchment, may
be derived either from the declaration of another Brother, or from having
met the party vouched for in a lodge on some previous occasion.

If the information is derived from another Brother, who states that he has
examined the party, then all that has already been said of the competency
of the one giving the information is equally applicable. The Brother,
giving the original information, must be competent to make a rigid
examination. Again, the person giving the information, the one receiving
it, and the one of whom it is given, should be all present at the time;
for otherwise there would be no certainty of identity. Information,
therefore, given by letter or through a third party, is highly irregular.
The information must also be positive, not founded on belief or opinion,
but derived from a legitimate source. And, lastly, it must not have been
received casually, but for the very purpose of being used for masonic
purposes. For one to say to another in the course of a desultory
conversation: "A.B. is a Mason," is not sufficient. He may not be
speaking with due caution, under the expectation that his words will be
considered of weight. He must say something to this effect: "I know this
man to be a Master Mason," for such or such reasons, and you may safely
recognize him as such. This alone will insure the necessary care and
proper observance of prudence.

If the information given is on the ground that the person, vouched has
been seen sitting in a lodge by the voucher, care must be taken to inquire
if it was a "Lodge of Master Masons." A person may forget, from the lapse
of time, and vouch for a stranger as a Master Mason, when the lodge in
which he saw him was only opened in the first or second degree.

Section V.

_Of the Right of Claiming Relief._

One of the great objects of our institution is, to afford relief to a
worthy, distressed Brother. In his want and destitution, the claim of a
Mason upon his Brethren is much greater than that of a profane. This is a
Christian as well as a masonic doctrine. "As we have therefore
opportunity," says St. Paul, "let us do good unto all men, especially
unto them who are of the household of faith."

This claim for relief he may present either to a lodge or to a Brother
Mason. The rule, as well as the principles by which it is to be regulated,
is laid down in that fundamental law of Masonry, the Old Charges, in the
following explicit words, under the head of "Behavior towards a strange

"You are cautiously to examine him, in such a method as prudence shall
direct you, that you may not be imposed upon by an ignorant, false
pretender, whom you are to reject with contempt and derision, and beware
of giving him any hints of knowledge.

"But if you discover him to be a true and genuine Brother, you are to
respect him accordingly; and if he is in want, you must relieve him if you
can, or else direct him how he may be relieved. You must employ him some
days, or else recommend him to be employed. But you are not charged to do
beyond your ability, only to prefer a poor Brother, that is a good man and
true, before any other people in the same circumstances."

This law thus laid down, includes, it will be perceived, as two important
prerequisites, on which to found a claim for relief, that the person
applying shall be in distress, and that he shall be worthy of assistance.

He must be in distress. Ours is not an insurance company, a joint stock
association, in which, for a certain premium paid, an equivalent may be
demanded. No Mason, or no lodge, is bound to give pecuniary or other aid
to a Brother, unless he really needs. The word " benefit," as usually used
in the modern friendly societies, has no place in the vocabulary of
Freemasonry. If a wealthy Brother is afflicted with sorrow or sickness, we
are to strive to comfort him with our sympathy, our kindness, and our
attention, but we are to bestow our eleemosynary aid only on the indigent
or the destitute.

He must also be worthy. There is no obligation on a Mason to relieve the
distresses, however real they may be, of an unworthy Brother. The claimant
must be, in the language of the Charge, "true and genuine." True here is
used in its good old Saxon meaning, of "faithful" or "trusty." A true
Mason is one who is mindful of his obligations, and who faithfully
observes and practices all his duties. Such a man, alone, can rightfully
claim the assistance of his Brethren.

But a third provision is made in the fundamental law; namely, that the
assistance is not to be beyond the ability of the giver. One of the most
important landmarks, contained in our unwritten law, more definitely
announces this provision, by the words, that the aid and assistance shall
be without injury to oneself or his family. Masonry does not require that
we shall sacrifice our own welfare to that of a Brother; but that with
prudent liberality, and a just regard to our own worldly means, we shall
give of the means with which Providence may have blessed us for the relief
of our distressed Brethren.

It is hardly necessary to say, that the claim for relief of a worthy
distressed Mason extends also to his immediate family.

Section VI.

_Of the Right of Masonic Burial._

After a very careful examination, I can find nothing in the old charges or
General Regulations, nor in any other part of the fundamental law, in
relation to masonic burial of deceased Brethren. It is probable that, at
an early period, when the great body of the craft consisted of Entered
Apprentices, the usage permitted the burial of members, of the first or
second degree, with the honors of Masonry. As far back as 1754,
processions for the purpose of burying Masons seemed to have been
conducted by some of the lodges with either too much frequency, or some
other irregularity; for, in November of that year, the Grand Lodge adopted
a regulation, forbidding them, under a heavy penalty, unless by permission
of the Grand Master, or his Deputy.[84] As there were, comparatively
speaking, few Master Masons at that period, it seems a natural inference
that most of the funeral processions were for the burial of Apprentices,
or, at least, of Fellow Crafts.

But the usage since then, has been greatly changed; and by universal
consent, the law, as first committed to writing, by Preston, who was the
author of our present funeral service, is now adopted.

The Regulation, as laid down by Preston, is so explicit, that I prefer
giving it in his own words.[85]

"No Mason can be interred with the formalities of the Order, unless it be
at his own special request, communicated to the Master of the Lodge of
which he died a member--foreigners and sojourners excepted; nor unless he
has been advanced to the third degree of Masonry, from which restriction
there can be no exception. Fellow Crafts or Apprentices are not entitled
to the funeral obsequies."

This rule has been embodied in the modern Constitutions of the Grand Lodge
of England; and, as I have already observed, appears by universal consent
to have been adopted as the general usage.

The necessity for a dispensation, which is also required by the modern
English Constitutions, does not seem to have met with the same general
approval, and in this country, dispensations for funeral processions are
not usually, if at all, required. Indeed, Preston himself, in explaining
the law, says that it was not intended to restrict the privileges of the
regular lodges, but that, "by the universal practice of Masons, every
regular lodge is authorized by the Constitution to act on such occasions
when limited to its own members."[86] It is only when members of other
lodges, not under the control of the Master, are convened, that a
dispensation is required. But in America, Grand Lodges or Grand Masters
have not generally interfered with the rights of the lodges to bury the
dead; the Master being of course amenable to the constituted authorities
for any indecorum or impropriety.

Chapter V.

Of the Rights of Past Masters.

I have already discussed the right of Past Masters to become members of a
Grand Lodge, in a preceding part of this work,[87] and have there arrived
at the conclusion that no such inherent right exists, and that a Grand
Lodge may or may not admit them to membership, according to its own notion
of expediency. Still the fact, that they are competent by their masonic
rank of accepting such a courtesy when extended, in itself constitutes a
prerogative; for none but Masters, Wardens, or Past Masters, can under any
circumstances become members of a Grand Lodge.

Past Masters possess a few other positive rights.

In the first place they have a right to install their successors, and at
all times subsequent to their installation to be present at the ceremony
of installing Masters of lodges. I should scarcely have deemed it
necessary to dwell upon so self-evident a proposition, were it not that it
involves the discussion of a question which has of late years been warmly
mooted in some jurisdictions, namely, whether this right of being present
at an installation should, or should not, be extended to Past Masters,
made in Royal Arch Chapters.

In view of the fact, that there are two very different kinds of possessors
of the same degree, the Grand Lodge of England has long since
distinguished them as "virtual" and as "actual" Past Masters. The terms
are sufficiently explicit, and have the advantage of enabling us to avoid
circumlocution, and I shall, therefore, adopt them.

An _actual Past Master_ is one who has been regularly installed to preside
over a symbolic lodge under the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge. A _virtual
Past Master_ is one who has received the degree in a chapter, for the
purpose of qualifying him for exaltation to the Royal Arch.

Now the question to be considered is this. Can a virtual Past Master be
permitted to be present at the installation of an actual Past Master?

The Committee of Correspondence of New York, in 1851, announced the
doctrine, that a Chapter, or virtual Past Master, cannot legally install
the Master of a Symbolic Lodge; but that there is no rule forbidding his
being present at the ceremony. This doctrine has been accepted by several
Grand Lodges, while others again refuse to admit the presence of a virtual
Past Master at the installation-service.

In South Carolina, for instance, by uninterrupted usage, virtual Past
Masters are excluded from the ceremony of installation.

In Louisiana, under the high authority of the late Brother Gedge, it is
asserted, that "it is the bounden duty of all Grand Lodges to prevent the
possessors of the (chapter) degree from the exercise of any function
appertaining to the office and attributes of an installed Master of a
lodge of Symbolic Masonry, and refuse to recognize them as belonging to
the order of Past Masters."[88]

Brother Albert Pike, whose opinion on masonic jurisprudence is entitled to
the most respectful consideration, has announced a similar doctrine in one
of his elaborate reports to the Grand Chapter of Arkansas. He does not
consider "that the Past Master's degree, conferred in a chapter, invests
the recipient with any rank or authority, except within the chapter
itself; that it no ways qualifies or authorizes him to preside in the
chair of a lodge: that a lodge has no legal means of knowing that he has
received the degree in a chapter: for it is not supposed to know anything
that takes place there any more than it knows what takes place in a Lodge
of Perfection, or a Chapter of Knights of the Rose Croix;" and, of course,
if the Past Masters of a lodge have no such "legal means" of recognition
of Chapter Masters, they cannot permit them to be present at an

This is, in fact, no new doctrine. Preston, in his description of the
installation ceremony, says: "The new Master is then conducted to an
adjacent room, where he is regularly installed, and bound to his trust in
ancient form, in the presence of at least _three installed Masters_"[89]
And Dr. Oliver, in commenting on this passage, says, "this part of the
ceremony can only be orally communicated, nor can any but _installed_
Masters be present."[90]

And this rule appears to be founded on the principles of reason. There can
be no doubt, if we carefully examine the history of Masonry in this
country and in England, that the degree of Past Master was originally
conferred by Symbolic Lodges as an honorarium or reward bestowed upon
those Brethren who had been found worthy to occupy the Oriental Chair. In
so far it was only a degree of office, and could be obtained only from the
Lodge in which the office had been conferred. At a later period it was
deemed an essential prerequisite to exaltation in the degree of Royal
Arch, and was, for that purpose, conferred on candidates for that
position, while the Royal Arch degree was under the control of the
symbolic Lodges, but still only conferred by the Past Masters of the
Lodge. But subsequently, when the system of Royal Arch Masonry was greatly
enlarged and extended in this country, and chapters were organized
independent of the Grand and symbolic Lodges, these Chapters took with
them the Past Master's degree, and assumed the right of conferring it on
their candidates. Hence arose the anomaly which now exists in American
Masonry, of two degrees bearing the same name, and said to be almost
identical in character, conferred by two different bodies under entirely
different qualifications and for totally different purposes. As was to be
expected, when time had in some degree obliterated the details of history,
each party began to claim for itself the sovereign virtue of legitimacy.
The Past Masters of the Chapters denied the right of the Symbolic Lodges
to confer the degree, and the latter, in their turn, asserted that the
degree, as conferred in the Chapter, was an innovation.

The prevalence of the former doctrine would, of course, tend to deprive
the Symbolic Lodges of a vested right held by them from the most ancient
times--that, namely, of conferring an honorarium on their Masters elect.

On the whole, then, from this view of the surreptitious character of the
Chapter Degree, and supported by the high authority whom I have cited, as
well as by the best usage, I am constrained to believe that the true rule
is, to deny the Chapter, or Virtual Past Masters, the right to install, or
to be present at the installation of the Master of a Symbolic Lodge. A
Past Master may preside over a lodge in the absence of the Master,
provided he is invited to do so by the Senior Warden present. The Second
General Regulation gave the power of presiding, during the absence of the
Master, to the last Past Master present, after the lodge had been
congregated by the Senior Warden; but two years afterwards, the rule was
repealed, and the power of presiding in such cases was vested in the
Senior Warden. And accordingly, in this country, it has always been held,
that in the absence of the Master, his authority descends to the Senior
Warden, who may, however, by courtesy, offer the chair to a Past Master
present, after the lodge has been congregated. Some jurisdictions have
permitted a Past Master to preside in the absence of the Master and both
Wardens, provided he was a member of that lodge. But I confess that I can
find no warrant for this rule in any portion of our fundamental laws. The
power of congregating the lodge in the absence of the Master has always
been confined to the Wardens; and it therefore seems to me, that when both
the Master and Wardens are absent, although a Past Master may be present,
the lodge cannot be opened.

A Past Master is eligible for election to the chair, without again passing
through the office of a Warden.

He is also entitled to a seat in the East, and to wear a jewel and collar
peculiar to his dignity.

By an ancient regulation, contained in the Old Charges, Past Masters alone
were eligible to the office of Grand Warden. The Deputy Grand Master was
also to be selected from among the Masters, or Past Masters of Lodges. No
such regulation was in existence as to the office of Grand Master, who
might be selected from the mass of the fraternity. At the present time, in
this country, it is usual to select the Grand officers from among the Past
Masters of the jurisdiction, though I know of no ancient law making such a
regulation obligatory, except in respect to the affairs of Grand Wardens
and Deputy Grand Master.

Chapter VI.

Of Affiliation.

Affiliation is defined to be the act by which a lodge receives a Mason
among its members. A profane is said to be "initiated," but a Mason is

Now the mode in which a Mason becomes affiliated with a lodge, in some
respects differs from, and in others resembles, the mode in which a
profane is initiated.

A Mason, desiring to be affiliated with a lodge, must apply by petition;
this petition must be referred to a committee for investigation of
character, he must remain in a state of probation for one month, and must
then submit to a ballot, in which unanimity will be required for his
admission. In all these respects, there is no difference in the modes of
regulating applications for initiation and affiliation. The Fifth and
Sixth General Regulations, upon which these usages are founded, draw no
distinction between the act of making a Mason and admitting a member. The
two processes are disjunctively connected in the language of both
regulations. "No man can be made, _or admitted a member_ * * * * without
previous notice one month before;" are the words of the Fifth Regulation.
And in a similar spirit the Sixth adds: "But no man can be entered a
Brother in any particular lodge, _or admitted to be a member_ thereof,
without the unanimous consent of all the members of that lodge."

None but Master Masons are permitted to apply for affiliation; and every
Brother so applying must bring to the lodge to which he applies a
certificate of his regular dismission from the lodge of which he was last
a member. This document is now usually styled a "demit," and should
specify the good standing of the bearer at the time of his resignation or

Under the regulations of the various Grand Lodges of this country, a
profane cannot, as has been already observed, apply for initiation in any
other lodge than the one nearest to his residence. No such regulation,
however, exists in relation to the application of a Mason for
affiliation. Having once been admitted into the Order, he has a right to
select the lodge with which he may desire to unite himself. He is not even
bound to affiliate with the lodge in which he was initiated, but after
being raised, may leave it, without signing the bye-laws, and attach
himself to another.

A profane, having been rejected by a lodge, can never apply to any other
for initiation. But a Mason, having been rejected, on his application for
affiliation, by a lodge, is not thereby debarred from subsequently making
a similar application to any other.

In some few jurisdictions a local regulation has of late years been
enacted, that no Mason shall belong to more than one lodge. It is, I
presume, competent for a Grand Lodge to enact such a regulation; but where
such enactment has not taken place, we must be governed by the ancient and
general principle.

The General Regulations, adopted in 1721, contain no reference to this
case; but in a new regulation, adopted on the 19th February, 1723, it was
declared that "no Brother shall belong to more than one lodge within the
bills of mortality." This rule was, therefore, confined to the lodges in
the city of London, and did not affect the country lodges. Still,
restricted as it was in its operation, Anderson remarks, "this regulation
is neglected for several reasons, and now obsolete."[92] Custom now in
England and in other parts of Europe, as well as in some few portions of
this country, is adverse to the regulation; and where no local law exists
in a particular jurisdiction, I know of no principle of masonic
jurisprudence which forbids a Mason to affiliate himself with more than
one lodge.

The only objection to it is one which must be urged, not by the Order, but
by the individual. It is, that his duties and his responsibilities are
thus multiplied, as well as his expenses. If he is willing to incur all
this additional weight in running his race of Masonry, it is not for
others to resist this exuberance of zeal. The Mason, however, who is
affiliated with more than one lodge, must remember that he is subject to
the independent jurisdiction of each; may for the same offense be tried in
each, and, although acquitted by all except one, that, if convicted by
that one, his conviction will, if he be suspended or expelled, work his
suspension or expulsion in all the others.

Chapter VII.

Of Demitting.

To demit from a lodge is to resign one's membership, on which occasion a
certificate of good standing and a release from all dues is given to the
applicant, which is technically called a _demit_.

The right to demit or resign never has, until within a few years, been
denied. In 1853, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut adopted a regulation "that
no lodge should grant a demit to any of its members, except for the
purpose of joining some other lodge; and that no member shall be
considered as having withdrawn from one lodge until he has actually become
a member of another." Similar regulations have been either adopted or
proposed by a few other Grand Lodges, but I much doubt both their
expediency and their legality. This compulsory method of keeping Masons,
after they have once been made, seems to me to be as repugnant to the
voluntary character of our institution as would be a compulsory mode of
making them in the beginning. The expediency of such a regulation is also
highly questionable. Every candidate is required to come to our doors "of
his own free will and accord," and surely we should desire to keep none
among us after that free will is no longer felt. We are all familiar with
the Hudibrastic adage, that

"A man convinced against his will,
Is of the same opinion still,"

and he who is no longer actuated by that ardent esteem for the institution
which would generate a wish to continue his membership, could scarcely
have his slumbering zeal awakened, or his coldness warmed by the bolts and
bars of a regulation that should keep him a reluctant prisoner within the
walls from which he would gladly escape. Masons with such dispositions we
can gladly spare from our ranks.

The Ancient Charges, while they assert that every Mason should belong to a
lodge, affix no penalty for disobedience. No man can be compelled to
continue his union with a society, whether it be religious, political, or
social, any longer than will suit his own inclinations or sense of duty.
To interfere with this inalienable prerogative of a freeman would be an
infringement on private rights. A Mason's initiation was voluntary, and
his continuance in the Order must be equally so.

But no man is entitled to a demit, unless at the time of demanding it he
be in good standing and free from all charges. If under charges for crime,
he must remain and abide his trial, or if in arrears, must pay up his

There is, however, one case of demission for which a special law has been
enacted. That is, when several Brethren at the same time request demits
from a lodge. As this action is sometimes the result of pique or anger,
and as the withdrawal of several members at once might seriously impair
the prosperity, or perhaps even endanger the very existence of the lodge,
it has been expressly forbidden by the General Regulations, unless the
lodge has become too numerous for convenient working; and not even then is
permitted except by a Dispensation. The words of this law are to be found
in the Eighth General Regulation, as follows:

"No set or number of Brethren shall withdraw or separate themselves from
the lodge in which they were made Brethren, or were afterwards admitted
members, unless the lodge becomes too numerous; nor even then, without a
dispensation from the Grand Master or his Deputy; and when they are thus
separated, they must either immediately join themselves to such other
lodge as they shall like best, with the unanimous consent of that other
lodge to which they go, or else they must obtain the Grand Master's
warrant to join in forming a new lodge."

It seems, therefore, that, although a lodge cannot deny the right of a
single member to demit, when a sort of conspiracy may be supposed to be
formed, and several Brethren present their petitions for demits at one and
the same time, the lodge may not only refuse, but is bound to do so,
unless under a dispensation, which dispensation can only be given in the
case of an over-populous lodge.

With these restrictions and qualifications, it cannot be doubted that
every Master Mason has a right to demit from his lodge at his own
pleasure. What will be the result upon himself, in his future relations to
the Order, of such demission, will constitute the subject of the
succeeding chapter.

Chapter VIII.

Of Unaffiliated Masons.

An unaffiliated Mason is one who is not connected by membership with any
lodge. There can be no doubt that such a position is contrary to the
spirit of our institution, and that affiliation is a duty obligatory on
every Mason. The Old Charges, which have been so often cited as the
fundamental law of Masonry, say on this subject: "every Brother ought to
belong to a lodge and to be subject to its bye-laws and the General

Explicitly as this doctrine has been announced, it has been too little
observed, in consequence of no precise penalty having been annexed to its
violation. In all times, unaffiliated Masons have existed--Masons who have
withdrawn from all active participation in the duties and responsibilities
of the Order, and who, when in the hour of danger or distress, have not
hesitated to claim its protection or assistance, while they have refused
in the day of their prosperity to add anything to its wealth, its power,
or its influence. In this country, the anti-masonic persecutions of 1828,
and a few years subsequently, by causing the cessation of many lodges,
threw a vast number of Brethren out of all direct connection with the
institution; on the restoration of peace, and the renewal of labor by the
lodges, too many of these Brethren neglected to reunite themselves with
the craft, and thus remained unaffiliated. The habit, thus introduced, was
followed by others, until the sin of unaffiliation has at length arrived
at such a point of excess, as to have become a serious evil, and to have
attracted the attention and received the condemnation of almost every
Grand Lodge.

A few Grand Lodges have denied the right of a Mason permanently to demit
from the Order. Texas, for instance, has declared that "it does not
recognize the right of a Mason to demit or separate himself from the lodge
in which he was made, or may afterwards be admitted, except for the
purpose of joining another lodge, or when he may be about to remove
without the jurisdiction of the lodge of which he may be a member."[93] A
few other Grand Lodges have adopted a similar regulation; but the
prevailing opinion of the authorities appears to be, that it is competent
to interfere with the right to demit, certain rights and prerogatives
being, however, lost by such demission.

Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and one or two other Grand Lodges, while not
positively denying the right of demission, have at various times levied a
tax or contribution on the demitted or unaffiliated Masons within their
respective jurisdictions. This principle, however, has also failed to
obtain the general concurrence of other Grand Lodges, and some of them, as
Maryland, have openly denounced it. After a careful examination of the
authorities, I cannot deny to any man the _right_ of withdrawing,
whensoever he pleases, from a voluntary association--the laws of the land
would not sustain us in the enforcement of such a regulation; and our own
self-respect should prevent us from attempting it. If, then, he has a
right to withdraw, it clearly follows that we have no right to tax him,
which is only one mode of inflicting a fine or penalty for an act, the
right to do which we have acceded. In the strong language of the Committee
of Correspondence of Maryland:[94] "The object of Masonry never was to
extort, _nolens volens,_ money from its votaries. Such are not its
principles or teaching. The advocating such doctrines cannot advance the
interest or reputation of the institution; but will, as your committee
fear, do much to destroy its usefulness. Compulsive membership deprives it
of the title, _Free_ and Accepted."

But as it is an undoubted precept of the Order that every Mason should
belong to a lodge, and contribute, so far as his means will allow, to the
support of the institution, and as, by his demission, for other than
temporary purposes, he violates the principles and disobeys the precepts
of the Order, it naturally follows that his withdrawal must place him in a
different position from that which he would occupy as an affiliated Mason.
It is now time for us to inquire what that new position is.

We may say, then, that, whenever a Mason permanently withdraws his
membership, he at once, and while he continues unaffiliated, dissevers all
connection between himself and the _Lodge organization_ of the Order. He,
by this act, divests himself of all the rights and privileges which belong
to him as a member of that organization. Among these rights and privileges
are those of visitation, of pecuniary aid, and of masonic burial.
Whenever he approaches the door of a lodge, asking to enter or seeking for
assistance, he is to be met in the light of a profane. He may knock, but
the door must not be opened--he may ask, but he is not to receive. The
work of the lodge is not to be shared by those who have thrown aside their
aprons and their implements, and abandoned the labors of the Temple--the
funds of the lodge are to be distributed only among these who are aiding,
by their individual contributions, to the formation of similar funds in
other lodges.

But from the well-known and universally-admitted maxim of "once a Mason,
and always a Mason," it follows that a demitted Brother cannot by such
demission divest himself of all his masonic responsibilities to his
Brethren, nor be deprived of their correlative responsibility to him. An
unaffiliated Mason is still bound by certain obligations, of which he
cannot, under any circumstances, divest himself, and by similar
obligations are the fraternity bound to him. These relate to the duties of
secrecy and of aid in the imminent hour of peril. Of the first of these
there can be no doubt; and as to the last, the words of the precept
directing it leaves us no option; nor is it a time when the G.H.S. of D.
is thrown out to inquire into the condition of the party.

Speaking on this subject, Brother Albert Pike, in his report to the Grand

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