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The Principles of Masonic Law by Albert G. Mackey

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Lodge of Arkansas, says "if a person appeals to us as a Mason in imminent
peril, or such pressing need that we have not time to inquire into his
worthiness, then, lest we might refuse to relieve and aid a worthy
Brother, we must not stop to inquire _as to anything_." But I do not think
that the learned Brother has put the case in the strongest light. It is
not alone "lest we might refuse to relieve and aid a worthy Brother," that
we are in cases of "imminent peril" to make no pause for deliberation. But
it is because we are bound by our highest obligations at all times, and to
all Masons, to give that aid when _duly_ called for.

I may, then, after this somewhat protracted discussion, briefly
recapitulate the position, the rights and the responsibilities of an
unaffiliated Mason as follows:

1. An unaffiliated Mason is still bound by all his masonic duties and
obligations, excepting those connected with the organization of the lodge.

2. He has a right to aid in imminent peril when _he asks for that aid in
the_ proper _and conventional way_.

3. He loses the right to receive pecuniary relief.

4. He loses the general right to visit[95] lodges, or to walk in masonic

5. He loses the right of masonic burial.

6. He still remains subject to the government of the Order, and may be
tried and punished for any offense as an affiliated Mason would be, by the
lodge within whose geographical jurisdiction he resides.

Book Fourth.

Of Masonic Crimes and Punishments.

Chapter I.

Of What Are Masonic Crimes.

The division of wrongs, by the writers on municipal law, into private and
public, or civil injuries and crimes and misdemeanors, does not apply to
the jurisprudence of Freemasonry. Here all wrongs are crimes, because they
are a violation of the precepts of the institution; and an offense against
an individual is punished, not so much because it is a breach of his
private rights, as because it affects the well-being of the whole masonic

In replying to the question, "what are masonic crimes?" by which is meant
what crimes are punishable by the constituted authorities, our safest
guide will be that fundamental law which is contained in the Old Charges.
These give a concise, but succinct summary of the duties of a Mason, and,
of course, whatever is a violation of any one of these duties will
constitute a masonic crime, and the perpetrator will be amenable to
masonic punishment.

But before entering on the consideration of these penal offenses, it will
be well that we should relieve the labor of the task, by inquiring what
crimes or offenses are not supposed to come within the purview of masonic

Religion and politics are subjects which it is well known are stringently
forbidden to be introduced into Masonry. And hence arises the doctrine,
that Masonry will not take congnizance of religious or political offenses.

Heresy, for instance, is not a masonic crime. Masons are obliged to use
the words of the Old Charges, "to that religion in which all men agree,
leaving their particular opinions to themselves;" and, therefore, as long
as a Mason acknowledges his belief in the existence of one God, a lodge
can take no action on his peculiar opinions, however heterodox they may

In like manner, although all the most ancient and universally-received
precepts of the institution inculcate obedience to the civil powers, and
strictly forbid any mingling in plots or conspiracies against the peace
and welfare of the nation, yet no offense against the state, which is
simply political in its character, can be noticed by a lodge. On this
important subject, the Old Charges are remarkably explicit. They say,
putting perhaps the strongest case by way of exemplifying the principle,
"that if a Brother should be a rebel against the State, he is not to be
countenanced in his rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man;
and, if convicted of no other crime, though the loyal Brotherhood must and
ought to disown his rebellion, and give no umbrage or ground of political
jealousy to the government for the time being, _they cannot expel him from
the lodge, and his relation to it remains indefeasible_"

The lodge can, therefore, take no cognizance of religious or political

The first charge says: "a Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral
law." Now, although, in a theological sense, the ten commandments are said
to embrace and constitute the moral law, because they are its best
exponent, yet jurists have given to the term a more general latitude, in
defining the moral laws to be "the eternal, immutable laws of good and
evil, to which the Creator himself, in all dispensations, conforms, and
which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are
necessary for the conduct of human actions."[96] Perhaps the well known
summary of Justinian will give the best idea of what this law is, namely,
that we "should live honestly, (that is to say, without reproach,)[97]
should injure nobody, and render to every one his just due."

If such, then, be the meaning of the moral law, and if every Mason is by
his tenure obliged to obey it, it follows, that all such crimes as profane
swearing or great impiety in any form, neglect of social and domestic
duties, murder and its concomitant vices of cruelty and hatred, adultery,
dishonesty in any shape, perjury or malevolence, and habitual falsehood,
inordinate covetousness, and in short, all those ramifications of these
leading vices which injuriously affect the relations of man to God, his
neighbor, and himself, are proper subjects of lodge jurisdiction. Whatever
moral defects constitute the bad man, make also the bad Mason, and
consequently come under the category of masonic offenses. The principle is
so plain and comprehensible as to need no further exemplification. It is
sufficient to say that, whenever an act done by a Mason is contrary to or
subsersive of the three great duties which he owes to God, his neighbor,
and himself, it becomes at once a subject of masonic investigation, and of
masonic punishment.

But besides these offenses against the universal moral law, there are many
others arising from the peculiar nature of our institution. Among these we
may mention, and in their order, those that are enumerated in the several
sections of the Sixth Chapter of the Old Charges. These are, unseemly and
irreverent conduct in the lodge, all excesses of every kind, private
piques or quarrels brought into the lodge; imprudent conversation in
relation to Masonry in the presence of uninitiated strangers; refusal to
relieve a worthy distressed Brother, if in your power; and all "wrangling,
quarreling, back-biting, and slander."

The lectures in the various degrees, and the Ancient Charges read on the
installation of the Master of a lodge, furnish us with other criteria for
deciding what are peculiarly masonic offenses. All of them need not be
detailed; but among them may be particularly mentioned the following: All
improper revelations, undue solicitations for candidates, angry and
over-zealous arguments in favor of Masonry with its enemies, every act
which tends to impair the unsullied purity of the Order, want of
reverence for and obedience to masonic superiors, the expression of a
contemptuous opinion of the original rulers and patrons of Masonry, or of
the institution itself; all countenance of impostors; and lastly, holding
masonic communion with clandestine Masons, or visiting irregular lodges.

From this list, which, extended as it is, might easily have been enlarged,
it will be readily seen, that the sphere of masonic penal jurisdiction is
by no means limited. It should, therefore, be the object of every Mason,
to avoid the censure or reproach of his Brethren, by strictly confining
himself as a point within that circle of duty which, at his first
initiation, was presented to him as an object worthy of his consideration.

Chapter II.

Of Masonic Punishments.

Having occupied the last chapter in a consideration of what constitute
masonic crimes, it is next in order to inquire how these offenses are to
be punished; and accordingly I propose in the following sections to treat
of the various modes in which masonic law is vindicated, commencing with
the slightest mode of punishment, which is censure, and proceeding to the
highest, or expulsion from all the rights and privileges of the Order.

Section I.

_Of Censure._

A censure is the mildest form of punishment that can be inflicted by a
lodge; and as it is simply the expression of an opinion by the members of
the lodge, that they do not approve of the conduct of the person
implicated, in a particular point of view, and as it does not in any
degree affect the masonic standing of the one censured, nor for a moment
suspend or abridge his rights and benefits, I have no doubt that it may be
done on a mere motion, without previous notice, and adopted, as any other
resolution, by a bare majority of the members present.

Masonic courtesy would, however, dictate that notice should be given to
the Brother, if absent, that such a motion of censure is about to be
proposed or considered, to enable him to show cause, if any he have, why
he should not be censured. But such notice is not, as I have said,
necessary to the legality of the vote of censure.

A vote of censure will sometimes, however, be the result of a trial, and
in that case its adoption must be governed by the rules of masonic trials,
which are hereafter to be laid down.

Section II.

_Of Reprimand._

A reprimand is the next mildest form of masonic punishment. It should
never be adopted on a mere motion, but should always be the result of a
regular trial, in which the party may have the opportunity of defense.

A reprimand may be either private or public. If to be given in private,
none should be present but the Master and the offender; or, if given by
letter, no copy of that letter should be preserved.

If given in public, the lodge is the proper place, and the reprimand
should be given by the Master from his appropriate station.

The Master is always the executive officer of the lodge, and in carrying
out the sentence he must exercise his own prudent discretion as to the
mode of delivery and form of words.

A reprimand, whether private or public, does not affect the masonic
standing of the offender.

Section III.

_Of Exclusion from the Lodge._

Exclusion from a lodge may be of various degrees.

1. A member may for indecorous or unmasonic conduct be excluded from a
single meeting of the lodge. This may be done by the Master, under a
provision of the bye-laws giving him the authority, or on his own
responsibility, in which case he is amenable to the Grand Lodge for the
correctness of his decision. Exclusion in this way does not affect the
masonic standing of the person excluded, and does not require a previous

I cannot entertain any doubt that the Master of a lodge has the right to
exclude temporarily any member or Mason, when he thinks that either his
admission, if outside, or his continuance within, if present, will impair
the peace and harmony of the lodge. It is a prerogative necessary to the
faithful performance of his duties, and inalienable from his great
responsibility to the Grand Lodge for the proper government of the Craft
intrusted to his care. If, as it is described in the ancient manner of
constituting a lodge, the Master is charged "to preserve the cement of the
Lodge," it would be folly to give him such a charge, unless he were
invested with the power to exclude an unruly or disorderly member. But as
Masters are enjoined not to rule their lodges in an unjust or arbitrary
manner, and as every Mason is clearly entitled to redress for any wrong
that has been done to him, it follows that the Master is responsible to
the Grand Lodge for the manner in which he has executed the vast power
intrusted to him, and he may be tried and punished by that body, for
excluding a member, when the motives of the act and the other
circumstances of the exclusion were not such as to warrant the exercise of
his prerogative.

2. A member may be excluded from his lodge for a definite or indefinite
period, on account of the non-payment of arrears. This punishment may be
inflicted in different modes, and under different names. It is sometimes
called, _suspension from the lodge,_ and sometimes _erasure from the
roll_. Both of these punishments, though differing in their effect, are
pronounced, not after a trial, but by a provision of the bye-laws of the
lodge. For this reason alone, if there were no other, I should contend,
that they do not affect the standing of the member suspended, or erased,
with relation to the craft in general. No Mason can be deprived of his
masonic rights, except after a trial, with the opportunity of defense, and
a verdict of his peers.

But before coming to a definite conclusion on this subject, it is
necessary that we should view the subject in another point of view, in
which it will be seen that a suspension from the rights and benefits of
Masonry, for the non-payment of dues, is entirely at variance with the
true principles of the Order.

The system of payment of lodge-dues does not by any means belong to the
ancient usages of the fraternity. It is a modern custom, established for
purposes of convenience, and arising out of other modifications, in the
organization of the Order. It is not an obligation on the part of a Mason,
to the institution at large, but is in reality a special contract, in
which the only parties are a particular lodge and its members, of which
the fraternity, as a mass, are to know nothing. It is not presented by any
general masonic law, nor any universal masonic precept. No Grand Lodge has
ever yet attempted to control or regulate it, and it is thus tacitly
admitted to form no part of the general regulations of the Order. Even in
that Old Charge in which a lodge is described, and the necessity of
membership in is enforced, not a word is said of the payment of arrears to
it, or of the duty of contributing to its support. Hence the non-payment
of arrears is a violation of a special and voluntary contract with a
lodge, and not of any general duty to the craft at large. The corollary
from all this is, evidently, that the punishment inflicted in such a case
should be one affecting the relations of the delinquent with the
particular lodge whose bye-laws he has infringed, and not a general one,
affecting his relations with the whole Order. After a consideration of
all these circumstances, I am constrained to think that suspension from
alodge, for non-payment of arrears, should only suspend the rights of the
member as to his own lodge, but should not affect his right of visiting
other lodges, nor any of the other privileges inherent in him as a Mason.
Such is not, I confess, the general opinion, or usage of the craft in this
country, but yet I cannot but believe that it is the doctrine most
consonant with the true spirit of the institution. It is the practice
pursued by the Grand Lodge of England, from which most of our Grand Lodges
derive, directly or indirectly, their existence. It is also the regulation
of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The Grand Lodge of South Carolina
expressly forbids suspension from the rights and benefits of Masonry for
non-payment of dues, and the Grand Lodge of New York has a similar
provision in its Constitution.

Of the two modes of exclusion from a lodge for non-payment of dues,
namely, suspension and erasure, the effects are very different. Suspension
does not abrogate the connection between the member and his lodge, and
places his rights in abeyance only. Upon the payment of the debt, he is
at once restored without other action of the lodge. But erasure from the
roll terminates all connection between the delinquent and the lodge, and
he ceases to be a member of it. Payment of the dues, simply, will not
restore him; for it is necessary that he should again be elected by the
Brethren, upon formal application.

The word exclusion has a meaning in England differing from that in which
it has been used in the present section. There the prerogative of
expulsion is, as I think very rightly, exercised only by the Grand Lodge.
The term "expelled" is therefore used only when a Brother is removed from
the craft, by the Grand Lodge. The removal by a District Grand Lodge, or a
subordinate lodge, is called "exclusion." The effect, however, of the
punishment of exclusion, is similar to that which has been here advocated.

Section IV.

_Of Definite Suspension._

Suspension is a punishment by which a party is temporarily deprived of his
rights and privileges as a Mason. It does not terminate his connection
with the craft, but only places it in abeyance, and it may again be
resumed in a mode hereafter to be indicated.

Suspension may be, in relation to time, either definite or indefinite. And
as the effects produced upon the delinquent, especially in reference to
the manner of his restoration, are different, it is proper that each
should be separately considered.

In a case of definite suspension, the time for which the delinquent is to
be suspended, whether for one month, for three, or six months, or for a
longer or shorter period, is always mentioned in the sentence.

At its termination, the party suspended is at once restored without
further action of the lodge. But as this is a point upon which there has
been some difference of opinion, the argument will be fully discussed in
the chapter on the subject of _Restoration._

By a definite suspension, the delinquent is for a time placed beyond the
pale of Masonry. He is deprived of all his rights as a Master Mason--is
not permitted to visit any lodge, or hold masonic communication with his
Brethren--is not entitled to masonic relief, and should he die during his
suspension, is not entitled to masonic burial. In short, the amount of
punishment differs from that of indefinite suspension or expulsion only
in the period of time for which it is inflicted.

The punishment of definite suspension is the lightest that can be
inflicted of those which affect the relations of a Mason with the
fraternity at large. It must always be preceded by a trial, and the
prevalent opinion is, that it may be inflicted by a two-thirds vote of the

Section V.

_Of Indefinite Suspension._

Indefinite suspension is a punishment by which the person suspended is
deprived of all his rights and privileges as a Mason, until such time as
the lodge which has suspended him shall see fit, by a special action, to
restore him.

All that has been said of definite suspension in the preceding section,
will equally apply to indefinite suspension, except that in the former
case the suspended person is at once restored by the termination of the
period for which he was suspended; while in the latter, as no period of
termination had been affixed, a special resolution of the lodge will be
necessary to effect a restoration.

By suspension the connection of the party with his lodge and with the
institution is not severed; he still remains a member of his lodge,
although his rights as such are placed in abeyance. In this respect it
materially differs from expulsion, and, as an inferior grade of
punishment, is inflicted for offenses of a lighter character than those
for which expulsion is prescribed.

The question here arises, whether the dues of a suspended member to his
lodge continue to accrue during his suspension? I think they do not. Dues
or arrears are payments made to a lodge for certain rights and
benefits--the exercise and enjoyment of which are guaranteed to the
member, in consideration of the dues thus paid. But as by suspension,
whether definite or indefinite, he is for the time deprived of these
rights and benefits, it would seem unjust to require from him a payment
for that which he does not enjoy. I hold, therefore, that suspension from
the rights and benefits of Masonry, includes also a suspension from the
payment of arrears.

No one can be indefinitely suspended, unless after a due form of trial,
and upon the vote of at least two-thirds of the members present.

Section VI.

_Of Expulsion._[98]

Expulsion is the very highest penalty that can be inflicted upon a
delinquent Mason. It deprives the party expelled of all the masonic rights
and privileges that he ever enjoyed, not only as a member of the lodge
from which he has been ejected, but also of all those which were inherent
in him as a member of the fraternity at large. He is at once as completely
divested of his masonic character as though he had never been admitted
into the institution. He can no longer demand the aid of his Brethren, nor
require from them the performance of any of the duties to which he was
formerly entitled, nor visit any lodge, nor unite in any of the public or
private ceremonies of the Order. No conversation on masonic subjects can
be held with him, and he is to be considered as being completely without
the pale of the institution, and to be looked upon in the same light as a
profane, in relation to the communication of any masonic information.

It is a custom too generally adopted in this country, for subordinate
lodges to inflict this punishment, and hence it is supposed by many, that
the power of inflicting it is vested in the subordinate lodges. But the
fact is, that the only proper tribunal to impose this heavy penalty is a
Grand Lodge. A subordinate may, indeed, try its delinquent member, and if
guilty declare him expelled. But the sentence is of no force until the
Grand Lodge, under whose jurisdiction it is working, has confirmed it. And
it is optional with the Grand Lodge to do so, or, as is frequently done,
to reverse the decision and reinstate the Brother. Some of the lodges in
this country claim the right to expel independently of the action of the
Grand Lodge, but the claim is not valid. The very fact that an expulsion
is a penalty, affecting the general relations of the punished party with
the whole fraternity, proves that its exercise never could, with
propriety, be intrusted to a body so circumscribed in its authority as a
subordinate lodge. Besides, the general practice of the fraternity is
against it. The English Constitutions vest the power to expel exclusively
in the Grand Lodge.[99]

The severity of the punishment will at once indicate the propriety of
inflicting it only for the most serious offenses, such, for instance, as
immoral conduct, that would subject a candidate for initiation to

As the punishment is general, affecting the relation of the one expelled
with the whole fraternity, it should not be lightly imposed, for the
violation of any masonic act not general in its character. The commission
of a grossly immoral act is a violation of the contract entered into
between each Mason and his Order. If sanctioned by silence or impunity, it
would bring discredit on the institution, and tend to impair its
usefulness. A Mason who is a bad man, is to the fraternity what a
mortified limb is to the body, and should be treated with the same mode of
cure--he should be cut off, lest his example spread, and disease be
propagated through the constitution.

The punishment of expulsion can only be inflicted after a due course of
trial, and upon the votes of at least two-thirds of the members present,
and should always be submitted for approval and confirmation to the Grand

One question here arises, in respect not only to expulsion but to the
other masonic punishments, of which I have treated in the preceding
sections:--Does suspension or expulsion from a Chapter of Royal Arch
Masons, an Encampment of Knights Templar, or any other of what are called
the higher degrees of Masonry, affect the relations of the expelled party
to Symbolic or Ancient Craft Masonry? I answer, unhesitatingly, that it
does not, and for reasons which, years ago, I advanced, in the following
language, and which appear to have met with the approval of the most of my

"A chapter of Royal Arch Masons, for instance, is not, and cannot be,
recognized as a masonic body, by a lodge of Master Masons. 'They hear them
so to be, but they do not know them so to be,' by any of the modes of
recognition known to Masonry. The acts, therefore, of a Chapter cannot be
recognized by a Master Masons' lodge, any more than the acts of a literary
or charitable society wholly unconnected with the Order. Again: By the
present organization of Freemasonry, Grand Lodges are the supreme masonic
tribunals. If, therefore, expulsion from a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons
involved expulsion from a Blue Lodge, the right of the Grand Lodge to hear
and determine causes, and to regulate the internal concerns of the
institution, would be interfered with by another body beyond its control.
But the converse of this proposition does not hold good. Expulsion from a
Blue Lodge involves expulsion from all the higher degrees; because, as
they are composed of Blue Masons, the members could not of right sit and
hold communications on masonic subjects with one who was an expelled

Chapter III.

Of Masonic Trials.

Having thus discussed the penalties which are affixed to masonic offenses,
we are next to inquire into the process of trial by which a lodge
determines on the guilt or innocence of the accused. This subject will be
the most conveniently considered by a division into two sections; first,
as to the form of trial; and secondly, as to the character of the

Section I.

_Of the Form of Trial._

Although the authority for submitting masonic offenses to trials by lodges
is derived from the Old Charges, none of the ancient regulations of the
Order have prescribed the details by which these trials are to be
governed. The form of trial must, therefore, be obtained from the customs
and usages of the craft, and from the regulations which have been adopted
by various Grand Lodges. The present section will, therefore, furnish a
summary of these regulations as they are generally observed in this

A charge or statement of the offense imputed to the party is always a
preliminary step to every trial.

This charge must be made in writing, signed by the accuser, and delivered
to the Secretary, who reads it at the next regular communication of the
lodge. A time and place are then appointed by the lodge for the trial.

The accused is entitled to a copy of the charge, and must be informed of
the time and place that have been appointed for his trial.

Although it is necessary that the accusation should be preferred at a
stated communication, so that no one may be taken at a disadvantage, the
trial may take place at a special communication. But ample time and
opportunity should always be given to the accused to prepare his defense.

It is not essential that the accuser should be a Mason. A charge of
immoral conduct can be preferred by a profane; and if the offense is
properly stated, and if it comes within the jurisdiction of the Order or
the lodge, it must be investigated. It is not the accuser but the accused
that Is to be put on trial, and the lodge is to look only to the nature of
the accusation, and not to the individual who prefers it. The motives of
the accuser, but not his character, may be examined.

If the accused is living beyond the jurisdiction of the lodge--that is to
say, if he be a member and have removed to some other place without
withdrawing his membership, not being a member, or if, after committing
the offense, he has left the jurisdiction, the charge must be transmitted
to his present place of residence, by mail or otherwise, and a reasonable
time be allowed for his answer before the lodge proceeds to trial.

The lodge should be opened in the highest degree to which the accused has
attained; and the examinations should take place in the presence of the
accused and the accuser (if the latter be a Mason); but the final decision
should always be made in the third degree.

The accused and the accuser have a right to be present at all examinations
of witnesses, whether those examinations are taken in open lodge or in a
committee, and to propose such relevant questions as they desire.

When the trial is concluded, the accused and accuser should retire, and
the Master or presiding officer must then put the question of guilty or
not guilty to the lodge. Of course, if there are several charges or
specifications, the question must be taken on each separately. For the
purposes of security and independence in the expression of opinion, it
seems generally conceded, that this question should be decided by ballot;
and the usage has also obtained, of requiring two-thirds of the votes
given to be black, to secure a conviction. A white ball, of course, is
equivalent to acquittal, and a black one to conviction.

Every member present is bound to vote, unless excused by unanimous

If, on a scrutiny, it is found that the verdict is guilty, the Master or
presiding officer must then put the question as to the amount and nature
of the punishment to be inflicted.

He will commence with the highest penalty, or expulsion, and, if
necessary, by that punishment being negatived, proceed to propose
indefinite and then definite suspension, exclusion, public or private
reprimand, and censure.

For expulsion or either kind of suspension, two-thirds of the votes
present are necessary. For either of the other and lighter penalties, a
bare majority will be sufficient.

The votes on the nature of the punishment should be taken by a show of

If the residence of the accused is not known, or if, upon due summons, he
refuses or neglects to attend, the lodge may, nevertheless, proceed to
trial without his presence.

In trials conducted by Grand Lodges, it is usual to take the preliminary
testimony in a committee; but the final decision must always be made in
the Grand Lodge.

Section II.

_Of the Evidence in Masonic Trials._

In the consideration of the nature of the evidence that is to be given in
masonic trials, it is proper that we should first inquire what classes of
persons are to be deemed incompetent as witnesses.

The law of the land, which, in this instance, is the same as the law of
Masonry, has declared the following classes of person to be incompetent to
give evidence.

1. Persons who have not the use of reason, are, from the infirmity of
their nature, considered to be utterly incapable of giving evidence.[101]
This class includes idiots, madmen, and children too young to be sensible
of the obligations of an oath, and to distinguish between good and evil.

2. Persons who are entirely devoid of any such religious principle or
belief as would bind their consciences to speak the truth, are incompetent
as witnesses. Hence, the testimony of an atheist must be rejected;
because, as it has been well said, such a person cannot be subject to that
sanction which is deemed an indispensable test of truth. But as Masonry
does not demand of its candidates any other religious declaration than
that of a belief in God, it cannot require of the witnesses in its trials
any profession of a more explicit faith. But even here it seems to concur
with the law of the land; for it has been decided by Chief Baron Willes,
that "an infidel who believes in a God, and that He will reward and punish
him in this world, but does not believe in a future state, may be examined
upon oath."

3. Persons who have been rendered infamous by their conviction of great
crimes, are deemed incompetent to give evidence. This rule has been
adopted, because the commission of an infamous crime implies, as Sir
William Scott has observed, "such a dereliction of moral principle on the
part of the witness, as carries with it the conclusion that he would
entirely disregard the obligation of an oath." Of such a witness it has
been said, by another eminent judge,[102] that "the credit of his oath is
over-balanced by the stain of his iniquity."

4. Persons interested in the result of the trial are considered
incompetent to give evidence. From the nature of human actions and
passions, and from the fact that all persons, even the most virtuous, are
unconsciously swayed by motives of interest, the testimony of such persons
is rather to be distrusted than believed. This rule will, perhaps, be
generally of difficult application in masonic trials, although in a civil
suit at law it is easy to define what is the interest of a party
sufficient to render his evidence incompetent. But whenever it is clearly
apparent that the interests of a witness would be greatly benefited by
either the acquittal or the conviction of the accused, his testimony must
be entirely rejected, or, if admitted, its value must be weighed with the
most scrupulous caution.

Such are the rules that the wisdom of successive generations of men,
learned in the law, have adopted for the establishment of the competency
or incompetency of witnesses. There is nothing in them which conflicts
with the principles of justice, or with the Constitutions of Freemasonry;
and hence they may, very properly, be considered as a part of our own
code. In determining, therefore, the rule for the admission of witnesses
in masonic trials, we are to be governed by the simple proposition that
has been enunciated by Mr. Justice Lawrence in the following language:

"I find no rule less comprehensive than this, that all persons are
admissible witnesses who have the use of their reason, and such religious
belief as to feel the obligation of an oath, who have not been convicted
of any infamous crime, and who are not influenced by interest."

The peculiar, isolated character of our institution, here suggests as an
important question, whether it is admissible to take the testimony of a
profane, or person who is not a Freemason, in the trial of a Mason before
his lodge.

To this question I feel compelled to reply, that such testimony is
generally admissible; but, as there are special cases in which it is not,
it seems proper to qualify that reply by a brief inquiry into the grounds
and reasons of this admissibility, and the mode and manner in which such
testimony is to be taken.

The great object of every trial, in Masonry, as elsewhere, is to elicit
truth; and, in the spirit of truth, to administer justice. From whatever
source, therefore, this truth can be obtained, it is not only competent
there to seek it, but it is obligatory on us so to do. This is the
principle of law as well as of common sense. Mr. Phillips, in the
beginning of his great "Treatise on the Law of Evidence," says: "In
inquiries upon this subject, the great end and object ought always to be,
the ascertaining of the most convenient and surest means for the
attainment of truth; the rules laid down are the means used for the
attainment of that end."

Now, if A, who is a Freemason, shall have committed an offense, of which B
and C alone were cognizant as witnesses, shall it be said that A must be
acquitted for want of proof, because B and C are not members of the Order?
We apprehend that in this instance the ends of justice would be defeated,
rather than subserved. If the veracity and honesty of B and C are
unimpeached, their testimony as to the fact cannot lawfully be rejected on
any ground, except that they may be interested in the result of the trial,
and might be benefited by the conviction or the acquittal of the
defendant. But this is an objection that would hold against the evidence
of a Mason, as well as a profane.

Any other rule would be often attended with injurious consequences to our
institution. We may readily suppose a case by way of illustration. A, who
is a member of a lodge, is accused of habitual intemperance, a vice
eminently unmasonic in its character, and one which will always reflect a
great portion of the degradation of the offender upon the society which
shall sustain and defend him in its perpetration. But it may happen--and
this is a very conceivable case--that in consequence of the remoteness of
his dwelling, or from some other supposable cause, his Brethren have no
opportunity of seeing him, except at distant intervals. There is,
therefore, no Mason, to testify to the truth of the charge, while his
neighbors and associates, who are daily and hourly in his company, are all
aware of his habit of intoxication.

If, then, a dozen or more men, all of reputation and veracity, should
come, or be brought before the lodge, ready and willing to testify to this
fact, by what process of reason or justice, or under what maxim of masonic
jurisprudence, could their testimony be rejected, simply because they were
not Masons? And if rejected--if the accused with this weight of evidence
against him, with this infamy clearly and satisfactorily proved by these
reputable witnesses, were to be acquitted, and sent forth purged of the
charge, upon a mere technical ground, and thus triumphantly be sustained
in the continuation of his vice, and that in the face of the very
community which was cognizant of his degradation of life and manners, who
could estimate the disastrous consequences to the lodge and the Order
which should thus support and uphold him in his guilty course? The world
would not, and could not appreciate the causes that led to the rejection
of such clear and unimpeachable testimony, and it would visit with its
just reprobation the institution which could thus extend its fraternal
affections to the support of undoubted guilt.

But, moreover, this is not a question of mere theory; the principle of
accepting the testimony of non-masonic witnesses has been repeatedly acted
on. If a Mason has been tried by the courts of his country on an
indictment for larceny, or any other infamous crime, and been convicted by
the verdict of a jury, although neither the judge nor the jury, nor the
witnesses were Masons, no lodge after such conviction would permit him to
retain his membership, but, on the contrary, it would promptly and
indignantly expel him from the Brotherhood. If, however, the lodge should
refuse to expel him, on the ground that his conviction before the court
was based on the testimony of non-masonic witnesses, and should grant him
a lodge trial for the same offense, then, on the principle against which
we are contending, the evidence of these witnesses as "profanes" would be
rejected, and the party be acquitted for want of proof; and thus the
anomalous and disgraceful spectacle would present itself--of a felon
condemned and punished by the laws of his country for an infamous crime,
acquitted and sustained by a lodge of Freemasons.

But we will be impressed with the inexpediency and injustice of this
principle, when we look at its operation from another point of view. It is
said to be a bad rule that will not work both ways; and, therefore, if the
testimony of non-masonic witnesses against the accused is rejected on the
ground of inadmissibility, it must also be rejected when given in his
favor. Now, if we suppose a case, in which a Mason was accused before his
lodge of having committed an offense, at a certain time and place, and, by
the testimony of one or two disinterested persons, he could establish what
the law calls an _alibi_, that is, that at that very time he was at a
far-distant place, and could not, therefore, have committed the offense
charged against him, we ask with what show of justice or reason could such
testimony be rejected, simply because the parties giving it were not
Masons? But if the evidence of a "profane" is admitted in favor of the
accused, rebutting testimony of the same kind cannot with consistency be
rejected; and hence the rule is determined that in the trial of Masons, it
is competent to receive the evidence of persons who are not Masons, but
whose competency, in other respects, is not denied.

It must, however, be noted, that the testimony of persons who are not
Masons is not to be given as that of Masons is, within the precincts of
the lodge. They are not to be present at the trial; and whatever testimony
they have to adduce, must be taken by a committee, to be afterwards
accurately reported to the lodge. But in all cases, the accused has a
right to be present, and to interrogate the witnesses.

The only remaining topic to be discussed is the method of taking the
testimony, and this can be easily disposed of.

The testimony of Masons is to be taken either in lodge or in committee,
and under the sanction of their obligations.

The testimony of profanes is always to be taken by a committee, and on
oath administered by a competent legal officer--the most convenient way of
taking such testimony is by affidavit.

Chapter IV.

Of the Penal Jurisdiction of a Lodge.

The penal jurisdiction of a lodge is that jurisdiction which it is
authorized to exercise for the trial of masonic offenses, and the
infliction of masonic punishment. It may be considered as either
geographical or personal.

The geographical jurisdiction of a lodge extends in every direction, half
way to the nearest lodge. Thus, if two lodges be situated at the distance
of sixteen miles from each other, then the penal jurisdiction of each will
extend for the space of eight miles in the direction of the other.

The personal jurisdiction of a lodge is that jurisdiction which a lodge
may exercise over certain individuals, respective or irrespective of
geographical jurisdiction. This jurisdiction is more complicated than the
other, and requires a more detailed enumeration of the classes over whom
it is to be exercised.

1. A lodge exercises penal jurisdiction over all its members, no matter
where they may reside. A removal from the geographical jurisdiction will
not, in this case, release the individual from personal jurisdiction. The
allegiance of a member to his lodge is indefeasible.

2. A lodge exercises penal jurisdiction over all unaffiliated Masons,
living within its geographical jurisdiction. An unaffiliated Mason cannot
release himself from his responsibilities to the Order. And if, by immoral
or disgraceful conduct, he violates the regulations of the Order, or tends
to injure its reputation in the estimation of the community, he is
amenable to the lodge nearest to his place of residence, whether this
residence be temporary or permanent, and may be reprimanded, suspended, or

This doctrine is founded on the wholesome reason, that as a lodge is the
guardian of the purity and safety of the institution, within its own
jurisdiction, it must, to exercise this guardianship with success, be
invested with the power of correcting every evil that occurs within its
precincts. And if unaffiliated Masons were exempted from this control, the
institution might be seriously affected in the eyes of the community, by
their bad conduct.

3. The personal jurisdiction of a lodge, for the same good reason,
extends over all Masons living in its vicinity. A Master Mason belonging
to a distant lodge, but residing within the geographical jurisdiction of
another lodge, becomes amenable for his conduct to the latter, as well as
to the former lodge. But if his own lodge is within a reasonable distance,
courtesy requires that the lodge near which he resides should rather make
a complaint to his lodge than itself institute proceedings against him.
But the reputation of the Order must not be permitted to be endangered,
and a case might occur, in which it would be inexpedient to extend this
courtesy, and where the lodge would feel compelled to proceed to the trial
and punishment of the offender, without appealing to his lodge. The
geographical jurisdiction will, in all cases, legalize the proceedings.

4. But a lodge situated near the confines of a State cannot extend its
jurisdiction over Masons residing in a neighboring State, and not being
its members, however near they may reside to it: for no lodge can exercise
jurisdiction over the members of another Grand Lodge jurisdiction. Its
geographical, as well as personal jurisdiction, can extend no further than
that of its own Grand Lodge.

5. Lastly, no lodge can exercise penal jurisdiction over its own Master,
for he is alone responsible for his conduct to the Grand Lodge. But it may
act as his accuser before that body, and impeach him for any offense that
he may have committed. Neither can a lodge exercise penal jurisdiction
over the Grand Master, although under other circumstances it might have
both geographical and personal jurisdiction over him, from his residence
and membership.

Chapter V.

Of Appeals.

Every Mason, who has been tried and convicted by a lodge, has an
inalienable right to appeal from that conviction, and from the sentence
accompanying it, to the Grand Lodge.

As an appeal always supposes the necessity of a review of the whole case,
the lodge is bound to furnish the Grand Lodge with an attested copy of its
proceedings on the trial, and such other testimony in its possession as
the appellant may deem necessary for his defense.

The Grand Lodge may, upon investigation, confirm the verdict of its
subordinate. In this case, the appeal is dismissed, and the sentence goes
into immediate operation without any further proceedings on the part of
the lodge.

The Grand Lodge may, however, only approve in part, and may reduce the
penalty inflicted, as for instance, from expulsion to suspension. In this
case, the original sentence of the lodge becomes void, and the milder
sentence of the Grand Lodge is to be put in force. The same process would
take place, were the Grand Lodge to increase instead of diminishing the
amount of punishment, as from suspension to expulsion. For it is competent
for the Grand Lodge, on an appeal, to augment, reduce or wholly abrogate
the penalty inflicted by its subordinate.

But the Grand Lodge may take no direct action on the penalty inflicted,
but may simply refer the case back to the subordinate for a new trial. In
this case, the proceedings on the trial will be commenced _de novo_, if
the reference has been made on the ground of any informality or illegality
in the previous trial. But if the case is referred back, not for a new
trial, but for further consideration, on the ground that the punishment
was inadequate--either too severe, or not sufficiently so--in this case,
it is not necessary to repeat the trial. The discussion on the nature of
the penalty to be inflicted should, however, be reviewed, and any new
evidence calculated to throw light on the nature of the punishment which
is most appropriate, may be received.

Lastly, the Grand Lodge may entirely reverse the decision of its
subordinate, and decree a restoration of the appellant to all his rights
and privileges, on the ground of his innocence of the charges which had
been preferred against him. But, as this action is often highly important
in its results, and places the appellant and the lodge in an entirely
different relative position, I have deemed its consideration worthy of a
distinct chapter.

During the pendency of an appeal, the sentence of the subordinate lodge is
held in abeyance, and cannot; be enforced. The appellant in this case
remains in the position of a Mason "under charges."

Chapter VI.

Of Restoration.

The penalties of suspension and expulsion are terminated by restoration,
which may take place either by the action of the lodge which inflicted
them, or by that of the Grand Lodge.

Restoration from definite suspension is terminated without any special
action of the lodge, but simply by the termination of the period for which
the party was suspended. He then at once reenters into the possession of
all the rights, benefits, and functions, from which he had been
temporarily suspended.

I have myself no doubt of the correctness of this principle; but, as it
has been denied by some writers, although a very large majority of the
authorities are in its favor, it may be well, briefly, to discuss its

Let us suppose that on the 1st of January A.B. had been suspended for
three months, that is, until the 1st day of April. At the end of the three
months, that is to say, on the first of April, A.B. would no longer be a
suspended member--for the punishment decreed will have been endured; and
as the sentence of the lodge had expressly declared that his suspension
was to last until the 1st of April, the said sentence, if it means
anything, must mean that the suspension was, on the said 1st of April, to
cease and determine. If he were, therefore, to wait until the 1st of May
for the action of the lodge, declaring his restoration, he would suffer a
punishment of four months' suspension, which was not decreed by his lodge
upon his trial, and which would, therefore, be manifestly unjust and

Again: if the offense which he had committed was, upon his trial, found to
be so slight as to demand only a dismissal for one night from the lodge,
will it be contended that, on his leaving the lodge-room pursuant to his
sentence, he leaves not to return to it on the succeeding communication,
unless a vote should permit him? Certainly not. His punishment of
dismissal for one night had been executed; and on the succeeding night he
reentered into the possession of all his rights. But if he can do so after
a dismissal or suspension of one night, why not after one or three, six or
twelve months? The time is extended, but the principle remains the same.

But the doctrine, that after the expiration of the term of a definite
suspension, an action by the lodge is still necessary to a complete
restoration, is capable of producing much mischief and oppression. For, if
the lodge not only has a right, but is under the necessity of taking up
the case anew, and deciding whether the person who had been suspended for
three months, and whose period of suspension has expired, shall now be
restored, it follows, that the members of the lodge, in the course of
their inquiry, are permitted to come to such conclusion as they may think
just and fit; for to say that they, after all their deliberations, are, to
vote only in one way, would be too absurd to require any consideration.
They may, therefore, decide that A.B., having undergone the sentence of
the lodge, shall be restored, and then of course all would be well, and no
more is to be said. But suppose that they decide otherwise, and say that
A.B., having undergone the sentence of suspension of three months, _shall
not_ be restored, but must remain suspended until further orders. Here,
then, a party would have been punished a second time for the same offense,
and that, too, after having suffered what, at the time of his conviction,
was supposed to be a competent punishment--and without a trial, and
without the necessary opportunities of defense, again found guilty, and
his comparatively light punishment of suspension for three months changed
into a severer one, and of an indefinite period. The annals of the most
arbitrary government in the world--the history of the most despotic tyrant
that ever lived--could not show an instance of more unprincipled violation
of law and justice than this. And yet it may naturally be the result of
the doctrine, that in a sentence of definite suspension, the party can be
restored only by a vote of the lodge at the expiration of his term of
suspension. If the lodge can restore him, it can as well refuse to restore
him, and to refuse to restore him would be to inflict a new punishment
upon him for an old and atoned-for offense.

On the 1st of January, for instance, A.B., having been put upon his trial,
witnesses having been examined, his defense having been heard, was found
guilty by his lodge of some offense, the enormity of which, whatever it
might be, seemed to require a suspension from Masonry for just three
months, neither more nor less. If the lodge had thought the crime still
greater, it would, of course, we presume, have decreed a suspension of
six, nine, or twelve months. But considering, after a fair, impartial, and
competent investigation of the merits of the case (for all this is to be
presumed), that the offended law would be satisfied with a suspension of
three months, that punishment is decreed. The court is adjourned _sine
die_; for it has done all that is required--the prisoner undergoes his
sentence with becoming contrition, and the time having expired, the bond
having been paid, and the debt satisfied, he is told that he must again
undergo the ordeal of another trial, before another court, before he can
reassume what was only taken from him for a definite period; and that it
is still doubtful, whether the sentence of the former court may not even
now, after its accomplishment, be reversed, and a new and more severe one
be inflicted.

The analogy of a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment for a
certain period, and who, on the expiration of that period, is at once
released, has been referred to, as apposite to the case of a definite
suspension. Still more appropriately may we refer to the case of a person
transported for a term of years, and who cannot return until that term
expires, but who is at liberty at once to do so when it has expired.
"Another capital offense against public justice," says Blackstone, "is
the returning from transportation, or being seen at large in Great Britain
_before the expiration of the term for which the offender was sentenced to
be transported." _ Mark these qualifying words: "before the expiration of
the term:" they include, from the very force of language, the proposition
that it is no offense to return _after_ the expiration of the term. And so
changing certain words to meet the change of circumstances, but leaving
the principle unchanged, we may lay down the law in relation to
restorations from definite suspensions, as follows:

_It is an offense against the masonic code to claim the privileges of
Masonry, or to attempt to visit a lodge after having been suspended,
before the expiration of the term for which the offender was suspended_.

Of course, it is no crime to resume these privileges after the term has
expired; for surely he must have strange notions of the powers of
language, who supposes that suspension for three months, and no more, does
not mean, that when the three months are over the suspension ceases. And,
if the suspension ceases, the person is no longer suspended; and, if no
longer suspended he is in good standing, and requires no further action to
restore him to good moral and masonic health.

But it is said that, although originally only suspended for three months,
at the expiration of that period, his conduct might continue to be such as
to render his restoration a cause of public reproach. What is to be done
in such a case? It seems strange that the question should be asked. The
remedy is only too apparent. Let new charges be preferred, and let a new
trial take place for his derelictions of duty during the term of his
suspension. Then, the lodge may again suspend him for a still longer
period, or altogether expel him, if it finds him deserving such
punishment. But in the name of justice, law, and common sense, do not
insiduously and unmanfully continue a sentence for one and a former
offense, as a punishment for another and a later one, and that, too,
without the due forms of trial.

Let us, in this case, go again for an analogy to the laws of the land.
Suppose an offender had been sentenced to an imprisonment of six months
for a larceny, and that while in prison he had committed some new crime.
When the six months of his sentence had expired, would the Sheriff feel
justified, or even the Judge who had sentenced him, in saying: "I will not
release you; you have guilty of another offense during your
incarceration, and therefore, I shall keep you confined six months
longer?" Certainly not. The Sheriff or the Judge who should do so
high-handed a measure, would soon find himself made responsible for the
violation of private rights. But the course to be pursued would be, to
arrest him for the new offense, give him a fair trial, and, if convicted
again, imprison or otherwise punish him, according to his new sentence,
or, if acquitted, discharge him.

The same course should be pursued with a Mason whose conduct during the
period of his suspension has been liable to reproach or suspicion. Masons
have rights as well as citizens--every one is to be considered innocent
until he is proved guilty--and no one should suffer punishment, even of
the lightest kind, except after an impartial trial by his peers.

But the case of an indefinite suspension is different. Here no particular
time has been appointed for the termination of the punishment. It may be
continued during life, unless the court which has pronounced it think
proper to give a determinate period to what was before indeterminate, and
to declare that on such a day the suspension shall cease, and the offender
be restored. In a case of this kind, action on the part of the lodge is
necessary to effect a restoration.

Such a sentence being intended to last indefinitely--that is to say,
during the pleasure of the lodge--may, I conceive, be reversed at any
legal time, and the individual restored by a mere majority vote the of
lodge. Some authorities think a vote of two-thirds necessary; but I see no
reason why a lodge may not, in this as in other cases, reverse its
decision by a vote of a simple majority. The Ancient Constitutions are
completely silent on this and all its kindred points; and, therefore,
where a Grand Lodge has made no local regulation on the subject, we must
be guided by the principles of reason and analogy, both of which direct us
to the conclusion that a lodge may express its will, in matters
unregulated by the Constitutions, through the vote of a majority.

But the restoration of an expelled Mason requires a different action. By
expulsion, as I have already said, all connection with the Order is
completely severed. The individual expelled ceases to be a Mason, so far
as respects the exercise of any masonic rights or privileges. His
restoration to the Order is, therefore, equivalent to the admission of a
profane. Having ceased on his expulsion to be a member of the lodge which
had expelled him, his restoration would be the admission of a new member.
The expelled Mason and the uninitiated candidate are to be placed on the
same footing--both are equally unconnected with the institution--the one
having never been in it, and the other having been completely discharged
from it.

The rule for the admission of new members, as laid down in the Thirty-nine
Regulations, seems to me, therefore, to be applicable in this case; and
hence, I conceive that to reverse a sentence of expulsion and to restore
an expelled Mason will require as unanimous a vote as that which is
necessary on a ballot for initiation.

Every action taken by a lodge for restoration must be done at a stated
communication and after due notice, that if any member should have good
and sufficient reasons to urge against the restoration, he may have an
opportunity to present them.

In conclusion, the Grand Lodge may restore a suspended or expelled Mason,
contrary to the wishes of the lodge.

In such case, if the party has been suspended only, he, at once, resumes
his place and functions in the lodge, from which, indeed, he had only been
temporarily dissevered.

But in the case of the restoration of an expelled Mason to the rights and
privileges of Masonry, by a Grand Lodge, does such restoration restore him
to membership in his lodge? This question is an important one, and has
very generally been decided in the negative by the Grand Lodges of this
country. But as I unfortunately differ from these high authorities, I
cannot refrain, as an apology for this difference of opinion, from
presenting the considerations which have led me to the conclusion which I
have adopted. I cannot, it is true, in the face of the mass of opposing
authority, offer this conclusion as masonic law. But I would fain hope
that the time is not far distant when it will become so, by the change on
the part of Grand Lodges of the contrary decisions which they have made.

The general opinion in this country is, that when a Mason has been
expelled by his lodge, the Grand Lodge may restore him to the rights and
privileges, but cannot restore him to membership in his lodge. My own
opinion, in contradiction to this, is, that when a Grand Lodge restores an
expelled Mason, on the ground that the punishment of expulsion from the
rights and privileges of Masonry was too severe and disproportioned to the
offense, it may or may not restore him to membership in his lodge. It
might, for instance, refuse to restore his membership on the ground that
exclusion from his lodge is an appropriate punishment; but where the
decision of the lodge as to the guilt of the individual is reversed, and
the Grand Lodge declares him to be innocent, or that the charge against
him has not been proved, then I hold, that it is compelled by a just
regard to the rights of the expelled member to restore him not only to the
rights and privileges of Masonry, but also to membership in his lodge.

I cannot conceive how a Brother, whose innocence has been declared by the
verdict of his Grand Lodge, can be deprived of his vested rights as the
member of a particular lodge, without a violation of the principles of
justice. If guilty, let his expulsion stand; but, if innocent, let him be
placed in the same position in which he was before the passage of the
unjust sentence of the lodge which has been reversed.

The whole error, for such I conceive it to be, in relation to this
question of restoration to membership, arises, I suppose, from a
misapprehension of an ancient regulation, which says that "no man can be
entered a Brother in any particular lodge, or admitted a member thereof,
without the unanimous consent of all the members"--which inherent
privilege is said not to be subject to dispensation, "lest a turbulent
member should thus be imposed upon them, which might spoil their harmony,
or hinder the freedom of their communication, or even break and disperse
the Lodge." But it should be remembered that this regulation altogether
refers to the admission of new members, and not to the restoration of old
ones--to the granting of a favor which the candidate solicits, and which
the lodge may or may not, in its own good pleasure, see fit to confer, and
not to the resumption of a vested and already acquired right, which, if it
be a right, no lodge can withhold. The practical working of this system of
incomplete restoration, in a by no means extreme case, will readily show
its absurdity and injustice. A member having appealed from expulsion by
his lodge to the Grand Lodge, that body calmly and fairly investigates the
case. It finds that the appellant has been falsely accused of an offense
which he has never committed; that he has been unfairly tried, and
unjustly convicted. It declares him innocent--clearly and undoubtedly
innocent, and far freer from any sort of condemnation than the prejudiced
jurors who convicted him. Under these circumstances, it becomes
obligatory that the Grand Lodge should restore him to the place he
formerly occupied, and reinvest him with the rights of which he has been
unjustly despoiled. But that it cannot do. It may restore him to the
privileges of Masonry in general; but, innocent though he be, the Grand
Lodge, in deference to the prejudices of his Brethren, must perpetuate a
wrong, and punish this innocent person by expulsion from his lodge. I
cannot, I dare not, while I remember the eternal principles of justice,
subscribe to so monstrous an exercise of wrong--so flagrant an outrage
upon private rights.



Accused, to what he is entitled
Act passed in the reign of Henry VI., anno 1425
" " " it was never enforced
Actual Past Master, term defined
Adjournment, a term not recognized in Masonry
" motion for, cannot be entertained
Affiliated Masons only, can visit lodges
Affiliation, what it is
" mode of
" requires unanimity
" Master Masons only entitled to it
" rejected application for, may be renewed in other lodges
" may be made with more than one lodge
Age, qualifications of candidates as to
Appeal from Grand Master not permitted
" not to be entertained in a lodge
" cannot be taken from the chair
" doctrine of, discussed
" from the Master, must be to the Grand Lodge
" every Mason has a right to one, to the Grand Lodge
" pending one, the sentence is in abeyance
Apprentices, rights of _(see Entered Apprentice_)
Arrears, non-payment of
" to lodges, history of their origin
" do not accrue during suspension
Assembly, general-one held in 287 by St. Alban
" " " in 926 at York
" " governed the craft for nearly 800 years
" " how organized
Atheist cannot be a Mason
Authorities for masonic law


Balloting for candidates
every member must take a part in it
secrecy of, inviolable
must be unanimous
Mason irresponsible for it to the lodge
not disfranchised of it by non-payment of arrears
mode of
Balloting in each degree
not actually prescribed in the ancient constitutions, but implied
must be unanimous
Ballot, reconsideration of
motion for, out of order
cannot be granted by dispensation
Black ball is the bulwark of Masonry
Brother, a title to be always used in lodge
Burial, masonic, right of
must be requested except for strangers
Master Masons only entitled to it
dispensation for, not usually required
Business, order of
may be suspended at any time by the Master
By-laws must be approved and confirmed by Grand Lodge


Calling from labor to refreshment
Censure, a masonic punishment
Certificates, masonic
Chaplain, Grand (_see Grand Chaplain_)
Charges of accusation, how to be made
Closing lodge is at the discretion of the Master
Committee of investigation on character of candidates
Committees to be appointed by the Master
Master is chairman of, when present
Communication of a lodge, how terminated
Consecration of a lodge how performed
meaning of
Constituting a lodge, ceremony of
meaning of
Constitutions, how to be altered
" Gothic, adopted in 926,
Corn, wine, and oil, masonic elements of consecration,
" " " why elements,
Crimes, masonic,
" " definition of,
" " enumeration of


" two in each lodge,
" are appointed officers,
" not removable by Master or Senior Warden
" Grand _(see Grand Deacons_)
Dedication of a lodge, how performed
" to whom, and why,
" meaning of
Definite suspension
" " restoration from
Degrees, no candidate can receive more than two at one communication
" right of, not denied until recently,
" regulations concerning
" of many at one time may be refused
Deputy Grand Master, duties and prerogatives of
" " office of, not very ancient
" " exercises prerogatives of Grand Master in his absence
"" cannot be more than one
"" originally appointed by Grand Master
Discussions, how to be conducted in lodge,
Dispensation what and where to be granted
"for a lodge
"" " tenure of its duration
"" " difference from a Warrant
District Deputy Grand Master, a modern invention
Dotage a disqualification of candidates
" meaning of the term
Dues to lodges, a modern usage
" non-payment of, does not disqualify from voting for candidates


Emergency, rule upon the subject
Entered Apprentice, rights of
formerly a member of his lodge
formerly permitted to attend the Grand Communications
may sit in a lodge of his degree
cannot speak or vote
cannot be deprived of his rights without trial
after trial may appeal to the Grand Lodge
Erasure from lodge, a masonic punishment
Evidence in masonic trials
Examination of visitors
how to be conducted
Exclusion, a masonic punishment
Executive powers of a Grand Lodge
Expulsion is masonic death
Expulsion, a masonic punishment
should be inflicted by Grand Lodge or with its approval
from higher degrees, its effect
restoration from
Extinct lodges, funds of, revert to the Grand Lodge


Family distressed, of a Mason, entitled to relief
Fellow Craft, rights of
they formerly constituted the great body of the Fraternity
formerly permitted to speak, but not vote
Finishing candidates of one lodge in another
Fool cannot be a Mason
Free, a candidate must be, at the time of making
Free-born, a Mason must be
reason for the rule
Funds of extinct lodges revert to the Grand Lodge


General Assembly. (_See Assembly, General._)
God, belief in, a qualification of a candidate
Gothic constitutions adopted in 926
Grand Chaplain,
office established in 1775
duties of
Grand Deacons
office more ancient than Oliver supposes
duties of
how appointed
Grand Lodge held in 1717
mode of organizing one
three lodges necessary to organize one
dormant may be revived if a Grand Officer remains,
all the Craft formerly members of
Masters and Wardens of lodges are members
Grand Officers are also members
Past Masters are not members by inherent right
its powers and prerogatives
may make new regulations
must observe the landmarks
Grand Lodges, historical sketch of
are comparatively modern institutions
Grand Marshal
appointed by the Grand Master
duties of
Grand Master, duties and prerogatives of
office of has existed since the origin of Masonry
an elective officer
by whom to be installed
prerogatives of, derived from two sources
no appeal from his decision
may convene Grand Lodge when he chooses
entitled to two votes
how to be punished
may grant dispensations
Grand Master may make Masons at sight
may constitute new lodges
cannot dispense with requisite forms in making Masons
his own lodge cannot exercise jurisdiction over him
Grand Pursuivant
Grand Secretary
office of established in 1723
duties of
Grand Secretary, may appoint an assistant
Grand Stewards
" " first mentioned in 1721
" " duties of
" " appointed by Junior Grand Warden
Grand Stewards' Lodge
Grand Sword-Bearer
" " duties of
" " office of, constituted in 1731
Grand Tiler
" " office of, must have existed from the earliest times
" " must not be a member of the Grand Lodge
" " sometimes appointed, and sometimes elected
Grand Treasurer
" " office of, established in 1724
" " duties of
" " has always been elected
Grand Wardens
" " originally appointed by the Grand Master
" " succeed the Grand Master and Deputy


Heresy not a masonic crime
Higher degrees, effect of expulsion from
Historical sketch


Idiot cannot be made a Mason
Impostor, how to be treated in examination
Incompetent witnesses, who they are
Indefinite suspension
" " restoration from
Innovations cannot be made in the body of Masonry
Insanity, if perfectly cured, no disqualification of a candidate
" whence the term derived
" necessary to legal existence of an officer
" of a Master of a lodge
" of the Grand Master
Instruction of representatives, right of, is vested in a lodge
Investigation of character must be by a committee
Irreligious libertine cannot be a Mason
" " definition of the term


Judicial powers of a Grand Lodge,
Junior Grand Warden
Junior Warden,
" " presides in absence of Master and Senior Warden,
" " does not take the West in absence of Senior Warden,
" " presides over the craft during refreshment
" " appoints the stewards
Jurisdiction of a lodge
" geographical or personal
" is over all its members
" " " unaffiliated Masons in its vicinity
" cannot extend beyond State lines,
" none over its Master


Knowledge of reading and writing necessary to a Mason


Labor, calling from, to refreshment
Landmarks, what they are,
" ritual and legislative
" must be observed by the Grand Lodge
Law of Grand Lodges
" subordinate lodges
" individuals
Lawful information, what it is
Laws, how to be interpreted
" of Masonry are of two kinds--written and unwritten
" written, whence derived
" unwritten, whence derived
" " same as ancient usage
Legislative powers of a Grand Lodge
Libertine, irreligious, cannot be a Mason
meaning of the term
Lodge, subordinate
definition of
how organized
must have been congregated by some superior authority
Lodge, under dispensation
definition of
generally precedes a warranted lodge
how formed
cannot make by-laws
cannot elect officers
cannot install officers
cannot elect members
Lodge, warranted
its powers and rights
must be consecrated
must be dedicated
must be constituted
its officers must be installed
ceremony of installation in
its powers are inherent in it
its reserved rights are secured by the regulations
an assembly of the craft in their primary capacity
may select its own members
elects its own officers
what officers of, are elected in England
may install its officers
Master of, must be installed by a past Master
may be represented in the Grand Lodge
representatives of
may instruct its representatives
may frame by-laws
may suspend or exclude a member
may declare a member expelled, the sentence to be approved by the Grand Lodge
may levy annual contributions
may select its name
cannot select its number
duties of
cannot alter the ritual
must elect officers at a particular time
Lodge, warranted, cannot interfere with business of another lodge
" " cannot initiate without previous notice
" " cannot confer more than two degrees on the same candidate at one time
" " cannot make more than five new Brothers at the same time
" " must meet once a month
" " neglecting to meet forfeits its warrant
" " cannot remove from the town, without the consent of the Grand Lodge
" " may remove from one part of the town to another, under restrictions
" " officers of


Madmen cannot be Masons
Maims, how far disqualifying candidates
" reason for the rule relating to
Mass meeting of the craft cannot organize a Grand Lodge
Master, Grand. _(See Grand Master_.)
Master Mason, rights of
" " becomes a member by signing the by-laws
" " how this right is forfeited
" " may apply to any lodge for membership
" " to whom subject for discipline
" " may speak and vote on all questions
" " may hold any office to which elected
" " but to serve as Master must have been a Warden
" " may appeal to the Grand Lodge
" " may visit any lodge, after examination
Master of a lodge
" " " must have previously served as Warden
" " " must see Grand Lodge regulations enforced
" " " must be installed by a Past Master
" " " has the warrant in charge
" " " may call special meetings of his lodge
" " " may close his lodge at any time
" " " presides over business as well as labor
" " " is supreme in his lodge
Master of a lodge, no appeal from his decision except to Grand
moral qualifications of
intellectual qualifications of
who is to judge of them
is a member of the Grand Lodge
may exclude a member temporarily
Membership, right of
Members of Grand Lodge are Masters and Wardens with the Grand Officers
Minutes, when to be read
how to be amended
not to be read at special communications
formula for keeping
Moral law, what it is
a Mason must obey it
Motions, when to be entertained


Name of a lodge to be selected by itself
Non-residents, initiation of
Number of a lodge regulates its precedency
of candidates to be initiated at one communication


Office, can be vacated only by death, removal, or expulsion
not vacated by suspension
Officers of a Grand Lodge
subordinate lodge
warranted lodge must be installed
how to be installed
time of election determined by Grand Lodge
elected annually
vacancies in, how to be supplied
cannot resign
Order, rules of
whence derived


Parliamentary law not applicable to Masonry
Past Masters
rights of
not members of the Grand Lodge by inherent right
may install their successors
of two kinds--actual and virtual
may preside in a lodge
eligible to election to the chair
entitled to a seat in the East
eligible to be elected Deputy Grand Master, or Grand Warden
virtual, cannot be present at installing a Master
Penal jurisdiction of a lodge
Perfect youth, meaning of the term
Perfection, physical, why required of a candidate
Petition of candidate
must be read at a regular communication
referred to a committee of three
reported on at next regular communication
report on, cannot be made at a special communication
renewal of, in case of rejection
how to be renewed, if rejected
for advancement to a higher degree
if rejected, how to be renewed
Petitioners, not less than seven to form a lodge
what they must set forth
must be recommended by nearest lodge
Political offenses not cognizable by a lodge
Political qualifications of candidates
Postponed business, when to be called up
Precedency of lodges, regulated by their numbers
Presiding in a lodge, who has the right of
officer, has the prerogatives of the Master, for the time
Previous question, unknown in Masonry
Probation of candidates
for initiation
for advancement
Proceedings of a regular communication cannot be amended at a special one
Profanes, testimony of, how to be taken in trials
Proficiency of candidates
Proficiency of candidates, must be suitable
Punishments, masonic
Pursuivant, a title equivalent to Sword-Bearer


Qualifications of a Master of a lodge
of candidates,
political, 184
Quarterly communications of Grand Lodge, ordered in 1717
Question, how to be taken on a motion


Reading, a qualification of candidates
Recommendation of nearest lodge, necessary to form a new one
of candidate, must be by two members
Reconsideration of ballot
motion for, is out of order,
cannot be granted by dispensation
Rejected candidate cannot apply to any other lodge
renewed petition of, when to be made,
Relief, right of claiming it
unworthy Masons not entitled to it
Religion of a Mason, what it is required to be
Religious offenses not cognizable by a lodge
Removal of a lodge, rule on the subject of
Representatives of a lodge, who they are
Reprimand, a masonic punishment
from definite suspension
indefinite supension
must be at a stated communication
may be by Grand Lodge
requires a unanimous vote
to membership discussed


Secretary, Grand. (_See Grand Secretary._)
of a lodge
his duty
is a recording, corresponding, and receiving officer
is a check upon the treasurer
often receives compensation
in case of death, or expulsion, a successor may be elected
but not in case of removal, or sickness
Senior Grand Warden. (_See Grand Wardens._)
Senior Warden
presides in absence of Master
may invite a Past Master to preside
presides over the craft during labor
appoints the Junior Deacon
Sentence in trials, how to be obtained
---- is in abeyance pending an appeal
Stewards, Grand. (_See Grand Stewards._)
of a lodge
appointed by Junior Warden
duties of
not removable by Junior Warden
Stranger, initiation of
Sword Bearer, Grand. (_See Grand Sword Bearer._)


Testimony, how to be taken on masonic trials
Tiler, Grand. (_See Grand Tiler._)
of a lodge
office existed from beginning of the institution
no lodge can be without one
must be a worthy Master Mason
if a member, the office does not disfranchise him
when voting, Junior Deacon takes his place
may be removed for misconduct
Tiler's obligation, form of it
Transient persons, initiation of
Treasurer, Grand. _(See Grand Treasurer_.)
" " of a lodge
" " duties of
" " is the only banker of the lodge
" " is a disbursing officer
" " a Brother of worldly substance usually selected
" " in case of death, a successor may be elected
" " but not in case of sickness, or removal
Trials, masonic
" " form of
" " evidence in


Unaffiliated Masons
" " tax sometimes levied on
" " position, rights, and duties of
Unaffiliation, contrary to the spirit of Masonry
" effect of, on a Mason
Unanimity in the ballot required by the ancient constitutions
Uneducated candidates not forbidden by positive enactment
" " their admission opposed to the spirit of the institution


Virtual Past Masters, who they are
Visit, right of
" only affiliated Mason entitled to it
" must be preceded by an examination
" requires a certificate to insure it
Visitors, examination of, described
" must take the Tiler's obligation
Voting must always be by a show of hands
Voting in trials, obligatory on all members present
Voucher must be a competent Mason
Vouching for a visitor


Wardens, Grand. (_See Grand Wardens._)
of a lodge are assistants of the Master
entitled to membership in Grand Lodge
Warden, Senior. (_See Senior Warden._)
Warden, Junior. (_See Junior Warden._)
Warrant of constitution
what it is
its difference from a dispensation
can be revoked only by the Grand Lodge
confers powers of installation and succession
not necessary before 1717
cannot be resigned by a majority of the lodge
Warranted lodges. (_See Lodges, Warranted._)
Witnesses in masonic trials, qualifications of
definition of incompetent ones
Woman cannot be made a Mason
Writing, a qualification of candidates


Yeas and nays, calling for, unmasonic
Young man under age cannot be made a Mason
Youth, perfect, meaning of the term


[1] They will be found in Oliver's edition of Preston, p. 71, note,
(U.M.L., vol. iii., p. 58), or in the American edition by Richards,
Appendix i., note 5.

[2] Found in Ol. Preston, n. 3 (p. 162. U.M.L., vol. iii., p. 134).

[3] In all references to, or citations from, Anderson's Constitutions, I
have used, unless otherwise stated, the first edition printed at London in
1723--a fac simile of which has recently been published by Bro. John W.
Leonard, of New York. I have, however, in my possession the subsequent
editions of 1738, 1755, and 1767, and have sometimes collated them

[4] The Gothic Constitutions are that code of laws which was adopted by
the General Assembly at York, in the year 926. They are no longer extant,
but portions of them have been preserved by Anderson, Preston, and other

[5] Preston, book iv., sec, 2., p. 132, n. (U.M.L.,vol. iii., p. 109).

[6] General Regulations, art. xxxix.

[7] Chancellor Walworth, in his profound argument on the New York
difficulties, asserted that this fact "does not distinctly appear,
although it is, pretty evident that all voted."--p. 33. The language of
Anderson does not, however, admit of a shadow of a doubt. "The Brethren,"
he says, "by a majority of hands, elected," &c.

[8] Opinion of Chancellor Walworth upon the questions connected with the
late masonic difficulties in the State of New York, p. 37. There is much
historical learning displayed in this little pamphlet.

[9] Preston, p. 131, n., Oliver's Edit. (U.M.L., vol. iii.,p. 109).

[10] Of the thirty-six Grand Masters who have presided over the craft in
England since the revival of Masonry in 1717, thirty have been noblemen,
and three princes of the reigning family.

[11] Article xxxiv.

[12] His most important prerogatives are inherent or derived from ancient

[13] Proceedings G.L. Maryland, 1849, p. 25.

[14] Art. xxxix.

[15] The word "time" has been interpreted to mean _communication_.

[16] And this is not because such past officer has an inherent right to
the mastership, but because as long as such an one is present and willing
to serve, there does not exist such an emergency as would authorize a
dispensation of the law.

[17] What further concerns a lodge under dispensation is referred to a
special chapter in a subsequent part of the work.

[18] It is well known, although it cannot be quoted as authority, that the
Athol Constitutions expressly acknowledged the existence of this
prerogative. See Dermott's Ahiman Rezon.

[19] Book of Constitutions, edit. 1767, p. 222.

[20] Book of Const., p. 233.

[21] Book of Const., p. 313.

[22] Book of Constitutions, p. 319.

[23] Preston, p. 237, ed. 1802, (U.M.L., vol. iii., p. 223).

[24] Book of Constitutions, p. 247

[25] The existence of this prerogative is denied by the Grand Lodges of
Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, while it is admitted by
those of New York, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin,
Vermont, Mississippi, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maryland, Indiana, Texas and
Florida; in the last two, however, subject to limitation.

[26] That is, the one who has longest been a Freemason.

[27] Book of the Lodge, p. 115 (U.M.L., vol. i., book 2, p. 78).

[28] It was abolished in New York in 1854.

[29] This is a small chest or coffer, representing the ark of the
covenant, and containing the three great lights of Masonry.

[30] "What man is there that hath a new house and hath not dedicated it?
Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another
man dedicate it." Deut. xx. 5.

[31] De Syned. Vet. Ebraeor., 1. iii., c. xiv., Sec. 1.

[32] Cicero, Brut. i.

[33] See such a form of Dispensation in Cole's Masonic Library, p. 91.

[34] Preston, Append., n. 4 (U.M.L., vol. iii., pp. 150, 151).

[35] Book of Constitutions, orig. ed, p., 70 (U.M.L., vol. xv., book 1, p.

[36] General Regulations of 1722. A subsequent regulation permitted the
election of a candidate, if there were not more than three black balls
against him, provided the lodge desired such a relaxation of the rule. The
lodges of this country, however, very generally, and, as I think, with
propriety, require unanimity. The subject will be hereafter discussed.

[37] Every lodge shall annually elect its Master and Treasurer by ballot.
Such Master having been regularly appointed and having served as Warden of
a warranted lodge for one year. _Constitutions of the Ancient Fraternity
of Free and Accepted Masons, published by authority of the United Grand
Lodge of England_, 1847, _p_. 58 (U.M.L., vol. ix., book 1).

[38] The Wardens, or officers, of a lodge cannot be removed, unless for a
cause which appears to the lodge to be sufficient; but the Master, if he
be dissatisfied with the conduct of any of his officers, may lay the cause
of complaint before the lodge; and, if it shall appear to the majority of
the Brethren present that the complaint be well founded, he shall have
power to displace such officer, and to nominate another. _English
Constitutions, as above, p._ 80 (U.M.L., vol. ix., book 1).

[39] It is not necessary that he should be a Past Master of the lodge.

[40] No master shall assume the Master's chair, until he shall have been
regularly installed, though he may in the interim rule the lodge. _English
Constitutions_ (U.M.L., vol. ix., book 1).

[41] Every Warranted Lodge is a constituent part of the Grand Lodge, in
which assembly all the power of the fraternity resides. _English
Constitutions, p_. 70 (U.M.L., vol. ix., book 1).

[42] We shall not here discuss the question whether Past Masters are
members of the Grand Lodge, by inherent right, as that subject will be
more appropriately investigated when we come to speak of the Law of Grand
Lodges, in a future chapter. They are, however clearly, not the
representatives of their lodge.

[43] Preston, p. 167 (U.M.L., vol. iii., p. 151).

[44] General Regulations. Of the duty of members, Art. X, (U.M.L., vol.
xv., book 1, p. 61).

[45] English Constitutions, p. 59 (U.M.L., vol. ix., book 1).

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