Fraternal Correspondence


By J. C. W. Coxe, Washington, Iowa.

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E TENDER you herewith our Ninth Annual Report on Correspondence, covering a review of the Proceedings of fifty

three Grand Jurisdictions of the western world. Of these seven are under the Union Jack; the remaining forty-six are within the dominion of the Stars and Stripes. The preparation for an intelligent report upon these jurisdictions has involved the careful examination of more than 15,000 pages of printed matter, and the report itself has involved the writing of not less than 400 pages of manuscript. That our work will appear without errors or omissions may be too much to expect in a world of human imperfection, though the utmost care and vigilance have been exercised to secure accuracy alike in writing and printing. For any errors of fact the writer must be justly held responsible; that the blemishes which may appear are so few in number may rightly be set down to the credit of printers and proof-readers. We trust that the occasion for blame may be found to be at the minimum, and that a generous charity may abound; that there will be ample occasion for praise for neatness and accuracy of work, is our confident prediction, in which merited commendation we most heartily join.

Our survey of the Masonic horizon has brought to view nothing of dissension and but little of dissent. Occasional differences appear, but they are such as independent judgment might be expected to produce, and are consistent with the peace, harmony, and fraternity which should always and everywhere characterize our noble institution. We have found really no strife or contention, save "that noble contention, or, rather, emulation, of who best can work and best agree." We can heartily thank God for a clear sky and a tie of fraternal love which binds Eastern to Western sea-coast, and links the Lakes to the Gulf in delightful accord.

There have been shadows; heartaches have not been unknown; home ties have been broken and fraternal circles invaded; the voice of weeping has saddened the heart as the mourners have gone about the streets. The black camel has kneeled before many tents, and on every hand there is the longing for

“The touch of a vanished hand, And the sound of a voice that is still."

But "we sorrow not as those who have no hope.” We cherish a firm faith in immortality. The acacia is not an unmeaning emblem. "The long shadows point to the morning."

"The murkiest midnight that frowns from the skies
Is at heart a radiant morrow."

“Thy dead men shall live.” They do live, in noble deeds, in heroic achievement, in holy memories; they are enshrined in loving hearts; and they shall live in the gracious influence which survives them, in the works which follow them, and in the larger activities into which every noble soul is introduced when he opens the door inscribed on the hither side, “Death"-on the farther side, in radiant characters, “Life."

"'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder up,
Whose golden rounds are our calamities,
Whereon our firm feet planting, nearer God
The spirit climbs and hath its eyes unsealed.
True is it that Death's face seems stern and cold
When he is sent to summon those we lore;
But all God's angels come to us disguised ;
Sorrow and sickness, poverty, and death,
One after another, lift their frowning masks,
And we behold the Seraph's face beneath,
All radiant with the glory and the calm
Of having looked upon the front of God."

In the strength and comfort of this faith, may we turn our faces and our footsteps toward the coming day. Our work is not yet done; our wages not yet due; for us the continued toil must precede the reward. We may well prize the privilege of labor; there is dignity in it—there is nobility in it.

"The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,

Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread,

Where love ennobles all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.

“Thy love shall chant its own beatitudes
After its own life working. A child's kiss
Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee, glad.
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong.
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thou renderest."

WASHINGTON, Iowa, May ith, 1901.



HE EIGHTIETH Annual Communication was held in Mont

gomery, December 4th and 5th, 1900, Grand Master B. Dud

ley Williams in the East. But four Past Grand Masters appeared, one of whom, alas! has since been summoned to the Celestial Lodge—the honored Grand Secretary, H. Clay Armstrong.

"William G. Robertson, Carrollton," represented the Grand Jurisdiction of Iowa. It is amazing what tenacity of life this empty honor has, which we abolished nine years ago. We hope that the serenity of our beloved Representative may never be disturbed by the intelligence that he (officially) died nearly a decade since.

The Grand Master's address starts out with a flow of eloquence quite florid to our colder Northern blood, but thoroughly in place under the genial skies of the Sunny South. He had occasion to note the decease of but one member of the Grand Lodge, Past Junior Grand Warden Benjamin F. Pope. Sixty decisions are reported, upon which the Committee on Jurisprudence will declare judgment at the next Grand Communication. Dispensations to confer degrees out of time were granted to twenty-eight Lodges. The “emergency" business is prosperous in the Cotton State. Two Lodges consolidated; nine Lodges were granted dispensations; five cornerstone layings occurred. The address closes as it opened, in a blaze of rhetorical fireworks, brilliant, beautiful, appropriate.

The Grand Treasury showed a balance of $4,006.88. The Grand Secretary's exhibit was very brief.

Letters were received (and ordered printed) from Past Grand Masters John G. Harris and James M. Brundidge.

In three cases permission was given to Lodges to issue bonds, secured by mortgages, for the purpose of erecting temples, the amounts being $25,000, $10,000, and $50,000, respectively.

The Grand Master was authorized and instructed to appoint a Master Mason in each judicial circuit to solicit funds for a Masonic Home, and report at the next annual communication.

Brother R. M. Cunningham presented on behalf of the Grand Lodge “a handsome jeweled watch” to the retiring Grand Master.

A "note" states that before the Proceedings were printed Grand Secretary H. Clay Armstrong was called from earthly labor to refreshment above, and Brother Lew Lazarus was appointed Grand Secretary pro tem. The date of Brother Armstrong's death is not given, nor is there any memorial tablet bearing his name.

Brother William Y. Titcomb is the author of the Correspondence report-one hundred and eighty-five pages of “sweetness and light." There is no letting down of the high standard of the jurisdiction, though it will tax our brother's muscle and wind to keep up the pace he has set. We believe that he is equal to it, however;

no signs of flagging appear as he makes the goal. He accords to Iowa more than three pages of fraternal mention. Thinks that Iowa brethren might quote Scripture and say to Grand Master Lambert, “Well done, good and faithful servant." Asks us: "By the way, Brother Coxe, does your Code permit a Master or Warden to demit during his term of office?" He cannot. Our Code says: "An officer while in office cannot demit. He must first resign, and then he may demit like any other Mason."

He thinks that "more extensive benefits would accrue from a successfully maintained Masonic Home" than from our Iowa plan of dispensing our Grand Charity Fund. Possibly; but the Grand Lodge of Iowa carefully considered that matter a few years ago, and had submitted to it the most elaborate report on Masonic Homes probably ever presented to any Grand Body. To found a Home means a large sum of money; to maintain a Home once founded, means a large annual income; meantime, while these are wanting, our modest Grand Charity Fund goes on doing its beneficent work without sound of trumpet or vociferous announcement of either right or left-hand gifts. We criticize no other jurisdiction which does maintain a Home, but honor all such; we merely judge for ourselves that our plan is best for us.

Our report is kindly mentioned, and such gracious words used as would make us blush, were we not indurate--not obdurate, please. Our differences but emphasize our attachments. Brother Titcomb may draw on us at sight for anything that fraternity may require, and his requisition will not go to protest.

Most Worshipful Russell M. Cunningham, Ensley, Grand Master.

Right Worshipful George A. Beauchamp, Montgomery, Grand Secretary.

Next Annual Communication, Montgomery, December 30, 1901.



HALF-TONE portrait of Grand Master William F. Nichols

prefaces this pamphlet of one hundred pages. The left

lapel of his coat indicates that he has traveled the hot sands with some Bedouin guides, while his left breast bears the jewel of his office. He is evidently a "jiner;" we should not be surprised to see him among the pilgrims who will turn their steps toward Louisville in August.

The Nineteenth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge over which he presided convened in Phoenix, November 13th, 1900. Eight Past Grand Masters were in attendance, clothed with wisdom, and the representatives of thirteen Lodges-two of them under dispensation-sat in council.

The address of the Grand Master contains some items which are unique, and which are of special interest in view of some recent history. No break occurred in their Grand Lodge ranks. Nine pages are devoted to correspondence in regard to the invasion of territory by "Ermilo G. Canton” Lodge, of Gran Dieta parentage. Last year Grand Master Johns set forth such invasion, the Lodge holding its Communication in the hall of Nogales Lodge, No. 11, in the Arizona jurisdiction, and conferring the first degree on three candidates who were residents of Arizona. Now the Worshipful Master of Nogales Lodge made complaint anew that the Mexican Lodge had invaded Nogales, opened a Lodge in the Odd Fellows' hall, and conferred the first degree on five candidates, three of whom were residents of Nogales, within the jurisdiction of Nogales Lodge. The Worshipful Master of the Lodge offending rejoined that they had held initiation ceremonies on two or three occasions in Nogales without protest from any brethren there, and, indeed, with several of the Nogales Lodge present by invitation, including in the number the then Worshipful Master of Nogales Lodge. He further says:

“I cannot understand in what consists the invasion of foreign jurisdiction, as in the Masonic world, as well as in the profane, the meetings of a peaceful and familiar nature can be held in this country, as well as in the neighboring one, without conflict with the neutrality; and, in order to cause invasion, it would be necessary, as such an act indicates, we would have to invade faculties or rights reserved to that Lodge, all of which we are far from pretending to do, as in our meetings the jurisdiction ends within the precinct or within the walls of the temple."

That such ignorance concerning fundamental law as to jurisdiction and such confusion of terms pertaining to the same should exist and find expression, would be amazing were its habitat any. where else than in the territory of “our next door neighbor."

It further appears that formal application for the use of the hall in Nogales was made by the officers of Ermilo G. Canton Lodge and granted by the Nogales Lodge; and, further, that the latter waived jurisdiction over the three Arizona candidates, also upon formal application therefor, nine months after the initiation—the plea being made that the Mexican Lodge did not know at the time of initiation that a waiver of jurisdiction was necessary! And this "waiver" was granted without reference of the request to the Grand Master for his approval, or for any action thereon by himself or his representative. The complications in the case are the more tangled by the fact that the Master of Nogales Lodge was the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Arizona, and was advanced to the Grand East at the communication whose Proceedings we are reviewing. That this episode did not lead to the repeal of the recognition of the Gran Dieta only proves the heroic endurance and long suffering patience of our esteemed Cactus State brethren. The action that was taken was practically a condona

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