LANDMARKS 1 TO 13
THE MODES OF RECOCNITION are, of all
the Landmarks, the most legitimate and unquestioned. They admit of no
variation; and if ever they have suffered alteration or addition, the evil
of such a violation of the ancient law has always made itself subsequently
manifest. An admission of this is to be found in the proceedings of the
Masonic Congress at Paris, where a proposition was presented to render these
modes of recognition once more universal- proposition which never would have
been necessary, if the integrity of this important Landmark had been
THE DIVISION OF SYMBOLIC FREEMASONRY
INTO THREE DEGREES’s is a Landmark that has been better preserved than
almost any other, although even here the mischievous spirit of innovation
has left its traces, and by the disruption of its concluding portion from
the Third Degrece, a want of uniformity has been created in respect to the
final teaching of the Master's order; and the Royal Arch of England,
Scotland, Ireland, and America, and the "high degrees" of France and
Germany, are all made to differ in the mode in which they lead the neophyte
to the great consummation of all symbolic Freemasonry. In 1813, the Grand Lodge of England
vindicated the ancient Landmark, by solemnly enacting that Ancient Craft
Masonry consisted of the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft,
and Master Mason, including the Holy Royal Arch."
But the disruption has never been healed, and the Landmark, although
acknowledged in its integrity by all, still continues to be violated.
THE LEGEND OF THE: THIRD DEGREE is an
important Landmark, the integrity of which has been well preserved. There is
no rite of Freemasonry, practiced in any country or language, in which the
essential elements of this legend are not taught. The lectures may vary, and
indeed are constantly changing, but the legend has ever remained
substantially the same. And it is necessary that it should be so, for the
legend of the Temple Builder constitutes the very essence and identity of
Freemasonry. Any rite which should exclude it, or materially alter it, would
at once, by that exclusion or alteration, cease to be a Masonic rite.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FRATERNITY, by a
presiding officer called a Grand Master, who is elected from the body of the
Craft, is a fourth Landmark of the Order. Many persons ignorantly suppose that
the election of the Grand Master is held in consequence of a law or
regulation of the Grand Lodge. Such, however, is not the case.
The office is indebted for its existence to a Landmark of the Order. Grand
Mpsters, are to be found in the records of the Institution long before Grand
Lodges were established; and if the present system of legislative government
by Grand Lodges were to be abolished, a Grand Master would still be
necessary. In fact, although there has been a period within the records of
history, and indeed of very recent date, when a Grand Lodge was unknown,
there never has been a time when the Craft did not have their Grand Master."
THE PREROGATIVE OF THE GRAND MASTER TO
PRESIDE over every assembly of the Craft, wheresoever and whensoever held,
is a fifth Landmark. It is in consequence of this law, derived from ancient
usage, and not from any special enactment, that the Grand Master assumes the
chair, or as it is called in England, "the throne," at every communication
of the Grand Lodge; and that he is also entitled to preside at the
Communication of every Subordinate Lodge, where he may happen to be present.
THE PRERORATIVE OF THE GRAND MASTER TO
GRANT DISPENSATIONS for conferring degrees at irregular times, is another
and a very important Landmark The statutory law of Freemasonry requires a
month, or other determinate period, to elapse between the presentation of a
petition and the election of a candidate. But the Grand Master has the power
to set aside or dispense with this probation, and to allow a candidate to be
initiated at once. This prerogative he possessed in common with all Master,
before the enactment of the law requiring a probation, and as no statute
cala impair his prerogative, he still retains the power, although the
Masters of Lodges no longer possess it.
THE PREROGATIVE OF THE GRAND MASTER TO
GIVE DISPENSATIONS for opening and holding Lodges is another Landmark. He
may grant, in virtue of this, to a sufficient number of Freemasons, the
privilege of meeting together and conferring degrees.
The Lodges thus established are called "Lodges under Dispensation."
They are strictly creatures of the Grand Master, created by his authority,
existing only during his will and pleasure, and liable at any moment to be
dissolved at his command. They may be continued for a day, a month, or six
months; but whatever be the period of their existence, they are indebted for
that existence solely to the grace of the Grand Master.
THE PREROGATIVE: OF THE GRAND MASTER TO
MAKE FREEMASONS AT SIGHT, is a Landmark which is closely connected with the
preceeding, one. There has been much misapprehension in relation to this
Landmark, which misapprehension has sometimes led to a denial of its
existence in jurisdictions where the Grand Master was perhaps at the very
time substantially exercising the prerogative, without the slightest remark
or opposition. It is not to be supposed that the Grand Master can retire
with a profane into a private room, and there, without assistance, confer
the degrees of Freemasonry upon him. No such prerogative exists, and yet
many believe that this is the so much talked of right of "making Masons at
The real mode and the only mode of
exercising the prerogative is this: The Grand Master summons to his
assistance not less than six other Freemasons, convenes a Lodge, and without
any previous probation, but on sight of the candidate, confers the degrees
upon him, after which he dissolves the Lodge, and dismisses the brethren.
Lodges thus convened for special purposes are called "Occasional Lodges."
This is the only way in which any Grand Master within the records of the
Institution has ever been known to "make a Mason at sight." The prerogative
is dependent upon that of granting Dispensations to open and hold Lodges.
If the Grand Master has the power of granting to any other Mason the
privilege of presiding over Lodges working by his Dispensation, he may
assume this privilege of presiding to himself; and as no one can deny his
right to revoke his Dispensation granted to a number of brethren at a
distance, and to dissolve the Lodge at his pleasure, it will scarcely be
contended that he may not revoke his Dispensation for a Lodge over which he
himself has been presiding, within a day, and dissolve the Lodge as soon as
the business for which he had assembled it is accomplished. The making of
Freemasons at sight is only the conferring of the degrees by the Grand
Master, at once, in an Occasional Lodge, constituted by his dispensing power
for the purpose, and over which he presides in person.
THE NECESSITY FOR FREEMASONS TO
CONGREGATE IN LODGES is another Landmark. It is not to be understood by this
that any ancient Landmark has directed that permanent organization of
subordinate Lodges which constitutes one of the features of the Masonic
system as it now prevails. But the Landmarks of the Order always prescribed
that Freemasons should from time to time congregate together, for the
purpose of either operative or speculative labor, and that these
congregations should be called Lodges. Formerly these were extemporary
meetings called together for special purposes, and then dissolved, the
brethren departing to meet again at other times and other places, according
to the necessity of cir. cumstances. But Warrants of Constitution, By-laws,
permanent officers and annual arrears, are modern innovations wholly outside
of the Landmarks, and dependent entirely on the special enactments of a
comparatively recent period.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CRAFT, when so
congregated in a Lodge by a Master and two Wardens, is also a Landmark. To
show the influence of this ancient law, it may be observed by the way, that
a congmgation of Freemasons meeting together under any other government, as
that for instance of a president and vice-president, or a chairman and
sub-chairman, would not be recognized as a Lodge. The presence of a Master
and two Wardens is as essential to the valid organization of a Lodge as a
Warrant of Constitution is at the present day. The names, of course, vary in
different languages, the Master, for instance, being called Venerable in
French Freemasonry, and the Wardens Surveillants, but the officers, their
number, prerogatives and duties, are everywhere identical.
THE NECESSITY THAT EVERY LODGE, WHEN
CONGREGATED, SHOULD BE DULY TILED, is an important Landmark of the
Institution, which is never neglected. The necessity of this law arises from
the esoteric character of Freemasonry. As a secret Institution, its portals
must of course be guarded from the intrusion of the profane, and such a law
must therefore always have been in force from the very begginning of the
Order. It is therefore properly classed among the rnosi incient Landmarks.
The office of Tiler is wholly independent of any special enactment of Grand
or Subordinate Lodges, although these may and do prescribe for him
additional duties, which vary in different jurisdictions. But the duty of
guarding the door, and keeping off cowans and eavesdroppers, is an ancient
one, which constitutes a Landmark for his government.
THE RIGHT OF EVERY FREEMASON TO BE
REPRESENTED in all general meetings of the Craft, and to instruct his
representatives, is a twelfth Landmark. Formerly, these general meetings,
which were usually held once a year, were called General Assemblies, and all
the fraternity, even to the youngest Entered Apprentice, were permitted to
be present. Now they are called Grand Lodges, and only the Masters and
Wardens of the Subordinate Lodges are summoned. But this is simply as the
representatives of their members. Originally, each Freemason represented
himself; now he is represented by his officers. This was a concession
granted by the fraternity about 1717, and of course does not affect the
integrity of the Landmark, for the principle of representation is still
preserved. The concession was only made for purposes of convenience.
THE RIGHT OF EVERY FREEMASON TO APPEAL
from the decision of his brethren in Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge or
General Assembly of Freemasons, is a Landmark highly essential to the
preservation of justice, and the prevention of oppression. A few modern
Grand Lodges, in adopting a regulation that the decision of Subordinate
Lodges, in cases of expulsion, cannot be wholly set aside upon an appeal,
have violated this unquestioned Landmark, as well as the principles of just