Of the 225 or so Anti-Masonic books on the shelves in any one of our Masonic Libraries more than nine-tenths of them are about the particular Anti-Masonic Crusade which ensued upon the so-called Morgan Aflair at Batavia, N. Y., in 1826. "Anti-Masonry" and "Morgan Affair" are become synonymous ; Grand Lodges (like their Lodges and members) are so wearied of hearing about this century-old subject that in consequence the whole question of Anti-Masonry has gone by default, with the result that in the present period when Anti-Masonry is the overwhelming and all-important question before the Fraternity, the Fraternity ignores it.
Even d Anti-Masonry were nothing more than open attacks made upon Freemasonry by groups who believe they have reason to hate it, Anti-Masonry would comprise more than the Morgan Affair. The Craft in New England was rocked by an Anti-Masonic crusade immediately after the Revolution; New England and the Bavarian Illuminati, by Vernon Stauffer (New York ; 1918; 374 pages), is a detailed history of it. The Society of Friends (Quakers) either as a whole or in part has for more than a century sought to warn its own members against Freemasonry, and to persuade the public to abolish it ; since the Quaker literature on the subject is unimaginably dull a student need not persecute his mind by reading the whole of it, but can find a representative specimen in the outpourings (not always of the Spirit) of the Tract Association of Friends. It is a shock to find the apostles of reasonableness and gentleness resorting to the ancient propaganda tricks of misdirection, false statements, and violent language.
Tract No. 178, published in 1896, camouflaged an attack on Freemasonry under the title of "Secret Societies" ; in it Masons were accused of murdering each other, of being a secret "society" i.e., a conspiratorial society, like the Black Hand) ; of "covering up crime" ; of giving "a license to immorality," etc. (Yet Springett Penn, of the Penn family, was very active in the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and wrote one of the verses in the 'Prentice Song') ! The Lutheran Church has been as a whole unsympathetic with the Craft, and at one time or another certain of its Synods have been anti-Masonic ; their Pastor Wagner's writings (of Dayton, Ohio) belong to the demented, or lunatic fringe, of Anti-Masonic "literature."
The Mormons also---and in the "Mormon Empire" where in six States their influence is very strong their action is not to be lightly disregarded-have carried on an organized Anti-Masonic movement ever since their original members were expelled by the Grand Lodge of Illinois, when the town of Nauvoo was designed to be what Salt Lake City afterwards became.
During this whole time the Roman Catholic Church has carried on a continuous barrage against the Craft, and with an increasing tempo ever since Pope Leo XIII designated agencies for the purpose. (See Freemasonry and Roman Catholicism, by H. L. Haywood; Masonic History Company; Chicago; 1944.)
In these Anti-Masonic attacks enemies of Freemasonry believed themselves to have a particular quarrel of their own against it, and for private reasons.
But the larger number of Anti-Masonic movements have had another basis, one not motivated by any quarrel but rather as a form of an inevitable conflict of teachings, principles, doctrines. Before he had become the inventor of Fascism the ex-Socialist, ex-pacifist Benito Mussolini wrote in 1920:
"Humanity is still and always an abstraction of time and space ; men are still not brothers, do not want to be, and evidently cannot be. Peace is hence absurd, or rather it is a pause in war. There is something that binds man to his destiny of struggling, against either his fellows or himself. The motives for the struggle may change indefinitely, they may be economic, religious, political, sentimental ; but the legend of Cain and Abel seems to be the inescapable reality, while 'brotherhood' is a fable which men listen to during the bivouac and the truce. . ."
It is obvious that when he later found himself the head of a new government of which the above doctrine was the comer-stone Mussolini came into irreconcilable conflict with Freemasonry which not only taught brotherhood but was a Brotherhood. Other creeds came into power, became embodied in governments, were backed by money and armies, the Nazi creed, the Phalangist, the French army and church hierarchies, Communism, and what not ; and each of these, of itself, came into conflict with Freemasonry ; and these conflicts were not quarrels or vendettas, or accidental explosions like the Morgan Affair, but were just such conflicts as are waged by two opposed religions, or opposed philosophies, or opposed political programs. Wherever a creed which possesses power or is seeking it is contradicted by the teachings and principles of Freemasonry, it will become Anti-Masonic. It is Anti-Masonry of this latter type, not of the Morgan Affair type, that now confronts the Fraternity in every European country, and is destined to confront it more and more in both Britain and America.
Prince Metternich was the most powerful Anti-Mason whom the Craft has ever faced ; he was also the most successful, for within one generation after the Congress of Vienna he had destroyed it, or crippled it, or driven it underground in every country between Russia and the English Channel ; but he did not attack Masons personally, did not accuse them of crimes or conspiracies, as did the less enlightened architects of American Anti-Masonry, but laid it down as a principle that the anti-democratic, despotic societies being set up by the Holy Alliance could not consistently tolerate in their midst a philosophy so contradictory of it as the democracy, fraternalism, and tolerance of the Fraternity, and which refused to admit that God had made the few to own and to rule and the many to labor and be subservient.
NOTE. Apropos of Mussolini's reading of "the legend of Cain and Abel''-which in the main is the orthodox one -it is one more proof of the great "peculiarity'' of Freemasonry that it has a ''legend'' of Cain of a different kind ;it sees in him the builder of the first city, and therefore a man who knew the art of building. See index of Tite Two Earliest Masonic MSS., by Knoop, Jones, Hamer Manchester; 1938.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
P.O. BOX 70
Larkspur CO 80118
Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry