THE LANDMARKS OF FREEMASONRY
The modes of RECOGNITION 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. .
THE DEVISION OF SYMBOLIC MASONRY INTO THREE DEGREES is a Landmark
that has been better preserved than almost any other. In 1813, the
Grand Lodge of England vindicated the ancient Landmark, by solumnly enacting that ancient craft Masonry consisted of the three
degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fello 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 in Masonry, practiced in any country or language, in which the essential
elements of this legend are not taught.
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.
The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the craft, wheresoever and whensoever
held, is a fifth Landmark.
The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant Dispensations for conferring degrees at irregular times, in another
and a very important Landmark.
The prerogative of the Grand Master to give dispensations for opening and holding Lodges is another Landmark.
The prerogative of the Grand Master to make masons at sight, is a Landmark which is closely connected with
the preceding one.
The necessity of masons to congregate in lodges is another Landmark.
The government of the craft, when so congregated in a Lodge by a Master and two Wardens, is also a Landmark.
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 Masonry. 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 beginning of the Order. It is therefore properly classed among the most ancient Landmarks.
The right of every mason to be represented in all general meeting of the craft and to instruct his representative,
is a twelfth Landmark.
The Right of every mason to appeal from the decision of his brethren in Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge
or General Assembly of Masons, is a Landmark highly essential to the preservation of justice, and the prevention of oppression.
THE RIGHT OF EVERY MASON TO VISIT and sit in every regular Lodge is an unquestionalbe Landmark of the Order.
This is call 'the right of visitation".
It is a Landmark of the Order, that no visitor, unknown to the brethren present, or to some one of them
a Mason, can enter a Lodge without first passing an examination according to ancient usage. Of course, if the visitor
is known to any brother present to be a Mason in good standing, and if the brother will vouch for his qualification,
the examination may be dispensed with, as the Landmark refers only to the cases of strangers, who are not to be recognized
unless after strict trial, due examination, or lawful information.
No Lodge can interfere in the business of another Lodge, nor give degrees to brethren who are members of other
It is a Landmark that every Freemason is Amenable to the Laws and Regulations of the masonic jurisdiction
in which he resides, and this although he may not be a member of any Lodge. Non-affiliation, which is, in fact in itself
a Masonic offense, does not exempt a Mason from Masonic Jurisdiction.
Certain qualification of candidates for initiation are derived from a Landmark of the Order. These qualifications
are that he shall be a man, shall be unmutilated, free born, and of mature age. This is to say, a woman, a cripple,
or a slave, or one born in slavery, is disqualified into the rites of Masonry. Statutes.
A belief in the existence of God as the GRAND ARCHITECT of the universe is one of the most important Landmarks
of the Order. It has been always deemed essential that a denial of the existence of a Supreme and Superintending
Power, is an absolute disqualification for initiation.
Sunsidiary to this belief in God, as a Landmark of the Order, is the belief in the resurrection to a
It is a Landmark that a 'Book of the Law' shall constitute and indispensible part of the furniture of
every Lodge. I say advisedly, a Book of the Law, because it is not absolutely required that everywhere the Old and New
Testaments shall be used. The 'Book of the Law' is that volume which, by the religion of the country, is believed to
contain the revealed will of the Grand Arctitect of the universe. Hence, in all Lodges in Christian countries, the Book
of the Law is composed of the Old and New Testaments; in a country where Judaism was the prevailing faith, the Old Testament
alone would be sufficient; and in Mohammedan countries, and among Mohammedan Masons the Koran might be substituted.
Masonry does not attempt to interfere with the peculiar religious faith of it disciples, except so far as relates to the belief
in the existence of God, and what necessarily results from that belief. The Book of the Law is to the speculative
Mason his spiritual Trestleboard; without this he cannot labor; whatever he believes to be the revealed will of the Grand
Architect constitutes for him this spiritual Treestleboard, and must ever be before him in the hours of speculative labor,
to be the rule and guide of his conduct. The Landmark, therefore, requires that a Book of the Law, a religious code
of some kind, purporting to be an exemplar of the revealed will of God, shall form an essential part of the furniture of every
THE EQUALITY OF ALL MASONS is anothe Landmark of the Order.
The secrecy of the institution is another and a most important Landmark. There is some difficulty in
precisely what is meant by a 'secret society'. If the term refers, as perhaps in strictly logical language it should,
to those associations whose designs are concealed from the public eye, and whose members are unknowing which produce their
results in darkness, and whose operations are carefully hidden from the public gaze - a definition which will be appropriate
to many political clubs and revolutionary combinations in despotice countries, where reform, if it is at all to be effected,
must be effected by stealth - then clearly Freemasonry is not a secret society. Its design is not only publicly proclaimed,
but is vaunted by its disciples as something to be venerated; its disciples are known, for its membership is considered an
honor to be coveted; its works for a result of which it boasts, the civilization, and reformation of his manners. But
if by a secret society is meant, and this is the most popular understanding of the term, a society in which there is a certain
amount of knowledge, whether it be of methods of recognition, or of legendary and traditional learning, which is imported
to those only who have passed through an established form of initiation, the form itself being so concealed or esoteric, then
in this sense is Freemasonry undoubtedly a secret society. Now this form of secrecy is a form inherent in it, existing
whit it from its very foundation, and secured to it by its ancient Landmarks. If divested of its secret character, it
would lose its identity, and would cease to be Freemasonry, whatever objections may, therefore, be made to the institution,
on account of its secrecy, and howevermuch some unskilled brethren have been willing in times of trial, for the sake of expediency,
to divest it of its secret character, it will be ever impossible to do so, even where the Landmark not standing before us
as an insurmountable obstacle; because such change of its character would be social suicide, and the death of the Order would
follow its legalized exposure. Freemasonry, as a secret association, has lived unchanged for centuries an open
society it would not last for as many years.
The foundation of a Speculative Science upon an Operative Art, and the symbolic use and explanation of the
terms of that art, for purposes of religious or moral teaching, constitute another Landmark of the Order.
The last and crowning Landmark of all is, that these Landmarks can never be changed. Nothing can be
subtracted from them - nothing can be added to them - not the slightest modification can be made in them. As they were
received from our predecessors, we are bound by the most solemn obligations of duty to transmit them to our successors. Not
one jot or one tittle of these unwritten laws can be repealed; for in respect to them, we are not only willing but compelled
to adopt the language of the sturdy old barons of England - "Nolumus legen mutari".