To the Masonic reader,
This attempt, the first one ever made upon an extended scale, to illustrate the principles, by exhibiting the effects of Freemasonry, is respectfully offered to the craft, wheresoever dispersed. In it I have endeavored to avoid romantic incidents. I have not introduced unnatural or improbable embellishments.
But, from a large collection of facts, gathered in my travels through almost every section of the United States, I have prepared, in a plain style, the following sketches. It has been the desire of my heart, even from the night when I was made a Mason, to return something to an institution that then promised so much, that has since done so much, for me. To this end I early adopted the practice of jotting down, from the mouth of both friend and foe, every fact and opinion that related to Freemasonry. Having been practiced, from my boyhood, to wield the pen for the public press, I composed, several years since, from these memoranda, various Masonic tales, and published them in the Magazines of the Order. So extensively were these crude and imperfect productions copied by the newspapers of the day, that while my own estimate of their merits was vastly increased, I became convinced that there was a demand for a volume of such pieces, maturely considered, and carefully written, and that it would be acceptable to the craft. That volume, the result of my Masonic life, is now offered. In the preparation of these sketches, I have had three principal ideas in view:
First. To introduce nothing of an important nature, but what is literally true.
Second. To introduce incidents enough to bear either directly or indirectly upon every section of Masonic obligation and privilege.
Third. To introduce the technical language
of Masonry, so far as good authority is afforded me, by standard
works. To understand Masonic land marks, and upon them to frame
a true system of Masonic work, has ever been my earnest desire
and study; to avoid a disclosure of Masonic secrets, in this publication,
was my principal care. The former I dare not presume entirely
to have attained to, the latter I can boldly and fearlessly avow.
Should my Masonic brethren meet this more elaborate work with
the same kindness with which my former sketches, and my courses
of lectures, generally, have been accepted, they will render my
pleasure and gratitude complete.
Hickman, Ky., June, 1852.
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