If Freemasonry had a Foxe to write for it its own Book of Martyrs the larger number of Brethren would be horrified to find that men had been tortured, blinded, mutilated, hanged & burned, sent to the galleys, put into dungeons to starve dragged through streets, beaten by mobs, and in each instance for no other crime than that they were Free masons; they would next be astounded by the number of these martyrs, for if the latter were to be gathered together out of the past 200 years, and from each of almost fifty countries, and were to meet in a single throng, it would not number hundreds; it would not number thousands; it would number hundreds of thousands.
Thus: In 1735 a Scotsman named George Gordon fathered a Lodge in Portugal under a Charter granted by the Duke of Montage, London. For ten years the work of this and of other Lodges, purely cultural and strictly Masonic, was unmolested. Then, almost unannounced, and on representations (greatly falsified) of a Dominican monk named Bonnet de Meantry, the French Ambassador's confessor, the Lodge Virtud at Lisbon was raided; three of its members, Damiao de Andrade and Manoel de Revelhos, aristocrats, and a Brother named Christoph Diego were hanged, March 8, 1743. Thomas Brasle and Jacques Mouton, Frenchmen, and John Coustos, a Swiss by birth, but a British subject, were tortured again and again by the Inquisition; the French Brothers died, Coustos was sent to the galleys. This was the beginning of a long red chapter, first in Portugal, later in Spain; in Spain it came to a fiery end when Franco had hundreds of men hanged, shot, mobbed, mutilated, and burned for being Masons.
And thus: General Luigi Capello commanded an Italian army corps at Gorz in World War I. When Mussolini ordered Italy to destroy Freemasonry he gave every Italian Mason of whatever station, rank, or dignity in the country an either-or: renounce Freemasonry and embrace Fascism; renounce Fascism and remain loyal to Freemasonry on peril of life. General Capello remained loyal to Freemasonry, was accused of having given 500,000 lira to conspirators to assassinate Mussolini; after a trial which dragged on month after month to give Fascist newspapers time to scream insults and threats against the Order, was found guilty and sentenced to "thirty years imprisonment, with solitary confinement for the first six years"--a death sentence at has age. Almost at once the secret police arrested Grand Master Torrigiani, and in two hours the Confinement Commission banished him without charge, hearing, or trial to the Lepari Islands to starve to death. How many hundreds of other Italian Brothers were dispossessed of their property, beaten and mobbed, sent to concentration camps, thrown into prison, or killed there is no way of knowing. It was however only the beginning of the slaughter of men for being Masons from 1925 until the Allied Armies liberated European countries; and from the Russian border to Ireland only Switzerland, Sweden, and Britain were exempt--and even in England it was in Mosley's plans for his Fascist party to destroy the Fraternity and to assassinate its leaders. Between the two extremes of 1925 and 1944 there was a long succession of men, in thousands which have never been counted, who suffered martyrdom for their loyalty to Freemasonry; and outside of Europe in every Latin country from Mexico south, and in Japan, China, and the Philippine Islands.
NOTE: The almost complete lack of knowledge of these martyrdoms by three millions or so of American Masons is one of the most extraordinary phenomena in the whole history of the Craft. One explanation is found in "the sabotage of history." This also is almost unknown among American Masons and among American citizens at large though professional historians are familiar with it to excess. and must everlastingly battle with it.
This "sabotage of history" consists of destroying documents, altering documents. forging documents creating false legends, the assassination of character of men long dead--as was done with Cromwell--, and the writing of books consisting of open and brazen lies. It was the discovery that monuments to heroes of the Revolutionary and Civil War were being systematically defaced or destroyed in order to erase the only existing proofs of their having been Masons which started Admiral George W. Baird on his years Of research and produced Great Men Who Were Masons. Two recent attempts at obligate were made in the eases Of Edit Carson and William E. Cody [' Buffalo Bill"], the former in the year 1943. Another explanation is the fact that American Masonry has almost no national journalism. and in consequence possesses no means to publish general information.
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Just wanted to say that I got the ring - and it's the most beautiful ring I've seen. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Brother Ofotsu, Upper Marlboro, MD
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