These signs and tokens are of no small value; they speak a uni­ver­sal lan­guage, and act as a pass­port to the atten­tion and sup­port of the ini­ti­ated in all parts of the world. They can­not be lost so long as mem­ory retains its power. Let the pos­ses­sor of them be expa­tri­ated, ship­wrecked or impris­oned; let him be stripped of every­thing he has got in the world; still these cre­den­tials remain and are avail­able for use as cir­cum­stances require.


The great effects which they have pro­duced are estab­lished by the most incon­testable facts of his­tory. They have stayed the uplifted hand of the destroyer; they have soft­ened the asper­i­ties of the tyrant; they have mit­i­gated the hor­rors of cap­tiv­ity; they have sub­dued the ran­cor of malev­o­lence; and bro­ken down the bar­ri­ers of polit­i­cal ani­mos­ity and sec­tar­ian alienation.

On the field of bat­tle, in the soli­tude of the uncul­ti­vated forests, or in the busy haunts of the crowded city, they have made men of the most hos­tile feel­ings, and most dis­tant reli­gions, and the most diver­si­fied con­di­tions, rush to the aid of each other, and feel a social joy and sat­is­fac­tion that they have been able to afford relief to a brother Mason.

Brother Ben­jamin Franklin