Man has been defined as a gregarious animal, but in his highly civilised condition he is gregarious only to a limited extent.

He loves the society of his kind it is true, but then it must be such society as he fully approves.

He has often little sympathy for those members of the human family who do not move in the rut in which his existence is cast.
He looks down with contempt upon those who are poorer than himself, and devotes a considerable portion of his time to the task of getting into a clique a degree above him in the social scale.
The human family, in these latitudes at least, is indeed cut up into sections which are as sharply defined as the arbitrary distinctions of the Hindoo.
We have discarded “caste” and the “tribe,” and have substituted the clique as the most reasonable method of sub-dividing the human family.

Tribal or caste distinctions might be difficult to maintain in a country like ours where so many persons are ignorant that they ever had great grandfathers; but the clique fulfils all the exclusive demands of the British snob with-out taxing too severely his power of inventing a pedigree.
We can enter a clique readily enough provided we can prove to the satisfaction of the members of it that we possess the necessary littleness of mind, and the other trifling distinctions which are demanded by the rules of the Fraternity.
The clique literary, for example, is usually composed of second-rate journalists, and authors who have formed themselves into a mutual admiration society for the sake of puffing each other’s work.

To become a member of this mysterious circle you must spend many years in a condition of probation.
Your best articles will be rejected by the members as beneath their notice, and your novels will be “jumped upon” in the literary reviews.
But when you have reached the condition of a literary hack, and can write nothing that possesses originality or merit, the members of the little coterie will welcome you to their circle with open demonstrations of good will.
You have become one of themselves, you have graduated into the condition of a mere dealer in platitude.

The rich strata of mental treasure, which was in your brain has been worked out, and you are at last regarded as an equal by men who never in their lives were able to juggle two ideas together in their own feeble heads.
We could point to periodicals once powerful, which, having passed into the hands of these people, have become mere vehicles for the display of the imbecility and the folly of creatures who were not worthy to lose the shoestrings of the men they have succeeded.
Again, there is the clique scientific, represented by persons like the tailor in Gulliver’s Travels, who took the measure of a customer with a quadrant.

These people talk a detestable jargon, compounded of Greek and English in equal proportions.
Their leading idea is that science should be made mysterious to the vulgar, and with that laudable end in view they veil simple things under a cloud of words.
In the jargon of the clique of geologists, for example, the great fossil lizard becomes the Ichthyosaurus or fish reptile.
The fossil tapir becomes the Palceotheriumor ancient wild beast; another monster is the Megatherium or great wild beast.

But these names are mere trifles; such words as Megalomix and Scelidothmum have been applied by these worthies to distinguished allied species, and we are required to believe that these “jaw breakers,” as the Scotch would call them, are all necessary for the elucidation of simple scientific facts.
The truth is, that without the assistance of a veil of words the geologists would soon find their preserves invaded by persons with whom the clique would not care to associate.
The man who can call a fossil tapir Palceotherium, and who can dub the study of fossils with the title of palaeontology imagines he has achieved a victory over the vulgar, and no doubt he has.
That there are medical cliques every person knows who has had occasion to consult a physician.

The member of the medical clique feels your pulse, looks at your tongue, and scrawls his prescription in a jargon as nearly like the gibberish with which schoolboys amuse themselves, as anything of such serious import can well be.
But the “dog Latin” of his prescription is innocent compared with, the outrageous rubbish, in the shape of coined words, with which the medical journals are filled.
The members of the medical clique cannot describe so simple a thing as the amputation of a limb, or the cure of an enlarged artery without the’ use of words which belong to no language that ever existed.
The jargon is used to warn off intruders from the sacred preserves of the clique, and’ it no doubt effectually serves its purpose.

Then we have the clique composed of the rich and vulgar, who require ample proof that your balance at the banker’s is satisfactory before they will deign to countenance you.
You might be a Milton or a Shakespeare for aught they know or care.
The treasures of the mind are nothing in their estimation, and men are classified by their money bags, and scorned or venerated accordingly.
These people exist merely to display their wealth.
Their houses are filled to overflowing with art treasures, and the art trumpery which is now so fashionable.

The members of the clique regularly attend Christie and Hanson’s sales, and squabble and outbid each other over a celebrated daub, merely for the fame which will accrue to them from the purchase of a ” masterpiece ” at a fabulous price.
Snob-son glories in being pointed out as the man who gave £20,000 for a piece of blackened canvas, upon which scarcely any traces of the pencil of the painter remain.
He flings away his money upon crockery, because it is fashionable to do so, but, in his heart of hearts, he thinks the drop scene at the Gaiety a finer picture than any Claude in his gallery; and his cut glass decanters he secretly holds are superior to the Portland vase.

He pretends to love art because it is the fashion, but he knows no more about it than a savage, and satisfies himself for his extravagance by dreaming of the fame which will accrue to him when his collection comes to the hammer.
Such are some few of the cliques into which our complex society has become divided.
We might particularise others, but we weary of the task.
The world is, indeed, composed of cliques.

What, indeed, is a nation but a clique on a gigantic scale, and Masonry, were it not for the breadth of the principles which it teaches, might almost be regarded as a clique of mystery men, banded together for the purpose of indulging in the universal weakness for the outré and the marvellous.

The Freemasons Chronicle, a weekly record of masonic intelligence, was first published 2nd January 1875 London, England as an independent weekly journal of masonic interest and continued for 27 years.


It should be the business of a journal devoted to the interests of the Order to attempt the removal of prejudices such as these, which, though they may have little perceptible influence upon the prosperity of the Fraternity, yet have the effect of preventing timid or ill-informed persons from enlisting under its banner.

It will not only attempt to keep pace with the growing literary requirements of the day, but it will seek to exhibit the Order to the non-Masonic world divested of its technical details, and clothed in the garb of Charity and Brotherly Love.

The questions of the hour, which exercise the minds of thoughtful men, will be handled freely and broadly, without any tinge of political or sectarian bias.

The memoranda of Masonic gatherings which will appear from week to week, will be full and accurate; and as free interchange of opinion is one of the best signs of life and vigour in any society, ample scope will be given for Correspondence on topics of interest to the Order.

If we may venture upon a new rendering of words which recent events have made memorable, we will say here, once and for all, that we will be keen men of business, and will spare no effort, consistent with honour, to achieve commercial success; but first, and before all things, we will prove to our brethren and the world that we are FREEMASONS.

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