The following is a biased conclusion drawn from a treasury report of the Keystone Lodge (no. 639) presented in 1870 and used in Ronayne's Hand-Book of Freemasonry (1917) to justify his printing of the Freemasonry rituals. [Please bear in mind that this quote is a set-up for the next post in my secrecy series, and should not be viewed as my opinion of Freemasonry.]
[What becomes of all the Masonic money?]
With regard to this official document [a treasury report], it will be sufficient to remark that it indelibly stamps every single transaction in the organization of Keystone Lodge, No. 639, as a wilful and deliberate steal, from beginning to end. First, every candidate was defrauded in the sum of $64.25, by being charged $65, in all for his three degrees, when the officers and members of that Lodge knew, just as well as they did their own names, that those very same degrees,--word for word, and in better form,--could be purchased of any regular book-seller in the country for 75 cents at most.
Secondly, the money thus fraudulently obtained from "the poor, blind candidate," was in its turn stolen by Moses Shields, their Worshipful Master, and by others, thus very forcibly proving the truth of that old adage--"Ill got, ill gone."
Thirdly, the Grand Lodge of Illinois, for the sum of $75, gave them permission to open their Masonic confidence shop and to sell Masonic so-called secrets to any white man of mature age, who might be foolish enourgh to buy them, thus encouraging and perpetuating the fraud by issuing its charter or warrant, empowering them to work.
In this manner, Freemason Lodges are organized and the money fliched from the poor, selfish, deluded dupes who join them, is disposed of. Every Masonic Lodge in the world is a fraud; the sale of its sham degrees is but obtaining money under false pretenses; and what is worse, the Masons themselves know it. This being the case, then, and desiring to do what I can towards exposing the swindle and the outrageous humbug of these dark gangs of conspiracy, I would earnestly call the reader's attention to [Ronayne's Hand-Book of Freemasonry], as containing the literally correct ritual and work of Freemasonry.