Note:  The following material is a scanned-in research resource; it is NOT intended as an exact reproduction of the original volume. Due to computer display variances, page numbers are approximate. Scanned at Phoenixmasonry by Ralph Omholt, PM - June 2007.

The History Of Freemasonry

By

Albert G. Mackey 33°


VOLUME FOUR

 

PART 2. - HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY

 

CHAPTER                                                                       PAGE

                                                                   [Original Volumes  /  This Copy]

 

29. - Organization of the Grand Lodge of England ......................... 877   /  7

30. - Was the Organization of the Grand Lodge

            in 1717 a Revival? ………………………………………….... 890   /  20

31. - The Early Years of Speculative Freemasonry in England .... 903   /  31

32. - The Early Ritual of Speculative Freemasonry ………............. 926   /  52

33. - The One Degree of Operative Freemasons ……….................. 946   /  75

34. - Invention of the Fellow Craft's Degree .................................... 957   /  87

35. - Non-existence of a Master Mason's Degree

            Among the Operative Freemasons ....................................... 964   /  95

36. - The Invention of the Third or Master Mason's Degree …....  975   /  107

Fac-simile Reprint of the Charges of a Freemason, from original Edition of the "Book of Constitutions," A.D. 1723 ............ 994   /  130

37. - The Death of Operative and the Birth of

            Speculative Freemasonry ................................................. 1003   /  150

38. - Introduction of Speculative Freemasonry into France ..... 1017   /  165

39. - The Grand Lodge of All England, or the

            Grand Lodge of York ……………………………………… 1043   /  195

40. - Organization of the Grand Lodge of Scotland ................... 1079   /  231

41. - The Atholl Grand Lodge, or the Grand Lodge of England

            According to the Old Institutions .................................... 1104   /  254

42. - The Grand Lodge of England, South of the Trent;

            or the Schism of the Lodge of Antiquity ......................... 1135   /  284

 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 

VOLUME FOUR

                                                                                                                        PAGE

Albert Pike ………………………………………………………….. 888   /  14

Faith, Hope, and Charity ………………………………………….. 904   /  40

The Funeral Procession …………………………………………... 936   /  54

William Preston …………………………………………………….. 968   /  109

Cologne Cathedral ……………………………………….………. 1000   /  145

Banner of the Knights Templar …………………………………. 1032   /  182

Benjamin Franklin ………………………………………………… 1064   /  216

Plate of Symbols ………………………………………..………… 1096   /  246

Jacob's Dream ………………………………………..…………… 1128   /  276


 



 


 

 

CHAPTER XXIX

 

ORGANIZATION OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND

 

WE have now reached the most interesting portion of the history of Freemasonry. We are getting away from the regions of legend and tradition, and are passing into the realm of authentic records. And though at this early period there is a sparseness of these records, and sometimes a doubtfulness about their meaning, which will occasionally compel us to build our hypothesis on the foundation of plausible conjecture and reasoning, still, to whatever conclusions we may come, they will, of course, be more satisfactory to the mind than if they were wrought out of mere mythical and traditionary narratives.

 

It has already been shown that the Guild or Fraternity of Freemasons from the earliest period of its history had admitted into its connection persons of rank and influence who were not workmen of the Craft.

 

In this usage it followed the example of the Roman Colleges of Artificers, whose patrons were selected to secure to the corporations a protection often needed, from the oppressive interference of the government.

 

Thus, when after the decadence of the Roman Empire, architecture, which had fallen into decline, began to revive, the Masons were employed in the construction of religious edifices, the dignitaries of the Church naturally became closely connected with the workmen, while many of the monks were operative masons. Bishops and abbots superintended the buildings, and were thus closely connected with the Guild.

 

This usage was continued even after the Freemasons had withdrawn from all ecclesiastical dependence, and up to the 18th century non‑operatives were admitted into full membership of the Fraternity, under the appellation of Gentlemen or Theoretic Masons, or as Honorary Members. The title of Speculative Freemasons was a word of later coinage, though it is met with, apparently with the same meaning, in one of the oldest Records, the Cooke MS. But this is a solitary instance, and the word never came into general use until some time after the organization of the Grand Lodge in 1717.

 

It is here used for the sake of convenience, in reference to the early period, but without any intention to intimate that it was then familiar to the Craft. The fact existed, however, though the special word was apparently wanting.

 

The natural result of this commingling of Operative and Speculative Masons in the same Fraternity, was to beget a spirit of rivalry between the two classes. This eventually culminated in the dissolution of the Guild of Operative Freemasons as distinguished from the Rough Masons or Rough Layers, and the establishment on its ruin of the Society of Speculative Freemasons, which at London, in the year 1717, assumed the title of "The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons."

 

We are without any authentic narrative of the rise and progress of the contentions between the rival classes in England, because in that country the records of the Operative Lodges before the close of the 17th century have been lost. But the sister kingdom of Scotland has been more fortunate. There the minutes of the Lodges of Edinburgh and Kilwinning exhibit abundant evidence of the struggle for pre‑eminence which terminated in the year 1736 in the establishment of the speculative "Grand Lodge of Scotland."

 

As the subject‑matter to be treated in this chapter is the history of the establishment at London, in the year 1717, of the Grand Lodge of England, it will be proper as a preliminary step that some notice should be taken of the condition of Freemasonry during the first decade of the 18th century in the south of England.

 

The lodges then existing in the kingdom consisted, it is supposed, both of Operative and non‑Operative members. We have positive evidence of this in some instances, and especially as respects the lodges in London.

 

Preston gives the following account of the condition of the institution in the beginning of the 18th century:

 

"During the Reign of Queen Anne, masonry made no considerable progress. Sir Christopher Wren's age and infirmities drawing off his attention from the duties of his office (that of Grand Master), the lodges decreased, and the annual festivals were entirely neglected. The old Lodge of St. Paul and a few others continued to meet regularly, but consisted of few members." (1)

 

Anderson, upon whose authority Preston had made this statement, says that "in the South the lodges were more and more disused, partly by the neglect of the Masters and Wardens and partly by not having a noble Grand Master at London, and the annual Assembly was not duly attended." (2)

 

As the statement so often made by Anderson and other writers of his school, that there was, anterior to the seventeenth year of the 18th century, an annual Assembly of the Craft in England over which a Grand Master presided, has been proved to be apocryphal, we must attribute the decline of Operative Freemasonry to other causes than those assigned by Dr. Anderson.

 

I have heretofore attempted to show that the decline in the spirit of Operative Freemasonry was to be attributed to the decadence of Gothic Architecture. By this the Freemasons were reduced to a lower level than they had ever before occupied, and were brought much nearer to the "Rough Masons" than was pleasing to their pride of "cunning." They thus lost the pre‑eminence in the Craft which they had so long held on account of their acknowledged genius and the skill which in past times they had exhibited in the art of building.

 

But whatever may have been the cause, the fact is indisputable that at the beginning of the 18th century the Freemasons had lost much of their high standing as practical architects and had greatly diminished in numbers.

 

In the year 1716 there were but four lodges of Operative Masons in the city of London. The minutes of these lodges are not extant, and we have no authentic means of knowing what was their precise condition.

 

But we do know that among their members were many gentlemen of education who were not Operative Masons, but belonged to the class of Theoretic or Speculative Freemasons, which, as I have previously said, it had long been the custom of the Operative Freemasons to admit into their Fraternity.

 

Preston, in his Illustrations of Masonry, in a passage already

 

(1) "Illustrations of Masonry," Jones's edit., 1821, p. 189. a (2) "Constitutions," edit. 1738, p. 108.

 

cited, speaking of the decline of the lodges in the first decade of the 18th century, makes this statement:

 

"To increase their numbers, a proposition was made, and afterwards agreed to, that the privileges of Masonry should no longer be restricted to Operative Masons, but extend to men of various professions, provided they were regularly approved and initiated into the Order."

 

For this statement he gives no authority. Anderson, who was contemporary with the period of time when this regulation is said to have been adopted, makes no allusion to it, and Preston himself says on a preceding page that "at a general assembly and feast of the Masons in 1697 many noble and eminent brethren were present, and among the rest, Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, who was at that time Master of the lodge at Chichester." (1)

 

The statement appears, therefore, to be apochryphal. Such a proposition would certainly have been wholly superfluous, as there is abundant evidence that in England in the 17th century "men of various professions" had been "regularly approved and initiated into the Order."

 

Elias Ashmole, the Antiquary, states in his Diary that he and Colonel Mainwaring were initiated in a lodge at Warrington in 1646, and he records the admission of several other non‑Operatives in 1682 at a lodge held in London.

 

Dr. Plott, in his Natural History of Staffiordshire, printed in 1686, states that "persons of the most eminent quality did not disdain to be of the Fellowship."

 

In the first and second decades of the 18th century Operative Freemasonry appears, judging from extant records, to have been in the following condition:

 

In the northern counties there were several lodges of Operative Freemasons, which had a permanent character, having rules for their government, and holding meetings at which new members were admitted.

 

Thus Preston speaks of a lodge which was at Chichester in 1697, of which the Duke of Richmond and Lennox was Master; there was a lodge at Alnwick in Northumberland, whose records from

 

(1) "Illustrations of Masonry," p. 189, Jones's edit.

 

1701 are extant; (1) and there was at least one lodge, if not more, in the city of York whose preserved minutes begin on March 19, 1712. (2) we have every reason to suppose that similar lodges were to be found in other parts of the kingdom, though the minutes of their transactions have unfortunately been lost.

 

In London there were four operative lodges. These were the lodges which in 1717 united in the formation of the Speculative Grand Lodge of England, an act that has improperly been called the "Revival."

 

All the lodges mentioned consisted of two classes of members, namely, those who were Operative Freemasons and who worked in the mystery of the Craft, and those who were non‑Operative, or, as they were sometimes called, Gentlemen Freemasons.

 

The ceremony of admission or initiation was at this time of a very simple and unpretentious character. There was but one form common to the three ranks of Apprentices, Fellows, and Masters, and the division into degrees, as that word is now understood, was utterly unknown. (3)

 

From the close of the 17th century the Operative lodges were gradually losing their prestige. They were no longer, as Lord Lindsay has denominated their predecessors of the Middle Ages, "parliaments of genius;" their architectural skill had decayed; their geometrical secrets were lost; and the distinction which had once been so proudly maintained between the Freemasons and the "rough layers" was being rapidly obliterated.

 

Meantime the men of science and culture who had been admitted into their ranks, thought that they saw in the principle of brotherhood which was still preserved, and in the symbolic teachings which were not yet altogether lost, a foundation for another association, in which the fraternal spirit should remain as the bond of union, and the doctrines of symbolism, hitherto practically applied to the art of architecture, should be in future directed to the illustration of the science of morality.

 

(1) Bro. Hughan has published excerpts from the minutes. See Mackey's "National Freemason," vol iii., p. 233. (2) See Hughan's History of Freemasonry in York, in his " Masonic Sketches and Reprints," p. 55. See also an article by him in the Voice of Masonry, vol. xiii., p. 571 . (3) This subject will be fully discussed in a future chapter on the history of the origin of the three Craft degrees, and the statement here made will be satisfactorily substantiated.

 

Long afterward the successors of these founders of Speculative Freemasonry defined it to be "a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols."

 

Feeling that there was no congenial companionship between themselves and the uncultured men who composed the Operative element of the Association, the gentlemen of education and refinement who constituted the Theoretic element or the Honorary membership of the four lodges then existing in the city of London, resolved to change the character of these lodges, and to withdraw them entirely from any connection with Operative or Practical Masonry.

 

It was in this way that Speculative Freemasonry found its origin in the desire of a few speculative thinkers who desired, for the gratification of their own taste, to transmute what in the language of the times would have been called a club of workmen into a club of moralists.

 

The events connected with this transmutation are fully recorded by Dr. Anderson, in the second edition of the Constitutions, and as this is really the official account of the transaction, it is better to give it in the very language of that account, than to offer any version of it.

 

The history of the formation of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England, is given in the following words by Dr. Anderson, who is said to have been one of the actors in the event:

 

" King George I. entered London most magnificently on 20 Sept., 1714, and after the rebellion was over, A.D. 1716, the few lodges at London, finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren, thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the centre of union and harmony, viz., the lodges that met.

 

"1, At the 'Goose and Gridiron Ale‑house' in St. Paul's Churchyard.

 

"2. At the 'Crown Ale‑house' in Parker's Lane near Drury Lane.

 

"3. At the ' Apple Tree Tavern ' in Charles Street, Covent Garden.

 

"4. At the 'Rummer and Grapes Tavern' in Channel Row, Westminster.

 

"They and some old brothers met at the said Apple Tree, and having put into the chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge, pro tempore, in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called the Grand Lodge) resolved to hold the Annual Feast and then to choose a Grand Master from among themselves, till they should have the honor of a noble brother at their head.

 

"Accordingly

 

On St. John Baptist's day, in the 3d year of King George I., A.D. 1717, the Assembly and Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons was held at the foresaid ' Goose and Gridiron Ale‑house.'

 

"Before dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the Chair, proposed a list of proper candidates, and the brethren by a majority of hands elected

 

"Mr. Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons,

 

Capt. Joseph Elliott Mr. Jacob Lamball, Carpenter Grand Wardens,

 

who being forthwith invested with the badges of office and power by the said oldest Master, and installed, was duly congratulated by the Assembly who paid him the homage.

 

"Sayer, Grand Master, commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every quarter in communication at the place appointed in his summons sent by the Tyler." (1)

 

Such is the account of the transmutation of the four Operative to four Speculative lodges, given by Dr. Anderson, who is believed, with George Payne, Esq., and Dr. Desaguliers, to have been principally instrumental in effecting the transmutation.

 

Meager as are the details of so important an event which Anderson, as a contemporary actor, might easily have made more copious, they suggest several important points for our consideration.

 

We see that the change to be effected by the establishment of the Speculative Grand Lodge was not too hastily accomplished.

 

The first meeting in which it was resolved to organize a Grand Lodge took place some months before the actual organization occurred.

 

Anderson says that the four lodges met in 1716 and "revived the Quarterly Communication of the officers of lodges."

 

Preston says that they met in February, 1717, and that at this

 

(1) "Constitutions," 1738 edition. pp. 109, 110.


 


 

 

meeting "it was resolved to revive the Quarterly Communications of the Fraternity."

 

This is a more accurate statement than that of Anderson. The meeting in February, 1717, was merely preliminary. A resolution was adopted, or perhaps more correctly speaking, an agreement was entered into, to organize a Grand Lodge. But this agreement was not carried into execution until four months afterward. There could have been no Grand Lodge without a Grand Master, and the Grand Master was not elected until the 24th of June following. The apparent disagreement of the dates assigned to the preparatory meeting, Anderson saying it was in 1716, and Preston that it was in February, 1717, is easily reconciled.

 

Anderson in his narrative used the Old Style, in which the year began on March 25th, consequently February would fall in 1716. Preston used the New Style, which begins the year on January 1st, and thereby February fell in 1717. The actual period of time referred to by both authors is really the same.

 

In an anonymous work (1) published in 1764 it is said that six lodges were engaged in the organization of the Grand Lodge, but as the two additional lodges are not identified, it is better to reject the statement as untruthful, and to abide by the authority of Anderson, who, as Bro. Hughan says, "clearly wrote at a time when many personally knew as to the facts narrated and whose Book of Constitutions was really the official statement issued by the Grand Lodge."

 

The fact that four lodges were engaged in the act of transmuting Operative into Speculative Freemasonry by organizing a Grand Lodge, while admitted as an historical fact by Lawrence Dermott, is used by him as an objection to the legality of the organization.

 

"To form," he says, "what Masons mean by a Grand Lodge, there must have been the Masters and Wardens of five regular lodges that is to say, five Masters and ten Wardens, making the numbs of installed officers fifteen." (2)

 

But although Dermott very confidently asserts that this "is well known to every man conversant with the ancient laws, usages, customs, and ceremonies of Master Masons," (3) there can be no doubt that this point of law so dogmatically proclaimed was the

 

(1) "The Complete Freemason, or Multa Paucis, for Lovers of Secrets." (2) "Ahiman Rezon " p. 13. (3) Ibid., p. 14

 

pure invention of Dermott's brain, and is entitled to no weight whatever.

 

As the Grand Lodge which was established in 1717 was the first one ever known, it was impossible that there could be any "ancient laws" to regulate its organization.

 

It is noteworthy that each of these premier lodges met at a tavern or ale‑ house. During the last century Freemasons' lodges in England almost universally had their lodge‑rooms in the upper part of taverns. The custom was also adopted in this country, and all the early lodges in America were held in the upper rooms of buildings occupied as taverns.

 

The custom of meeting in taverns was one that was not confined to the Masonic Brotherhood. The early part of the 18th century was, in London, as we have already seen, the era of clubs. These societies, established some for literary, some for social, and some for political purposes, always held their meetings in taverns. " Will's Coffee House " is made memorable in the numbers of the Spectator as the rendezvous of the wits of that day.

 

It will also be noticed that these four lodges were without names, such as are now borne by lodges, but that they were designated by the signs of the taverns in which they held their meetings. Half a century elapsed before the lodges in England began to assume distinctive names. The first lodge to do so was Friendship Lodge No. 3, which is so styled in Cole's List of Lodges for 1767.

 

No difficulty or confusion, however, arose from this custom of designating lodges by the signs of the taverns in which they held their meetings, for it seldom happened that more than one lodge ever met at any tavern. "The practice," says Gould, "of any one tavern being common as a place of meeting, to two or more lodges, seems to have been almost unknown in the last century." (1)

 

Two of the four taverns in which these four original lodges were held, and two of the lodges themselves, namely, the "Apple Tree," where the design of separating the Speculative from the Operative element was inaugurated, and the "Goose and Gridiron," where that design was consummated by the organization of the new Grand Lodge, particularly claim our attention.

 

(1) "The Four Old Lodges," by Robert Freke Gould, p. 13.

 

But it will be more convenient while engaged on this subject to trace the fate and fortune of the whole four.

 

In this investigation I have been greatly aided by the laborious and accurate treatise of Bro. Robert Freke Gould, of London, on the Four Old Lodges. After his exhaustive analysis there is but little chance of unearthing any new discoveries, though I have been able to add from other sources a few interesting facts.

 

The lodge first named on Anderson's list met at the "Goose and Gridiron Ale‑house," and it was there that, on the 24th of June, 1717, the Grand Lodge of England was established. Elmes says that "Sir Christopher Wren was Master of St. Paul's Lodge, which during the building of the Cathedral of St. Paul's, met at the 'Goose and Gridiron' in St. Paul's Churchyard, and is now the Lodge of Antiquity, acting by immemorial prescription; and he regularly presided at its meetings for upward of eighteen years." (1)

 

Dr. Oliver says that Dr. Desaguliers, who may be properly reputed as the principal founder of modern Speculative Freemasonry, was initiated into the ceremonies of the Operative system, such as they were, in the lodge that met at the "Goose and Gridiron," and the date assigned for his admission is the year 1712.

 

Larwood and Hotten in their History of Sign Boards, copying from a paper of the Tatler, say that the Tavern was originally a Music house, with the sign of the "Mitre." When it ceased to be a Music house the succeeding landlord chose for his sign a goose stroking the bars of a gridiron with his foot in ridicule of the "Swan and Harp," which was a common sign for the early music houses. (2) I doubt the truth of this origin, and think it more likely that the "Swan and Harp" degenerated into the "Goose and Gridiron" by the same process of blundenng, so common in the history of signs which corrupted "God encompasseth us" into the "Goat and Compasses" or the "Belle Sauvage" into the "Bell and Savage."

 

In the list of lodges for 1725 to 1730 contained in the Minute Book of the Grand Lodge of England, Lodge No. 1 is still recorded as holding its meetings at the "Goose and Gridiron," whence, however, it not very long after removed, for in the next list, from 1730 to 1732, it is recorded as being held at the "King's Arms," in St. Paul's Churchyard.

 

(1) Elmes's "Sir Christopher Wren and his Times," quoted in the Keystone (2) "History of Sign Boards," p. 445.

 

The "King's Arms" continued to be its place of meeting (except a short time in 1735, when it met at the "Paul's Head," Ludgate Street) until 1768, when it removed to the "Mitre." Eight years before, it assumed the name of the "West India and American Lodge." In 1770 it became the "Lodge of Antiquity." Of this lodge the distinguished Masonic writer, William Preston, was a member. In 1779 it temporarily seceded from the Grand Lodge, and formed a schismatic Grand Lodge. The history of this schism will be the subject of a future chapter.

 

At the union of the two Grand Lodges of "Moderns" and "Ancients," it lost its number "One" in drawing lots and became number's Two," which number it still retains, though it is always recognized as the "premier lodge of England," and therefore of the world.

 

The "Goose and Gridiron Tavern" continued to be the place of meeting of the Grand Lodge until 1721, when in consequence of the need of more room from the increase of lodges the annual feast was held at Stationers' Hall. (1) The Grand Lodge never returned to the "Goose and Gridiron." It afterward held its quarterly communications at various taverns, and the annual assembly and feast always at some one of the Halls of the different Livery Companies of London. This migratory system prevailed until the Freemasons were able to erect a Hall of their own.

 

The second lodge which engaged in 1717 in the organization of the Grand Lodge, met at the "Crown Ale‑house" in Parker's Lanes near Drury Lane. According to Bro. Gould, it removed about 1723 to the "Queen's Head," Turnstile, Holborn; to the "Green Lettuce," Brownlow Street, in 1725; (2) thence to the "Rose and Rummer" in 1728, and to the "Rose and Buffer" in 1729. In 1730 it met at the "Bull and Gate," Holborn, and appearing for the last time in the list for 1736, was struck off the roll in 1740.

 

But it had ceased to exist before that year, for Anderson, in the list published by him in 1738, says: "The Crown in Parker's Lane, the other of the four old Lodges, is now extinct." (3)

 

The third lodge engaged in the Grand Lodge organization was that which met at the "Apple Tree Tavern " in 1717. It was there

 

(1) Anderson's "Constitutions," 2d edit., p. 112. (2) Gould's "Four Old Lodges," p. 6. (3) Anderson's " Constitutions," 2d edit., p. 185.

 

that in February of that year the Freemasons who were preparing to sever the connection between the Operative and Theoretic Masons, took the preliminary steps toward effecting that design. From the "Apple Tree" it removed about 1723 to the Queen's Head," Knave's Acre; thence in 1740 to the George and Dragon," Portland Street, Oxford Market; thence in 1744 to the "Swan" in the same region. In the lists from 1768 to 1793 it is described as the Lodge of Fortitude. After various other migrations, it amalgamated, in 1818, with the Old Cumberland Lodge, and is now the Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge No. 12 on the roll of the United Grand Lodge of England. (1)

 

Of this third or "Apple Tree" Lodge, Anthony Sayer, the first Grand Master of England, was a member, and most probably was in 1717 or had been previously the Master. In 1723 he is recorded as the Senior Warden of the Lodge, which is certainly an evidence of his Masonic zeal.

 

The last of the four old Lodges which constituted the Grand Lodge met in 1717 at the "Rummer and Grapes Tavern," Westminster. It moved thence to the "Horn Tavern," Westminster, in 1723. It seemed to be blessed with a spirit of permanency which did not appertain to the three other lodges, for it remained at the "Horn" for forty‑three years, not migrating until 1767, when it went to the "Fleece," Tothill Street, Westminster. The year after it assumed the name of the Old Horn Lodge. In 1774 it united with and adopted the name of the Somerset House Lodge, and met at first at the "Adelphi" and afterward until 1815 at "Freemasons' Tavern." In 1828 it absorbed the Royal Inverness Lodge, and is now registered on the roll of the United Grand Lodge of England as the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. 4. (2)

 

George Payne, who was twice Grand Master, in 1718 and in 1720, had been Master of the original Rummer and Grapes Lodge. He must have been so before his first election as Grand Master in 1718, and he is recorded in the first edition of Anderson as having been its Master again in 1723. At one time the lodge received an important benefit from this circumstance, as is shown by the following record taken by Entick from the Minutes of the Grand Lodge.

 

(1) Gould, "Four Old Lodges,"p.7. (2) lbid

 

In 1747 the lodge, whose number had been changed to No. 2, was erased from the Books of Lodges for not obeying an order of the Quarterly Communication. But in 1753, the members having petitioned the Grand Lodge for restoration, Entick says in his edition of the Constitutions that "after a long debate, it was ordered that in respect to Brother Payne, late Grand Master, the Lodge No. 2 lately held at the 'Horn' in Palace Yard, Westminster, should be restored and have its former rank and place in the list of lodges."

 

Payne, who was a scholar, had done much for the advancement of Speculative Freemasonry, and the Grand Lodge by this act paid a fitting homage to his character and showed itself not unmindful of his services to the Fraternity.

 

Such are the facts, well authenticated by unquestioned historical authorities, which are connected with the establishment of the first Grand Lodge of Speculative Freemasons, not only in England, but in the world. Seeing that nothing analogous has been anywhere found in the records of Masonry, irrespective of its unauthenticated legends and traditions, it is proper, before proceeding to inquire snto the condition of the Grand Lodge immediately subsequent to its organization at the "Goose and Gridiron Tavern," that the much discussed question, whether this organization was the invention of an entirely new system or only the revival of an old, and for a short time discontinued, one should be fairly considered.

 

To this important subject our attention will be directed in the following chapter.

 

P. 889

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXX

 

WAS THE ORGANIZATION OF THE GRAND LODGE IN 17I7 A REVIVAL?

 

It has been the practice of at Masonic writers from the earliest period of its literature to a very recent day, to designate the transaction which resulted in the organization of the Grand Lodge of England in the year 1717 as the "Revival of Freemasonry."

 

Anderson, writing in 1723, in the first edition of the Constitutions, says that "the freeborn British nation had revived the drooping Lodges of London," and in the year 1738, in the second edition of the same work, he asserts that the old Brothers who met at the "Apple Tree Tavern" "forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges, called the Grand Lodge."

 

This statement has been repeated by Preston, Calcott, Oliver, and all the older Masonic authors who have written upon the subject, until it has become an almost universal belief among the larger portion of the Fraternity that from some unknown or indefinite era until the second decade of the 18th century the Grand Lodge had been in a state of profound slumber, and that the Quarterly Communications, once so common, had long been discontinued, through the inertness and indifference of the Craft, while the lodges were drooping like sickly plants.

 

But in the year 1717, owing to the successful efforts of a few learned scholars, such as Desaguliers, Anderson, and Payne, the Grand Lodge had been awakened from its sleep of years, the Quarterly Communications had been renewed as of old, and the lodges had sprung into fresh and vigorous existence. Such was for a long time and indeed still is, to a diminished extent, the orthodox Masonic creed respecting the Revival of Freemasonry in the 18th century.

 

But this creed, popular as it is, has within a few years past been ruthlessly attacked by some of our more advanced thinkers, who are skeptical where to doubt is wise, and who are not prepared to aces cept legends as facts, nor to confound trading with history.

 

And now it is argued that before the year 1717 there never was a Grand Lodge in England, and, of course, there could have been no Quarterly Communications. Therefore, as there had not been a previous life, there could have been no revival, but that the Grand Lodge established in June, 1717, was a new invention, and the introduction of a system or plan of Freemasonry never before heard of or seen.

 

Which of these two hypotheses is the correct one, or whether there is not a mezzo termine ‑ a middle point or just mean between the two ‑ are questions well worthy of examination.

 

Let us first inquire what was the character of the four Lodges, and indeed of all the lodges in England which were in existence at the time of the so‑ called "Revival," or had existed at any previous time. What was the authority under which they acted, what was their character, and how was this character affected by the establishment of a new Grand Lodge ?

 

As to the authority under which the four old lodges, as well as all others that existed in England, acted, it must be admitted that they derived that authority from no power outside of themselves "The authority," says Bro. Hughan, "by which they worked prior to the advent of the Grand Lodge was their own. We know of no other prior to that period for England." (1)

 

Preston admits that previous to the year 1717 "a sufficient number of Masons met together within a certain district, with the consent of the sheriff or chief magistrate of the place, were empowered to make Masons and practice the rites of Masonry without Warrant of Constitution.'' (2)

 

Bro. Hughan substantially repeats this statement in the follow ing language:

 

"A body of Masons in any district or town appear usually to have congregated and formed lodges, and they had the 'Ancient Charges' or Rolls to guide them as to the rules and regulations for Masons generally. There were no Grand Masters or Grand Lodges before 1716‑17, and so there were no authorities excepting such as the annual assemblies and the 'Old Charges' furnished in England."

 

(1) See Voice of Masonry, vol. xiii., p. 571. (2) Preston's "Illustrations," p. 191, note.

 

He admits that "there were laws for the government of the lodges apparently, though unwritten, which were duly observed by the brotherhood."

 

This view is confirmed, impliedly, at least, by all the Old Constitutions in manuscript, from the most ancient to the most recent. In none of these (and the last of them has a date which is only three years prior to the so‑ called " Revival") do we find any reference whatever to a Grand Lodge or to a Grand Master. ldut they repeatedly speak of lodges in which Masons were to be " accepted," and the counsels of which were to be kept secret by the Fellows.

 

The only allusion made to the manner of organizing a lodge is contained in the Harleian MS., which prescribes that it must consist of not less than five Freemasons, one of whom must be a master or warden of the limit or division wherein the lodge is held.

 

From this regulation we are authorized, I think, to conclude, that in 1670, which is the date of the Harleian MS., nothing more was necessary in forming a lodge in which "to make Masons or practice the rites of Masonry," as Preston gives the phrase, than that a requisite number should be present, with a Master or Warden working in that locality.

 

Now the Master, as the word is here used, meant a Freemason of the highest rank, who was engaged in building with workmen under him, and a Warden was one who having passed out of his apprenticeship, had become a Fellow and was invested with an authority over the other Fellows, inferior only to that of the Master. The word and the office are recognized in the early English Charters as pertaining to the ancient guilds. Thus the Charters granted in 1354 by Edward III. gave the London Companies the privilege to elect annually for their government "a certain number of Wardens." In 1377 an oath was prescribed called the "Oath of the Wardens of the Crafts," which contained these words: "Ye shall swere that ye shall wele and treuly oversee the Craft of ____ whereof ye be chosen Wardeyns for the year." In the reign of Elizabeth the presiding officer began to be called the Master, and in the reign of James I., between 1603 and 1625, the guilds were generally governed by a Master and Wardens. The government of lodges by a Master and Wardens must have been introduced into the guilds of Masons in the 17th century, and this is rendered probable by the fact that in the Harleian MS. just quoted, and whose coniectural date is 1670, it is provided "that for the future the sayd Society, Company and Fraternity of Free Masons shall be regulated and governed by One Master & Assembly & Wardens as the said Company shall think to choose, at every yearely General Assembly."

 

A similar officer in the Sullen or Lodges of the old German Freemasons was called the Parlirer.

 

We arrive, then, at the conclusion that in the 17th century, while there were permanent lodges in various places which were presided over by a Master and Wardens, any five Freemasons might open a temporary or "occasional" lodge for the admission of members of the Craft, provided one of these five was either the Master or a Warden of a permanent lodge in the neighborhood.

 

I know of no other way of reasonably interpreting the 26th article contained in the Harleian Constitutions.

 

But nowhere, in any of the Old Constitutions, before or after the Harleian, even as late as 1714, which is the date of the Papworth MS., do we find the slightest allusion to any exterior authority which was required to constitute either permanent or temporary lodges.

 

The statement of Preston is thus fully sustained by the concurrent testimony of the old manuscripts. Therefore, when Anderson in his first edition gives the form of constituting a new lodge and says that it is "according to the ancient usages of Masonry," (1) he indulges in a rhetorical flourish that has no foundation in truth. There is no evidence of the slightest historical value that any such usage existed before the second decade of the 18th century.

 

But immediately after what is called the Revival the system of forming lodges which had been practiced was entirely changed. Preston says that among a variety of regulations which were proposed and agreed to at the meeting in 1717, was the following:

 

"That the privilege of assembling as Masons, which had been hitherto unlimited, should be vested in certain lodges or assemblies of Masons convened in certain places; and that every lodge to be hereafter convened, except the four old lodges at this time existing, should be legally authorized to act by a warrant from the Grand Master for the time being granted to certain individuals by petition, with the consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in communication;

 

(1) Anderson's "Constitutions," 1st edition, p. 71.

 

and that without such warrant no lodge should be hereafter deemed regular or constitutional." (1)

 

We have this regulation on the evidence of Preston alone, for according to the unfortunate usage of our early Masonic writers, he cites no authority. It is not mentioned by Anderson, and the preserved minutes of the Grand Lodge of England extend no farther than the 25th of November, 1723.

 

Still, as Preston gives it within quotation marks, and as it bears internal evidence in its phraseology of having been a formal regulation adopted at or very near the period to which Preston assigns it, we may accept it as authentic and suppose that he had access to sources of information no longer extant. As the Grand Lodge was organized in 1717 in the rooms of the lodge of which Preston afterward became a member, it is very possible that that lodge may have had in its possession the full records of that meeting, which were in existence when Preston wrote, but have since been lost. (2)

 

At all events the "General Regulations," compiled by Grand Master Payne in 1720, and approved the next year by the Grand Lodge, contain a similar provision in the following words:

 

"If any set or number of Masons shall take upon themselves to form a lodge without the Grand Master's warrant, the regular lodges are not to countenance them, nor own them as fair Brethren and duly formed, nor approve of their acts and deeds; but must treat them as rebels, until they humble themselves, as the Grand Master shall, in his prudence, direct; and until he approve of them by his warrant." (3)

 

If we compare the usage by which lodges were brought into existence under the wholly Operative rules, and that adopted by the Speculative Freemasons after the organization of the Grand Lodge in 1717, we will very clearly see that there was here no revival of an old system which had fallen into decay and disuse, but the invention of one that was entirely new and never before heard of.

 

The next point to be examined in discussing the question whether

 

(1) Preston, "Illustrations," p. 191. (2) Findel ("History," p. 140), says the regulation was adopted at a later period, in 1723 This he had no right to do. Preston is our only authority for the regulation, and his statement must be taken without qualification or wholly rejected. Findel was probably led into his error by seeing the General Regulation above quoted, which was very similar This was published in 1723, but it had been adopted by the Grand Lodge in 1721. (3) "General Regulations," art. viii. Anderson, 1st edition, p. 60.

 

or not the transactions of 1717 constituted a Revival will be the character of the lodges before and after those transactions as compared with each other.

 

During the 17th century, to go no farther back, and up to the second decade of the 18th, all the lodges of Freemasons in England were Operative lodges, that is to say, the larger portion of their members were working Masons, engaged in building according to certain principles of architecture with which they alone were acquainted.

 

They had admitted among their members persons of rank or learning who were not Operative Masons or builders by profession, but all their laws and regulations were applicable to a society of mechanics or workingmen.

 

There are no minutes in England, as there are in Scotland, of lodges prior to the beginning of the 18th century. They have all been lost, and the only one remaining is that of the Alnwick Lodge, the records of which begin in the year 1701.

 

But the "Old Charges" contained in the manuscript Constitutions which extend from 1390 to 1714, of which more than twenty have been preserved, supply us (especially the later ones of the 17th century) with the regulations by which the Craft was governed during the ante‑revival period.

 

It is unnecessary to quote in extenso any one of these Old Constitutions. It is sufficient to say that they bear the strongest internal evidence that they were compiled for the use of purely Operative Masons.

 

They were wholly inapplicable to any merely moral or speculative association. Excepting those clauses which directed how the craftsmen were to conduct themselves both in the lodge and out of it, so that the reputation of the Brotherhood should not be injured, they were mainly engaged in prescribing how the Masons should labor in their art of building, so that the employer might be "truly served." The same regulations would be just as applicable, mutatis mutandis, to a Guild of Carpenters, of Smiths, or any other mechanical trade, as to one of Masons.

 

But while these lodges were wholly Operative in their character and design, there is abundant evidence, as I have heretofore shown, that they admitted into their companionship persons who were not Masons by profession. The article in the Harleian Constitutions, to which reference has just been made, while stating that a lodge called to make a Mason must consist of five Free Masons, adds that one of them at least shall be "of the trade of Free Masonry." The other four, of course, might be non‑ operatives, that is to say, persons of rank, wealth, or learning who were sometimes called Theoretic and sometimes Gentlemen Masons.

 

But in the laws enacted for the government of the Craft, no exceptional provision was made in them, by which any difference was created in the privileges of the two classes.

 

The admission of these Theoretic Masons into the Fraternity did not, therefore, in the slightest degree affect the Operative character of the Craft, except in so far as that the friendly collision with men of education must have given to the less educated members a portion of refinement that could not fail to elevate them above the other Craft Guilds.

 

Yet so intimate was the connection between these Operative Freemasons and their successors, the Speculatives, that the code of laws prepared in 1721 by Anderson at the direction of the Grand Lodge, and published in 1723, under the title of The Charges of a Free‑Mason, for the use of the Lodges in London, was a transcript with no important variations from these Old Constitutions, or as Anderson calls them, the "Old Gothic Constitutions."

 

As these "Charges" have now been accepted by the modern Fraternity of English‑speaking Freemasons as the basis of what are called the Landmarks of the Order, to make them of any use it has been found absolutely necessary to give them a symbolic or figurative sense.

 

Thus, "to work," which in the Operative Constitution signifies "to build," is interpreted in the Speculative system as meaning "to confer degrees;" the clause which prescribes that "all the tools used in working shall be approved by the Grand Lodge" is interpreted as denoting that the ritual, ceremonies, and by‑laws of every lodge must be subjected to the supervision of the Grand Lodge. Thus every regulation which clearly referred to a fraternity of builders has, in the course of the modifications which were necessary to render it applicable to a moral association, been made to adopt a figurative sense.

 

Yet the significant fact that while in the government of Speculative Freemasonry the spirit and meaning of these "Old Charges" have been entirely altered, the words have been carefully retained is an important and irrefutable proof that the Speculative system is the direct successor of the Operative.

 

So when the Theoretic or Gentleman Masons had, in the close of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, acquired such a preponderance in numbers and in influence in the London lodges that they were able so to affect the character of those lodges as to divert them from the practice of an Operative art to the pursuit of a Speculative science, such change could not be called a Revival, if we respected the meaning of that word. Nothing of the kind had been known before; and when the members of the lodges ceased to pay any attention to the craft or mystery of practical stonemasonry, and resolved to treat it thenceforth in a purely symbolic sense, this act could be deemed nothing else but a new departure in the career of Freemasonry.

 

The ship was still there, but the object of the voyage had been changed.

 

Again: we find a third change in the character of the Masonic society when we compare the general government of the Craft as it appears before and after the year 1717.

 

This change is particularly striking in respect to the way in which the Craft were ruled in their Operative days, compared with the system which was adopted by the Speculative Freemasons.

 

It has already been said that prior to the year 1717, there never were Grand Masters or a Grand Lodge except such as were mythically constructed by the romantic genius of Dr. Anderson.

 

The only historical records that we have of the condition of Freemasonry in England and of the usages of the Craft during the three centuries which preceded the 18th, are to be found in the old manuscript Constitutions.

 

A thoroughly careful examination of these documents will show that neither in the Legend of the Craft, which constitutes the introductory portion of each Constitution, nor in the "Charges" which follow, is there the slightest allusion, either in direct language or by implication, to the office of Grand Master or to the body now called a Grand Lodge.

 

But it can not be denied that there was an annual convocation of the Craft, which was called sometimes the "Congregations" sometimes the "Assembly," and sometimes the "General Assembly." We must accept this as an historical fact, or we must repudiate all the manuscript Constitutions from the 14th to the 18th century. In all of them there is an unmistakable allusion to this annual convocation of the Craft, and regulations are made concerning attendance on it.

 

Thus the Halliwell MS. says that "every Master who is a Mason must be present at the general congregation if he is duly informed where the assembly is to be holden; and to that assembly he must go unless he have a reasonable excuse."

 

The precise words of this most ancient of all the Old Masonic Constitutions, dating, as it does, not later than toward the close of the 14th century, are as follows:

 

That every mayster, that ys a mason, Must ben at the generate congregracyon, So that he hyt reasonably y‑tolde Where that the semble' schal be holde; And to that semble' he must nede gon, But he have a resonabul skwsacyon.

 

The Cooke MS., which is about a century later, has a similar provision. This manuscript is important, inasmuch as it describes the character of the Assembly and defines the purposes for which it was to be convoked.

 

It states that the Assembly, or, as it is there called, the Congregation, shall assemble once a year, or at least once in three years, for the examination of Master Masons, to see that they possessed sufficient skill and knowledge in their art.

 

An important admission in this manuscript is that the regulation for the government of this Assembly "is written and taught in our book of charges."

 

All the subsequent Constitutions make a similar statement in words that do not substantially vary.

 

The Harleian MS., whose date is about the last quarter of the 17th century, says that Euclid gave the admonition that the Masons were to assemble once a year to take counsel how the Craft could best work so as to serve their Lord and Master for his profit and their credit, and to correct such as had offended. And in another MS., much earlier than the Harleian, it is said that the Freemasons should attend the Assembly, and if any had trespassed against the Craft, he should there abide the award of the Masters and Fellows.

 

This Assembly met that statutes or regulations might be enacted for the government of the Craft, and that controversies between the craftsmen might be determined.

 

It was both a legislative and a judicial body, and in these respects resembled the Grand Lodge of the present day, but in no other way was there any similitude between the two.

 

Now, leaving out of the question the legendary parts which ascribe the origin of this annual assembly to Euclid or Athelstan or Prince Edwin, which, of course, are of no historical authority, it is impossible to believe that all these Constitutions should speak of the existence of such an Assembly at the time of writing, and lay down a regulation in the most positive terms, that every Mason should attend it, if the whole were a mere figment of the imagination.

 

We can account for the mythical character of a legend, but we cannot for the mythical character of a law which has been enacted at a specified time for the government of an association, which law continues to be repeated in all the copies of the statutes written or published for more than three centuries continuously.

 

In the establishment of a Grand Lodge with quarterly meetings and an annual one in which a Grand Master and other Grand Ofiicers were elected for the following year, we find no analogy to anything that had existed previous to the year 1717. We cannot, therefore, in these points call the organization which took place in. that year a "Revival." It was, rather, a radical change in the construction of the system.

 

Another change, and a very important one, too, which occurred a short time after the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, was that which had reference to the ritual or forms of initiation. During the purely Operative period of Freemasonry it is now well known that there was but one esoteric system of admission to the brotherhood of the Craft. This we also know was common to the three classes of Masters, Fellows, and Apprentices. There was, in fact, if we may use the technical language of modern Freemasonry, but one degree practiced by the Operative Craft.

 

When the Theoretic members of the London lodges dissociated from the Operatives in the year 1717 and formed the Speculative system, they, of course, at first accepted the old method of admission. But in the course of two or three vears they adopted another system and fabricated what are now called the three degrees of ancient Craft Masonry, each one of which was exclusively appropriated as a form of initiation to one of the three classes and to that one only. What had formerly been a division of the Fraternity into three classes or ranks became now a division into three degrees. (1)

 

This was a most important change, and as nothing of the kind was known to the Craft in the years prior to the establishment of the Grand Lodge, it certainly can not be considered a correct use of the word to call an entire change of a system and the adoption of a new one a revival of the old.

 

Bro. W.P. Buchan, in numerous articles published in the London Freemason, about 1870, attacked what has been called the Revival theory with much vigor but with exaggerated views. He contends that "our system of degrees, words, grips, signs, etc., was not in existence until about A.D. 1717, and he attributes the present system to the inventive genius of Anderson and Desaguliers. Hence he contends that modern Freemasonry was simply a reconstruction of an ancient society, viz., of some old Pagan philosophy. This he more fully explains in these words:

 

"Before the 18th century we had a renaissance of Pagan architecture; then to follow suit in the 18th century we had a renaissance in a new dress of Pagan mysticism; but for neither are we indebted to the Operative Masons, although the Operative Masons were made use of in both cases." (2)

 

There is in this statement a mixture of truth and error. It is undoubtedly true that the three degrees into which the system is now divided were unknown to the Freemasons of the 17th century, and that they were an invention of those scholars who organized the Grand Lodge of Speculative Freemasonry, mainly of Dr. Desaguliers, assisted perhaps by Anderson and Payne. But there were signs of recognition, methods of government, legends, and some form, though a simple one of initiation, which were in existence prior to the 18th century, which formed the kernel of the more elaborate system of the modern Freemasons.

 

Bro. Hughan calls attention to the fact, if there were need of

 

(1) it is not necessary to enter at this time into an examination and defense of this hypothesis, as the history of the fabrication of the three degrees will be made the subject of a future chapter. (2) London Freemason, September 29, 1871.

 

proofs, in addition to what has been found in the authentic accounts of the mediaeval Freemasons, that in the Tatler, published in 1709, is a passage in which the writer, speaking of a class of men called the "Pretty Fellows," says that "they have their signs and tokens like the Freemasons." (1)

 

In fact, Bro. Buchan admits that the "elements or ground work" of the system existed before the year 1717.

 

This is in fact the only hypothesis that can be successfully maintained on the subject.

 

The Grand Lodge of Speculative Freemasons, which was organized at the "Goose and Gridiron Tavern" in London in the year 1717, was a new system, founded on the older one which had existed in England years before, and which had been derived from the Operative Freemasons of the Middle Ages.

 

It was not, as Hyneman (2) has called it, a Revolution, for that would indicate a violent disruption, and a sudden and entire change of principles.

 

It was not a Revival, as most of the earlier writers have entitled it, for we should thus infer that the new system was only a renewal without change of the old one.

 

But it was a gradual transition from an old into a new system ‑ of Operative into Speculative Freemasonry ‑ in which Transition the later system has been built upon the earlier, and the practical art of building has been spiritualized into a theoretic science of morality, illustrated by a symbolism drawn principally from architecture.

 

We thus recognize the regular descent of the modern Speculative Freemasons from their older Operative predecessors, and we answer the question which forms the heading of the present chapter.

 

But it has been said that in one sense at least we may with propriety apply the word "Revival" to the transactions of the early part of the 18th century. Operative Freemasonry, and what very little of the Speculative element that had been engrafted on it, had, we are told, begun to decline in England in the latter part of the 17th century.

 

(1) Voice of Masonry, April, 1873. (2) In a work abounding in errors, entitled "Ancient York and London Grand Lodges," by Lem Hyneman, Philadelphia, 1872. Its fallacies as a contribution to Masonic history have been shown bv the incisive but courteous criticism of Bro. Hughan.

 

If we may rely on the authority of Preston, the fraternity at the time of the revolution in 1688 was so much reduced in the south of England, that no more than seven regular lodges met in London and its suburbs, of which two only were worthy of notice. (1) Anderson mentions seven by their locality, and says that there were "some more that assembled statedly." (2)

 

These were, of course, all purely Operative lodges. Thus one of them, Anderson tells us, was called upon to give architectural counsel as to the best design of rebuilding St. Thomas's Hospital, (3) a clear evidence that its members were practical builders.

 

But this decline in the number of the lodges may possibly be attributed to local and temporary causes. It was certainly not accompanied, as might have been expected, with a corresponding decline in the popularity of the institution, for if we may believe the same authority, " at a general assembly and feast of the Masons in 1697, many noble and eminent brethren were present." (4)

 

But admitting that there was a decline, it was simply a decline of the Operative lodges. And the act of 1717 was not to revive them, but eventually to extinguish them and to establish Speculative lodges in their place; nor was it to revive Operative Freemasonry, but to establish for it another and an entirely different institution.

 

We arrive, therefore, again at the legitimate conclusion that the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in June, 1717, was not a revival of the old system of Freemasonry, which soon after became extinct, but its change into a new system.

 

What remained of the Operative Freemasons who did go into the new association were merged in the Masons' Company, or acted fhenceforward as individual craftsmen unconnected with a guild.

 

(1) Preston, "Illustrations. (2) Anderson, "Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 107. (3) Ibid., p. 106. (4) Preston, " Illustrations," p. 189.

P. 902


 

CHAPTER XXXI

 

THE EARLY YEARS OF SPECULATIVE FREEMASONRY IN ENGLAND

 

In the feast of St. John the Baptist, the 24th of June, in the year 1717, the principal members of the four old Operative Lodges in London, who had previously met in February and agreed to constitute a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, assembled at the "Goose and Gridiron Tavern" in St. Paul's Churchyard with some other old Masons, and there and then organized the new Grand Lodge.

 

This was accomplished by electing a Grand Master and two Grand Wardens, after which the Brethren proceeded to partake of a dinner, a custom which has ever since been continued under the name of the Grand Feast.

 

As the written minutes in the record book of the Grand Lodge do not begin before November, 1723, we are indebted for all that we know of the transactions on that eventful day to the meager account contained in the 2d edition of Dr. Anderson's Constitutions, with a few additional details which are given by Preston in his Illustrations.

 

Preston cites no authority for the facts which he has stated. But as the meeting of the Grand Lodge was held in the room of the lodge which afterward became the Lodge of Antiquity, and of which Preston was a prominent member, it is not improbable that some draft of those early proceedings may have been contained in the archives of that lodge, which have been since lost. To these Preston would naturally, from his connection with the lodge, have had access. If such were the case, it is very certain that he must have made use of them in compiling his history.

 

I am disposed, therefore, from these circumstances, together with the consideration of the character of Preston, to accept his statements as authentic, though they are unsupported by any contemporary authority now extant. (1)

 

The first indication of a change, though not purposely intended, by which the Operative system was to become eventually a Speculative one, is seen in the election as presiding officers of three persons who were not Operative Masons.

 

Mr. Anthony Sayer, the first Grand Master, is described by Anderson in his record of the election by the legal title of "Gentleman," a title which, by the laws of honor, was bestowed upon one who can live without manual labor and can support himself without interfering in any mechanical employment. Such a person, say the heralds, "is called Mr., and may write himself Gentleman." (2)

 

"Anthony Sayer, Gentleman," as he is described in the record, was undoubtedly a mere Theoretic member of the Masonic association and not an Operative Mason.

 

Of the two Grand Wardens who were elected at the same time, one was Captain Joseph Elliot. Of his social position we have no further knowledge that what is conveyed by the title prefixed to his name, which would indicate that he was of the military profession, probably a retired or half‑pay officer of the army.

 

The other Grand Warden was Mr. Jacob Lamball, who is designated as being a Carpenter.

 

Thus we see that the first three officers of the Grand Lodge were not Operative members of the Craft of Masonry.

 

The choice, however, of a Carpenter, a profession closely connected with that of the Masons, affords proof that it was not intended to confine the future Speculative society altogether to persons who were not mechanics.

 

At the succeeding election in 1718 George Payne, Esq., was elected Grand Master. He was an Antiquary and scholar of considerable ability, and was well calculated to represent the Speculative character of the new association.

 

The Wardens were Mr. John Cordwell and Mr. Thomas Morrice. The former is described as a Carpenter and the latter as a Stonecutter.

 

(1) Preston is, however, sometimes careless, a charge to which all the early Masonic writers are amenable. Thus, he says that Sayer appointed his Wardens. But these officers were, like the Grand Master, elected until 1721, when, for the first time, they were appointed by the Grand Master. (2) "Laws of Honor," p. 286.

 

While the choice of these officers was an evident concession to the old Operative element, the election of Payne was a step forward in the progressive movement which a few years afterward led to the total emancipation of Speculative Freemasonry from all connection with practical building. Northouck attests that "to the active zeal of Grand Master Payne the Society are under a lasting obligation for introducing brethren of noble rank into the fraternity." (1)

 

From the very beginning the Grand Lodge had confined its selection of Grand Masters to persons of good social position, of learning, or of rank, though for a few years it occasionally conferred the Grand Wardenship on Operative Masons or on craftsmen of other trades.

 

In the year 1719 Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers was elected Grand Master, and Anthony Sayer and Thomas Morrice Grand Wardens. Desaguliers was a natural philosopher of much reputation and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Sayer had been the first Grand Master, and Morrice, who was a stonecutter or Operative Mason, had been a Warden the previous year.

 

In 1720 Payne was again elected Grand Master, and Thomas Hobby and Richard Ware were chosen as Grand Wardens. Hobby, like his predecessor, Morrice, was an Operative Mason or stonecutter, and Ware was a mathematician.

 

In 1721 the Duke of Montagu was elected Grand Master. He was the first nobleman who had served in that capacity, and from that day to the present the throne of the Grand Lodge of England, as it is technically styled, has without a single exception been occupied by persons of royal or noble rank.

 

In this year the office of Deputy Grand Master was created, and the power of choosing him as well as the Grand Wardens was taken from the Grand Lodge and invested in the Grand Master, a law which still continues in force.

 

Accordingly, the Duke of Montagu appointed John Beal, a physician, his Deputy, and Josiah Villeneau, who was an upholsterer, and again Thomas Morrice, his Wardens.

 

The Duke of Wharton, who was Grand Master in 1722, appointed Dr. Desaguliers his Deputy, and Joshua Timson and James

 

(1) Northouck's " Constitutions anno 1784," p. 207. Entick ("Constitutions," 1756, p. 190) had made a similar remark.

 

Anderson his Wardens. Timson was a blacksmith and Anderson a clergyman, well‑known afterward as the Compiler of the first and second editions of the Book of Constitutions.

 

In 1723 the Earl of Dalkeith was Grand Master, Desaguliers again Deputy, and Francis Sorrel, Esq., and John Senex, a bookseller, Wardens.

 

From 1717 to 1722 the claims of the Operative Masons to hold a share of the offices had, as Gould (1) remarks, been fairly recognized. The appointment of Stonecutters, Carpenters, and other mechanics as Grand Wardens had been a concession by the Speculative members to the old Operative element.

 

But in 1723 the struggle between the two, which is noticed in the records of the society only by its results, terminated in the complete victory of the former, who from that time restricted the offices to persons of rank, of influence, or of learning. From the year 1723 no Operative Mason or workman of any trade was ever appointed as a Warden. In the language of Gould, "they could justly complain of their total supercession in the offices of the society.

 

This silent progress of events shows very clearly how the Freemasons who founded the Speculative Grand Lodge in 1717 on the principles and practices of Operative Freemasonry as they prevailed in the four Lodges of London, gradually worked themselves out of all connection with their Operative brethren and eventually made Freemasonry what it now is, a purely Speculative, philosophical, and moral institution.

 

Upon the coalition of the four Lodges into one supervising body, the next step in the progress to pure Speculative Freemasonry was to prevent the formation of other lodges which might be independent of the supervision of the Grand Lodge, and thus present an obstacle to the completion of the reformation.

 

This could only be accomplished by a voluntary relinquishment, on the part of the four Lodges, of their independency and an abandonment of their privileges.

 

The conference at the "Apple Tree Tavern" in February, 1717, and that at the "Goose and Gridiron" in June of the same year, were what, at the present day, would be called mass‑meetings of the

 

(1) "Four Old Lodges," p. 33.

 

Craft. They resembled in that respect the General Assembly spoken of in the old manuscript Constitutions, and every Freemason was required to attend if it were held within a reasonable distance, (1) and if he had no satisfactory excuse for his absence.

 

Attendance at these conferences which resulted in the establishment of the Grand Lodge was open, not only to all the members of the four Lodges, but to other Masons who were not, to use a modern phrase, affiliated with any one of them.

 

"The Lodges," that is, the members of them, says Anderson, "with some old Brothers." Preston calls them more distinctively Some other old Brethren." Both of these phrases, of course, indicate that these "old Brethren" were not among the members of the four Lodges, but were Freemasons who had either, on account of their age, retired from active participation in the labors of the Craft, or who had been members of other lodges which were then extinct.

 

At the preliminary meeting in February, they voted, says Preston, "the oldest Master Mason then present into the Chair." Anderson, writing in 1738, adds "now the Master of a Lodge," by which I suppose he meant that the oldest Master Mason who presided in 1717 became in 1738 the Master of a Lodge. I know of no other way of interpreting the significance of the particle "now." They then "constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro tempore in due form."

 

This "due form," I think, could have amounted to no more than a formal declaration of the intention to establish a Grand Lodge, which intention was carried out in the following June by the election of a Grand Master and Wardens.

 

The Freemasons of America are familiar with the methods pursued in the organization of a Grand Lodge in a territory where none had previously existed. Here a certain number of lodges, not less than three, assemble through their three principal officers and constitute a Convention, which proceeds to the election of a Grand Master and other officers, directs the lodges to surrender the Warrants under which they had been working to the Grand Lodges from which they had originally received them, and then issues new ones. The new Grand Lodge thus becomes " an accomplished fact."

 

 

 

(1) In most of the Constitutions that distance is defined to be not more than fifty miles.

 

But this was not the method adopted in the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in the year 1717. Instead of the representation of the four Lodges being restricted to the Masters and Wardens of each, all the members, down to the youngest Entered Apprentice, together with Masons who were not affiliated with any lodge, met together.

 

The chair, according to Preston, in the preliminary meeting in February had been taken by the oldest Master Mason present. At this meeting the oldest Master Mason, who at the same time was Master of one of the four Lodges, presided. Then the Grand Lodge was duly organized by the election of its first three officers.

 

But now it became necessary to secure the sovereignty of the new Grand Lodge as the future supervising body of the Craft, and to prevent any additional lodges being established without its authority, so that the system might be perfected in the future according to the method which was originally designed by its founders.

 

Almost the first regulation which was adopted at the meeting in June, 1717, was to effect this object.

 

Hitherto, as we have already seen, the Operative Freemasons possessed a privilege derived from the Old Constitutions of the Guild (and which is formally enunciated in the Harleian MS.) of assembling in lodges for the purpose of "making Masons" under very simple provisions. There was no necessity for a Warrant or permission from a superior Masonic body to make such an assembly legal.

 

But now it was resolved that this privilege should be abolished. No number of Masons were hereafter to assemble as a lodge without the consent of the Grand Lodge, expressed by the granting of a Warrant of Constitution or Charter authorizing them to constitute or form themselves into a lodge. Without such Warrant, says Preston, no lodge should hereafter be deemed regular or constitutional.

 

From this regulation, however, the four Lodges which had cooperated in the formation of the Grand Lodge were excepted. They, so long as they existed, were to be the only lodges working without a Warrant and deriving their authority to do so from "immemorial usage."

 

The effect of this regulation was to throw an insurmountable obstacle in the way of any new lodge being formed which was not Speculative in its character and in perfect accord with the new system, from whose founders or their successors it was to derive its existence.

 

Hence it was the most fatal blow that had as yet been struck against the continuance of the Guild of purely Operative Freemasonry. No purely Operative nor half Operative and half Speculative lodges, we may be sure, would thereafter be erected.

 

From this time all lodges were to consist of Speculative Freemasons only and were to form a part of the new non‑Operative system, of which the first organized Grand Lodge was the head and exercised the sovereign power.

 

It is true that Preston tells us that long before this period a regulation had been adopted by which "the privileges of Masonry should no longer be restricted to Operative Masons," but allowed to men of various professions; and it is also well known that there hardly ever was a time in the history of Operative Freemasonry when Theoretic or non‑Operative persons were not admitted into the guild.

 

But this was taking a step farther, and a very long step, too. Membership in the new society was no longer a privilege extended by courtesy to Theoretic Masons. It was to be a franchise of which they alone were to be possessors. Operative Masons, merely as such, were to be excluded. In other words, no Operative Mason was to be admitted into the Fraternity because he was an Operative. He was, on his admission, to lay aside his profession, and unite with the others in the furtherance of the purely Speculative design of the Institution.

 

So it has continued to the present day, and so it must continue as long as the system of Speculative Freemasonry shall last. Operative Freemasonry, "wounded in the house of its friends," has never covered from the blow thus inflicted.

 

Operative Masonry, for building purposes, still lives and must always live to serve the needs of man.

 

But Operative Freemasonry, as a Guild, is irrecoverably dead.

 

It is impossible to say for how long a time the meetings of the Grand Lodge continued to be attended by all the members of the particular lodges, or, in other words, when these assemblies ceased, like those of the old Operative Freemasons, to be mass‑meetings of the Craft.

 

But the rapidly growing popularity of the new Order must have rendered such meetings very inconvenient from the increase of members.

 

Anderson says that in 1718 Several old Brothers that had neglected the Craft visited the lodges; some noblemen were also made Brothers and more new lodges were constituted." (1)

 

Northouck, writing in reference to the same period, says that the Free and Accepted Masons "now began visibly to gather strength as a body," (2) and we are told that at the annual feast in 1721 the number of lodges had so increased (3) that the General Assembly required more room, and therefore the Grand Lodge was on that occasion removed to Stationers' Hall, nor did it ever afterward return to its old quarters at the "Goose and Gridiron Tavern."

 

This unwieldiness of numbers would alone be sufficient to suggest the convenience of changing the constitution of the Grand Lodge from a mass‑meeting of the Fraternity into a representative body.

 

This was effected by the passage of a regulation dispensing with the attendance of the whole of the Craft at the annual meeting, and authorizing each lodge to be represented by its Master and two Wardens.

 

We have no positive knowledge of the exact date when this regulation was adopted. It first appears in the "General Regulations" which were compiled by Grand Master Payne in 1720, and approved by the Grand Lodge in 1721. The twelfth of these Regulations is in these words:

 

"The Grand Lodge consists of, and is formed by, the Masters and Wardens of all the regular, particular lodges upon record, with the Grand Master at their head, and his Deputy on his left hand, and the Grand Wardens in their proper places."

 

Preston says that the Grand Lodge having resolved that the four old Lodges should retain every privilege which they had collectively enjoyed by virtue of their immemorial rights, the members considered their attendance on the future Communications of the Grand Lodge unnecessary. They "therefore, like the other lodges, trusted implicitly to their Master and Wardens, resting satisfied

 

(1) Anderson, "Constitutions," 2d ed., p. 110. (2) Northouck, "Constitutions," p. 207. (3) There were at that time twenty lodges, and the number of Freemasons who attended the annual meetings and feast was one hundred and fifty.

 

that no measure of importance would be adopted without their approbation." (1)

 

But he adds that the officers of the four old Lodges "soon began to discover" that the new lodges might in time outnumber the old ones and encroach upon their privileges. They therefore formed a code of laws, the last clause of which provided that the Grand Lodge in making any new regulations should be bound by a careful observation of the old landmarks.

 

It is unfortunate that in treating this early period of Masonic history Preston should be so careless and confused in his chronology as to compel us to depend very much upon inference in settling the sequence

 

of events.

 

It may, however, I think, be inferred from the remarks of Preston, and from what little we can collect from Anderson's brief notices, that the Grand Lodge continued to be a mass‑meeting, attended by all the Craft, until the annual feast on the 24th of June, 1721. At that communication Anderson records that the Grand Lodge was composed of "Grand Master with hisWardens, the former Grand officers, and the Master and Wardens of the twelve lodges." (2) In all subsequent records he mentions the number of lodges which were represented by their officers, though the Grand Feast still continued to be attended by as many Masons as desired to partake of the dinner and, I suppose, were willing to pay their scot. (3)

 

It was, therefore, I think, not till 1721 that the Grand Lodge assumed that form which made it a representative body, consisting of the Masters and Wardens of the particular lodges, together with the officers of the Grand Lodge.

 

That form has ever since been retained in the organization of every Grand Lodge that has directly or indirectly emanated from the original body.

 

This was another significant token of the total disseverance that was steadily taking place between the Operative and the Speculative systems.

 

Hitherto we have been occupied with the consideration of the

 

(1) "Illustrations," p. 193 (2) "Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 112. (3) The only qualification for attendance on the feast was that the guests must be Masons: therefore waiting brethren were appointed to attend the tables, "for that no strangers must be there." ‑ "Constitutions," 2d ed., p. 112.

 

 

 

transactions recorded as having taken place at the annual meetings. We are now to inquire when these meetings began to be supple. mented by Quarterly Communications.

 

Here an historical question presents itself, which, so far as I am aware, has not been distinctly met and treated by any of our Masonic scholars. They all seem to have taken it for granted on the naked authority of Anderson and Preston, that the Quarterly Communications were coeval with the organization of the Grand Lodge in the year 1717

 

Is this an historical fact? I confess that on this subject a shadow of doubt has been cast that obscures my clearness of vision.

 

Anderson says, and Preston repeats the statement, that at the preliminary meeting in February, 1717, at the "Apple Tree Tavern," it was resolved if to revive the Quarterly Communications."

 

But these two authorities (and they are the only ones that we have on the subject) differ in some of the details. And these differences are important enough to throw a doubt on the truth of the statement.

 

Anderson says in one place that in February, 1717, they "forthwith revived the Quarterly Communications of the officers of lodges called the Grand Lodge." (1)

 

Afterward he says that at the meeting in June, 1717, Grand Master Sayer "commanded the Masters and Wardens of lodges to meet the Grand officers every quarter in communication, at the place he should appoint in his summons sent by the Tyler." (2)

 

Preston says that in February "it was resolved to revive the Quarterly Communications of the Fraternity." (3) Immediately after he adds that in June the Grand Master "commanded the Brethren of the four Lodges to meet him and his Wardens quarterly in communication." (4)

 

Thus, according to Preston, the Quarterly Communications were to apply to the whole body of the Fraternity; but Anderson restricted them to the Masters and Wardens of the lodges.

 

The two statements are irreconcilable. A mass‑meeting of the whole Fraternity and a consultation of the Masters and Wardens of the lodges are very different things.

 

But both are in error in saying that the Quarterly Communications

 

(1) Anderson, " Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 109 (2) Ibid., p. 110. (3) Preston, " Illustrations," p. 191. (4) Ibid.


 

 

FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY
 

 

"were revived," for there is no notice of or allusion to Quarterly Communications in any of the old records which speak only of an annual General Assembly of the Craft, and sometimes perhaps occasional assemblies for special purposes.

 

There can be no doubt that such was the usage among the English mediaeval guilds, a usage which must have been applicable to the Freemasons as well as to other Crafts. "The distinction," says J. Toulmin Smith, "between the gatherings (congregations) and general meetings (assemblies) is seen at a glance in most of the ordinances. The guild brethren were bound to gather together, at unfixed times, for special purposes; but besides these gatherings upon special summons, general meetings of the guilds were held on fixed days in every year for the election of officers, holding their feasts, etc." (1)

 

I do not see any analogy in these gatherings of local guilds to the Quarterly Communications of the Grand Lodge spoken of by Anderson. The analogy is rather to the monthly meetings of the particular lodges as contrasted with the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge.

 

But if, as Anderson and Preston say, the Quarterly Communications were "forthwith revived" in 1717, it is singular that there is no record of any one having been held until December, 1720. After that date we find the Quarterly Communications regularly recorded by Anderson as taking place at the times appointed in the Regulations which were compiled in 1720 by Grand Master Payne, namely, "about Michaelmas, Christmas, and Lady Day," that is, in September, December, and March.

 

The word "about" in the 12th Regulation permitted some latitude as to the precise day of meeting.

 

Accordingly, we find that Quarterly Communications were held in 1721 in March, September, and December; in 1722, in March, but the others appeared to have been neglected, perhaps in consequence of irregularities attendant on the illegal election of the Duke of Wharton; in 1723 there were Quarterly Communications in April and November, and the December meeting was postponed to the following January; in 1724 they occurred in February and November; in 1725 in May, November, and December, and so on, but with greater regularity, in all the subsequent proceedings of the Grand Lodge as recorded in the Book of Constitutions by Anderson,

 

(1) "English Guilds," p. 128, note.

 

son, and by his successors Entick and Northouck in the subsequent editions.

 

Looking at the silence or the records in respect to Quarterly Communications from 1717 to 1720; then to the regular appear ance of such records after that year, and seeing that in the latter year the provision for them was first inserted in the General Regulations compiled at that time by Grand Master Payne, I trust that I shall not be deemed too skeptical or too hypercritical, if I confess my doubt of the accuracy of Anderson, who has, whether wilfully or carelessly, I will not say, attributed the establishment of these Quarterly Communications to Grand Master Sayer, when the honor, if there be any, properly belongs to Grand Master Payne.

 

The next subject that will attract our attention in this sketch of the early history of the Grand Lodge, is the method in which the laws which regulated the original Operative system were gradually modified and at length completely changed so as to be appropriate to the peculiar needs of a wholly Speculative Society.

 

When the four old Lodges united, in the year 1717, in organizing a Grand Lodge, it is very evident that the only laws which governed them must have been the "Charges" contained in the manuscript Constitutions or such private regulations adopted by the lodges, as were conformable to them.

 

There was no other Masonic jurisprudence known to the Operative Freemasons of England, at the beginning of the 18th century, than that which was embodied in these old Constitutions. These were familiar to the Operative Freemasons of that day, as they had been for centuries before to their predecessors.

 

Though never printed, copies of them in manuscript were common and were easily accessible. They were often copied, one from another ‑ just as often, probably, as the wants of a new lodge might require.

 

Beginning at the end of the 14th century, which is the date of the poetical Constitutions, which were first published by Mr. Halliwell, copies continued to be made until the year 1714, which is the date of the last one now extant, executed before the organization of the Grand Lodge. (1)

 

(1) I take no notice here of the Krause MS., which pretends to contain the Constitutions enacted by Prince Edwin, in 926, because I have not the least doubt that it is a forgery of comparatively recent times.

 

Now in all these written Constitutions, extending through a period of more than three centuries, there is a very wonderful con. formity of character.

 

The poetic form which exists in the Halliwell MS. was apparently never imitated, and all the subsequent manuscript Constitutions now extant are in prose. But as Bro. Woodford has justly observed, they all "seem in fact to be clearly derived from the Masonic Poem, though naturally altered in their prose form, and expanded and modified through transmission and oral tradition, as well as by the lapse of time and the change of circumstances." (1)

 

While these old constitutions contained, with hardly any appreciable variation, the Legend of the Craft, which was conscientiously believed by the old Operative Free Masons as containing the true history of the rise and progress of the brotherhood, they embodied also that code of laws by which the fraternity was governed during the whole period of its existence.

 

Though these Constitutions commenced, so far as we have any knowledge of them from personal inspection, at the close of the 14th century, we are not to admit that there were no earlier copies. Indeed, I have formerly shown that the Halliwell Poem, whose conjectural date is 1390, is evidently a compilation from two other poems of an earlier date.

 

The Freemasons who were contemporary with the organization of the Grand Lodge held those old manuscript Constitutions, as their predecessors had done before them, in the greatest reverence. The fact that the laws which they prescribed, like those of the Medes and Persians, had invested them with the luster of antiquity, and as they had always remained written, and had never been printed, the Craft looked upon them as their peculiar property and gave to them much of an esoteric character.

 

This false estimate of the true nature of these documents led to an inexcusable and irreparable destruction of many of them.

 

Grand Master Payne had in I718 desired the brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge "any old writings and records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to show the usages of ancient times." (2) These, it was suspected, were to be used in the preparation and publication of a contemplated Book of Masonic Constitutions, and the

 

(1) Preface to Hughan's "Old Charges of British Freemasons," p. 13. (2) Anderson, "Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 110.

 

Masons became alarmed at the threatened publicity of what they had always deemed to be secret.

 

Accordingly, in 1720, "at some private lodges," says Anderson, "several valuable manuscripts (for they had nothing yet in print) concerning their lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages (particularly one writ by Mr. Nicholas Stone, the Warden of Inigo Jones) were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous brothers, that those papers might not fall into strange hands." (1)

 

Northouck, commenting on this instance of vandalism, which he strangely styles an act of felo de se, says that it surely "could not proceed from zeal according to knowledge."

 

Of course, it was zeal without knowledge that led to this destruction, the effects of which are felt at this day by every scholar who attempts to write an authentic history of Freemasonry.

 

The object of Grand Master Payne in attempting to make a ‑collection of these old writings was undoubtedly to enable him to frame a code of laws which should be founded on what Anderson calls the Gothic Constitutions. Several copies of these Constitutions were produced in the year 1718 and collated.

 

The result of this collation was the production which under the title of "The Charges of a Free‑Mason" was appended to the first edition of the Book of Constitutions.

 

This is the first code of laws enacted by the Speculative Grand Lodge of England, and thus becomes important as an historical document.

 

As to the date and the authorship we have no other guide than that of inference.

 

There can, however, be little hesitation in ascribing the authorship to Payne and the time of the compilation to the period of his first Grand Mastership, which extended from June, 1718, to June, 1719.

 

In the title to these "Charges" it is said that they have been "extracted from the ancient records of lodges beyond sea and of those in England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the use of the lodges in London."

 

Now this admirably coincides with the passage in Anderson in which it is said that at the request of Grand Master Payne, in the

 

(1) Anderson, "Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 111.

 

year 1718, "several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated."

 

In fact, we thus identify the collation of the Gothic Constitutions in 1718 with the "Charges of a Free‑Mason," published in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions.

 

Nor do I feel any hesitation in ascribing this collation of the old Constitutions and the compilation, out of it, of the "Charges" to Payne, whose genius lay in that way and who again exercised it, two years afterward, in the compilation of the "General Regulations," which took the place of the "Charges" as the law of the Speculative Grand Lodge.

 

The valuable services of George Payne in the incipient era of Speculative Freemasonry have not received from our historians the appreciation which is their just due. His reputation has been overshadowed by that of Desaguliers. Both labored much and successfully for the infant institution. But we should never forget that the work of Payne in the formation of its jurisprudence was as important as was that of Desaguliers in the fabrication of its ritual. (1)

 

But to resume the history of the progress of Masonic law.

 

The adoption in 1718 of the "Charges of a Free‑Mason," with the direction that they shall be read as the existing law of the fraternity" at the making of new brethren," (2) is a very significant proof of what has before been suggested that at the time of the so‑called "Revival" there was no positive intention to wholly dissever the Speculative from the Operative system.

 

These "Charges" are, as they must necessarily have been, originating as they did in the Old Constitutions, a code of regulations adapted only to a fraternity of Operative Freemasons and wholly inapplicable to a society of Speculatives, such as the institution afterward became.

 

Thus Masters were not to receive Apprentices unless they had sufficient employment for them; the Master was to oversee the

 

(1) Dr. Oliver very inaccurately says in his "Revelations of a Square" that "at the annual assembly on St. John's day, 1721, Desaguliers produced thirty‑eight regulations," but distinctly states that these regulations were "compiled first by Mr. George Payne, anno 1720, when he was Grand Master, and approved by the Grand Lodge on St. John Baptist's day, anno 1721." The venerable doctor had here forgotten the Ciceronian axiom ‑ suum cuique tribuere. (2) See the title of the "Charges" in the first edition of the "Book of Constitutions," p. 49.

 

lord's or employer's work, and was to be chosen from the most expert of the Fellow‑Crafts; the Master was to undertake the lord's work for reasonable pay; no one was to receive more wages than he deserved; the Master and the Masons were to receive their wages meekly; were to honestly finish their work and not to put them to task which had been accustomed to journey; nor was one Mason to supplant another in his work.

 

The Operative feature is very plain in these regulations. They are, it is true, supplemented by other regulations as to conduct in the lodge, in the presence of strangers, and at home; and these are as applicable to a Speculative as they are to an Operative Mason.

 

But the whole spirit, and, for the most part, the very language of these "Charges," is found in the Old Constitutions of the Operative Masons.

 

They have, however, been always accepted as the foundation of the law of Speculative Masonry, though originally adopted at a time when the society had not yet completely thrown over its Operative character.

 

But to apply them to an exposition of the laws of Speculative Freemasonry, and to make them applicant to the government of the Order in its purely Speculative condition, modern Masonic jurists have found it necessary to give to the language of the "Charges" a figurative or symbolic signification, a process that I suspect was not contemplated by Payne or his contemporaries.

 

Thus, to work, is now interpreted as meaning to practice the ritual. The lodge is at work when it is conferring a degree. To receive wages is to be advanced from a lowes to a higher degree. To supplant another in his work, is for one lodge to interfere with the candidates of another.

 

In this way statutes intended originally for the government of a body of

 

workmen have by judicial ingenuity been rendered applicable to a society of moralists.

 

The adoption of these "Charges" was a concession to the Operative element of the new society. The Grand Lodge of 1717 was the successor or the outcome of an old and different association. It brought into its organization the relics of that oid association, nor was it prepared in its inchoate condition to cast aside all the usages and habits of that ancient body.

 

Hence the first laws enacted by the Speculative Grand Lodge were borrowed from and founded on the manuscript Constitutions of the Operative Freemasons.

 

But the inapplicability of such a system of government to the new organization was very soon discovered.

 

Two years afterward Payne, untiring in his efforts to perfect the institution, which had honored him twice with its highest office, compiled a new code which was perfectly applicable to a Speculative society.

 

This new code, under the title of the "General Regulations," was compiled by Payne in 1720, and having been approved by the Grand Lodge in 1721, was inserted in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions, published in 1723.

 

Anderson says that he "has compared them with and reduced them to the ancient records and immemorial usages of the Fraternity, and digested them into this new method with several proper explications for the use of the lodges in and about London and Westminster. (1)

 

There certainly is some evidence of the handiwork of Anderson in some interpolations which must have been of a later date than that of the original compilation. (2) But as a body of law, it must be considered as the work of Payne.

 

This code has ever since remained as the groundwork or basis of the system of Masonic jurisprudence. Very few modifications have ever been made in its principles. Additional laws have been since enacted, not only by the mother Grand Lodge, but by those which have emanated from it, but the spirit of the original code has always been respected and preserved. In fact, it has been regarded almost in the light of a set of landmarks, whose sanctity could not legally be violated.

 

George Payne, the second and fourth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, is therefore justly entitled to the distinguished reputation of being the lawgiver of modern Freemasonry.

 

If we compare the Charges adopted in 1718 with the Regulations approved in 1721, we will be struck with the great change that

 

(1) Title prefixed to the General Regulations, in 1st edition of "Book of Constitutions," p. 58. (2) This subject will be more fully discussed, and some of these interpolations will be pointed out, when we come, in a future chapter, to the consideration of the fabrication of the degrees.

 

must have taken place in the constitution and character of a society that thus necessitated so important a modification in its principles of government.

 

The "Charges" were, as has already been shown, applicable to an association in which the Operative element preponderated. The Regulations are appropriate to one wholly Speculative in its design, and from which the Operative element has been thoroughly eliminated.

 

The adoption of the Regulations in 1721 was therefore an irrefutable proof that at that period the Grand Lodge and the lodges under its jurisdiction had entirely severed all connection with Operative Freemasonry.

 

We may, indeed, make this the epoch to which we are to assign the real birth of pure Speculative Freemasonry in England.

 

There were, however, many lodges outside of the London limit which still preserved the Operative character, and many years elapsed before the Speculative system was universally disseminated throughout the kingdom.

 

The minutes of a few of them have been preserved or recovered after having been lost, and they exhibit for the most part, as late as the middle of the 18th century, the characteristics which distinguished all English Masonic lodges before the establishment of the Grand Lodge. Their membership consisted of an admixture of Operative and Theoretic Masons. But the business of the lodge was directed to the necessities and inclinations of the former class.

 

A common feature in these minutes is the record of the indentures of Apprentices for seven years, to Master Masons who were members of the lodge.

 

Speculative Freemasonry, which took rapid growth in London after its severance from the Operative lodges, made slower progress in the provinces.

 

Of the rapidity of growth in the city and its suburbs we have every satisfactory evidence in the increase of lodges as shown in the official lists which were printed at occasional periods.

 

Thus, in 1717, as we have seen, there were but four Lodges engaged in the organization of the Grand Lodge.

 

These were the only Lodges then in London. At least no evidence has ever been produced that there were any others. These were all original Operative lodges.

 

Anderson says that "more new lodges were constituted" in 1719.

 

If he had been accurate in the use of his language, the qualifying adverb "more" would indicate that "new lodges" had also been constituted the year before.

 

In June, 1721, twelve lodges were represented in the Grand Lodge by their Masters and Wardens, showing, if there were no absentees, that eight new lodges had been added to the Fraternity since 1717.

 

In September of the same year Anderson records the presence of the representatives of sixteen lodges. Either four new lodges had been added to the list between June and September, or what is more likely, some were absent in the meeting of the former month.

 

In March, 1722, the officers of twenty‑four lodges are recorded as being present, and in April, 1723, the number had increased to thirty.

 

But the number of lodges stated by Anderson to have been represented at the Communications of the Grand Lodge does not appear to furnish any absolute criterion of the number of lodges in existence. Thus, while the records show that in April, 1723, thirty lodges were represented in the Grand Lodge, the names of the Masters and Wardens of only twenty lodges are signed to the approbation of the Book of Constitutions, which is appended to the first edition of that work published in the same year.

 

Bro. Gould calls this "the first List of Lodges ever printed," (1) but I deem it unworthy of that title, if by a "List of Lodges" is meant a roll of all those actually in existence at the time. Now, if this were a correct list of the lodges which were on the roll of the Grand Lodge at the time, what has become of the ten necessary to make up the number of thirty which are reported to have been represented in April, 1723, besides some others which we may suppose to have been absent ?

 

Anderson did not think it worth while to explain the incongruity, but from 1723 onward we have no further difficulty in tracing the numerical progress of the lodges and incidentally the increase in the number of members of the Fraternity.

 

Engraved lists of lodges began in 1723 to be published by authority of the Grand Lodge, and to the correctness of these we may safely trust, as showing the general progress of the Institution.

 

(1) The "Four Old Lodges," p. 2.

 

The first of these lists is "printed for and sold by Eman Bowen, Engraver, in Aldersgate St." It purports to be a list of lodges in 1723, and the number of them amounts to fifty‑one. In 1725 Pine, who was in some way connected, it is supposed, with Bowen, issued a list for 1725, which contains, not the names, for the lodges at that time had no names, but the taverns or places of meeting of sixtyfour lodges, fifty‑six of which were in London or its vicinity.

 

On November 27, 1723, the Grand Lodge commenced in its minute‑book an official list of the lodges, which seems, says Bro. Gould, "to have been continued until 1729." The lodges are entered, says the same authority, in ledger form, two lodges to a page, and beneath them appear the names of members.

 

This list contains seventy‑seven lodges. Supposing, as Gould does, that the list extended to 1729, it shows an increase in twelve years of seventy‑ three lodges, without counting the lodges which had become extinct or been merged into other lodges.

 

In the next official list contained in the minute‑book of the Grand Lodge, and which extends to 1732, the number of lodges enumerated is one hundred and two, or an increase in fifteen years of ninety‑eight lodges, again leaving out the extinct ones.

 

These examples are sufficient to show the steady and rapid growth of the society during the period of its infancy.

 

There is, however, another historical point which demands consideration. At what time did the formal constitution of lodges begin ?

 

It is at this day a settled law and practice, that before a lodge of Masons can take its position as one of the constituent members of a Grand Lodge, a certain form or ceremony must be undergone by which it acquires all its legal rights. This form or ceremony is called its Constitution, and the authority for this must emanate from the Grand Lodge, either directly, as in America, or indirectly, through the Grand Master, as in England, and is called the Warrant or Constitution.

 

The Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England, which are in force at the present day, say: " In order to avoid irregularities, every new lodge should be solemnly constituted by the Grand Master with his Deputy and Wardens." (1)

 

(1) "Constitutions of the Ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons," p.124.

 

This regulation has been in force at least since January, 1723, the very words of the clause above quoted having been taken from the form of constitution practiced by the Duke of Wharton, who was Grand Master in that year, and which form is appended to the first edition of the Book of Constitutions.

 

Anderson says that in 1719 "more new lodges were constituted; " (1) and Preston states that at the meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1717 a regulation was agreed to that "every lodge, except the four old Lodges at this time existing, should be legally authorized to act by a warrant from the Grand Master for the time being, granted to certain individuals by petition, with the consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in communication; and that without such warrant no lodge should be hereafter deemed regular or constitutional." (2)

 

Now I think that on the establishment of the new Grand Lodge, when the only lodge then existing in London had united in the enterprise of modifying their old and decaying system, and of renovating and strengthening it by a closer union, it may be fairly conceded that the members must, at a very early period, have come to the agreement that no new members should be admitted into the society unless consent had been previously obtained for their admission. This would naturally be the course pursued by any association for the purpose of self‑preservation from the annoyance of uncongenial companions.

 

If any number of craftsmen availing themselves of the privilege of assembling as Masons in a lodge, which privilege had hitherto been unlimited and, as Preston says, was inherent in them as individuals, and which was guaranteed to them by the old Operative Constitutions, there is, I think, no doubt that such a lodge would not have been admitted into the new Fraternity in consequence of this spontaneous and automatic formation.

 

The new society would not recognize it as a part of its organization, at least until it had made an application and been accepted as a co‑partner in the concern.

 

The primitive lodges which are said by Anderson to have been "constituted" between the years 1717 and 1723 may or may not have originated in this way. There is no record one way or the other.

 

(1) Anderson, "Constitutions." 2d edition, p. 110. (2) "Illustrations," p. 192

 

But it is, I think, very certain that the present method of constituting lodges was not adopted until a regulation to that effect was enacted in 1721. This regulation is found among those which were compiled by Payne in 1720, and approved the following year by the Grand Lodge.

 

It is a part of the eighth regulation, and it prescribes that "if any Set or Number of Masons shall take upon themselves to form a lodge without the Grand Master's warrant, the regular lodges are not to countenance them nor own them as fair brethren and duly formed" until the Grand Master "approve of them by his warrant, which must be specified to the other lodges, as the custom is when a new lodge is to be registered in the list of lodges."

 

This regulation was followed in 1723 by a form or "manner of constituting new lodges," which was practiced by the Duke of Wharton when Grand Master, and which was probably composed for him by Dr. Desaguliers, who was his Deputy.

 

It would seem, then, that new lodges were not constituted by warrant until the year 1721, the date of the Regulation, nor constituted in form until 1723, during the administration of the Duke of Wharton. Prior to that time, if we may infer from the phraseology of the Regulation, lodges when accepted as regular were said to be "formed," and were registered in the "List of Lodges." (1)

 

This presumption derives plausibility from the authentic records of the period.

 

In the earlier "Lists of Lodges" authoritatively issued, there is no mention of the date of Constitution of the lodges. In all the later lists the date of Constitution is given. In none of them, however, is there a record of any lodge having been constituted prior to the year 1721. Thus, in Pine's list for 1740, engraved by order of the Grand Officers, and which contains the names and numbers of one hundred and eighty‑one lodges, four are recorded as having been constituted in 1721, five in 1722, and fourteen in 1723. No lodge is recorded there as having been constituted between the years 1717 and 1721.

 

(1) In an article published in Mackey's National Freemason in 1873 (vol. ii., p. 288), Bro. Hughan has said "that it is a fact that no constituted lodge dates at an earlier period than the Revival of Masonry, 1717." I suspect my learned brother wrote these lines currente calamo, and without his usual caution. It will be seen from the text that there is no record of any constituted lodge dating prior to 1721.

 

It is, then, very clear that the system of constituting lodges was not adopted until the latter year; that it was another result of the legal labors of Payne in legislating for the new society, and another and an important step in the disseverance of Speculative from Operative Freemasonry.

 

We next approach the important and highly interesting subject of the early ritual of the new institution. But this will demand for its thorough consideration and full discussion the employment of a distinct chapter.

P. 925

 


 

CHAPTER XXXII

 

THE EARLY RITUAL OF SPECULATIVE FREEMASONRY

 

THE ritual is an important part of the organization of Speculative

 

Freemasonry. It is not a mere garment intended to cover the institution and conceal its body from unlawful inspection. It is the body itself and the very life of the institution. Eliminate from Freemasonry all vestiges of a ritual and you make it a mere lifeless mass. Its characteristic as a benevolent or as a social association might continue, but all its pretensions as a speculative system of science and philosophy would be lost.

 

As a definition of this important and indispensable element in the Masonic system, it may be said that the ritual is properly the prescribed method of administering the forms of initiation into the society, comprising not only the ceremonies but also the explanatory lectures, the catechismal tests, and the methods of recognition.

 

Every secret society, that is to say, every society exclusive in its character, confining itself to a particular class of persons, and isolating itself by its occult organization from other associations and from mankind

 

in general, must necessarily have some formal mode of admission, some meaning in that form which would need explanation, and some method by which its members could maintain their exclusiveness.

 

Every secret society must, then, from the necessity of its organization, be

 

provided with some sort of a ritual, whether it be simple or complex.

 

The Operative Freemasonry of the Middle Ages is acknowledged to have been a secret and exclusive society or guild of architects and builders, who concealed the secret processes of their art from all who were not workers with them.

 

As a secret association, the old Operative Freemasons must have possessed a ritual. And we have, to support this hypothesis, not only logical inference but unquestionable historical evidence.

 

German archaeologists have given us the examination or catechism which formed a part of the ritual of the German Steinmetzen or Stonecutters.

 

The Sloane MS. No. 3329 contains the catechism used by the Operative

 

Freemasons of England in the 17th century. A copy of this manuscript has already been given in a preceding parts of the present work, and it is therefore unnecessary to reproduce it here.

 

As the Sloane MS. has been assigned to a period between 1640 and

 

1700, we may safely conclude that it contains the ritual then in use among the English Operative Freemasons. At a later period it may have suffered considerable changes, but we infer that the ritual exposed in that manuscript was the foundation of the one which was in use by the

 

Operative lodges which united in the formation of the Grand Lodge in the year 1717.

 

If the new society did not hesitate to adopt, at first, the old laws of the Operative institution, it is not at all probable that it would have rejected

 

the ritual then in use and frame a new one. Until the Grand Lodge was securely seated in power, and the Operative element entirely eliminated, it would have been easier to use the old Operative ritual. In time, as the Operative laws were replaced by others more fitting to the character of

 

the new Order, so the simple, Operative ritual must have given way to the more ornate one adapted to the designs of Speculative Freemasonry.

 

But during the earlier years of the Grand Lodge, this old Operative ritual

 

continued to be used by the lodges under its jurisdiction.

 

The precise ritual used at that time is perhaps irretrievably lost, so that we have no direct, authentic account of the forms of initiation, yet by a careful collation of the historical material now in possession of the Fraternity, we

 

may unravel the web, to all appearance hopelessly entangled, and arrive at something like historic truth.

 

It was not until 1721 that by the approval of the "Charges" which had been compiled the year before by Grand Master Payne, the Grand Lodge

 

took the first bold and decisive step toward the

 

(1) See Part II., chap. xii., p. 626.


 

 

THE FUNERAL PROCESSION
 

 

total abolishment of the Operative element, and the building upon its ruins a purely Speculative institution.

 

The ritual used by the four old Lodges must have been very simple. It probably consisted of little more than a brief and unimpressive ceremony of admission, the communication of certain words and signs, and instruction in a catechism derived from that which is contained in the Sloane MS. But I do not doubt that this catechism, brief as it is, was greatly modified and abridged by the lapse of time, the defects of memory, and the impossibility of trans mitting oral teachings for any considerable length of time.

 

It is probable that Dr. Desaguliers, the great ritualist of the day, may have begun to compose the new ritual about the same time that Payne, the great lawmaker of the day, began to compile his new laws.

 

What this ritual was we can only judge by inference, by comparison, and

 

by careful analysis, just as Champollion deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphics by a collation of the three inscriptions of the Rosetta Stone.

 

For this purpose we have a very competent supply of documents which

 

we may employ in a similar comparison and analysis of the primitive ritual of the Speculative Freemasons.

 

Thus we have had the book called The Grand Mystery, which was published just a year after the appearance of the first edition of

 

Anderson's Book of Constitutions.

 

Dr. Oliver, it is true, calls this production a "catchpenny." (1) It would be great folly to assert that it did not contain some shadowing forth of what was the ritual at the time of its publication. When, a few years aftenvard,

 

Samuel Prichard published his book entitled Masonry Dissected, which is evidently based on The Grand Mystery, and in fact an enlargement of it, showing the improvements and developments which had taken place in the ritual, Dr.

 

(1) "Revelations of a Square," chap. ii., note 6. But in a posthumous work

 

entitled "The Discrepancies of Freemasonry," published by Hogg & Co. in 1874 (page 79), he treats it with more respect, and says that it was the examination or lecture used by the Craft in the 17th century, the original

 

of which, in the handwriting of Elias Ashmole, was given to Anderson when he made his collections for the history contained in the "Book of Constitutions." All this is very possibly correct, but as Oliver must have derived his information from some traditional source in his own

 

possession solely, and as he has cited no authentic authority, we can hardly make use of it as an historical fact.

 

Anderson replied to it in the pamphlet entitled A Defense of Masonry.

 

In this work it will be remarked that Anderson does not directly deny the accuracy of Prichard's formulas, but only attempts to prove, which he does very successfully, that the ceremonies as they are described by Prichard were neither "absurd nor pernicious."

 

The truth is that Anderson's Defense is a very learned and interesting interpretation of the symbols and ceremonies which were described by Prichard, and might have been written, just in the same way, if Anderson had selected the ritual as it was then framed on which to found his

 

commentaries.

 

Krause accepted both of these works, as he gave them a place in his great work on The Three Oddest Documents of the Masonic Brotherhood.

 

For myself, I am disposed to take these and similar productions with some

 

grains of allowance, yet not altogether rejecting them as utterly worthless. From such works we may obtain many valuable suggestions, when they are properly and judiciously analyzed.

 

Krause thinks that The Grand Mystery was the production of one of the

 

old Masons, who was an Operative builder and a man not without some learning.

 

This is probably a correct supposition. At all events, I am willing to take the work as a correct exposition, substantially, of the condition of the ritual

 

at the time when it was published, which was seven years after what was called the "Revival" in London.

 

It will give us a very correct idea of the earliest ritual accepted by the Speculative Masons from their Operative brethren, and used until the

 

genius of Desaguliers had invented something more worthy of the Speculative science.

 

Adopting it then as the very nearest approximation to the primitive ritual of the Speculative Freemasons, it will not be an unacceptable gift, nor useless in prosecuting the discussion of the subject to which this chapter

 

is devoted.

 

It has not often been reprinted, and the original edition of 1724 is very scarce. I shall make use of the almost fac‑simile imitation of that edition printed in 1867 by the Masonic Archaeological Society of Cincinnati, and

 

under the supervision of Brother Enoch T. Carson, from whose valuable library the original exemplar was obtained.

 

The title of the pamphlet is as follows:

 

"The Grand Mystery of Free‑Masons Discover'd. Wherein are the several

 

Questions, put to them at their Meetings and Intstallations: As also the Oath, Health, Signs and Points to know each other by. As they were found in the Custody of a Free‑Mason who Dyed suddenly. And now Publish'd for the Information of the Publick. London .‑ Printed for T. Payne

 

near Stationer's‑Hall 1724 (Price Six Pence) "

 

THE CATECHISM. (1)

 

1. Q. Peace be here. A. I hope there is.

 

2. Q. What a‑clock is it? A. It is going to Six or going to Twelve. (2)

 

3. Q. Are you very busy ? (3)

 

A. No.

 

4. Q. Will you give or take? A. Both; or which you please.

 

5. Q. How go Squares? (4) A. Straight.

 

6. Q. Are you Rich or Poor ? A. Neither.

 

7. Q. Change rrle that. (5) A. I will.

 

(1) The object of this reprint being only to give the reader some idea of

 

what was the earliest form of the ritual that we possess, the Preface, the Free‑Mason's Oath, A FreeMason's Health and the signs to know a Free Mason have been omitted as being unnecessary to that end. The questions have been numbered here only for facility of reference in future

 

remarks. (2) This may be supposed to refer to the hours of labor of Operative Masons who commenced work at six in the morning and went to their noon‑meal at twelve. This is the first indication that this was a catechism

 

originally used by Operative Free Masons. (3) Otherwise, "Have you any work? " Krause suggests that it was the question addressed to a traveling Fellow who came to the lodge. "Every Mason," say the Old Constitutions," shall receive or cherish strange

 

Fellows when they come over the Country and sett them on work." ‑ Landsdowne MS. (4) Halliwell, in his Dictionary, cites "How gang squares?" as meaning "How do you do?" He also says that "How go the squares?" means, how

 

goes on the game, as chess or draughts, the board being full of squares. Krause adopts this latter interpretation of the phrase, but I prefer the former. (5) Here it is probable that the grip was given and interchanged. The mutilation of this catechism which Krause suspects is here, I think,

 

evident. The answer " I will " and

 

8. Q. In the name of, &c., (1) are you a Mason ? 9. Q. What is a Mason ? A. A Man begot of a Man, born of a woman, Brother to a king.

 

10. Q. What is a Fellow? A. A Companion of a Prince.

 

11. Q. How shall I know that you are a Free‑Mason ? A. By Signs, Tokens, and Points of my Entry.

 

12. Q. Which is the Point of your Entry ? A. I hear (2) and conceal, under the penalty of having my Throat cut, or my Tongue pulled out of my Head.

 

13. Q. Where was you made a Free‑Mason ? A. In a just and perfect Lodge.

 

14 Q. How many make a Lodge ? A. God and the Square with five or seven right and perfect Masons, on the highest Mountains, or the lowest Valleys in the world. (3)

 

15. Q. Why do Odds make a Lodge ? A. Because all Odds are Men's Advantage. (4)

 

16. Q. What Lodge are you of ? A. The Lodge of St. John. (5)

 

the expression "In the name of, &c.," are connected with the interchange of the grip. The answer to the question "Are you a Mason?" is omitted,

 

and then the catechism goes on with the question "What is a Mason?"

 

(1) The omission here can not be supplied. It was a part of the formula of giving the grip. Krause suggests that the words thus omitted by the editor

 

of the catechism might be "In the name of the Pretender" or probably "In the name of the King and the Holy Roman Catholic Church." But the former explanation would give the catechism too modern an origin and the latter would carry it too far back. However, that would suit the hypothesis

 

of Dr. Krause. I reject both, but can not supply a substitute unless it were " In the name of God and the Holy Saint John." (2) The Sloane MS., in which the same answer occurs, says, "I heal and

 

conceal," to heal being old English for to hide. It is very clear that the word hear is a typographical error. (3) Krause thinks that in this answer an old and a new ritual are mixed. God and the Square he assigns to the former, the numbers five and

 

seven to the latter. But the Harleian MS. requires five to make a legal lodge. (4) We must not suppose that this was derived from the Kabbalists. The doctrine that God delights in odd numbers, "numero Deus impare gaudet" (Virgil, Ed. viii.), is as old as the oldest of the ancient mythologies. It is the

 

foundation of all the numerical symbolism of Speculative Freemasonry. We here see that it was observed in the oldest ritual. (5) This hieroglyphic appears to have been the early sign for a lodge, as the oblong square is at the present day.

 

17. Q. How does it stand ? A. Perfect East and West, as all Temples do.

 

18. Q. Where is the Mason's Point ? (1) A. At the East‑Window, waiting at the Rising of the Sun, to set his men at work.

 

9. Q. Where is the Warden's Point ?

 

A. At the West‑Window, waiting at the Setting of the Sun to dismiss the Entered Apprentices.

 

20. Q. Who rules and governs the Lodge, and is Master of it ? A. Irah, Iachin or the Right Pillar.'

 

21. Q. How is it govern'd?

 

A. Of Square and Rule.

 

22. Q. Have you the Key of the Lodge ? A. Yes, I have.

 

23. Q. What is its virtue ? A. To open and shut, and shut and open.

 

24. Q. Where do you keep it ? A. In an Ivory Box, between my Tongue and my Teeth, or within my Heart,

 

where all my Secrets are kept.

 

25. Q. Have you the Chain to the Key ? A. Yes, I have.

 

26. Q. How long is it ? A. As long as from my Tongue to my Heart. (3)

 

(1) I find this question thus printed in all the copies to which I have had access. But I have not the slightest doubt that there has been a

 

typographical error, which has been faithfully copied. I should read it "Where is the Master's point?" The next question confirms my conviction. The Master sets the Craft to work, the Warden dismisses them. This has

 

been followed by the modern rituals. (2) Various have been the conjectures as to the meaning of the word Irah. Schneider, looking to the theory that modern Freemasonry was instituted to secure the restoration of the House of Stuart, supposes the letters of

 

the word to be the initials of the Latin sentence "lacobus Redibit Ad Hereditatem" ‑ James shall return to his inheritance. Krause thinks it the anagram of Hiram, and he rejects another supposition that it is the Hebrew Irah, reverence or holy fear, i.e., the fear of God. It may mean

 

Hiram, but there is no need of an anagram. The wonted corruption of proper names in the old Masonic manuscripts makes Irah a sufficiently near approximation to Hiram, who is called in the Old Constitutions,

 

Aynon, Aman, Amon, Anon, or Ajuon. The German Steinmetzen called Tubal Cain Walcan. (3) Speaking of tests like this, Dr. Oliver very wisely says: "These questions may be considered trivial. but in reality they were of great importance and included some of the

 

 

 

27. Q. How many precious Jewels ? A. Three; a square Asher, a Diamond, and a Square.

 

28. Q. How many Lights ? A. Three; a Right East, South and West. (1)

 

29. Q. What do they represent ? A. The Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (2)

 

30. Q. How many Pillars? A. Two; Iachin and Boaz.

 

31. Q. What do they represent ? A. A Strength and Stability of the Church in all Ages. (3)

 

32. Q. How many Angles in St. John's Lodge ? A. Four bordering on Squares.

 

33. Q. How is the Meridian found out ? A. When the Sun leaves the South and breaks in at the West‑End of the Lodge.

 

34. Q. In what part of the Temple was the Lodge kept ? A. In Solomon's Porch, (4) at the West‑End of the Temple, where the two Pillars were set up.

 

35. Q. How many Steps belong to a right Mason ? A. Three.

 

36. Q. Give me the Solution. A. I will . . . The Right Worshipful, Worshipful Master and Worshipful Fellows of the Right Worshipful Lodge from whence I came, greet you well.

 

That Great God to us greeting, be at this our meeting

 

profoundest mysteries of the Craft. . . . A single Masonic question, how puerile soever it may appear, is frequently in the hands of an expert Master of the Art, the depository of most important secrets." On "The

 

Masonic Tests of the Eighteenth Century " in his "Golden Remains," vol. iv.,pp. 14, 15. (1) The Bauhutten or Operative lodges of the Germans probably had, says Krause, only three windows corresponding to the cardinal points, and the three principal officers of the lodge had their seats near them so

 

as to obtain the best light for their labors. (2) This is ample proof that the earliest Freemasonry of the new Grand Lodge was distinctly Christian. The change of character did not occur until

 

the adoption of the "Old Charges" as printed in Anderson's first edition. But more of this in the text. (3) There is an allusion to strength in the German Steinmetzen's catechism: "What is the Strength of our Craft?" Strength continued to be

 

symbolized as a Masonic attribute in all subsequent rituals and so continues to the present day. (4) An allusion to the Temple of Solomon is common in all the old Constitutions. But no hypothesis can be deduced from this of the Solomonic origin of Freemasonry. The subject is too important to be

 

discussed in a note.

 

and with the Right Worshipful Lodge from whence you came, and you are. (1)

 

37. Q. Give me the Jerusalem Word. (2) A. Giblin.

 

38. Q. Give me the Universal Word. A. Boaz.

 

39. Q. Right Brother of ours, your Name ? A. N. orM. Welcome Brother M. or N. to our Society.

 

40. Q. How many particular Points pertain to a Free‑Mason ? A. Three; Fraternity, Fidelity, and Tacity.

 

41. Q. What do they represent? A. Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth among all Right Masons; for all

 

Masons were ordain'd at the Building of the Tower of Babel and at the Temple of Jerusalem. (3)

 

42. Q. How‑many proper Points? A. Five: Foot to Foot, Knee to Knee, Hand to Hand, Heart to Heart, and Ear to Ear. (4)

 

43. Q. Whence is an Arch derived ? A. From Architecture. (5)

 

(1) It is most probable that this answer was given on the three steps which were made while the words were being said. (2) The "Jerusalem Word" was probably the word traditionally confined to

 

the Craft while they were working at the Temple, and the "Universal Word" was that used by them when they dispersed and traveled into foreign countries. The old "Legend of the Craft" has a tradition to that effect which was finally developed into the Temple Allegory of the modern

 

rituals. (3) 0f this answer Krause gives the following interpretation ‑ "Perhaps the Tower of Babel signifies the revolution under and after Cromwell, and the Temple of Jerusalem the restoration of the Stuart family in London" ‑

 

which may be taken for what it is worth and no more, especially as the stories of the Tower and the Temple formed prominent points in the Craft legend which was formulated some two centuries at least before the time of Cromwell or of the restored Stuarts.

 

(4) At first glance this answer would seem to be adverse to the theory that the Third was not known in the year 1717, unless it were to be supposed that the passage was an interpolation made subsequent to the year 1720.

 

But the fact is that, as Krause remarks these expressions were not originally a symbol of the Master's degree (Meisterzeichen), but simply a symbol of Fellowship, where heart and heart and hand and hand showed the loving‑kindness of each brother. Afterward, under the title of "The Five

 

Points of Fellowship," it was appropriated to the Third Degree and received the symbolic history which it still retains. (5) Here, say Schneider and Krause, is a trace of Royal Arch Masonry. Not so. Architecture was the profession of the Operative Freemasons and

 

became naturally a point in the examination of a craftsman. Such as this catechism evidently was.

 

44. Q. How many Orders in Architecture ? A. Five: The Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite.

 

45. Q. What do they answer ? A. They answer to the Base, Perpendicular, Diameter, Circumference, and Square.

 

46. Q. What is the right Word, or right Point of a Mason ? A. Adieu.

 

End of the Catechism.

 

Such is this important document, but of whose real value different

 

opinions have been expressed. Oliver, as we have seen, calls it a "catchpenny." This epithet would, however, refer to the motives of the printer who gave the public the work at sixpence a copy and not to the original writer against whom no such charge, nor no such mercenary

 

views should be imputed. The Rev. Mr. Sidebotham, who reprinted it in the Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, for August, 1855, from a copy found among the collection of Masonic curiosities deposited in the Bodleian

 

Library, calls it "only one of the many absurd attempts of ignorant pretenders;" but his attempts to prove absurdities are themselves absurd.

 

The learned Mossdorf who, in 1808, found a copy of the second editions in the Royal Library at Leipsic, which Dr. Krause reprinted in his Three

 

Oldest Documents of the Masonic Fraternity, designates it as a delicately framed but very bitter satire against the old lodges in London, which had just established the Grand Lodge. But a perusal of the document will

 

disclose nothing of a satirical character in the document itself, and only a single paragraph of the preface in which the design of the institution is underrated, and the depreciation illustrated by a rather coarse attempt at a witticism.

 

But the preface was the production of the editor or printer, and must not

 

be confounded with the catechism, which is free from anything of the kind. The very title, which might be deemed ironical, was undoubtedly an assumed one given to the original document by the same editor or printer

 

for the purpose of attracting purchasers.

 

(1) It was the 2d edition, 1725, with which Mossdorf was acquainted, and to this were annexed "Two Letters to a Friend," which are not contained in the 1st edition. These gave him the opinion of the satirical character of

 

the work.

 

Bro. Steinbrenner, of New York, who has written one of our most valuable and interesting histories of Freemasonry, (1) thus describes it, and has given it what I think must have been its original title.

 

"The oldest fragment of a ritual or Masonic lecture in the English Language (2) which we have met with is the 'Examination upon Entrance into a Lodge,' as used at the time of the Revival."

 

Dr. Krause is the first writer who seems to have estimated this old

 

catechism at anything like its true value. He calls it a remarkable document, and says that after a careful examination he has come to the conclusion that it was written by one of the old Operative Masons, who was not without some scholarship, but who esteemed Masonry as an art

 

peculiarly appropriate to builders only, and into which a few non‑Masons were sometimes admitted on account of their scientific attainments.

 

He thinks that this catechism presents the traces of a high antiquity, and

 

so far as its essential constituent parts are concerned, it might have derived its origin from the oldest York ritual, probably as early as the 12th or 13th century.

 

I am not inclined to accept all of the Krausean theory on the subject of the

 

origin or of the antiquity of this document. It is not necessary for the purpose of employing it in the investigation of the primitive ritual adopted by the Speculative Freemasons when they organized their Grand Lodge, to trace its existence beyond the first decade of the 18th century, though it

 

might be reasonably extended much farther back.

 

The statement in the preface or introduction, that the original manuscript was printed, and had "been found in the custodv of a Freemason who died suddenly," may be accepted as a truth. There is nothing improbable

 

about it, and there is no reason to doubt the fact.

 

Connecting this with the date of the publication, which was just seven years after the establishment of the Grand Lodge, and only four years

 

after what is supposed to be the date of the fabrication of

 

(1) "The Origin and Early History of Masonry," by G. W. Steinbrenner, Past Master. New York, 1864. (2) When Steinbrenner wrote the above the Sloane MS. No. 3339 had not been discovered. And yet it is doubtful whether it and the original

 

manuscript of "The Grand Mystery" are not contemporaneous.

 

the three degrees; and comparing it with the Sloane MS. 3329, where we shall find many instances of parallel or analogous passages; and seeing

 

that the Sloane MS. was undeniably an Operative ritual, since its acknowledged date is somewhere between the middle and the close of the 17th century; considering all these points, I think that we may safely conclude that the original manuscript of the printed document called The

 

Grand Mystery was the "Examination upon Entrance into a Lodge" of Operative Freemasons.

 

The following inferences may then be deduced in respect to the character of this document with the utmost plausibility:

 

1. That it was a part, and the most essential part, of the ritual used by the

 

Operative Freemasons about the close of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, and if anything was wanting toward a complete ritual it was supplemented by the Sloane MS. No. 3329

 

2. That it was the ritual familiar to the four Lodges which in 1717 united in the establishment of the Speculative Grand lodge of England.

 

3. That on the establishment of that Grand Lodge it was accepted as the ritual of the Speculative Freemasons and so used by them until they

 

perfected the transition from wholly Operative to wholly Speculative Freemasonry by the fabrication of degrees and the development of a more philosophical ritual, composed, as it has always been conjectured, by Desaguliers and Anderson, but principally always by the former.

 

Having premised these views, we may now proceed to investigate, with some prospect of a satisfactory result, the character and condition of Speculative Freemasonry so far as respects a ritual during the earliest

 

years of the Grand Lodge.

 

In the first place, it may be remarked that internal evidence goes to prove that this catechism is appropriate solely for Operative Freemasons. It was undoubtedly constructed at a time when Speculative Freemasonry, in the

 

modern sense, was not in existence, and when the lodges which were to use it were composed of Operatives the Theoretic members not being at all taken into consideration.

 

This is very clearly shown by various passages in the catechism. Thus,

 

Question 2 alludes to the hours of labor; Question 3 is an inquiry whether the brother who is being examined is in want of work, because the old Operative Constitutions directed the Craft "to receive or cherish strange Fellows when they came over the country and set them to work." Hence,

 

in view of this hospitable duty, the visitor is asked if he is busy, that is to say, if he has work to occupy and support him.

 

Questions 18 and 19 make reference to the time and duty of setting the men to work, and of dismissing them from labor.

 

Questions 14 and 21 refer to the square and rule as implements of Operative Masonry employed in the lodge. Question 27 speaks of the ashlar, and 43 and 44 of the orders of architecture. All of these are

 

subjects appropriate and familiar to Operative Masons, and indicate the character of the catechism.

 

The next point that calls for attention is that in this Operative ritual there is not the slightest reference to degrees. They are not mentioned nor alluded to as if any such system existed. The examination is that of a Freemason, but there is no indication whatever to show that he was a Master, Fellow, or an Apprentice. He could not probably have been the last, because, as a general rule, Apprentices were not allowed to travel.

 

The German Steigmetzen, however, sometimes made an exception to this regulation, and the Master who had no work for his Apprentice would furnish him with a mark and send him forth in search of employment.

 

If a similar custom prevailed among the English Freemasons, of which

 

there is no proof for or against, the wandering Apprentice woulds on visiting a strange lodge, doubtless make use of this catechism. There is nothing in its text to prevent him from doing so, for, as has already been

 

said, there is no mention in it of degrees.

 

There does not seem to be any doubt in the minds of the most distinguished Masonic scholars, with perhaps a very few exceptions, that in the Operative ritual there were no degrees, the words Apprentice,

 

Fellow, and Master referring only to gradations of rank. It is also believed that the ceremonies of admission were exceedingly simple, and that all these ranks were permitted to be present at a reception.

 

According to this catechism a lodge consisted of five or seven Masons,

 

but it does not say that they must be all Master Masons.

 

The Sloane M S. says that there should be in a lodge two Apprentices, two Fellow‑Crafts, and two Master Masons.

 

The Statutes of the Scottish Masons explicitly require the presence of two

 

Apprentices at the reception of a Master.

 

The Old Constitutions, while they have charges specially for Masters and Fellows, between whom they make no distinction, have other "charges in general" which, of course, must include Apprentices, and in these they

 

are commanded to keep secret "the consells of the lodge," from which it is to be inferred that Apprentices formed a constituent part of that body.

 

It has been usual to say that from 1717 to 1725 there were only

 

Apprentices' lodges. The phraseology is not correct. They were lodges of Freemasons, and they so continued until the fabrication of a system of degrees. After that period the lodges might properly be called Apprentice lodges, because the first degree only could be conferred by them, though

 

Fellow‑Craft and Master Masons were among their members, these having until 1725 been made in the Grand Lodge exclusively.

 

The fact that this ritual, purposely designed for Operative Freemasons only, and used in the Operative lodges of London at the beginning of the

 

18th century, was adopted in 1717 when the four Lodges united in the organization of a Grand Lodge, is, I think, a convincing proof that there was no expressed intention at that time to abandon the Operative

 

character of the institution, and to assume for it a purely Speculative condition.

 

I use the word "expressed" advisedly, because I do not contend that there was no such covert intention floating in the minds of some of the most cultivated Theoretic Freemasons who united with their Operative brethren

 

in the organization.

 

But these Theoretic brethren were men of sense. They fully appreciated the expediency of the motto, festina lente. They were, it is true, anxious to hasten on the formation of an intellectual society, based historically on an

 

association of architects, but ethically on an exalted system of moral philosophy; they perfectly appreciated, however, the impolicy of suddenly and rudely disrupting the ties which connected them with the old

 

Operative Freemasons. Hence, they fairly shared with these the offices of the Grand Lodge until 1723, after which, as has been shown, no Operative held a prominent position in that body. The first laws which they adopted, and which were announced in the "Charges of a Free Mason,"

 

compiled by Payne and Anderson about 1719, had all the features of an Operative Code, and the ritual of the Operative Freemasons embodied in the document satirically called The Grand Mystery was accepted and

 

used by the members of the Speculative Grand Lodge until the fabrication of degrees made it necessary to formulate another and more philosophical ritual.

 

But it is not necessary to conclude that when the system of degrees was composed, most probably in 1720 and 1721, principally by Dr.

 

Desaguliers, the old Operative ritual was immediately cast aside. In all probability it continued to be used in the lodges, where the Fellow‑Crafts and Masters' degrees were unknown, until 1725, the conferring of them

 

having been confined to the Grand Lodge until that year. There were even Operative lodges in England long after that date, and the old ritual would continue with them a favorite. This will account for the publication in 1724, with so profitable a sale as to encourage the printing of a second

 

edition with appendices in 1725.

 

But the newer ritual became common in 1730 or a little before, and the able defense of it by Anderson in the 1738 edition of the Book of Constitutions shows that the old had at length been displaced, though

 

some of its tests remained for a long time in use among the Craft, and are continued, in a modified form, even to the present day.

 

The early Operative ritual, like the Operative laws and usages, has made an impression on the Speculative society which has never been and

 

never will be obliterated while Freemasonry lasts.

 

The next feature in this Operative ritual which attracts our attention is its well‑defined Christian character. This is shown in Question 29, where the

 

three Lights of the Lodge are said to represent "The Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

 

Originating as it did, and for a long time working under ecclesiastical control, being closely connected with the Church, and engaged exclusively in the construction of religious edifices, it must naturally have become sectarian.

 

In the earliest times, when the Roman Catholic religion was the prevailing faith of Christendom, Operative Freemasonry was not only Christian but Roman Catholic in its tendencies. Hence, the oldest of the manuscript Constitutions contains an invocation to the Virgin Mary and to the Saints. In Germany the patrons of the Freemasons were the Four Crowned Martyrs.

 

But when in England the Protestant religion displaced the Roman

 

Catholic, then the Operative Freemasons, following the sectarian tendencies of their countrymen, abandoned the reference to the Virgin and to the Saints, whose worship had been repudiated by the reformed religion, and invoked only the three Persons of the Trinity. The Harleian

 

MS. commences thus:

 

"The Almighty Father of Heaven with the Wisdom of the Glorious Sonne, through the goodness of the Holy Ghost, three persons in one Godhead, bee with our beginning & give us grace soe to governe our Lives that we

 

may come to his blisse that never shall have end."

 

All the other manuscript Constitutions conform to this formula, and hence we find the same feature presented in this catechism, and that in the ritual used when the Grand Lodge was established the three Lights

 

represented the three Persons of the Trinity.

 

Operative Freemasonry never was tolerant nor cosmopolitan. It was in the beginning ecclesiastical, always Christian, and always sectarian.

 

Of all the differences that define the line of demarcation between

 

Operative and Speculative Freemasonry, this is the most prominent.

 

The Theoretic Freemasons, that is, those who were non‑Masons, when they united with their Operative fellow‑members in the organization of a Grand Lodge, did not reject this sectarian character any more than they

 

did the ritual and the laws of the old association.

 

But the non‑Masonic or non‑Operative element of the new Society was composed of men of education and of liberal views. They were anxious

 

that in their meetings a spirit of toleration should prevail and that no angry discussions should disturb the hours devoted to innocent recreation. Moreover, they knew that the attempt to revive the decaying popularity of Freemasonry and to extend its usefulness would not be successful unless

 

the doors were thrown widely open to the admission of moral and intellectual men of all shades of political and religious thought. Hence, they strove to exclude discussions which should involve the bitterness of partisan politics or of sectarian religion.

 

Dr. Anderson describes the effect produced by this liberality of sentiment when he says, speaking of this early period of Masonic history:

 

"Ingenious men of all faculties and stations, being convinced that the cement of the lodge was love and friendship, earnestly requested to be made Masons, affecting this amicable fraternity more than other societies then often disturbed by warm disputes." (1)

 

Thus it was that the first change affected in the character of the institution

 

by which the ultimate separation of Speculative from Operative Freemasons was foreshadowed, was the modification of the sectarian feature which had always existed in the latter.

 

Therefore, in 1721, the Grand Lodge, "finding fault" with the "Old Gothic

 

Constitutions" or the laws of the Operative Freemasons, principally, as the result shows, on account of their sectarian character, instructed Dr. Anderson "to digest them in a new and better method."

 

This task was duly accomplished, and the "Charges of a Freemason," which were published in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions, announce for the first time that cosmopolitan feature in the religious sentiments of the Order which it has ever since retained.

 

"Though in ancient times," so runs the first of these " Charges," "Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country or nation, whatever it was; yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves."

 

In consequence of this declaration of tolerance, the ritual which was framed after the old Operative one, exemplified in The Ground Mystery, ceased to derive any of its symbolism from purely Christian dogmas,

 

though it can not be denied that Christian sentiments have naturally had an influence upon Speculative Freemasonry.

 

But the institution, in all the countries into which it has since extended, has always, with a very few anomalous exceptions, been true to the

 

declaration made in 1721 by its founders, and has erected its altars, around which men of every faith, if they have only a trusting belief in God as the Grand Architect of the universe, may kneel and worship.

 

But before this sentiment of perfect toleration could be fully developed, it

 

was necessary that the tenets, the usages, and the influence of the Operative element should be wholly eliminated from the new society. The progress toward this disruption of the two systems, the old and the new,

 

would have to be slow and gradual.

 

(1) "Book of Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 114.

 

Very justly has Bro. Gould remarked that "Speculative Masonry was, so to speak, only on its trial during the generation which succeeded the authors

 

of the Revival. The institution of a society of Free and Accepted Masons on a cosmopolitan and unsectarian basis was one thing; its consolidation, however, opposed as its practical working showed it to be to the ancient customs and privileges of the Operatives, was another and a very different affair." (1)

 

Therefore, as a matter of sheer policy, and also because it is probable that no intention of effecting such a change had, in the beginning, entered into the minds of the future founders of Speculative Freemasonry, it was deemed necessary to continue the use of the simple ritual which had so long been familiar to the Operatives, and it was accordingly so continued to be used until, in a few years, the opportune time had arrived for the fabrication of a more complex one, and one better adapted to the objects of a Speculative Society.

 

As it appears, then, to be clearly evident that the Operative ritualwas practiced by the Grand Lodge from 1717 until 1721 or 1722, and for a

 

much longer period by many of the lodges under its jurisdiction, it is proper that we should endeavor, so far as the materials in our possession will permit, to describe the character of that ritual.

 

Masonic scholars who have carefully investigated this subject do not now

 

express any doubt that the rite practiced by the mediceval Freemasons of every country, and which, under some modifications, was used by the Operative Freemasons when the Grand Lodge of England was established, was a very simple one, consisting of but one degree.

 

In fact, as the word degree literally denotes a step in progression, and would import the possible existence of a higher step to which it is related, it would seem to be more proper to say that the Operative rite was without

 

degrees, and consisted of a form of admission with accompanying esoteric instructions, all of which were of the simplest nature.

 

Master, Fellow, and Apprentice were terms intended to designate the different ranks of the Craftsmen, which ranks were wholly unconnected

 

with any gradations of ritualistic knowledge.

 

(1) "The Four Old Lodges," p. 33.

 

Masters were those who superintended the labors of the Craft, or were, perhaps, in many instances the employers of the workmen engaged on an

 

edifice. Paley suggests that they were probably architects, and he says that they must have been trained in one and the same school, just as our clergy are trained in the universities, and were either sent about to different stations or were attached to some church or cathedral, or took up

 

their permanent residence in certain localities. (1)

 

This description is very suitable to the most flourishing period of Gothic architecture, when such Craftsmen as William of Sens or Erwin of Steinbach were the Masters who directed the construction of those noble

 

works of architecture which were to win the admiration of succeeding ages.

 

But in the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, when there was a decadence in the old science of Gothic architecture, every Fellow who

 

was appointed by an employer or selected by his brethren to govern a lodge and to direct the works of the Craftsmen, became by that appointment or selection a Master Mason.

 

We know that this usage was for some time observed by the Speculative

 

Freemasons, for in the form of constituting a new lodge as prescribed in 1723 by the Duke of Wharton, who was then Grand Master, it is said that the Master who is to be installed, "being yet among the Fellow‑Craft," must be taken from among them, and be inducted into office by the Grand

 

Master; by which act he became a Master Mason, and not by the reception of a degree; and the investiture of certain additional secrets. (2)

 

The Fellows were workmen who had served an apprenticeship of several

 

years, and had at length acquired a knowledge of the trade. They constituted the great body of the Craft, as is evident from the constant reference to them in the Old Constitutions.

 

The Apprentices, as the etymology of the word imports, were learners.

 

They were youths who were bound to serve their Masters for a term of five or seven years, on the condition that the Master shall instruct them in the trade, that at the expiration of their term of service they might be admitted into the rank or class of Fellows.

 

As there was but one ceremony of admission common to all

 

(1) "Manual of Gothic Architecture," p. 209. (2) See the form in the 1st edition of Anderson, p. 71.

 

classes of the Craft, it follows that there could be no secrets of a ritual

 

character which belonged exclusively to either of the three classes, and that whatever was known to Masters and Fellows must also have been communicated to Apprentices; and this is very evident from the well‑ known fact that the presence of members of each class was necessary to

 

the legal communications of a lodge.

 

The Mason Word is the only secret spoken of in the minutes of the Scotch lodges, but the German and English rituals show that there were other words and methods of recognition besides an examination which

 

constituted the esoteric instructions of Operative Masonry.

 

The most important of these points is, however, the fact that at the time of the organization of the Grand Lodge in 1717, and for a brief period afterward, there was but one degree, as it is called, which was known to

 

the Operatives, and that for a brief period of three or four years this simple system was accepted and practiced by the founders of Speculative Freemasonry.

 

But the discussion of this fact involves a thorough investigation, and can

 

not be treated at the close of a chapter.

 

The inquiry, so far as it has advanced, has, I think, satisfied us that the Operative ritual was that which was at first adopted by the founders of Speculative Freemasonry.

 

When, afterward, they discarded this ritual as too simple and as unsuitable to their designs, they were obliged, in the construction of their new system, to develop new degrees.

 

The task, therefore, to which our attention must now be directed, is first to

 

demonstrate that the primitive ritual accepted in 1717 by the Speculatives consisted of but one degree, if for convenience I may be allowed to use a word not strictly and grammatically correct; and, secondly, to point out the mode in which and the period when a larger ritual, and a system of degrees, was invented.

 

And these must be the subjects of the two following chapters.

 

P. 945

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXIII

 

THE ONE DEGREE OF OPERATIVE FREEMASONS

 

In the articles of union agreed to in 1813 by the two Grand Lodges of

 

England, the "Moderns" and the "Ancients" as they were called, it was declared that "pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more." If by Ancient Masonry it was intended to designate the system then existing, and no other and earlier one ‑ if the character of antiquity was to be circumscribed within the one hundred preceding years, or thereabouts ‑ then the declaration might be accepted as an historical truth. But if it was designed to refer by these words to the whole period of time, within

 

which included the era of Operative, and of combined Operative and Speculative Freemasonry, as well as that later one when pure Speculative Masonry alone prevailed, then the assertion must be considered as apocryphal and as having no foundation in authentic history.

 

If our judgment on this subject were to be formed merely on the complete silence of the Old Records, we should be forced to the conclusion that until the close of the second decade of the 18th century, or about the year 1720, when the Speculative element was slowly disintegrating itself from the Operative, there was only one degree known as the word is understood in the present day.

 

We have evidence that the Operative Freemasons of Scotland in the 15th century adopted, to some extent, the secret ceremonies observed by the medieval builders of the continent. (1) we may therefore refer to the records of the Scotch lodges for a correct knowledge of what was the degree system practiced, not only in Scotiand but on the continent, at that period.

 

(1) See Lyon, "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 234. This is evident from, the charter granted to the Masons and Wrights of Edinburgh in 1475, copied by Lyon (p. 230) from the Burgh Records of Edinburgh, where reference is made for their government to the customs "in the towne of Bruges."

 

Now we have abundant evidence by deduction from the records of the old Scottish lodges that there was in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries only

 

one degree known to the brotherhood.

 

There were, it is true, three classes or ranks of Masons, namely, Masters, men who made contracts and undertook the work of building for employers; Fellow‑Crafts or Journeymen employed by these Masters; and Entered Apprentices, who were received that they might be taught the art

 

of building. But this difference of rank involved no difference of esoteric instruction. There was but one ceremony and one set of secrets for all, and common to and known by everyone, from the youngest Apprentice to

 

the oldest Master. This is plainly deducible from all the Old Records.

 

Thus, in the Schaw statutes, whose date is December 28, 1498, it is enacted as follows:

 

"Item that na maister or fellow of craft be ressavit nor admittit without the

 

number of sex maisters and twa enterit prenteissis the wardene of that lodge being one of the said sex."

 

The same regulation, generally, in very nearly the same words, is to be found in subsequent records, constitutions, and minutes of the 16th and

 

17th centuries.

 

Now what deduction must be drawn from the oft‑repeated language of this statute? Certainly only this, that if two Apprentices were required to be present at the reception of a Fellow‑Craft or a Master, there could have

 

been no secrets to be communicated to the candidates as Fellow‑Crafts or Masters which were not als ready known to the Apprentices. In other words, that these three ranks were not separated and distinguished from each other by any ceremonies or instructions which would constitute

 

degrees in the modern acceptation of the term. In fact, there could have been but one degree common to all.

 

Upon this subject Bro. Lyon says: "It is upon Schaw's regulation anent the reception of Fellows or Masters, that we found our opinion that in primitive

 

times there were no secrets communicated by lodges to either Fellows of Craft or Masters that were not known to Apprentices, seeing that members of the latter grade were necessary to the legal constitution of

 

communications for the admission of Masters or Fellows." (1)

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 23.

 

We are confirmed in this conclusion by what is said in the same Old Records of the "Mason Word."

 

The Mason Word and what was connected with it appeared to constitute

 

the only secret known to the Masons of the centuries preceding the 18th. It was, however, not simply a word, but had other mysteries connected with it, as is apparent from an expression in the minutes of the Lodge of

 

Dunblane, where it is said that two Apprentices of the Lodge of Kilwinning being examined on their application for affiliation, were found to have " a competent knowlsedge of the secrets of the Mason Word." (1)

 

These secrets consisted also probably of a sign and grip. Indeed, the

 

records of Haughfort Lodge in 1707 state the fact that there was a grip, and it is known that as early as the 12th century the German Masons used all these modes of recognition. (2)

 

There was also a Legend or Allegory, nothing, however, like the modern

 

legend of the Third degree, which connected the Craft traditionally with the Tower of Babel and the Temple of Solomon. This Legend was contained in what we now call the Legend of the Craft or the Legend of the Guild. This is contained, with only verbal variations, in all the old

 

manuscript Constitutions. That this Legend was always deemed a part of the secrets of the brotherhood, is very evident from the destruction of many of those manuscripts by scrupulous Masons in 1720, from the fear,

 

as Anderson expresses it, that they might fall into strange hands.

 

But whatever were the secrets connected with the "Mason Word," there is abundant evidence that they were communicated in full to the Apprentice on his initiation.

 

First, we have the evidence of the Schaw statutes that two Apprentices were required to be present at the reception of a Mason or a Fellow‑Craft. Then the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh for 1601, 1606, and 1637, referred to by Bro. Lyon, (3) show that Apprentices were present during

 

the making of Fellow‑Crafts. Again, we find the following conclusive testimony in the Laws and Statutes of the Lodge of Aberdeen, adopted December 27, 1760:

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 417.

 

(2) The English Masons in the beginning of the 18th century, and I suppose before that penod, had two words, the "Jerusalem Word" and the "Universal Word." See the Examination in the last chapter. The German Masons also had two words, at least. (3) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 74.

 

 

 

"Wee Master Masons and Entered Prentises, all of us under. seryvers, doe here protest and vowe as hitherto we ehave done at our entrie when we received the benefit of the Mason Word," &c. (1)

 

From all of which we are authorized to entertain the opinion, in the

 

language of Bro. Lyon, who has thoroughly investigated the subject, so far at least as relates to Scotland, "that 'the Word' and other secrets peculiar to Masons were communicated to Apprentices on their admission

 

to the lodge, and that the ceremony of passing was simply a testing of the candidate's fitness for employment as a journeyman." (2)

 

In the English lodges of the same period, that is, up to the beginning of the 18th century, we find no indications of the existence of more than one

 

degree common to the whole Craft. The Apprentices, however, do not occupy in the old English Constitutions so conspicuous a place as they do in the Scotch. We can, for instance, find no regulation like that in the

 

Schaw statutes which requires Apprentices to be present at the making of Fellow‑Crafts.

 

But in the oldest of the English Constitutions which have been unearthed by the labors of Masonic archaeologists ‑ namely, the one known as the Halliwell MS., the date of which is supposed to be not later than the

 

middle of the 15th century ‑ we find indications of the fact that the Apprentices were in possession of all the secret knowledge possessed by the Masters and Fellows, and that they were allowed to be present at

 

meetings of the lodge. Thus, the thirteenth article of that early Constitution says:

 

" ‑ gef that the mayster a prentes have Enterlyche thenne that he hym teche, And meserable poyntes that he hym reche, That he the crafte abelyche may conne,

 

Whersever he go undur the sonne." (3)

 

That is, if a Master have an Apprentice, he shall give him thorough instruction, and place him in the possession of such points as will enable him to recognize the members of the Craft wheresoever he may go. He

 

was to be invested with the modes of recognition common to all, whereby a mutual intercourse might be held. It

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 423. (2) Ibid., p. 233 (3) Halliwell MS., lines 240 ‑ 244.

 

was not that he was to know just enough to prove himself to be an

 

Apprentice, but he was to have such knowledge as would enable him to recognize in a stranger a Fellow‑Craft or a Master ‑ in other words, he was to have all that they had, in the way of recognition.

 

But a more important admission, namely, that the Apprentice was permitted to be present at the meetings of a lodge of Masters and Fellows, and to participate in, or at least be a witness of, their private transactions, is found in the third point of this same Constitution, which is

 

in the following words:

 

"The thrydee poynt must be severele, With the prentes knowe hyt wele, Hys mayster cownsel he kepe and close, And hys fellowes by hys goode purpose; The prevystye of the chamber telle he no mon,

 

Ny yn the logge whatsever they done; Whatsever thon heryst or eyste hem do Telle hyt no mon, whersever thou go; The cownsel of halle and yeke of boure, Kepe hyt lvel to gret honoure, Lest hyt wolde torne thyself to blame, And brynge the craft ynto gret schame." (1)

 

That is, the Apprentice was directed to keep the counsel of his Master and Fellows, and to tell to no one the secrets of tlle chamber nor what he should see or hear done in the lodge. (2)

 

He was to keep the counsel of "hall and bower," a medizeval phrase

 

denoting all sorts of secrets, and all this he was to observe lest he should bring the Craft into shame.

 

Now I do not think we need anything more explicit to prove that Apprentices were admitted to share the secrets of the Fellows and be

 

present at the meetings of the lodge, all of which is a conclusive evidence against the existence of separate degrees.

 

The same reference to Apprentices as being in possession of the secrets of the Craft, which they were not to communicate unlawfully, is found in

 

subsequent Constitutions, as late as 1693. In the York Constitutions, first published by Bro. Hughan in his History of Freemasonry in York, under the title of "The Apprentice

 

(1) Halliwell MS., lines 275‑286. (2) Similar to this is "The Apprentice Charge" contained in the Lodge of

 

Hope MS., the date of which is 1680. It says that the Apprentice "shall keep counsell in all things spoken in lodge or chamber by fellowes or free masons."

 

Charge," it is said that "he shall keepe councell in all things spoken in

 

Lodg or Chamber by any Masons, Fellowes or Fremasons."

 

The Masonic student, while carefully perusing the Old Records of the English Masons and comparing them with those of the Scotch, will be struck with one important difference between them. In the Scotch

 

Statutes, Constitutions, and Minutes, the Apprentices assume a prominent position, and are always spoken of as a component and necessary part of the brotherhood.

 

Thus, the Schaw statutes prescribe the fee for the admission of Fellow‑

 

Crafts, followed immediately by another prescribing the fee for the admission of Apprentices; twice in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (1706 and 1709) it is recorded that a notary who was appointed for the purpose of acting as "clerk to the brethren masons" was initiated as Jane

 

entered Apprentice and Fellow‑Craft," (1) and lastly, Apprentices were required to be present at the admission of Fellow‑Crafts and Masters.

 

I think, therefore, that the most eminent Masonic historians of the present

 

day have been justified in the conclusion to which they have arrived after a careful examination of old documents, that until a short time after the organization of the Grand Lodge in the year 1717, there is no evidence of

 

the existence of more than one degree; that all the secrets were communicated to the Apprentices, and that the ceremony of passing to a Fellow‑Craft was simply a testing of the candidate's fitness for employment as a journeyman. (2)

 

Bro. Hughan says that "no record prior to the second decade of the last

 

century ever mentions Masonic degrees, and all the MSS. preserved decidedly confirm us in the belief that in the mere Operative (although partly Speculative) career of Freemasonry the ceremony of reception was

 

of a most unpretentious and simple character, mainly for the communication of certain lyrics and secrets, and for the conservation of ancient customs of the Craft." (3)

 

In another place the same distinguished writer says: "I have carefully

 

perused all the known Masonic MSS. from the 14th century down to A.D 1717 (of which I have eitherseen the originals or

 

(1) Lyon, " History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 43. (2) Such is the opinion of Bro. Lyon. See "History of the Lodge of

 

Edinburgh," p. 233, (3) Voice of Masonry, vol. xii., June, 1874, p. 340.

 

have certified copies), and have not been able to find any reference to three degrees." (1)

 

Bro. Findel says: "Originally it seems there was but one degree of initiation in the year 1717; the degrees or grades of Apprentice, Fellow,

 

and Master were introduced about the year 1720." (2)

 

Bro. Lyon, also, who has thoroughly investigated the customs of the early Scottish lodges, in referring to the Schaw statute, which required two

 

Apprentices to be present at the admission of Fellows, says that in 1693 "the lodge recognized 'passing,' i.e., a promotion to the fellowship, simply as an 'honour and dignity.'" And he adds:

 

"If the communication by Mason Lodges of secret words or signs

 

constituted a degree ‑ a term of modern application to the esoteric observances of the Masonic body ‑ then there was under the purely Operative regime only one known to Scotch lodges, viz., that in which, under an oath, Apprentices obtained a knowledge of the Mason Word and

 

all that was implied in the expression." (3)

 

Even Dr. Oliver, who, of all writers, is the least skeptical in respect to Masonic traditions, acknowledges that there is no evidence of the existence of degrees in Freemasonry anterior to the beginning of the 18th century.

 

The only living Masonic scholar of any eminence who, so far as I am aware, denies or doubts this fact is the Rev. Bro. W. A. Woodford, and he asserts his opinion rather negatively, as if he were unwilling to doubt,

 

than positively as if he were ready to deny the fact, that the old Operative system consisted of but one degree.

 

As Bro. Woodford is one whose learning and experience entitle his opinion on any point of Masonic history to a deferential consideration, it

 

will be proper to examine the weight of his arguments on this subject.

 

In the year 1874 Bro. Hughan proposed, in the London Freemason, to defend in future communications three historical statements against anyone who should oppugn them.

 

 

 

(1) Cited by Lyon in "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 211. (2) "History of Freemasonry," p. 150, Lyon's Translation. (3) Lyon, " History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 23.

 

One of these statements was made in the following words:

 

"The references to Masonic degrees (as we understand the term now) never occur in the ancient minutes; no rituals of degrees prior to 1720 are in existence, and whatever esoteric customs may have been communicated to Craftsmen before the last century, they do not appear to

 

have necessitated the temporary absence of either class of members from the Lodge." (1)

 

To this challenge Bro. Woodford responded in a subsequent number of the same paper. (2)

 

The gist of our learned Brother's argument in reply appears to be that

 

though, as Vaughan asserts, there may be no ritual evidence of the existence of the three degrees before 1720, yet "such a proposition need not be understood as asserting that they did not exist, but only that, so far, we have no ritual evidence of their distinct existence as now."

 

As a logical conclusion, it appears to me that such a disposition of the question is wholly untenable. It was an excellent maxim of the schools, which has been adopted in philosophy, in physical science, and in law,

 

thats "of things which do not appear and of things which do not exist, the reasoning is the same." (3)

 

We can only arrive at a correct judgment when we are guided by evidence; without it no judgment can be reasonably formed.

 

Dr. Hedge, in his excellent manual of logic, says: "The proof that the Romans once possessed Great Britain is made up of a rariety of independent arguments: as immemorial tradition; the testimony of historians; the ruins of Roman buildings, camps, and walls; Roman coins,

 

inscriptions, and the like. These are independent arguments; but they all conspire to establish the fact." (4)

 

Now, if we apply this method of reasoning to the question of the existence of Masonic degrees prior to the year 1720, we shall see clearly how

 

completely the affirmative proposition is without support. We have no immemorial tradition, no historical testimony, no allusion in old documents, such as the manuscript Constitutions, the minutes of the Scottish or of the very few English lodges that are extant, nor in the

 

English or German Freemasons, which tend

 

(1) London freemason, June 27, 1874. (2) Ibid., July 27, 1874. (3) De non apparentibus et de non existentibus, eadem est ratio. (4) "Elements of Logic," by Levi Hedge, LL.D., Boston, 1827, p. 74

 

 

 

to prove the existence of degrees in the old system of Operative Freemasonry. On the contrary, we have abundant evidence in these Constitutions and minutes that the secrets of the Craft were common to the three classes, and that Apprentices were required to he present at the

 

admission of Masters.

 

The other argument of Bro. Woodford is, that, "notwithstanding the Scotch lodges had an open court for their members, that does not preclude the possibility of the existence of other secrets and separate degrees."

 

It is possible, but it does not thence follow that it is true. In this investigation we seek not possibilities but facts, and, as Bro. Woodford, usually so careful and so accurate in his historical and archaeological

 

inquiries, has supplied no proof of the hypothesis which he has advanced, it must be accepted as a mere assumption, and may be fairly met with a contrary one.

 

But the remarks of Bro. Hughan himself, in reply to the argument of Bro.

 

Woodford, are so conclusive and throw so much light upon this interesting subject that I can not refrain from enriching the pages of this work with the very words of this eminent authority in Masonic archaeology. (1)

 

"Now what do the old lodge minutes say on this subject ? we have had

 

authorized excerpts from these valuable books published (with few exceptions). The whole of the volumes have been most diligently and carefully searched, the result made known, and every Masonic student furnished with the testimony of these important witnesses, all of which,

 

from the 16th century to the first half of the second decade of the 18th century, unite in proving that there is no register of any assembly of Masons working ceremonies or communicating 'secrets' from which any

 

portion of the Fraternity was excluded or denied participation; neither can there be found a single reference in these lodge minutes to justify one in assuming 'three degrees' to be even known to the brethren prior to A.D. 1716‑1717. (2) Of course, there can be no doubt as to what may be

 

termed grades in Ancient Masonry, Apprentices had to serve their 'regular time' before being accounted Fellow‑Crafts, and then subsequently the office

 

(1) Contained in article in the London Masonic Magazine for August,

 

1874. (2) The learned Brother makes here a rather too liberal admission. I have found no evidence of the existence of three degrees in the year 1717, and it will be hereafter seen that their fabrication is assigned to a later date.

 

 

 

or position of Master Mason was conferred upon a select few; but no word is ever said about 'degrees.' All the members were evidently eligible to attend at the introduction of Fellow‑Crafts and Master Masons, as well as at the admission of Apprentices; and so far as the records throw light on

 

the customs of our early brethren, the Apprentices were as welcome at the election and reception of Masters ‑ as the latter were required to participate in the initiation of the former.

 

"We are quite willing to grant, for the sake of argument, that a word may

 

have been whispered in the ear of the Master of the lodge (or of Master Masons) on their introduction or constitution in the lodge; but supposing that such were the case (and we think the position is at least probable),

 

the 'three degrees' are as far from being proved as before, especially as we have never yet traced any intimation, ever so slight, of a special ceremony at the 'passing' of Fellow‑Crafts, peculiar to that grade, and from which Apprentices were excluded.

 

"If we have overlooked such a minute, we shall be only too glad to acknowledge the fact; but at present we must reiterate our conviction, that whatever the ceremonies may have been at the introduction of Fellow‑ Crafts and Master Masons anterior to the last century, they were not such as to require the exclusion of Apprentices from the lodge meetings; and in the absence of any positive information on the subject, we are not justified in assuming the existence of 'three degrees of Masonry' at that period; or,

 

in other words, we can only fairly advocate that two have existed of which we have evidence, and whatever else we may fancy was known, should only be advocated on the grounds of probability. If the proof of 'three

 

degrees' before 1717 is to rest on the authority of the Sloane MS. 3329, we shall be glad to give our opinion on the subject.

 

"With all respect, then, for our worthy Brother, the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, whose exertions and contributions to Masonic literature have

 

been continuous and most valuable for many years, we feel bound to state we do not believe according to the evidences accumulated that the 'three degrees were distinct grades in the Operative Order; but that the term Apprentice, Fellow‑Craft, and Master Mason simply denoted

 

Masonic, relative, or official positions.'"

 

If, then, there was originally but one degree, the one into which Freemasons of every class or rank were initiated, according to a very simple form, upon their admission to the Craft, it follows that the degree

 

Fellow‑Craft and Master Mason must be of comparatively recent origin. This is legitimately a logical conclusion that can not, I believe, be avoided.

 

And if so, then the next question that we have to meet and discuss is as

 

to the time and the circumstances of the fabrication of these degrees

 

P. 956

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXIV

 

INVENTION OF THE FELLOW‑CRAFT'S DEGREE

 

IT having been satisfactorily shown, first, that during the existence of pure Operative Freemasonry there was but one degree, or ritual, of admission,

 

or system of secret working in a lodge, which was accessible in common to all the members of the Craft, Apprentices as well as Fellows and Masters; secondly, that in the year 1717, when the Speculative element

 

began to assume a hitherto unknown prominence, though it did not at once attempt to dissever the connection with the Operative, the Grand Lodge then formed, accepted, and practiced for some time this system of a single degree; and thirdly, that in the year 1723 we have the authentic

 

documentary evidence of the "General Regulations " published in that year, that two degrees had been superimposed on this original one, and that at that time Speculative Freemasonry consisted of three degrees; it

 

follows as a natural inference, that in the interval of six years, between 1717 and 1723, the two supplemental degrees must have been invented or fabricated.

 

It must be here remarked, parenthetically, that the word degree, in reference to the system practiced by the Operative Freemasons, is used

 

only in a conventional sense, and for the sake of convenience. To say, as is sometimes carelessly said, that the Operative Freemasons possessed only the Apprentice's degree, is to speak incorrectly. The system

 

practiced by the Operatives may be called a degree, if you choose, but it was not peculiar to Apprentices only, but belonged in common to all the ranks or classes of the Fraternity.

 

When the Speculative branch wholly separated from the Operative, and

 

three divisions of the Order, then properly called degrees, were invented, this ritual of the latter became the basis of them all. Portions of it were greatly modified and much developed, and became what is now known as the First degree, though it continued for many years to receive increments

 

by the invention of new sym. bols and new ceremonies, and by sometimes undergoing important changes. Other portions of it, but to a less extent, were incorporated into the two supplemental degrees, the Second and the

 

Third.

 

Thus it was that by development of the old ritual, and by the invention of a new one, the ancient system, or, conventionally speaking, the original degree of the Operatives, became the Entered Apprentice's degree of the

 

Speculatives, and two new degrees, one for the Fellow‑Crafts and one for the Master Masons, were invented.

 

Then the important and most interesting question recurs, When and by whom were these two new degrees invented and introduced into the modern system of Speculative Freemasonry?

 

The answer to this question which, at this day, would probably be given by nearly all the Masonic scholars who have, without preconceived prejudices, devoted themselves to the investigation of the history of Freemasonry, as it is founded on and demonstrated by the evidence of

 

authentic documents, combined with natural and logical inferences and not traditionary legends and naked assumptions, is that they were the invention of that recognized ritualist, Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers,

 

with the co‑operation of Dr. James Anderson, and perhaps a few others, among whom it would not be fair to omit the name of George Payne. The time of this invention or fabrication would be placed after the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717, and before the publication of the first edition of

 

its Book of Constitutions in 1723.

 

To the time and manner of the fabrication of the Fellow‑Craft's degree the writers who have adopted the theory here announced have not paid so much attention as they have to that of the Master Mason. Recognizing the

 

fact that the two supplementary degrees were fabricated between the years 1717 and 1723, they have not sought to define the precise date, and seem to have been willing to believe them to have been of

 

contemporaneous origin.

 

But after as careful an investigation as I was capable of making, I have been led to the conclusion that the fabrication of the degree of Fellow‑ Craft preceded that of Master Mason by three or four years, and that the

 

system of Speculative Freemasonry had been augmented by the addition of a new degree to the original one in or about the year 1719.

 

There is documentary evidence of an authentic character which proves the existence of a "Fellow‑Craft's part" in the year 1720, while it is not

 

until the year 1723 that we find any record alluding to the fact that there was a " Master's part."

 

Hence, in a chronological point of view, it may be said that the single degree or ritual in which, and in the secrets of which, all classes of

 

workmen, from the Apprentice to the Master, equally participated, constituted, under various modifications, a part of Operative Freemasonry from the earliest times. The possession of those secrets, simple as they were, distinguished the Freemasons from the Rough Layers in England,

 

from the Cowans in Scotland, and from the Surer, or Wall Builders, in Germany.

 

This degree, in its English form, was the only one known or practiced in London in the year 1717, at the era which has incorrectly been called the

 

"Revival." The degree of Fellow‑Craft, in the modern signification of the word degree, was incorporated into the system, probably a very few years after the organization of the Grand Lodge, and was fully recognized as a degree in the year 1719, or perhaps early in 1720.

 

Finally, the Third or Master's degree was added, so as to make the full complement of degrees as they now exist, between the years 1720 and 1723 ‑ certainly not before the former nor after the latter period.

 

Of this theory we have, I think, documentary evidence of so authentic a character, that we must be irresistibly led to the conclusion that the theory is correct.

 

Bro. Lyon, in his History of thve Lodge of Edinburgh, cites a record which has a distinct relevancy to the question of the time when the Second

 

degree originated. It is contained in the minutes of the Lodge of Dunblane, under the date of December 27, 1720, which is about sixteen years prior to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

 

The minute records that a lawyer, and therefore a Theoretic Mason, who had formerly been entered, had, after a due examination, been " duely passed from the Squair to the Compass and from ane Entered Prentiss to a Fellow of Craft." In commenting on this minute, Bro. Lyon says:

 

"It would appear from this that what under the modern ritual of the Fraternity is a symbol peculiar to the Second Degree, was, under the system which obtained in Scotland prior to the introduction of the Third

 

Degree, the distinctive emblem of the Entered Apprentice step ‑ and what is now a leading symbol in the degree of Master Mason, was then indicative of the Fellow‑Craft, or highest grade of Lodge membership.'' (1)

 

This authentic record surely corroborates the theory just advanced that

 

the Fellow‑Craft's degree was formulated in London after the year 1717 and before the close of the year 1720. Here, I think, we are warranted in pursuing the following method of deduction.

 

If the first notice of the degree of Fellow‑Craft being conferred in

 

Scotland, as a degree, occurs in the record of a lodge in the last days of the year 1720; and if, as we know from other sources, that Scotland derived the expanded system of degrees from the sister kingdom; then it

 

is reasonable to suppose that the degree must have been given in Scotland at as early a period after its fabrication in England as was compatible with a due allowance of time for its transmission from the lodges of the latter kingdom to those of the former, and for the necessary

 

preparation for its legal adoption.

 

The degree must, of course, have been practiced in London for some time before it would be transmitted to other places, and hence we may accept the hypothesis, as something more than a mere presumption, that the

 

Second degree had been invented by Desaguliers and his collaborators on the ritual of the new Grand Lodge in the course of the year 1719, certainly not later than the beginning of the year 1720.

 

Between the 24th of June, 1717, when the Grand Lodge was established,

 

and the end of the year 1718, the period of less than eighteen months which had elapsed was too brief to permit the overthrow of a long‑existing system, endeared to the Craft by its comparative antiquity. Time and

 

opportunity were required for the removal of opposition, the conciliation of prejudices, and the preparation of rituals, all of which would bring us to the year 1719 as the conjectural date of the fabrication of the Second degree.

 

It is highly probable that the degree was not thoroughly formulated and

 

legally introduced into the ritual until after the 24th of June, 1719, when Desaguliers, who was then Grand Master, and the Proto‑Grand Master, Sayer, who was then one of the Grand Wardens,

 

(1) No reference is here made to the subsequent disseverment of the Third degree which resulted in the composition of the Royal arch degree, as that subject will be here‑ after fully discussed.

 

had, from their official positions, sufficient influence to cause the

 

acceptance of the new degree by the Grand Lodge.

 

We can gather very little, except inferentially, from the meager records of Anderson, and yet he shows us that there was certainly an impetus given to the Order in 1719, which might very well have been derived from the

 

invention of a new and more attractive ritual.

 

Anderson says, referring to the year 1719, that "now several old brothers, that had neglected the Craft, visited the lodges; some noblemen were also made brothers, and more new lodges were constituted."

 

The record of the preceding year tells us that the Grand Master Payne had desired the brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings concerning Masonry "in order to shew the usages of ancient times."

 

Northouck, a later but not a discreditable authority, expanding the

 

language of his predecessor, says that "the wish expressed at the Grand Lodge for collecting old manuscripts, appears to have been preparatory to the compiling and publishing a body of Masonical Constitutions."

 

I can see in this act the suggestion of the idea then beginning to be entertained by the Speculative leaders of the new society to give it a more elevated character by the adoption of new laws and a new form of ceremonies. To guide them in this novel attempt, they desired to obtain all

 

accessible information as to old usages.

 

And now, some of the older Operative Craftsmen, becoming alarmed at what they believed was an effort to make public the secrets which had been so scrupulously preserved from the eyes of the profane by their

 

predecessors, and who were unwilling to aid in the contemplated attempt to change the old ritual, an attempt which had been successful in the fabrication of a Second degree, and the modification of the First, resolved

 

to throw obstructions in the way of any further innovations.

 

This will account for the fact recorded by Anderson that, between June, 1719, and June, 1720, (1) several valuable manuscripts concerning the ancient " regulations, charges, secrets, and usages "

 

 

 

(1) Dr. Anderson, in his chronological records, counts the years from the installation of one Grand Master in June to that of the next in June of the following year.

 

were "burnt by some scrupulous brothers, that those papers might not fall

 

into strange hands."

 

The records do not say so, in as many words, but we may safely infer from their tenor that the conflict had begun between the old Operative Freemasons who desired to see no change from the ancient ways, and

 

the more liberal‑minded Theoretic members, who were anxious to develop the system and to have a more intellectual ritual ‑ a conflict which terminated in 1723 with the triumph of the Theoretics and the defeat of the Operatives, who retired from the field and left the institution of

 

Speculative Freemasonry to assume the form which it has ever since retained, as "a science of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," a definition which would be wholly inapplicable to the old Operative system.

 

In the minute of the Dunblane Lodge which has been cited through Bro. Lyon, it was said that the candidate in being advanced from an Entered Apprentice to a Fellow‑Craft had "passed from the Square to the Compass."

 

It is curious and significant that this expression was adopted on the

 

Continent at a very early period of the 18th century, when the hautes grades or high degrees began to be manufactured. With the inventors of these new degrees the Square was the symbol of Craft Masonry, while

 

the Compass was the appropriate emblem of what they called their more elevated system of instruction. Hence, instead of the Square which is worn by the Master of an Ancient Craft Lodge, the Master of a Lodge of Perfection substitutes the Compasses as the appropriate badge of his

 

office.

 

But in Ancient Craft Masonry, with whose history alone we are now dealing, the Compass is at this day a symbol peculiar to the Third degree, while it would seem from the above‑cited minute that in the beginning of

 

the 18th century it was appropriate to the Fellow‑Crafts.

 

In commenting on this phrase in the record of the Lodge of Dunblane, Bro. Lyon makes the following remarks:

 

"To some it will appear to favor the theory which attributes the existence of the Third degree to a disjunction and a rearrangement of the parts of

 

which the Second was originally composed."

 

I have no objection to accept this theory in part. I believe, and the hypothesis is a very tenable one, that when the Second degree was fabricated, the secrets, the ritual, and instructions which were formerly comprised in the single degree which was then given to the whole Craft, indiscriminately, to Apprentices, to Fellows, and to Masters alike, were divided between the two degrees which were then formulated, with certain

 

new additions; and that subsequently, when the Third degree was invented, there was a further disintegration, and a portion of that which had constituted the "part of a Fellow‑Craft " was, with many new points, transferred to that of the Master.

 

I have thus, by what I believe to be a tenable hypothesis, sought to fix the time of the first expansion of the old ritual of the Operatives, which was for a short time made use of, in all its simplicity, by the Speculative Grand

 

Lodge.

 

The next step in this expansion was the fabrication of the Third or Master Mason's degree. To the time when this important event took place and to the circumstances attending it we are now to direct our attention. This shall therefore be the subject to be treated in the following chapter.

 

P. 963

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXV

 

NON‑EXISTENCE OF A MASTER MASON'S DEGREE AMONG THE OPERATIVE FREEMASONS

 

The history of the origin of the Third or Master's degree ‑ that is, so much of it as refers to the precise time of its invention ‑ has, at this day, been

 

involved in much doubt, and been the source of earnest controversy in consequence of the searching investigations of recent scholars, whose incisive criticism has shown many theories to be untenable which were

 

once held to be plausible.

 

Until within a few years the opinion was universally entertained that the Third degree must have been in existence from the time of the invention of the Masonic system, and at whatever period that event was placed, the

 

doctrine was held as indisputable that the First, the Second, and the Third degrees must have had a contemporaneous origin, no one preceding the other in point of time, but all springing at the same epoch into form and practice.

 

The theory that Freemasonry originated at the Temple of Solomon was for

 

a very long time a universally accepted proposition, constituting, in fact, the orthodox creed of a Freemason, and conscientiously adopted, not merely by the common and unlearned masses of the Fraternity, but even

 

by Masonic scholars of distinguished reputation.

 

Consequent upon this theory was another, that at the same time the Master's degree was invented and that the builders of the Temple were divided into the same three classes distinguished as de. greed which

 

constitute the present system of Freemasonry.

 

This theory was derived from the esoteric narrative contained in the modern ritual of the Third degree. If this narrative is accepted as an authentic history of events which actually occurred at that time, then there

 

need be no more difficulty in tracing the in vention of the Third degree to the time of King Solomon than there can be in placing the origin of Freemasonry at the same remote period.

 

But unfortunately for the repose of those who would be willing to solve a

 

difficult problem by the Alexandrian method of cutting the Gordian knot, rather than by the slower process of analytical investigation, the theory of the Temple origin of the Master's degree has now been repudiated by

 

nearly all Masonic scholars. A few may be accepted who, like Bro. Woodford, still express a doubtful recognition of the possibility that the legend may be true. (1)

 

Thus Bro. Woodford, referring to the Temple legend, says: "As there is no

 

a priori reason why an old Masonic tradition should not be true in the main, we see no reason to reject the world‑wide story of King Solomon's protection of a Masonic association. Indeed, modern discovery seems to strengthen the reality of our Masonic legends, and we should always, as it

 

appears to us, distinguish between what is possible and probable and what is actually provable or proved by indubitable evidence." In reply to this it must be remembered that of all the arguments in favor of an event,

 

the possibility of its occurrence is the weakest that can be adduced. In dialectics there is an almost illimitable gulf between possibility and actuality. A hundred things may be possible or even probable, and yet not one of them may be actual. With the highest respect for the scholarship of

 

our reverend Brother, I am compelled to dissent from the views he has here expressed. Nor am I prepared to accept the statement that "modern discovery seems to strengthen the reality of our Masonic legends." A

 

contrary opinion now generally prevails, though it must be admitted that the modern interpretations of these legends have given them a value, as the expression of symbolic ideas, which does not pertain to them when accepted, as they formerly were, as truthful narratives.

 

The Temple legend, however, must be retained as a part of the ritual as long as the present system of Speculative Freemasonry exists, and the legendary and allegorical narrative must be repeated by the Master of the lodge on the occasion of every initiation into the mysteries of the Third

 

degree, because, though it is no longer to be accepted as an historical statement, yet the events which it records are still recognized as a myth containing within itself, and

 

(1) Kenning's "Masonic Cyclopedia," art. Temple of Solomon, p. 612.

 

 

 

independent of all question of probability, a symbolical significance of the highest importance.

 

This mythical legend of the Temple, and of the Temple Builder, must ever remain an inseparable part of the Masonic ritual, and the narrative must

 

be repeated on all appropriate occasions, because, without this legend, Speculative Masonry would lose its identity and would abandon the very object of its original institution. On this legend, whether true or false,

 

whether a history or a myths is the most vital portion of the symbolism of Freemasonry founded.

 

In the interpretation of a legendary symbol or an allegory it is a matter of no consequence to the value of the interpretation whether the legend be

 

true or false; the interpretation alone is of importance. We need not, for instance, inquire whether the story of Hiram Abif is a narrative which is true in all its parts, or merely a historical myth in which truth and fiction are variously blended, or, in fact, only the pious invention of some

 

legendmaker, to whose fertile imagination it has been indebted for all its details.

 

It is sufficient when we are occupied in an investigation of subjects connected with the science of symbolism, that the symbol which the

 

legend is intended to develop should be one that teaches some dogma whose truth we can not doubt. The symbologist looks to the truth or fitness of the symbol, not to that of the legend on which it is founded. Thus it is that we should study the different myths and traditions which are

 

embodied in the ritual of Freemasonry.

 

But when we abandon the role of the symbologist or ritualist, and assume that of the historian ‑ when, for the time, we no longer interest ourselves

 

in the lessons of Masonic symbolism, but apply our attention to the origin and the progress of the institution, then it really becomes of importance that we should inquire whether the narrative of certain supposed events which have hitherto been accepted as truthful, are really historical or

 

merely mythical or legendary.

 

And, therefore, when the question is asked in an historical sense, at what time the Third degree was invented, and in the expectation that the reply will be based on authentic historical authority, we at once repudiate the

 

whole story of its existence at the Temple of Solomon as a mere myth, having, it is true, its value as a symbol but being entitled to no consideration whatever as an historical narrative.

 

It is, however, most unfortunate for the study of Masonic history that so

 

many writers on this subject, forgetting that all history must have its basis in truth, have sought rather to charm their readers by romantic episodes than to instruct them by a sober detail of facts. One instance of this kind

 

may be cited as an example from the visionary speculations of Ragon, a French writer of great learning, but of still greater imagination.

 

In his Orthvodoxie Mafonnifue he has attributed the invention of all the degrees to Elias Ashmole, near the end of the 17th century. He says that the degree of Master Mason was formulated soon after the year 1648, but that the decapitation of King Charles I., and the part taken by Ashmole in favor of the House of Stuart, led to great modifications in the ritual of the

 

degree, and that the same epoch saw the birth of the degrees of Secret Master, Perfect Master, Elect, and Irish Master, of all of which Charles the First was the hero, under the name of Hiram. (1)

 

Assertions like this are hardly worth the paper and ink that would be

 

consumed in refuting them. Unlike the so‑called historical novel which has its basis in a distortion of history, they resemble rather the Arabian Tales or the Travels of Gulliver, which owe their existence solely to the

 

imaginative genius of their authors.

 

Still there are some writers of more temperate judgment who, while they reject the Temple theory, still claim for the Third degree an antiquity of no certain date, but much anterior to the time of the organization of the

 

Grand Lodge in the beginning of the I8th century.

 

Thus, Bro. Hyde Clark, in an article in the London Freemasons' Magazine, says that "the ritual of the Third degree is peculiar and suggestive of its containing matter from the old body of Masonry," whence

 

he concludes that it is older than the time of the so‑called Revival in 1717, and he advances a theory that the First degree was in that olden time conferred on minors, while the Second and Third were restricted to adults.

 

(2)

 

This view of the origin of the degrees can only be received as a

 

(1) "Orthodoxie Maconnique," par J. M. Ragon, Paris, 1853, p. 29. (2) "Old Freemasonry before Grand Lodges," by Hyde Clark, in the London Freemasons' Magazine, No. 534.

 

 

 

bare assumption, for there is not a particle of authentic evidence to show that it has an historical foundation. No old document has been yet discovered which gives support to the hypothesis that there were ceremonies or esoteric instructions before the year 1719 which were

 

conferred upon a peculiar class. All the testimony of the Old Records and manuscript Constitutions is to the effect that there was but one reception for the Craftsmen, to which all, from the youngest to the oldest Mason,

 

were admitted.

 

It is true that one of the Old Records, known as the Sloane MS. 3329, mentions different modes of recognition, one of which was peculiar to Masters, and is called in the manuscript "their Master's gripe," and another is called "their gripe for fellowcrafts."

 

Of the many Masonic manuscripts which, within the last few years have been discovered and published, this is perhaps one of the most important and interesting. Findel first inserted a small portion of it in his History of Freemasonry, but the whole of it in an unmutilated form was subsequently

 

published by Bro. Woodford in 1872, and also by Hughan in the same year in the Voice of Masonry. It was discovered among the papers of Sir Hans Sloane which were deposited in the British Museum, and there is

 

numbered 3329. Bro. Hughan supposes that the date of this manuscript is between 1640 and 1700; Messrs. Bond and Sims, of the British Museum, think that the date is "probably of the beginning of the 18th century." Findel thinks that it was originally in the possession of Dr. Plot, and that it

 

was one of the sources whence he derived his views on Freemasonry. He places its date at about the end of the 17th century. Bro. Woodford cites the authority of Mr. Wallbran for fixing its date in the early part of that

 

century, in which opinion he coincides. The paper‑mark of the manuscript in the British Museum appears to have been a copy of an older one, for Bro. Woodford states that though the paper‑mark is of the early part of the 18th century, experts will not deny that the language is that of the

 

17th. He believes, and very reasonably, that it represents the cerernonial through which Ashmole passed in 1646.

 

As this is the only Old Record in which a single passage is to be found

 

which, by the most liberal exegesis, can be construed even into an allusion to the existence of a Third degree with a separate ritual before the end of the second decade of the 18th century, it may be well to quote such passages of the manuscript as appear to have any bearing on the

 

question.

 

The methods of recognition for Fellow‑Crafts and Masters is thus described in the Sloane MS.:

 

"Their gripe for fellow craftes is grasping their right hands in each other, thrusting their thumb naile upon the third joynt of each others first Fing'r;

 

their masters gripe is grasping their right hands in each other; placing their four fingers nailes hard upon the carpus or end of others wrists, and their thumb nailes thrust hard directly between the second joynt of the

 

thumb and the third joynt of the first Finger; but some say the mast'rs grip is the same I last described, only each of their middle Fing'rs must reach an inch or three barley corns length higher to touch upon a vein y't comes from the heart."

 

No indication is to be found in this passage of the existence at the time of three degrees and three separate rituals. All that it tells us is that the Fellow‑Crafts were provided with one form of salutation and the Masters with another, and we are left in uncertainty whether these forms used by

 

one class were unknown to the other, or whether the forms were openly used only to distinguish one class from the other, as the number of stripes on the arm distinguish the grades of non‑commissioned officers in the

 

army.

 

That the latter was the use would appear evident from the fact that the close of the passage leaves it uncertain that the "gripes" were not identical, or at least with a very minute difference. "Some say," adds the writer, "the Master's grip is the same" as the FellowCraft's ‑ "only" ‑ and

 

then he gives the hardly appreciable variation.

 

Here is another passage which appears to show that no value was attached to the use of the grip as marking a degree, though it might be employed to distinguish a rank or class.

 

"Another salutation," says the manuscript, "is giving the Masters or fellows grip, saying the right worshipful the mast'rs and fellows in that right worshipful lodge from whence we last came, greet you, greet you, greet

 

you well, then he will reply, God's good greeting to you, dear brother."

 

Here I take it that all that is meant is that the Masters saluted with the grip peculiar to their class, and the Fellows that peculiar to theirs. But what has become of the Apprentices ? Did they salute with the grip of the

 

Fellows or that of the Masters? If so, they must have been acquainted with one or both, and then the secret instruction incidental to the condition of degrees and a distinct ritual must be abandoned, or the Apprentices

 

were not admitted to the privileges of the Craft, and were debarred from a recognition as members of a lodge.

 

Let the following questions and answers decide that point. They are contained in the manuscript, and there called "a private discourse by way

 

of question and answer."

 

"Q. Where were you made a mason ?

 

"A. In a just and perfect or just and lawful lodge.

 

"Q. What is a perfect or just and lawful lodge ?

 

"A. A just and perfect lodge is two Interprintices two fellow crafts, and two

 

Mast'rs, more or fewer, the more the merrier, the fewer the better chear, but if need require five will serve, that is, two Interprintices, two fellow crafted and one Mast'r on the highest hill or the lowest valley of the world without the crow of a cock or the bark of a dog."

 

This was no lodge of Master Masons, nor of Fellow‑Crafts, nor of Entered Apprentices, as they have been distinguished since the establishment of degrees. It was simply a lodge of Freemasons to legalize and perfect

 

whose character it was necessary that representatives of all the classes should be present. The Apprentices forming a part of the lodge must have been privy to all its secrets; and this idea is sustained by all the Old Constitutions and "Charges" in which the Apprentices are enjoined to

 

keep the secrets of the lodge.

 

The manuscript speaks of two words, "the Mast'r Word" and " the Mason word." The latter is said to have been given in a certain form, which is described. It is possible that the former may have been communicated to

 

Masters as a privilege attached to their rank, while the latter was communicated to the whole Craft. In a later ritual it has been seen that there were two words, "the Jerusalem Word" and "the universal word," but

 

both were known to the whole Fraternity. The Sloane MS. does not positively state that the two words used in its ritual were like these two, or that the Master's was confined to one class. It is, however, likely that this Word was a privileged mark of distinction to be used only by the Masters,

 

though possibly known to the rest of the Fraternity. How else could it be given in the lodge where the three classes were present ? Bro. Lyon has arrived at the same conclusion. He says: " It is our opinion that in primitive

 

times there were no secrots communicated by Lodges to either fellows or craft or master's that were not known to apprentices, seeing that members of the latter grade were necessary to the legal constitution of communications for the admission of masters or fellows." (1) The

 

argument, indeed, appears to be unanswerable.

 

The Word might, however, as has been suggested, have been whispered by the Master communicating it to the one to whom it was communicated. If this were so, it supplies us with the origin of the modern Past Master's

 

degree. But even then it could only be considered as a privileged mark of a rank or class of the Crafts men and not as the evidence of a degree.

 

I will merely suggest, but I will not press the argument, that it is not

 

impossible that by a clerical mistake, or through some confusion in the mind of the writer, "Mast'r Word" may have been written for "Mason Word," an expression which has been made familiar to us in the minutes of the Scottish lodges, and which is the onlv word the secrecy of which is

 

required by the oath that is contained in the manuscript. On the other hand, " Master Word " is a phrase not met with in any other manuscript, Scotch or English.

 

The "Oath," which forms a part of the Sloane MS., supplies itself the

 

strongest proof that, during the period in which it formed a part of the ritual, that ritual must have been one common to the three classes; in other words, there could have been but one degree, because there was but one obligation of secrecy imposed, and the secrets, whatever they

 

were, must have been known to all Freemasons, to the Apprentices as well as on to the Master. The "Oath" is in the following words:

 

"The Mason Word and everything therein contained you shall keep

 

secret, you shall never put it in writing directly or indirectly; you shall keep all that we or your attenders shall bid you keep secret from man, woman or child, stock or stone, and never reveal it but to a brother or in a Lodge of Freemasons, and truly observe the charges in the Constitution; all this

 

you promise and swear faithfully to keep and observe, without any manner of equivocation or mental reservation, directly or indirectly; so help you God and the contents of this Book."

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 23.

 

 

 

The "Mason Word," with the secrets connected with it, formed a very prominent part of the ritual of the Scotch Freemasons, though there is no reference to it in any of the English manuscripts except in the Sloane.

 

In fact, so important was this word considered as to be sometimes figuratively employed to designate the whole body of the Fraternity. Thus, in a record of the Musselburgh Lodge, in December, 1700, where complaint is made of the great disorders into which the lodge had fallen, it

 

is said, among other evils, that the practice of Fellow Grafts encouraging Apprentices to take work as journeymen, " at last, by degrees, will bring all law and order and consequently the Mason Word to contempt " (1) ‑

 

where, evidently by a figure of speech, it is meant that the Fraternity or Craft of Masonry will be brought to contempt.

 

In the Lodge of Edinburgh, which was the principal Lodge of Scotland, and whose records have been best preserved, the Masons or employers

 

were, up to the beginning of the 18th century, the dominant power, and seldom called the Fellows or Craftsmen of an inferior class, who were only journeymen, into their counsel.

 

The controversy between the Masters and journeymen, which led, in

 

1712, to the establishment of a new lodge, are faithfully de scribed by Bro. Lyon from the original records. (2) It is sufficient here to say that one of the principal grievances complained of by the latter was in respect to the giving of the Mason Word, with the secrets connected with it and the

 

fees arising from it. The Masters claimed the right to confer it and to dispose of the fee, so to speak, of initiation.

 

Finally, the controversy was partially ended by arbitration. The "Decreet‑

 

Arbitral," as is the Scottish legal phrase, or award of the arbitrators made on January 17, 1715, has been recorded, and has been published by Bro. Lyon. The only point of importance to the present subject is that the arbitrators decreed that the journeymen Masons, that is, the Fellow‑

 

Crafts, should be allowed "to meet together by themselves, as a Society for giving the Mason Word and to receive dues therefor."

 

From this fact it is clearly evident that the knowledge of the

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 175.

 

(2) Ibid., p. 140

 

"Mason Word" and the secrets pertaining to it formed no part of a degree exclusively confined to the Masters, but that all esoteric knowledge in connection with this subject was also the property of the Fellow‑Crafts,

 

and of the Apprentices, too, because it has been shown that they were required to be present at all lodge meetings.

 

The expression, "Mason Word," which is common in the Scottish lodge records, has been, so far, found only in one English manuscript, the

 

Sloane 3329. But as the theory is now generally accepted as having been proved, that the Scottish Freemasons derived their secrets from their English brethren, there can hardly be a doubt that the regulations relative to this Word must have been nearly the same in both countries.

 

That this was the case after the organization of the Grand Lodge of England, there can be no doubt. It is proved by the visit of Dr. Desaguliers to Edinburgh in 1721, and long before. Bro. Lyon was aware of that visit.

 

He had, from other considerations, expressed the opinion " that the system of Masonic degrees which for nearly a century and a half has been known in Scotland as Freemasonry, was an importation from England." (1)

 

What this "Mason Word" was, either in England or Scotland, we have, at

 

this day, no means of knowing. But we do know from the records of the 17th century, which have been preserved, that it was the most important, and in Scotland perhaps the only, secret that was communicated to the

 

Craft.

 

"The Word," says Bro. Lyon, "is the only secret that is even alluded to in the minutes of Mary's Chapel, or in those of Kilwinning, Acheson's Haven, or Dunblane, or any other that we have examined of a date prior to the erection of the Grand Lodge." (2)

 

We know also that in England, in Scotland, and in Germany, the giving of the Word was accompanied by a grip and by the communication of other secrets.

 

But we know also, positively, that this Word and these secrets were bestowed upon Fellows as well as Masters, and also, as we have every

 

reason to infer, upon Apprentices.

 

Besides the proofs that we derive from old Masonic records, we have a right to draw our inferences from the prevalence of similar customs among other crafts.

 

 

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 153 (2) Ibid., p. 22.

 

Thus, the carpenters, wrights, joiners, slaters, and other crafts who were connected in the art of building with the Masons, were called in Scotland "Squaremen," and they had a secret word which was called the

 

"Squaremen Word." This word, with a grip and sign, was communicated to both journeymen and apprentices in a ceremony called the "brithering." A portion of this ceremony which was performed in a closely guarded

 

apartment of a public‑house was the investiture with a leather apron. (1)

 

I can not doubt that the communication of the "Mason Word and the secrets pertaining to it" was accompanied by similar ceremonies in Scotland, and by a parity of reasoning also in England.

 

The final conclusion to which we must arrive from the proofs which have been adduced, is that as there was no such system as that of degrees known to the mediaeval Operative Freemasons, that no such system was practiced by the Speculative Freemasons who in 1717 instituted the

 

Grand Lodge of England, until at least two years after its organization; that in 1719 the two degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellow‑Craft were invented; and that subsequently the present system of symbolic or ancient

 

Craft degrees was perfected by the fabrication of a new degree, now recognized as the Third or Master Mason's degree.

 

At what precise time and under what circumstances this Third degree was invented and introduced into the Grand Lodge system of modern

 

Freemasonry, is the next subject that must engage our attention.

 

(1) Lyon's "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 23.

 

P. 974

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXVI

 

THE INVENTION OF THE THIRD OR MASTER MASON'S DEGREE

 

WE have seen that up to the year 1719 the Masonic ritualistic system consisted of but one degree, which was common to the whole. and the

 

secrets of which were communicated to the Apprentice at his initiation, or as it was, perhaps, more properly called, in reference to the paucity of ceremonies, his admission. At that time Desaguliers and his collaborators

 

originated a Second degree, to be appropriated to the Fellow‑Crafts. To do this it was necessary, or, at least, it was deemed expedient, to disintegrate the primitive degree and out of it to make two degrees, those of Entered Apprentice and Fellow‑Craft.

 

For a short time ‑ how long is to be hereafter seen ‑ the Masonic system consisted of two degrees, and the summit of the system was the Fellow‑ Craft's degree.

 

From this time the Fellow‑Crafts began to take a prominent place in the business of Masonry, and the Apprentice lost some of the importance he

 

had obtained in early times as a component part of the Craft and an equal participant with Masters and Fellows in its secrets. He was permitted, it is true, to be present at the meetings of the lodge, and to take his share in

 

its business (except, of course, where candidates were to be "passed "), and even to vote in the Grand Lodge on the question of an alteration of the "General Regulations," but the offices were to be held and the lodge represented in the Grand Lodge by Fellow‑Crafts only. Of this there is abundant evidence in contemporary documents.

 

The first edition of Anderson's Constitutions contains "the Charges of a Free‑mason, extracted from the Records of Lodges beyond Sea." The

 

exact date when these "Charges" were compiled is not known. It must have been after 1718, for they distinctly refer to the Fellow‑Craft's degree, and it must have been before the beginning of 1723, for that is the year of their publication. It is, however, certain from their phraseology that when

 

they were compiled for the use of the lodges, the Fellow‑Craft's degree had been instituted, but the Master's degree was not yet known. For this reason I am inclined to place the date between 1718, in which year

 

Anderson tells us that "several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated," and 1721, when he submitted his manuscript, including the "Charges" and "Regulations" to the Grand Lodge. There is no date prefixed to the "Charges," but I think it not improbable that they

 

were constructed by Payne in 1720, at the same time that he compiled the "General Regulations." It is certain that they must have been in existence on December 27, 1721, when a committee was appointed by the Grand

 

Lodge to examine them and the Constitutions. And this date sufficiently accounts for the fact that there are no allusions in them to the Master's degree.

 

These "Charges," therefore, give us a very good idea of the status of Apprentices and Fellow‑Crafts in English Masonry at the time when the

 

system consisted of two degrees, and the "part of Master" had not yet been composed.

 

In Charge IV. it is said that if the Apprentice has learned his art, he then may in due time be made a Fellow‑Craft, and then if otherwise qualified

 

may become a Warden and successively Master of his lodge, the Grand Warden, and at length the Grand Master.

 

Here we see that at that time the Fellow‑Craft was at the summit of the Fraternity so far as degrees and qualifications for promotions in rank were

 

concerned. Nothing is said of the degree of Master; it was still simply as in primitive times ‑ a gradation of rank.

 

In the same Charge we are told that "no Brother can be a Warden until he has passed the part of a Fellow‑Craft, nor a Master (1) until he has acted

 

as a Warden; nor Grand Warden until he has been Master of a lodge; nor Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow Craft before his election."

 

It is very evident that at this time there could be no degree higher than

 

that of the Fellow‑Craft. If there had been, that higher degree would have been made the necessary qualification

 

(1) That is, Master of a Lodge, as the context shows.


 

 

WILLIAM PRESTON
 

 

for these high offices. We are not without the proof of how these

 

"Charges" would have been made to read had the degree of Master Mason been in existence at the time of their compilation.

 

Notwithstanding that Speculative Freemasonry owes much to Dr. Anderson, we are forced to reluctantly admit that, as an historian, he was

 

inexact and inaccurate, and that while he often substituted the inventions of tradition for the facts of history, he also often modified the phraseology of old documents to suit his own views.

 

In 1738 he published a second edition of the Book of Constitutions, a

 

work which, although at first perhaps carelessly approved, was subsequently condemned by the Grand Lodge. In this work he inserted a copy of these "Charges." But now the Master's degree had been long recognized and practiced by the lodges as the summit of the ritual.

 

Now let us see how these "Charges" were modified by Dr. Anderson in this second edition, so as to meet the altered condition of the Masonic system. The Apprentice is no longer admonished, as he was in the first

 

edition, that his ambition should be to become a Fellow‑Craft and in time a Warden, a Master of a Lodge, a Grand Warden, and even a Grand Master. But in the copy of 1738 he is told that "when of age and expert he may become an Entered Prentice, or a Free‑Mason of the lowest degree,

 

and upon his due improvement a Fellow‑Craft and a Master Mason."

 

Again, in the "Charges" of 1720, (1) it is said that is "no brother can be a Warden until he has passed the part of a Fellow‑Craft."

 

In the "Charges" of 1738, it is said that "the Wardens are chosen from

 

among the Master Masons."

 

In Charge V. of 1720 it is directed that "the most expert of the Fellow Crafts shall be chosen or appointed the Master or Overseer of the Lord's Work."

 

In the same Charge, published in 1738, it is prescribed that "a Master

 

Mason only must be the Surveyor or Master of Work."

 

Now, what else can be inferred from this collation of the two editions (which, if deemed necessary, could have been much further extended),

 

except that in 1720 the Fellow‑Craft was the highest degree,

 

(1) I assume this date for convenience of reference, and because, as I have already shown, it is probably correct.

 

 

 

and that after that year and long before 1738 the Master's degree had

 

been invented.

 

But let us try to get a little nearer to the exact date of the introduction of the Third degree into the Masonic system.

 

The Constitutions of the Free‑Masons, commonly called the Book of Constitutions, was ordered by the Grand Lodge, on March 25, 1722, to be

 

printed and was actually printed in that year, for it was presented by Dr. Anderson to the Grand Lodge "in print" on January 17, 1723. So that although the work bears on its title‑page the imprint of 1723, it must really

 

be considered as having been controlled in its composition by the opinions and the condition of things that existed in the year 1722.

 

Now, in the body of this book there is no reference to the degree of Master Mason. It is true that on page 33 the author speaks of is such as

 

were admitted Master Masons or Masters of the Work," by which expression he evidently meant not those who had received a higher degree, but those who in the "Charges" contained in the same book were said to be "chosen or appointed the Master or Overseer of the Lord's

 

Work," and who the same Charge declares should be "the most expert of the Fellow‑Craftsmen."

 

On the contrary, when speaking of the laws, forms, and usages practiced in the early lodges by the Saxon and Scottish kings, he says: Neither

 

what was conveyed nor the manner how, can be communicated by writing; as no man can indeed understand it without the key of a Fellow‑ Craft." (2)

 

So that in 1722, when this note was written, there was no higher degree than that of Fellow‑Craft, because the Fellow‑Crafts were, as being at the

 

summit of the ritual, in possession of the key to all the oral and esoteric instructions of the Craft.

 

Guided by the spirit of the "General Regulations," printed in the first edition of Anderson's Constitutions, I am induced to place the invention of

 

the Third degree in the year 1722, although, as will be hereafter seen, it did not get into general use until a later period. The investigations which have led me to this conviction were pursued in the following train, and I

 

trust that the reader, if he will follow

 

(1) Its preparation by Dr. Anderson had been previously directed on September 29, 1721. This and the date of its publication in January, 1723, lead us irresistibly to the conclusion that the work was written in

 

1722. (2)Anderson's "Constitutions," 1st edition, p. 29, note.

 

the same train of investigation with me, will arrive at the same conclusion. In pursuing this train of argument, it will be unavoidably necessary to

 

repeat some of what has been said before. But the subject is so important that a needful repetition will be surely excused for the sake of explicitness in the reasoning.

 

The "General Regulations" were published in the first edition of the Book

 

of Constitutions, edited by Anderson. This edition bears the imprint of 1723, but Anderson himself tells us that the work was " in print " and produced before the Grand Lodge on the 17th of January in that year. Hence, it is evident that although the work was published in 1723, it was

 

actually printed in 1722. Whatever, therefore, is contained in the body of that work must refer to the condition of things in that year, unless Anderson may (as I shall endeavor to show he has done) have made some slight alteration or interpolation, toward the end of 1722 or the very

 

beginning of 1723, while the book was passing through the press.

 

I have shown by the sold Charges," whose assumed date is 1720, that at that time the degree of Fellow‑Craft was the highest recognized or known

 

in Speculative Freemasonry, and I shall now attempt to prove from the "General Regulations" that the same condition existed in 1722, the year in which those "Regulations" were printed.

 

The "General Regulations" consist of thirty‑nine articles, and throughout

 

the whole composition, except in one instance, which I believe to be an interpolation, there is not one word said of Master Masons, but the only words used are Brethren and Fellow‑Crafts ‑ Brethren being a generic

 

term which includes both Fellows and Apprentices.

 

Thus it is said (art. vi.), that "no man can be entered a Brother in any particular Lodge or admitted to be a Member thereof without the unanimous consent of all the members."

 

That is, no man can be made an Entered Apprentice, nor having been

 

made elsewhere, be affiliated in that particular lodge.

 

Again (art. vii.), "every new Brother, at his making, is decently to cloath the Lodge." That is, every Apprentice at his making, etc.

 

The word "Brother," although a generic term, has in these instances a

 

specific signification which is determined by the context of the sentence.

 

The making of a Brother was the entering of an Apprentice, a term we still use when speaking of the making of a Mason. The Fellow‑Craft was

 

admitted, or, as Ashmole says in his Diary, "admitted into the Fellowship of Freemasons."

 

Lyon,' referring to the nomenclature of the Scottish lodges "of the olden time," says, that the words "made" and "accepted" were frequently used

 

as indicating the admission of Fellow‑Crafts, but he adds that the former was sometimes, though rarely, used to denote the entry of Apprentices. He states, however, that toward the end of the 17th century these words gave way to the expression "passed," to indicate the reception of a

 

Fellow‑Craft, and that the Lodge of Mary's Chapel, at about that time, used the word "accepted" as equivalent to the making or passing of a Fellow Craft. But the Schaw statutes of 1598, which are among the very

 

oldest of the Scottish records extant, employs the word "entered" in reference to the making of an Apprentice, and received or "admitted" in reference to the making of a Fellow‑Craft.

 

I think, however, that in the English lodges, or at least in the "General

 

Regulations" of 1720, the words "making a Brother" meant, as it does in the present day, the initiation of an Entered Apprentice, and that Fellow‑ Crafts were "admitted." The word 'passed" soon afterward came into use.

 

With this explanation of certain technical terms which appeared to be

 

necessary in this place, let us proceed to examine from the document itself what was the status of Fellow‑Crafts at the time of the compilation of the "General Regulations" by Grand Master Payne, in 1720, and their

 

adoption in 1722 by the Grand Lodge. From this examination I contend that it will be found that at that period there was in Freemasonry only two degrees, those of Entered Apprentice and Fellow‑Craft.

 

It will be admitted that in a secret society no one has such opportunities of

 

undetected "eavesdropping" as the guardian of the portal, and hence, the modern ritual of Freemasonry requires that the Tiler shall be in possession of the highest degree worked by the body which he tiles.

 

Now the 13th General Regulation prescribes that a Brother "who must be

 

a Fellow‑Craft should be appointed to look after the door of the Grand Lodge."

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 76.

 

But it may be argued that the Grand Lodge always met and worked in the

 

Entered Apprentices' degree, and that Apprentices as well as Fellow‑ Crafts were present at its communications.

 

I admit the fact, and acknowledge that from this point of view my argument would be untenable. But why was not the office of Tiler entrusted to an

 

Entered Apprentice ? Because, if there were three degrees at the time, it would have been manifestly improper to have bestowed this trustworthy and responsible office on one who was in possession of only the lowest. And if it was prudent and proper, as I suppose will be admitted, that it

 

should have been bestowed on one of the highest degree, why was it not given to a Master Mason ? Simply, I reply, because there were no Master Masons, as a degree class, from whom the selection could be made. As

 

the laws of every lodge at the present day prescribe that the Tiler must be a Master Mason, because the Third degree is the highest one known to or practiced in the lodge, so the laws of the Grand Lodge in 1723, or the "General Regulations," required the Tiler to be a Fellow‑Craft because

 

the Second degree was the highest one known to or practiced in the Grand Lodge at that time. It would seem hardly to need an argument to prove that if the Third degree had been in practical existence when these

 

"Regulations" were approved by the Grand Lodge, they would have directed that the guardian of the door should be in possession of that degree.

 

Another clause in this 13th Regulation is very significant. The Treasurer and Secretary of the Grand Lodge are permitted to have, each, a clerk,

 

and it is directed that he "must be a Brother and Fellow‑Craft." Again, and for a silnilar reason, the officer is selected from the highest degree. Had the Third degree been known at that time, these assistants would surely

 

have been chosen from among the Master Masons; for if not, theywould have had to be sometimes entrusted with the records of the transactions of a degree of which they had no right to possess a knowledge.

 

In the 14th Regulation it is prescribed that in the absence of the Grand

 

Wardens the Grand Master may order private Wardens, that is, the Wardens of a subordinate lodge, to act as Grand Wardens pro fempore, and then, that the representation of that lodge in the Grand Lodge may be

 

preserved, the lodge is to supply their place, not by two Master Masons, but "by two Fellow‑Crafts of the same lodge, called forth to act or sent thither by the particular Master thereof."

 

The fact that the second was the highest degree known in the early part

 

of the year 1723 is confirmed by the formula inserted in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions, and which is there entitled "the Manner of Constituting a New Lodge, as practiced by his Grace the Duke of Wharton, the present Right Worshipful Grand Master, according to the

 

ancient usages of Masons." It was, according to Anderson's record in the second edition, presented to the Grand Lodge and approved on January 17, 1723. It is therefore a fair testimony as to the condition of the degree

 

question at that date.

 

In this formula it is said that 'the new Master and Wardens being yet among the Fellow‑Craft" the Grand Master shall ask his Deputy if he has examined them and finds the Candidate well skilled, etc. And this being

 

answered in the affirmative, he is duly installed, after which the new Master, "calling forth two Fellow‑Craft, presents them to the Grand Master for his approbation," after which they are installed as Wardens of the lodge. (1)

 

This, I think, is conclusive evidence that the degree of Fellow Craft was

 

then the highest known or used. In January, 1723, it did not require a Mason to be more than a Fellow‑Craft to prove himself, as Wharton's form of Constitution has it, " well skilled in the noble science and the Royal Art,

 

and duly instructed in our mysteries, and competent to preside as Master over a lodge."

 

In the 25th of these "General Regulations" it is directed that a committee shall be formed at the time of the Grand Feast, to examine every person

 

bringing a ticket, "to discourse him, if they think fit, in order to admit or debar him as they shall see cause." It was, in fact, an examining committee, to inquire into the qualifications of applicants for admission to the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge. The members of such a

 

committee must necessarily have been in possession of the highest degree practiced by the Grand Lodge. It is very evident that a Fellow‑ Craft was not competent to examine into the qualifications and attainments of a Master Mason. Yet the Regulation prescribes that to

 

compose

 

(1) Anderson's "Constitutions," edition of 1723, pp. 71, 72.

 

such a committee "the Masters of lodges shall each appoint one experienced and discreet Fellow‑Craft of his lodge."

 

But there is evidence in these "Regulations," not only that Fellow‑Crafts were in 1723 appointed to the responsible offices of Tilers, Wardens, and Committees of Examination, but that they were competent to fill the next to the highest office in the Craft. The 17th Regulation says that " if the

 

Deputy Grand Master be sick, or necessarily absent, the Grand Master may chuse any Fellow‑Craft he pleases to be his Deputy pro tempore."

 

This, I think, is as conclusive proof as legitimate logical deduction can

 

produce, that at the beginning of the year 1723, which was the date of the publication of these "Regulations" for the governrnent of the Grand Lodge, the degree of Fellow‑Craft was the highest practiced by the Grand Lodge, and that the degree of Master Mason was not then known or

 

recognized in the system of Speculative Freemasonry. A Fellow‑Craft presiding over Master Masons would indeed be a Masonic anomaly of which it would require something more than a blind reverence for the claims of antiquity to extort belief.

 

The citations that I have made seem to me to leave no doubt on the mind. The whole spirit and tenor of these "General Regulations," as well as the "Form of Constituting a new Lodge," which is so closely appended to them as to make, as it were, a part of them, go to prove that at the time

 

they were approved by the Grand Lodge, which was on January 17, 1723, there were but two degrees recognized in Speculative Freemasonry, namely, those of Entered Apprentice and Fellow‑Craft; and that at that

 

time the degree of Master Mason constituted no part of the system.

 

That Anderson himself placed the same interpretation on these passages, and was perfectly aware of the deduction to be made from them, is evident from the fact that when he next published these "General

 

Regulations," which was in the second edition of the Book of Constitutions, in 1738, at which time there is no doubt of the existence of the Master's degree, he almost invariably changed the words "Fellow‑ Craft" to "Master Mason."

 

And, accordingly, we find that in 1738 the Wardens, the Tiler, and the Assistant Treasurer and Secretary were required to be Master Masons. The change had taken place, and the Third degree had been adopted between the years 1723 and 1738.

 

But those who deny this theory and contend that the Third degree is of greater antiquity, and was known and practiced long before the beginning of the 18th century, would quote against my argument the words contained in the 13th Regulation, which words are as follows:

 

Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow‑Craft only here (in the Grand Lodge) unless by a dispensation."

 

I candidly admit that if this passage be proved to be a genuine part of the original "General Regulations," compiled in 1720 by Grand Master Payne

 

and approved in 1723 by the Grand Lodge, the question would be decided at once and we could no longer doubt that the Third degree was in existence not only in 1723, but three years before, that is, in 1720.

 

But I do not hesitate to assert that this passage is an interpolation by

 

Anderson and Desaguliers, made for a certain purpose, and I think that this assertion is capable of critical proof.

 

In criticism there are two methods of determining whether a suspected

 

passage in an ancient work or an old document is genuine or spurious.

 

The first method is by the collation of other editions or manuscripts. If, in the examination of an ancient manuscript, a certain passage is found which is not met with in any other manuscripts of an anterior or a

 

contemporary date, it is deduced from this collation that the passage is an interpolation by the writer of that particular manuscript, because if it were genuine and a part of the original writing it would have been found in all

 

the older manuscripts, from one of which it must have been copied.

 

It is by this method of reasoning that the most eminent Biblical critics have arrived at the conclusion that the celebrated passage in the First Epistle General of St. John (v. 7) is an interpolation. Since it is not found in any of

 

the earlier Greek manuscripts of the Epistle, it must, they argue, have been subsequently inserted, perhaps from a marginal commentary, either carelessly or designedly, by some later copyist whose error has been

 

followed by all succeeding scribes. This is criticism from external evidence.

 

But there are other instances in which it is not possible to collate the book or manuscript which contains the suspected passage with others of an earlier date. Where there is but one copy extant there can, of course, be

 

no comparison. In such cases it becomes necessary to determine whether the passage be genuine or spurious by what the critics call the method by internal evidence.

 

If the suspected passage is found to contain the expression of opinions

 

which, we are led to believe from the known character of the author, he could not have uttered; or, if the statements which it sets forth are plainly in conflict with other statements made in the same work; or if it be found in

 

a part of the work where it does not harmonize with the preceding and following portions of the context; or, in short, if the whole spirit and tenor of the other writings of the same author are in unmistaken opposition to

 

the spirit and tenor of the passage under review; and, above all, if a reasonable motive can be suggested which may have given occasion to the interpolation, then the critic, guided by all or most of these reasons, will not hesitate to declare that the suspected passage is spurious; that it

 

formed no part of the original book or manuscript, and that it is an interpolation made subsequent to the original composition. This is criticism from internal evidence.

 

It is by this method that the critics have been led to the conclusion that a

 

certain passage in the Antiquities of Flavius Josephus, in which he eulogizes Jesus, was not written, and could not have been written, by the Jewish historian. Not only does its insertion very awkwardly interrupt the

 

continuity of the narrative in which the author was engaged at the time, but the sentiments of the passage are wholly irreconcilable with the character of Josephus. As a Pharisee, at least professedly, he was influenced by all the prejudices of his sect and his nation against the new

 

sect of Christians and its founder. Such a man never could have vouched, as the writer of this passage does, for the Messiahship, the miraculous powers, and the resurrection of Jesus.

 

Hence it is now believed by nearly all scholars that the passage was

 

interpolated as a "pious fraud" by some early Christian who was anxious to enlist in favor of his religion the authority of one of the most eminent of its adversaries.

 

It is now my purpose to apply these principles to an investigation of the

 

only passage in the "General Regulations" which furnishes any evidence of the existence of the Third degree at the time when they were compiled.

 

As the copy of the "General Regulations" contained in Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 is the first edition; as the original manuscript copy is

 

lost; and as there were no previously printed copies, it is impossible, through comparison and collation, to prove from external evidence that the passage referring to the Third degree is spurious.

 

We must then have recourse to the second method of critical investigation, that is, by internal evidence.

 

And submitted to this test, the suspected passage fails, I think, to maintain a claim to genuineness.

 

Although the first edition of the Constitutions is now readily accessible in

 

consequence of its numerous reprints, still, for the sake of convenience to the reader, in the discussion I shall copy the whole of the paragraph in which the suspected passage is contained, marking that passage by

 

italics.

 

The passage will be found in the first paragraph of Article XIII. of the "General Regulations," and is in these words:

 

"At the said Quarterly Communications, all Matters that concern the Fraternity in general, or particular Lodges or single Brothers, are quietly,

 

sedately, and maturely to be discours'd of and transacted: Apprentices must be admitted Masters and FellowCraft only here unless by a Dispensatson. Here also all Differences that can not be made up and accommodated privately, nor by a particular Lodge, are to be seriously

 

considered and decided; And if any Brother thinks himself aggrieved by the decision of this Board, he may appeal to the annual Grand Lodge next coming, and leave his Appeal in Writing, with the Grand Master or his

 

Deputy, or the Grand Wardens."

 

Anyone not prepossessed with the theory of the antiquity of the Third degree who will look at this paragraph will, I think, be struck with the suspicious incongruity of the clause in italics in relation to the parts that

 

precede and follow it. I will endeavor to demonstrate this point as follows:

 

The 13th Article of the "General Regulations" is divided into eight paragraphs. Each of these paragraphs is wholly independent and homogeneous in respect to its subject‑matter. Each is devoted to the

 

consideration of one subject only, to the exclusion of all others.

 

Thus the first paragraph relates to matters that concern lodges and private brethren, such as differences that can not be settled otherwise

 

than by the Grand Lodge. The second paragraph relates to the returns of lodges and the mode and manner of making them. The third relates to the charity fund and the most effectual method of collecting and disposing of money for that purpose. The fourth to the appointment of a Treasurer and

 

a Secretary for the Grand Lodge, and to their duties. The fifth to the appointment of a clerk for each of those officers. The sixth to the mode of inspecting their books and accounts. The seventh to the appointment of a

 

Tiler to look after the door of the Grand Lodge. And the eighth provides for the making of a new regulation for the government of these officers whenever it may be deemed expedient.

 

Thus it will be seen, from this synopsis, that each of these paragraphs

 

embraces but one subject. Whatever is begun to be treated at the opening of a paragraph is continued without interruption and without the admission of any other matter to its close.

 

This methodical arrangement has, in fact, been preserved throughout the

 

whole of the thirty‑nine "Regulations." No Regulation will be found which embodies the consideration of two different and irrelevant subjects.

 

So uniformly is this rule observed that it may properly be called a peculiar characteristic of the style of the writer, and a deviation from it becomes,

 

according to the axioms of criticism, at once suspicious.

 

Now this deviation occurs only in the first paragraph of the 13th Article, the one which has been printed above.

 

That paragraph, as originally written, related to the disputes and

 

difference which might arise between particular lodges and between single brethren, and prescribed the mode in which they should be settled when they could not "be made up and accommodated privately." Leaving

 

out the lines which I have printed in italics, we will find that the paragraph is divided into three clauses, each separated from the other by a colon.

 

The first clause directs that all matters that concern the Fraternity in general, particular lodges or single brethren, "are quietly, sedately, and

 

maturely to be discoursed of and transacted" in the Grand Lodge. It is to questions that might arise between lodges and brethren ‑ questions which in modern phraseology are called grievances ‑ that the clause evidently

 

refers. And in the Grand Lodge only are such questions to be discussed, because it is only there that they can be definitely settled.

 

The second clause continues the same subject, and extends it to those differences of brethren which can not be accommodated privately by the

 

lodges of which they are members.

 

And the third clause provides that if the decision made by the Grand Lodge at its Quarterly Communication is not satisfactory to the parties interested, it may be carried up, by appeal, to the Grand Lodge in its

 

Annual Communication.

 

Now, it is evident that this whole paragraph is intended to explain the duties of the Quarterly Communication as a Board of Inquiry in respect to matters in dispute between lodges and between the Craft, and the

 

paragraph itself calls the decision of the Grand Lodge on these occasions the "Decision of this Board."

 

Viewed in this way, this first paragraph of the 13th Article is entirely congruous in all its parts, refers to but one subject, and is a perfect

 

specimen of the style adopted by the compiler and pursued by him in all the other portions of the "Regulations" without a single exception ‑ a style plain, simple, and methodical, yet as marked and isolated from other

 

styles as is the Doric roughness of Carlyle or the diffusiveness of De Quincey from the manner of composition of other authors in a more elevated class of literature.

 

But if we insert the passage printed in italics between the first and second clauses, we will at once see the incongruity which is introduced by the

 

interpolation.

 

Placed as it is between the first and second clauses, it breaks the continuity of the subject. A regulation which refers to the differences and disputes among the Craft, and the mode of settling them, is disjointed and

 

interrupted by another one relating to an entirely different subject ‑ namely, the initiation of Master Masons and Fellow‑Crafts.

 

What has the subject of initiation to do with that of fraternal or lodge

 

disputes? Why should a regulation relating to degrees be mixed up with another of a totally distinct and different character?

 

Judging, as we are not only authorized but compelled, as critical observers, to do, from the style of the compiler of the "Regulations" and

 

the uniform custom pursued by him, we feel certain that if this passage formed a genuine part of the "Regulations," he would have placed it in an independent paragraph. That this has not been done affords a strong presumption that the passage is an interpolation, and that it formed no

 

part of the "Regulations" when compiled about the year 1720, most probably by Grand Master Payne, at the same time that he compiled the "Charges" printed in the same volume.

 

Still more suspicious is the fact that except in this passage there is not in

 

the "General Regulations" the slightest allusion to Master Masons or to the Master's degree. As has already been shown, the whole spirit and tenor of the "Regulations" is to the effect that the highest grade in

 

Freemasonry at that time, and the one from which all officers were to be selected, was that of Fellow‑Craft. It is impossible to believe that if, at the time of the preparation of the "Regulations" and their approval by the Grand Lodge, the degree of Master Mason was in existence, it would

 

have been passed over in such complete silence, and all important matters referred to a subordinate degree.

 

Hence I again deduce the conclusion that at the time of the compiling of these "Regulations" and their approval by the Grand Lodge, the Third

 

degree was not in existence as a part of Speculative Masonry.

 

And then I assume as a logical deduction from these premises that the clause in the first paragraph of the 13th General Regulation is an

 

interpolation inserted in those "Regulations" between the time of their being approved and the time of their final passage through the press.

 

It is barely possible that the suspected clause may have been inserted in the copy presented to the Grand Lodge on March 25, 1722, for

 

examination and approval, and have escaped the attention of the reviewers from the fact that it was obscurely placed in the center of a paragraph relating to an entirely different subject. Or the Committee may have concurred with Desaguliers and Anderson in the policy of

 

anticipating the control of the degree when it should be presented to the Craft, by an ante factum regulation.

 

Be that as it may, the passage formed neither then nor at any time thereafter a genuine part of the "General Regulations," although from its

 

appearance in the printed copies it was as a mere matter of course accepted as a part of the law. It was, however, soon afterward repealed and a regulation was adopted on November 22, 1725, which remitted to

 

the Master and Wardens, with a competent number of the lodge, the power of making Masters and Fellows at discretion.

 

The questions next arise, by whom, at what time, and for what purpose was this interpolation inserted ?

 

By whom ? I answer, by Anderson at the instigation of Desaguliers, under

 

whose direction and with whose assistance the former had compiled the first edition of the Book of Constitutions. (1)

 

At what time ? This question is more difficult to answer than the preceding one. At the communication of the Grand Lodge, September 29, 1721,

 

Anderson was ordered to prepare the Book of Constitutions. On December 27, 1721, the manuscript was presented to the Grand Lodge and referred to a committee. On March 25, 1722, the Committee reported

 

and the work was ordered to be printed. On January 17, 1723, Anderson produced the new Book of Constitutions, which was again approved, "with the addition of the Ancient manner of constituting a lodge."

 

Now, between September, 1721, when the book was ordered to be

 

prepared, and March, 1722, when the work was approved and ordered to be printed, the passage could not have existed as a regulation, because, in the first place, it was directly antagonistic to the body of the work, in which there is no mention of the Third degree; (2) but, on the contrary, it

 

is distinctly stated that the FellowCrafts were in possession of all the secrets, and they alone could understand them. (3) And, secondly, any such regulation would come in direct conflict with the "Manner of

 

Constituting a Lodge" approved at the same time, and which, completely ignoring the Master's degree, directed the Master and Wardens to be selected from among the Fellow‑Crafts of the lodge. The Master's degree could not have been known at that time as a part of the system of

 

 

 

(1) This edition is dedicated to the Duke of Montague, not by Anderson, but by Desaguliers, with an air of patronage to the author, as if it were a work accomplished by his direction. (2) In describing the Temple of Solomon, Anderson, it is true, enumerates

 

among the workmen " 3,600 Princes or Master Masons, to conduct the work according to Solomon's directions." (Page 10.) But it is very clear that these were simply "Masters of the Work" ‑ the "Magistri Operis" of the

 

old Operative Freemasons ‑ skilled Craftsmen appointed to superintend the bands or lodges of workmen engaged in the construction of the building. (3) In a note on a page of the "Book of Constitutions," Anderson says: "No man can indeed understand it (Masonry) without the key of a Fellow‑

 

Craft." Certainly, he at that time knew nothing of a higher degree. This passage was probably written in 1721, when he was directed by the Grand Lodge to compile a "Book of Constitutions." Much of the proposed

 

work was then in manuscript.

 

Freemasonry, and no regulation in reference to it was therefore necessary.

 

Anderson has by implication admitted the soundness of this reasoning, because when he published the second edition of the Constitution in

 

1738, the Third degree being then a recognized part of the system, he changed the words "Fellow Crafts" whereever they occurred in the "Charges," as indicating the highest degree in the "Regulations," and in the "Manner of Constituting a Lodge," to the words "Master Mason."

 

I think, therefore, that the suspected clause was inserted in the 13th Regulation at the beginning of the year 1723, just before the work was issued from the press. There was neither time nor opportunity to make any other changes in the book and its appendices, and therefore this

 

clause stands in reference to all the other parts of the Constitutions, Regulations, etc., in all the incongruity which I have endeavored to demonstrate.

 

For what purpose? The reply to this question will involve the

 

determination of the time at which the Third degree was introduced into the ritual of Freemasonry. The theory which I present on this subject is as follows:

 

If the suspected clause which has been under consideration be admitted

 

to be no genuine part of the Book of Constitutions, then it must follow that there is not the slightest evidence of the existence of the Third degree in the Ritual of Speculative Masonry up to the year 1723.

 

It is now very generally admitted that the arrangement of Freemasonry

 

into the present system of three degrees was the work of Dr. Desaguliers, assisted by Anderson, Payne, and perhaps some other collaborators. The perfecting of this system was of very slow growth. At first there was but

 

the one degree, which had been derived from the Operative Masons of preceding centuries. This was the degree practiced in 1717, when the so‑ called "Revival" took place. It was no doubt improved by Desaguliers, who was Grand Master in 1719, and who probably about that time began his

 

ritualistic experiments. The fact that Payne, in 1718, "desired any brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings and records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to shew the usages of antient times," (1) exhibits a disposition and preparation for improvement.

 

 

 

(1) "Book of Constitutions," 2d edition, 1738.

 

The First and Second degrees had been modeled out of the one primitive degree about the year 1719. The "Charges" compiled in 1720 by Grand Master Payne recognize the Fellow‑Craft as the leading degree and the

 

one from which the officers of lodges and of the Grand Lodge were to be selected. The same recognition is found in the "General Regulations," and in the Constitutions which were printed in 1723.

 

Up to this time we find no notice of the Third degree. The "particular lodges " conferred only the First degree. Admission or initiation into the Second degree was done in the Grand Lodge. This was perhaps owing to the fact that Desaguliers and the inventors of the new degree were

 

unwilling to place it out of their immediate control, lest improper persons might be admitted or the ceremonies be imperfectly performed.

 

In 1722 I imagine that Desaguliers and his collaborators had directed their attention to a further and more complete organization.

 

The Operative Masons had always had three different ranks or classes of workmen, but not degrees in the modern Masonic sense of that word. These were the Masters, who undertook the work and superintended it;

 

the Fellow‑Crafts or Journeymen, who did the manual labor; and the Apprentices, who were engaged in acquiring a knowledge of their handicraft.

 

After the "Revival," in 1717 (I use the term under protest), Desaguliers had divided the one degree which had been common to the three classes

 

into two, making the degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellow‑Craft. It is not to be supposed that this was a mere division of the esoteric instruction into two parts. All is here, of course, mere guess‑work. The rituals were

 

oral, and there is no memorial of them left except what we can learn from The Grand Mystery and the Sloane MS. 3329. But we may believe that taking the primitive degree of the Operatives as a foundation, there was built upon it an enlarged superstructure of ceremonies and lectures. The

 

catechism of the degree was probably changed and improved, and the "Mason Word," as the Operatives had called it, with the secrets connected with it, was transferred to the Second degrees to be afterward

 

again transferred to the Third degree.

 

After this, Desaguliers continued to exercise his inventive genius, and consummated the series of degrees by adding one to be appropriated to the highest class, or that of the Masters. But not having thoroughly

 

perfected the ritual of the degree until after the time of publication of the Book of Constitutions, it was not probably disseminated among the Craft until the year 1723.

 

The Second degree, as we have seen, had been invented in the year

 

1719. Its ritual had been completed, but the Masters of the lodges had not yet become so well acquainted with its forms and ceremonies as to be capable of managing an initiation.

 

The lodges, therefore, between 1719 and 1723, did not confer the Second

 

degree. They were not restricted from so doing by any regulation, for there were no regulations on the subject enacted until the approval of the Book of Constitutions by the Grand Lodge in January, 1723. Besides, if there had been any law restricting the conferring of the Second degree lo

 

the Grand Lodge, Desaguliers would not have violated the law, which was of his own making, by conferring it in 1721 in a lodge in Edinburgh.

 

The fact undoubtedly is, that the lodges did not confer the Second degree

 

in consequence of a usage derived from necessity. Dr. Desaguliers and his collaborators were the only persons in possession of the ritual, and therefore qualified to confer the degree, which they always did in the Grand Lodge, for two reasons: first, for their own convenience, and

 

secondly, because they feared that if the ceremony of initiation was intrusted to the officers of the lodges who were inexperienced and unskillful, it might be mutilated or unsatisfactorily performed.

 

In the meantime Desaguliers had extended his labors as a ritualmaker,

 

and had invented a supplementary or Third degree. But as is said of a cardinal whose appointment the Pope has made but has not yet announced to the college of Cardinals, the degree was still in petto. The

 

knowledge of it was confined to Dr. Desaguliers and a few of his friends.

 

It is absolutely impossible that the degree could have been known generally to the members of the Grand Lodge. For with the knowledge that the establishment of such a degree was even in contemplation, they

 

would not have approved a series of regulations which recognized throughout the Second or Fellow‑Craft as the highest degree in Speculative Freemasonry, and the one from which Grand Masters were in future to be selected.

 

But a code of laws was about to be established for the government of the Craft ‑ a code expressly appropriated to the new system of Speculative Freemasonry, which by this time had completely dissevered itself from the Operative institution.

 

This code was to be published for the information of the Fraternity, so that

 

every Freemason might know what was to be henceforth his duties and his rights. Law was now to become paramount to usage, and if there were no positive regulation which restricted the conferring of the Second

 

degree to the Grand Lodge, it would, if permanently adopted as a part of the new system, fall into the hands of the Masters of the particular lodges.

 

This was an evil which, for the reason already assigned, was, if possible,

 

to be avoided. It would also apply to the Third degree, which, though not yet in practical existence, was, soon after the adoption of the "General Regulations," to be presented to the Grand Lodge and put in working order.

 

Therefore, anticipating the dissemination of the Third degree, and being

 

desirous to restrict it as well as the Second, by a positive law, to the Grand Lodge, he, with Anderson, interpolated, at the last moment, into the 13th of the "General Regulations" the words, "Apprentices must be

 

admitted Masters and Fellow‑Craft only here, unless by dispensation."

 

This is a serious charge to make against any writer of good reputation, and it would be an act of great temerity to do so, unless there were ample proof to sustain it. But I think the arguments I have advanced, though only

 

based on legitimate inferences and the internal evidence afforded by the document itself, have shown that this passage could never have formed a part of the "Regulations" as originally compiled by Payne and afterward

 

approved and adopted by the Grand Lodge.

 

But while we pay all due respect to the memory of Dr. Anderson, and hold in grateful remembrance his zeal and devotion in the foundation and advancement of Speculative Freemasonry, it is impossible to concede to

 

him the possession of those virtues of accuracy and truthfulness which are essential to the character of an historian.

 

The motive of Desaguliers and Anderson for inserting the interpolated clause into the "General Regulations" was to prevent the two new

 

degrees from falling into the hands of unskilled Masters of lodges, until by future experience they should become qualified to confer them.

 

P. 994

 

(Facsimile reprint from the original edition of the "Book of Constitutions.")

 


 

THE

 

CONSTITUTIONS

 

OF THE FREE‑MASONS.

 

CONTAINING THE

 

History, Charges, Regulations, &c. of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful FRATERNITY

 

For the Use of the LODGES.

 

LONDON: Printed by WILLIAM HUNTER, for JOHN SENEX at the Globe, and JOHN

 

HOOKE at the Flower‑de‑luce over‑against St. Dunstan's Church, in Fleet‑Street.

 

In the Year of Masonry 5723 Anno Domini

 

1723

 

THE

 

CONSTITUTION.

 

History, Laws, Charges, Orders, Regulations, and Usages,

 

OF THE Right Worshipful FRATERNITY of

 

Accepted Free MASONS;

 

COLLECTED

 

From their generaI RECORDS, and their faithful TRADITIONS of many Ages.

 

TO BE READ

 

At the Admission of a NEW BROTHER, when the Master or Warden shall begin, or order some other Brother to read as follows:

 

ADAM, our first Parent, created after the Image of God, the great Architect of the Universe, must have had the Liberal Sciences, particularly Geometry, written on his Heart; for even since the Fall, we find the Principles of it in the Hearts of his Offspring, and which, in process of

 

time, have been drawn forth into con

 

(49) THE CHARGES OF A

 

FREE‑MASON,

 

EXTRACTED FROM The ancient RECORDS of LODGES beyond Sea, and of those in England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the use of the Lodges in LONDON:

 

TO BE READ

 

At the making of NEW BRETHREN, or when the MASTER shall order it.

 

The General Reads, viz.

 

I. Of GOD and RELIGION

 

II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE Supreme and Subordinate.

 

III. Of LODGES.

 

IV. Of MASTERS, Wardens, Fellows, and Apprentices.

 

V. Of the Management of the Craft in working

 

VI. Of BEHAVIOUR, viz.

 

1. In the Lodge while constituted.

 

2. After the Lodge is over and the Brethren not gone.

 

3. When Brethren meet without Strangers, but not in a Lodge

 

4. In Presence of Strangers not Masons.

 

5. At Home, and in the Neighbourhood

 

6. Towards a strange Brother,

 

(50)

 

I Cocerning GOD and RELIGION.

 

A Mason is oblig'd, by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious

 

Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in

 

which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be‑distinguish'd; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true

 

Friendship among Persons that must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance.

 

II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE Supreme and Subordinate.

 

A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides

 

or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been

 

much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel

 

against the State, he is not to be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime, though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his Rebellion, and

 

give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.

 

(51)

 

III. Of LODGES.

 

A LODGE is Place where Masons assemble and work: Hence that

 

Assembly, or duly organizd Society of Masons, is call'd a Lodge, and every Brother ought to belong to one, and to be subject to its By‑Laws and the GENERAL REGULATIONS. It is either particular or general, and will be left understood by attending it, and by the Regulations of the

 

General or Grand Lodge hereunto annex'd. In ancient Times, no Master or Fellow could be absent from it, especially when warn'd to appear at it, without incurring a severe Censure, until it appear'd to the Master and

 

Wardens, that pure Necessity hinder'd him.

 

The Persons admitted Members of a Lodge must be good and tre Men, free‑born, and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondmen, no Women, no immoral or scandalous Men, but of good Report.

 

IV Of MASTERS, WARDENS, FELLOWS, and Apprentices.

 

All Preferment among Masons is grounded upon real Worth and personal Merit only; that so the Lords may be well served, the Brethren not put to Shame, nor the Royal Craft despis'd: Therefore no Master or Warden is

 

chosen by Seniority, but for his Merit. It is impossible to describe these things in writing, and every Brother must attend in his Place, and learn them in a way peculiar to this Fraternity: Only Candidates may know, that no Master should take an Apprentice, unless he has sufficient Imployment

 

for him, and unless he be a perfect Youth, having no Maim or Defect in his Body, that may render him uncapable of learning the Art, of Serving his Master's LORD, and of being made a Brother, and then a Fellow‑Craft

 

in due time, even after he has served such a Term of Years as the Custom of the Country directs; and that be should be descended of honest Parents; that so, when otherwise qualify'd he may arrive to the Honour of being the WARDEN, and then the Master of the Lodge, the

 

Grand Warden, and at length GRAND MASTER of all the Lodges according to his Merit.

 

(52)

 

No Brother can be a WARDEN until he has passd the part of a Fellow‑ Craft; nor a MASTER until he has acted as a Warden, nor a GRAND‑

 

WARDEN until he has been Master of a Lodge, nor Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow‑Craft before his Election, who is also to be nobly born, or a Gentleman of the best Fashion, or some eminent Scholar, or some curious Architect, or other Artist, descended of honest Parents, and

 

who is of singular great Merit in the Opinion of the Lodges. And for the better, and easier, and more by honourable Discharge of his Office, the Grand‑Master has a Power to chuse his own DEPUTY GRAND‑MASTER, who must be then, or must have been formerly, the Master of a particular

 

Lodge, and has the Privilege of acting whatever the GRAND‑MASTER, his Principal, should act, unless the said Principal be Present, or interpose his Authority by a Letter.

 

These Rulers and Governors, Supreme and Subordinate, of the ancient

 

Lodge, are to be obey'd in their respective Stations by all the Brethren, according to the old Charges and Regulations, with all Humility, Reverance, Love, and Alacrity.

 

V. Of the Management of the CRAFT in working

 

All Masons shall work honestly on working Days, that they may live creditably on holy Day; and the time appointed by the Law of the Land, or confirm'd by Custom, shall be observ'd;

 

The most expert of the Fellow‑Craftsmen shall be chosen or appointed

 

the Master, or Overseer of the Lord's Work; who is to be call'd MASTER by those that work under him. The Craftsman are to avoid all ill Language, and to call each other by no disobliging Name, but Brother or Fellow; and to behave themselves courteously within and without the Lodge.

 

The Master, knowing himself to be able of Cunning, shall undertake the Lord's Work as reasonably as possible, and truly dispend his Goods as if they were his.own; nor to give more Wages to any Brother or Apprentice

 

than he really may deserve.

 

Both the Master and the Masons receiving their Wages justly, shall be faithful to the Lord, and honesty finish their Work, whether Task

 

(53)

 

or Journey, nor put the Work to Task that hath been acoustom'd to

 

Journey.

 

None shall discover Envy at the Prosperity of a Brother, nor supplant him, or put him out of his Work, if he be capable to finish the fame; for no Man can finish another's Work so much to the Lord's Profit, unless he be thoroughly acquainted with the Designs and Draughts of him that began

 

it.

 

When a Fellow‑Craftsman is chosen Warden of the Work under the Master, he shall be true both to Master and Fellows, shall carefully oversee the Work in the Masters Absence to the Lord's Profit; and his

 

Brethren shall obey him.

 

All Masons employ'd, shall meekly receive their Wages without Murmuring or Mutiny, and not desert the Master till the Work is finish'd.

 

A younger Brother shall be instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the

 

Materials for want of Judgment, and for encreasing and continuing of Brotherly Love.

 

All the Tools used in working shall be approved by the Grand Lodge.

 

No Labourer shall be employ'd in the proper Work of Masonry; nor shall Free Masons work with those that are not free, without an urgent

 

Necessity; nor shall they teach Labourers and unaccepted Masons, as they should teach a Brother or Fellow.

 

VI. Of BEHAVIOUR, VIZ.

 

1. In the Lodge while constituted.

 

You are not to hold private Committees, or Separate Conversation,

 

without Leave from the Master, nor to talk of anything impertinent or unseemly, nor interrupt the Master or Wardens, or any Brother speaking to the Master: Nor behave yourself ludicrously or priestingly while the Lodge is engaged in what is serious and solemn; nor use any

 

unbecoming Language upon any Pretence whatsoever;

 

(54)

 

but to pay due Reverence to your Master, Wardens and Fellows, and put them to worship

 

If any Complaint be brought, the Brother find guilty shall stand to the

 

Award and Determination of the Lodge, who are the proper and competent Judges of all such Controversies, (unless you carry it by Appeal to the GRAND LODGE) and to whom they ought to be referr'd, unless a Lord's Work be hinder'd the mean while, in which Cafe a

 

particular Reference may be made; but you must never go to Law about what concerneth Masonry, without an absolute Necessity apparent to the Lodge.

 

2. Behaviour after the LODGE is over and the Brethren not gone.

 

You may enjoy yourselves with innocent Mirth, treating one another

 

according to Ability, but avoiding all Excess, or forcing any brother to eat or drink beyond his Inclinations or hindering him from going when his Occasions call him, or doing or saying anything offensive, or that may

 

forbid an easy and free Conversation; for that would blast our Harmony, and defeat our laudable purposes. Therefore no Private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the Lodge, far less any Quarrels about Religion, or Nations, or State Policy, we being only, as

 

Masons, of the Catholick Religion above‑mention'd; we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages, and are resolv'd against all politicks, as what never yet conduc'd to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor

 

ever will. This Charge has been always strictly enjoin'd and observ'd; but especially ever since the Reformation in BRITAIN, or the Different and Secession of these Nations from the Communion of ROME.

 

3. Behaviour when Brethren meet without Strangers, but not in a Lodge

 

form'd

 

You are to salute one another in a courteous manner, as you will be instructed, calling each other Brother, freely giving mutual Instruction as shall be thought expedient, without being overseen or over

 

(55)

 

heard, and without encroaching upon each other, or derogating from that respect which is due to any brother, were he not a Mason: For though all Masons are as Brethren upon the same Level, yet Masonry takes no Honour from a Man that he had before; nay rather it adds to his Honour,

 

especially if he has deferv'd well of the Brotherhood, who must give Honour to whom it is due, and avoid ill Manners.

 

4. Behaviour in Presence of STRANGERS not Masons.

 

You shall be cautious in your Words and Carriage, that the most

 

penetrating stranger shall not be able to discover or find out what is not proper to be intimated; and sometimes you shall divert a Discourse, and manage it prudently for the Honour of the worshipful Fraternity.

 

5. Behaviour at HOME, and in your Neighbourhood.

 

You are to act as becomes a moral and wise Man; particularly, not to let your Family, Friends and Neighbours know the Concerns of the Lodge, &c. but wisely to consult your own Honour, and that of the ancient Brotherbood, for Reasons not to be mention'd here. You must also consult

 

your Health, by not continuing together too late, or too long from home, after Lodge Hours are past; and by avoiding of Gluttony or Drunkenness, that your Families be not neglected or injured, nor you disabled from

 

working.

 

6. Behaviour towards a strange Brother

 

You are cautiously to examine him, in such a Method as Prudence shall direct you, that you may not be impos'd upon by an ignorant false Pretender, whom you are to reject with Contempt and Derision, and

 

beware of giving him any Hints of Knowledge.

 

But if you discover him to be a true and genuine Brother, you are to respect him accordingly; and if he is in want, you must relieve him if you can, or else direct him how he may be reliev'd: You must employ

 

(56)

 

him some Days, or else recommend him to be employ'd. But you are not charged to do beyond your Ability, only to prefer a poor Brother, that is a good Man and true, before any other poor People in the same Circumstances.

 

FINALLLY, All these Charges you are to observe, and also those that shall be communicated to you in another way; cultivating BROTHERLY LOVE, the Foundation and Cape‑stone, the Cement and Glory of this ancient Fraternity, avoiding all wrangling and Quarrelling, all Slander and

 

Backbiting, nor permitting others to slander any honest Brother, but defending his Character, and doing him all good Offices, as far as is confident with your Honour and Safety, and no farther. And if any of them do you Injury, you must apply to your own or his lodge; and from thence

 

you may appeal to the GRAND LODGE at the Quarterly Communications and from thence to the annual GRAND LODGE, as has been the ancient laudable Conduct of our forefathers in every Nation; never taking a legal

 

Course but when the Case cannot be otherwise decided, and patiently listening to the honest and friendly Advice of Master and Fellows, when they would prevent your going to Law with Strangers, or would excite you to put a speedy Period to all Law‑Suits, that so you may mind the Affair of

 

MASONRY with the more Alacrity and Success; but with respect to Brother or Fellows at Law, the Master and Brethren should kindly offer their Mediation, which ought to be thankfully submitted to by the

 

contending Brethren; and if that Submission is impracticable, they must however carry on their Process, or Law‑Suit, without Wrath and Rancor (not in the common way) saying or doing nothing which may hinder Brotherly Love, and good Offices to be renew'd and continu'd; that all may

 

see the benign Influence of MASONRY, as all true Masons have done from the Beginning of the World, and will do to the End of Time.

 

Amen so mote it be

 

 

 

They were not long, it appears, in becoming qualified, or at least the

 

doubts of their qualification were soon dispelled, for we find that on the 22d of November, 1725, less than three years after its appearance in the Book of Constitutions, the Regulation was rescinded, and it was ordered by the Grand Lodge that "the Master of a lodge, with his Wardens and a

 

competent number of the lodge assembled in due form, can make Masters and Fellows at discretion." (1)

 

It might be argued that although the words "Master Mason" may be an interpolation, the rule regulating the conferring of the Second degree

 

might well have formed a part of the original "Regulations," seeing that they were not compiled until after the invention of the Second degree.

 

But the argument founded on the incongruity of subjects and the awkward

 

interruption of their continuity in the paragraph occasioned by the insertion of the suspected words, is applicable to the whole passage. If the internal evidence advanced is effective against a single word of the passage on these grounds, it is effective against all.

 

But Bro. Lyon, in his History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, (2) has supplied us with an authentic document, which presents the strongest presumptive evidence of three facts. 1. That the Second degree had been invented before the year 1721, and at that time constituted a part of the new

 

Speculative system. 2. That in the English lodges there was no positive law forbidding the conferring of it by them, but only a recognized usage. 3. That in the year 1721 the Third degree had not been invented.

 

In the year 1721 Dr. Desaguliers paid a visit to Edinburgh and placed himself in communication with the Freemasons of that city.

 

A record of the most important Masonic event that occurred during that visit is preserved in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh for the 24th

 

and 25th of August, 1721. This record has been published by Bro. Lyon in his history of that lodge. It is in the following words:

 

"Att Maries chapped the 24 of August, 1721 years, James Wattson, present deacon of the Masons of Edinbr., Preses. The which day Doctor

 

John Theophilus Desaguliers, fellow of the Royall Societie, and chaplain in Ordinary to his Grace, James, Duke of Chandois. late Generall Master of the Mason Lodges in England,

 

(1) Anderson's "Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 161.

 

(2) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 151.

 

being in town and desirous to have a conference with the Deacon, Warden, and Master Masons of Edinbr., which was accordingly granted, and finding him duly qualified in all points of Masonry, they received him

 

as a Brother into their Societie."

 

"Likeas, upon the 25th day of the sd. moneth the Deacon, Wardens, Masters, and several other members of the Societie, together with the sd. Doctor Desaguliers, haveing mett att Maries Chapell, there was a

 

supplication presented to them by John Campbell, Esqr., Lord Provost of Edinbr., George Preston and Hugh Hathorn, Baillies; James Nimo, the asurer; William Livingston, Deacon‑convener of the Trades thereof, and George Irving, Clerk to the Dean of Guild Court, and humbly craving to be

 

admitted members of the sd. Societie; which being considered by them, they granted the desire thereof, and the saids honourable persons were admitted and receaved Entered Apprentices and Fellow‑Crafts

 

accordingly."

 

"And sicklike upon the 28th day of the said moneth there was another petition given in by Sr. Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, Barronet; Robert Wightman, Esqr., present Dean of Gild of Edr.; George Drummond, Esq., late Theasurer thereof; Archibald M'Aulay, late Bailly there; and Patrick

 

Lindsay, merchant there, craveing the like benefit, which was also granted, and they were receaved as members of the societie as the other persons above mentioned. The same day James Key and Thomas

 

Aikman, servants to James Wattson, deacon of the masons, were admitted and receaved entered apprentices, and payed to James Mack, Warden, the ordinary dues as such. Ro. Alison, Clerk."

 

I agree with Bro. Lyon that "there can be but one opinion as to the nature

 

and object of Dr. Desaguliers's visit to the Lodge of Edinburgh." And that was the introduction into Scotland of the new system of Masonry recently fabricated by himself for the lodges of London. That he conferred only the First and Second degrees is to me satisfactory proof that the Third had

 

not been arranged.

 

Lyon says "it is more than probable that on both occasions (the two meetings of the Lodge recorded above) the ceremony of entering and passing would, as far as the circumstances of the lodges would permit, be

 

conducted by Desaguliers himself in accordance with the ritual he xvas anxious to introduce." (1)

 

(1) "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 153.

 

This is undoubtedly true; but why did he not complete the instruction by

 

conferring the Third degree ? Bro. Lyon's explanation here is wholly untenable:

 

"It was not," he says, "till 1722‑23 that the English regulation restricting the conferring of the Third Degree to Grand Lodge was repealed. This may account for the Doctor confining himself to the two lesser degrees."

 

Bro. Lyon, usually so accurate, has here unaccountably fallen into two important errors.

 

First, the regulation alluded to was not repealed in 1723 but was only promulgated in that year. The repeal took place in 1725.

 

His next error is that the restriction was confined to the Third degree, while in fact, if we accept the passage in the "General Regulations" as genuine, it restricted, as we have seen, the conferring of both the Second

 

and Third degrees to the Grand Lodge.

 

Therefore, if Desaguliers had considered himself as governed by this regulation (which, however, was impossible, seeing that it had not been enacted until after his visit to Edinburgh), he would have been restrained

 

from conferring the Second as well as the Third degree.

 

That he conferred the Second degree in a lodge of Edinburgh, notwithstanding the usage in London of conferring it only in the Grand Lodge, may be accounted for on the very reasonable supposition that he

 

did not consider that the English usage was binding on Scottish Masons.

 

Besides, there was, at that time, no Grand Lodge in Scotland, and if he had not conferred the degree in a lodge, the object of his visit would have been frustrated, and that was to introduce into the sister kingdom the new

 

system of Speculative Freemasonry which he had invented and which had been just adopted in England or rather in London.

 

But that he should have taken a long and arduous journey to Edinburgh (a

 

journey far more arduous than it is in the present day of railroads) for the purpose of introducing into the Scotch lodges the ritual invented by him for English Freemasonry, and yet have left the task uncompleted by omitting to communicate the most important part of the degree which was

 

at the summit, is incomprehensible, unless we suppose that the Third degree had not, at that time, been invented.

 

For if the language of the "General Regulations" receives the only interpretation of which they are capable, it is evident that in the beginning

 

of the year 1723, when they were published in the Book of Constitutions, the degree of Fellow‑Craft was the highest degree known to the Freemasons of London.

 

It is the belief of all Masonic scholars, except a few who still cling with

 

more or less tenacity to the old legends and traditions, that the Third degree can not be historically traced to a period earlier than the second decade of the 18th century. It has not, however, been hitherto attempted

 

by anyone, so far as I am aware, to indicate the precise time of its invention.

 

The general opinion seems to have been that it was first introduced into the ritual of Speculative Freemasonry a very short time after the organization of the Grand Lodge in London, in the year 1717. But I think

 

that I have conclusively and satisfactorily proved that the actual period of its introduction as a working degree was not until six years afterward, namely, in the year 1723, and after the publication of the first edition of

 

the Book of Constitutions, and that the only passage referring to it in that work or in the "General Regulations" appended to it, was surreptitiously inserted in anticipation of its intended introduction.

 

The first writer who questioned the antiquity of the Third degree as

 

conferred under the Grand Lodge was Laurence Dermott, the Grand Secretary, and afterward the Deputy Grand Master of that body of Freemasons which, in the year 1753, seceded from the legal Grand Lodge of England and constituted what is known in Masonic history as the

 

"Grand Lodge of Ancients," the members thus distinguishing themselves from the constitutional Grand Lodge, which they stigmatized as "Moderns." In the second edition of the Ahiman Rezon, published in 1764,

 

he has, in the part called "A Philacteria," the following statement in reference to the Third degree: (1)

 

"About the year 1717 some joyous companions who had passed the degree of a craft (though very rusty) resolved to form a lodge for themselves, in order (by conversation) to recollect what had been

 

formerly dictated to them, or, if that should be found impracticable, to substitute something new, which might for the future

 

(1) This statement is not contained in the 1st edition, published in 1756.

 

 

 

pass for Masonry amongst themselves. At this meeting the question was asked, whether any person in the assembly knew the Master's part, and being answered in the negative, it was resolved nem. con. that the deficiency should be made up with a new composition, and what

 

fragments of the old order found amongst them, should be immediately reformed and made more pliable to the humours of the people."

 

I should be unwilling to cite the unsupported testimony of Dermott for anything in reference to the "Modern" because of his excessive partisan

 

spirit. But the extract just given may be considered simply as confirming all the evidence heretofore produced, that after the year 1717 a "Master's part" or Third degree had been fabricated. Dermott's details, which were

 

intended as a sneer upon the Constitution Grand Lodge, should pass for nothing.

 

As for Dermott's assertion that the true Master's degree, as it existed before the Revival, was in the possession of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients, as it was called, it is not only false, but absolutely absurd, for if

 

the Ancients were in possession of a Third degree which had been in existence before the year 1717, and the Moderns were not, where did the former get it, since they sprang out of the latter and carried with them only

 

the knowledge which they possessed as a part of that Grand Lodge ?

 

Dr. Oliver, notwithstanding his excessive credulity in respect to the myths and legends of Freemasonry, has from time to time in his various writings

 

expressed his doubts as to "the extreme antiquity of the present arrangement of the three degrees." (1) In one of his latest works (2) he admits that Desaguliers and Anderson were accused of the fabrication of the Hiramic legend and of the manufacture of the degree by their

 

seceding contemporaries, which accusation, he says, they did not deny. (3)

 

Findel says: "Originally, it seems, there was but one degree ot initiation in the year 1717. . . . The introduction of the degrees of Fellow‑Craft and

 

Master Mason took place in so imperceptible

 

(1) State of Freemasonry in the 18th Century. Introduction to his edition of Hutchinson. (2) "The Freemason's Treasury," Spencer, 1863. (3) This is an example of the carelessness with which Masonic writers

 

were accustomed to make their statements. The "seceding contemporaries" of Oliver consisted simply of Laurence Dermott, who first made the accusation, and when he made it, both Desaguliers and Anderson were dead.

 

a manner, that we do not know the accurate date. No mention is made of

 

them before 1720, even not yet in the Book of Constitutions of 1722. (1)

 

I do not, however, concur with this learned German writer in his hypothesis that the Third degree originated as a reward for Masonic

 

merits, especially to be conferred on all the brethren who had passed the chair from 1717 to 1720. Doubtless, as soon as it was invented it was conferred on all who were or had been Masters of lodges, but Findel places too low an estimate on the design of the degree. I think rather that

 

it was intended by Desaguliers to develop the religious and philosophic sentiment in Speculative Freemasonry which it was his intention to establish. It is probable that the "eloquent Oration about Masons and Masonry," which Anderson tells us he delivered before the Grand Lodge

 

in 1721, but which is unfortunately lost, contained a foreshadowing of hls views on this subject.

 

Bro. Hughan, who is of the very highest authority on all points of the documentary history of English Masonry, settles the question in the

 

following remarks: (2)

 

"The sublime degree of a Master Mason, alias the 'Third degree,' may be very ancient, but, so far, the evidence respecting its history goes no farther back than the early part of the last century. Few writers on the

 

subject appear to base their observations on facts, but prefer the 'traditions' (so called) derived from old Masons. We, however, give the preference to the minutes and bylaws of lodges, as all of which we have

 

either seen, traced, or obtained copies of, unequivocally prove the degree of Master Mason to be an early introduction of the Revivalists of A.D. 1717. No record prior to the second decade of the last century ever mentions Masonic degrees, and all the MSS. preserved decidedly confirm

 

us in the belief that in the mere Operative (although partly speculative) career of Freemasonry the ceremony of reception was of a most unpretentious and simple character, mainly for the communication of certain lyrics and secrets, and for the conservation of ancient customs of

 

the craft."

 

Hughan cites a MS. (No. 23,202) in the British Museum showing that the rules of a Musical and Architectural Society formed in

 

(1) "History of Freemasonry," Lyon's Translation, p. 150.

 

(2) See Voice of Masonry for August, 1873.


 

 

COLOGNE CATHEDRAL
 

 

February, 1724, in London, required its members to be Master Masons. This might be, and yet the degree not have been fabricated until January, 1723.

 

He also cites the minutes of a lodge held at Lincoln (England). From

 

these minutes it appears that in December, 1734, the body of the lodge consisted of Fellow‑Crafts; and when the "two new Wardens, as well as several other Brothers of the lodge, well qualified and worthy of the degree of Master had not been called thereto," the Master directed a

 

lodge of Masters to be held for the purpose of admitting these candidates to the Third degree.

 

Hence, as Bro. Hughan says, the lodge at that time worked the degree only at intervals. And he concludes, I think, correctly, that as there was a

 

rule prescribing the fee when a "Brother made in another lodge shall be passed Master in this," that "all lodges had not authority or did not work the degree in question." I suppose they had the authority but not the

 

ability.

 

All this shows that the Third degree in 1734 was yet in its infancy.

 

The provision contained in the "General Regulations," which restricted the conferring of the Second and Third degrees to the Grand Lodge was rescinded on November 22, 1725, and yet we see that nine years

 

afterward the Third degree was not conferred in all the lodges.

 

It is a singular circumstance that in 1731, when the Duke of Lorraine was made a Mason in a special lodge held at the Hague, notwithstanding that

 

Desaguliers presided over it, he received only the First and Second degrees, and came afterward to England to have the Third conferred upon him.

 

The first evidence of the Third degree being conferred in Scotland is in the minutes of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge in a minute dated March 31,

 

1735. (1)

 

The degree is first referred to in the minutes of St. Mary's Chapel Lodge under the date of November 1, 1738, when George Drummond, Esq., an Entered Apprentice, "was past a Fellow‑Craft and also raised as a Master

 

Mason in due form." (2)

 

According to Bro. Lyon, possession of the Third degree was not at this period a necessary qualification to a seat in the Grand

 

(1) Lyon, "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 213. (2) Ibid., p. 212.

 

 

 

Lodge of Scotland. For thirty years after its introduction into Mary's Chapel it conferred no rights in the management of the lodge that were not possessed by Fellow‑Crafts.

 

It was not, in fact, until the year 1765 that Master Masons alone were qualified to hold office.

 

Continental Speculative Masonry having derived its organized existence from the Grand Lodge of England, must necessarily have borrowed its forms and ceremonies and ritual from the same source, and consequently received the Third degree at a still later period.

 

From all that has been said, I think that we are fairly entitled to deduce the following conclusions:

 

1. When the four old Lodges of London met on June 24, 1717, at the "Goose and Gridiron Tavern" and organized the Grand Lodge of England,

 

there was but one degree known to the Craft, to the esoteric instructions of which all Freemasons were entitled.

 

2. Between 1717 and 1720, in which latter year the "Charges" and probably the "General Regulations" were compiled by Grand Master

 

Payne, a severance of this primitive degree into two parts was effected, and the Second or Fellow‑Craft's degree was fabricated, the necessary result being that what was left of the primitive degree, with doubtless some modifications and even additions, was constituted as the Entered

 

Apprentice's degree.

 

3. A Third degree, called that of the Master Mason, was subsequently fabricated so as to complete the series of three degrees of Speculative Masonry as it now exists.

 

4. The Third degree, as an accomplished fact, was not fabricated before

 

the close of the year 1722, and was not made known to the Craft, or worked as a degree of the new system, until the beginning of 1723.

 

5. The inventor or fabricator of this series of degrees was Dr. John

 

Theophilus Desaguliers, assisted by Anderson and probably a few other collaborators, among whom I certainly would not omit the learned antiquary, George Payne, who had twice been Grand Master.

 

In coming to these conclusions I omit all reference to the Legend of the

 

Third Degree as to the time or place when it was concocted, and whether it was derived by Desaguliers, as has been asserted, from certain Jewish rabbinical writers, or whether its earliest form is to be found in certain traditions of the mediaeval Stonemasons.

P. 1002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXVII

 

THE DEATH OF OPERATIVE AND THE BIRTH OF SPECULATIVE FREEMASONRY

 

GROWTH, says Dr. South, "is progress, and all progress designs, and tends to the acquisition of something, which the growing thing or person is

 

not yet possessed of."

 

This apothegm of the learned divine is peculiarly applicable to the history of that system of Speculative Freemasonry which, springing into existence at the "Apple Tree tavern," in London, at the close of the second decade

 

of the 18th century, made such progress in the acquisition of new knowledge as to completely change its character soon after the beginning of the third decade.

 

We have seen that it was derived from an older institution whose objects

 

were altogether practical, and whose members were always engaged in the building of public edifices. But there were other members of the guild who were not Operative Masons, but who had been admitted to the privileges of membership for the sake of the prestige and influence which

 

the Fraternity expected to obtain from their learning, their wealth, or their rank.

 

These unprofessional brethren, who were at first called Theoretic Masons or Honorary members, but who afterward assumed the title of Speculative

 

Freemasons, began even in the very outset of what they were pleased, most inaccurately, to call a Revival, to exercise an unexpected and detrimental influence on the Operative Guild.

 

This influence was so exerted that Operative Freemasonry was gradually

 

extruded from the important place which it had so long occupied, and finally, in and after the year 1723, ceased entirely to exist.

 

The gradual transformation from Operative to Speculative Free masonry is one of the most interesting points in the history of the institution, and is

 

well worth our careful consideration.

 

Hardly more wonderful is the change from the insignificant acorn to the majestic oak, than was this expansion of a guild of workingmen, limited in their design and their numbers, into a Fraternity of moralists and

 

philosophers, whose object was the elevation of their fellow‑men, and whose influence has extended into every quarter of the civilized world.

 

Operative Freemasonry, which flourished in the Middle Ages and long

 

after as an association of skillful builders who were in the possession of architectural secrets unknown to the ruder workmen of the same craft, and who were bound to each other by a fraternal tie, no longer exists. Like the massive cathedrals which it constructed, it has crumbled into

 

decay.

 

But Speculative Freemasonry, erected on its ruins, lives and will always live, a perpetual memorial in its symbols and its technical language of the source whence it sprang.

 

Let us inquire how the one died and how the other was born.

 

When on the 24th day of June in the year 1717 certain Freemasons of London met at the "Goose and Gridiron Tavern" and carried into effect the arrangement made in the previous February, by organizing a Grand Lodge, it is not to be presumed that any other idea had at that time

 

entered their minds than that of consolidating the four Operative Lodges of which they were members into one body. The motives that actuated them were to produce a stronger union among the Craft than had

 

previously existed, each lodge having hitherto been independent and isolated, and also to enlarge their numbers and to increase their influence, by throwing the door more widely open to the admission of gentlemen who were not otherwise connected with the Craft.

 

The fact is that the fashion then prevailed to a remarkable extent in London for men of like sentiments or of the same occupation to form themselves into clubs. The Freemasons, both Operative and Theoretic, in thus uniting, were doing nothing else than following the fashion, and were

 

really instituting a club of a more elevated character and under a different name.

 

Hence the consolidation of the four Lodges was called a Grand Lodge, a title and an organization which had previously been unknown to English

 

Freemasonry. (1)

 

(1) It is not worth while to repeat the argument so often advanced, and by which Masonic scholars have satisfied themselves that no Grand Lodge ever existed in England before the year 1717.

 

 

 

There was no thought, at that early period, by those who were engaged in the organization, of changing to any greater extent the character of the society. It was still to be a Guild of Operative Freemasons, but consisting more largely in proportion than ever before of members who were not

 

professional workmen.

 

"At the revival in 1717," says Dr. Oliver, "the philosophy of the Order was seldom considered, and our facetious brethren did not think it worth their while to raise any question respecting the validity of our legends; nor did

 

they concern themselves much about the truth of our traditions. Their principal object was pass a pleasant hour in company with a select assemblage of brethren; and that purpose being attained, they waived all inquiry into the truth or probability of either the one or the other." (1)

 

The scanty records of the transaction, which Dr. Anderson, our only authority, has supplied, make no mention of those distinguished persons who afterward took a prominent part in affecting the transmutation of

 

Operative into Speculative Freemasonry, and who were indeed the founders of the latter system.

 

It is said, though I know not on what authentic authority, that Dr. Desaguliers, the corypheus of the band of reformers, had been admitted

 

five years before into the honorary membership of the Lodge which met at the sign of the "Rummer and Grapes," and which was one of the four that united in the formation of a Grand Lodge.

 

If this be true, and there are good reasons for believing it, it can not be

 

doubted that he was present at the organization of the Grand Lodge, and that he took an active part in the proceedings of the meetings both in February and in June, 1717.

 

Neither the names of Payne nor of Anderson, who subsequently became

 

the collaborators of Desaguliers in the formation of Speculative Freemasonry, are mentioned in the brief records of those meetings. If they were present or connected with the organization, the fact is not recorded. Payne first appears in June, 1718, when he was elected Grand

 

Master; Desaguliers in 1719, when he was elected to the same office. This would tend to show that both had been for some years in the Fraternity, since new‑comers would hardly have been chosen for those positions.

 

 

 

(1) "Discrepancies of Freemasonry," p. 13.

 

It is not so certain that Anderson was a Freemason in 1717. It is not improbable that he was soon afterward admitted, for in September, 1721, he acquired such a reputation in the society as to have been selected by

 

the Duke of Montagu, who was then the Grand Master, to digest the old Gothic Constitutions, a task of great importance.

 

Of one thing, however, there can be no doubt, that no one of these three persons, who were afterward so distinguished for their services in

 

Speculative Freemasonry, had in 1717 been prominently placed before the Craft. In the selection of an officer to preside over the newly established Grand Lodge, the choice fell, not on one of them, but on a comparatively insignificant person, Mr. Anthony Sayer. Of his subsequent

 

Masonic career, we only know that he was appointed by Desaguliers one of the Grand Wardens. He is also recorded as having been the Senior Warden at one of the four original Lodges after he had passed the Grand

 

Mastership. He afterward fell into financial difficulties, and having received relief from the Grand Lodge, we hear no more of him in the history of Freemasonry.

 

It is to Desaguliers, to Payne, and to Anderson that we are to attribute the

 

creation of that change in the organization of the system of English Freemasonry which gradually led to the dissolution of the Operative element, and the substitution in its place of one that was purely Speculative. The three were members of the same lodge, were men of

 

education, (1) were interested in the institution, as is shown by their regular attendance on the meetings of the Grand Lodge until near the middle of the century, and were all zealously engaged in the investigation of the old records of the institution, so as to fit them for the prosecution of

 

the peaceful revolution which they were seeking to accomplish.

 

Among the multitudinous books contributed by Dr. Oliver to the literature of Freemasonry, is one entitled The Reversions of

 

(1) John Robison, a professor of Natural Philosophy in Edinburgh, wrote and published in 1797 an anti‑masonic work entitled "Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Government in Europe," etc., the falsehoods in which, unfortunately for the author's reputation, were

 

extended by French and Dutch translations. In this book he says of Anderson and Desaguliers that they were "two persons of little education and of low manners, who had aimed at little more than making a pretext, not altogether contemptible, for a convivial meeting." (P. 71.) This is a fair

 

specimen of Robison's knowledge and judgment.

 

a Square, which contains much information concerning the condition of the ritual and the progress of the institution during the early period now

 

under consideration. Unfortunately, there is such a blending of truth and fiction in this work that it is difficult, on many occasions, to separate the one from the other.

 

It is but fair, however, to admit the author's claim that his statements are

 

not to be accounted fabulous and without authority because its contents are communicated through an imaginary medium," for, as he avers, he is in possession of authentic vouchers for every transaction.

 

These vouchers consisted principally of the contents of a masonic diary

 

kept by his father, who had been initiated in 1784, and was acquainted with a distinguished Freemason who had been a contemporary of Desaguliers. With this brother the elder Oliver had held many conversations, as well as with others of the 18th century. The substance

 

of these conversations he had committed to his diary, and this came into the possession of his son, and is the basis on which he composed his Revelations of a Square.

 

If Dr. Oliver had given in marginal notes or otherwise special references

 

to the diary and to other sources which he used as authorities for his statements, I do not hesitate to say that The Revelations of a Square would, by these proofs of authenticity, be the most valuable of all his

 

historical works.

 

Still, I am disposed to accept generally the statements of the work as authentic, and if there be sometimes an appearance of the fabulous, it can not be doubted that beneath the fiction there is always a considerable substratum of truth.

 

According to Oliver, Desaguliers had at that early period determined to renovate the Order, which was falling into decay, and had enlisted several active and zealous brethren in the support of his plans. Among these were Sayer and Payne, the firsf and second Grand Masters, and Elliott

 

and Lamball, the first two Wardens, with several others whose names have not elsewhere been transmitted to posterity. (1)

 

There is nothing unreasonable nor improbable in this statement. It is very likely that Desaguliers and a few of his friends had seen and deplored the

 

decaying condition of the four lodges in London.

 

(1) "Revelations of a Square," ch. i., p. 5.

 

It is also likely that their first thought was that a greater degree of success and prosperity might be secured if the lodges would abandon to some

 

extent the independence and isolation of their condition, and would establish a bond of union by their consolidation under a common head.

 

Whatever views might have been secretly entertained by Desaguliers and

 

a few friends in his confidence, he could not have openly expressed to the Craft any intention to dissolve the Operative guild and to establish a Speculative society in its place. Had such an intention been even suspected by the purely Operative Freemasons who composed part of the

 

membership of the four lodges, it can not well be doubted that they would have declined to support a scheme which looked eventually to the destruction of their Craft, and consequently the organization of a Grand

 

Lodge would never have been attempted.

 

But I am not willing to charge Desaguliers with such duplicity. He was honest in his desire to renovate the institution of Operative freemasonry, and he believed that the first step toward that renovation would be the

 

consolidation of the lodges. He expected that an imperfect code of laws would be improved, and perhaps that a rude and unpolished ritual might be expanded and refined.

 

Farther, he was not, it may be supposed, prepared at that time to go.

 

Whatever modifications he subsequently made by the invention of degrees which at once established a new system were the results of afterthoughts suggested to his mind by a sequence of circumstances.

 

That the change from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry was of

 

gradual growth, we know from the authentic records that are before us.

 

In the year 1717 we find an Operative guild presenting itself in cold simplicity of organization as a body of practical workmen to whom were joined some honorary members, who were not Craftsmen; with an

 

imperfect and almost obsolete system of by‑laws; with but one form of admission; with secrets common to all classes, and which were of little or no importance, for the architectural and geometrical secrets of the

 

medieval Craft had been lost; and finally with an insignificant and unpolished ritual, a mere catechism for wandering brethren to test their right to the privileges and the hospitality of the Fraternity.

 

Six years after, in 1723, this association of workmen has disappeared,

 

and in its place we find a new society which has been erected on the foundations of that edifice which has crumbled into ruins; a society that has repudiated all necessary knowledge of the art of building; to which workmen may be admitted, not because they are workmen, but because

 

they are men of good character and of exemplary conduct; with a well‑ framed code of laws for its government; with three degrees, with three forms of initiation, and with secrets exclusively appropriated to each; and

 

with rituals which, produced by cultured minds, present the germs of a science of symbolism.

 

Operative Freemasonry no longer wields the scepter; it has descended from its throne into its grave, and Speculative Freemasonry, as a living

 

form, has assumed the vacant seat.

 

That the transmutation was gradually accomplished we know, for six years were occupied in its accomplishment, and the records of that period, brief and scanty as they are, unerringly indicate the steps of its

 

gentle progress.

 

From June, 1717, to June, 1718, under the administration of Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, as Grand Master, there are no signs of a contemplated change. He was not, if negative evidence may be accepted as the index of his character, the man to inaugurate so bold an enterprise.

 

His efforts seem to have been directed solely to the strengthening and confirming of the union of the Operative lodges by consulting at stated periods with their officers.

 

From June, 1718, to June, 1719, George Payne presided over the Craft.

 

Now we discover the first traces of a sentiment tending toward the improvement of the institution. Old manuscripts and records were anxiously sought for that the ancient usages of the Craft might be learned. In preparing for the future it was expedient to know something of the past.

 

The result of this collation of old documents was the compilation of the "Charges of a Freemason," appended to the first edition of the Book of Constitutions. The composition of this code is generally attributed to

 

Anderson. Without positive testimony on this point, I am inclined to assign the authorship to Payne. He was a noted antiquary, and well fitted by the turn of his mind to labors of that kind.

 

Desaguliers was Grand Master from June, 1719, to June, 1720, His

 

administration is made memorable by the first great change in the system.

 

An examination of the old manuscripts which had been collected by Payne must have shown that the body of the Craft had always been divided into two classes, Apprentices and Fellows, who were

 

distinguished by the possession of certain privileges as workmen peculiar to each.

 

In the lodge they assembled together and partook equally of its counsels. But the prominence of the Fellows in rank as a class of workmen and in

 

numbers as constituting the principal membership of the four old Lodges, very probably suggested to the mind of Desaguliers the advantages that would result from a more distinct separation of the Fellows from the Apprentices, not by a recognition of the higher rank of the former as

 

workmen, because if a Speculative system was to be established, a qualification derived from skill in the practical labors of the Craft would cease to be of avail; but a separation by granting to each class a peculiar

 

form of initiation, with its accompanying secrets.

 

The fact, also, that in some of the old manuscripts, which were then called the "Gothic Constitutions," copies of which had been produced as the result of the call of Grand Master Payne, there were two distinct sets of

 

"Charges," one for the Masters and Fellows and one for the Apprentices, would have strengthened the notion that there should be a positive and distinct separation of the two classes as the first preparatory step toward

 

the development of the new system.

 

This step was taken by Desaguliers soon after his installation as Grand Master. Accordingly, in 1719, he modified the one degree or form of initiation or admission which had been hitherto common to all ranks of

 

Craftsmen.

 

One part of the degree (but the word is not precisely correct) he confined to the Apprentices, and made it the working degree of the lodge. Another part he enlarged and improved, transferred to it the most important secret, the MASON WORD, and made it a degree to be conferred only on

 

Fellow‑Crafts in the Grand Lodge; while the degree of the Apprentices thus modified continued as of old to be conferred on new candidates in the lodge.

 

Thus it was that in the year 1719 the first alteration in the old Operative

 

system took place, and two degrees, the First and Second, were created.

 

The Entered Apprentice now ceased to be a youth bound for a certain number of years to a Master for the purpose of learning the mysteries of the trade. The term henceforth denoted one who had been initiated into

 

the secrets of the First degree of Speculative Freemasonry, a meaning which it has ever since retained.

 

In former times, under the purely Operative system, the Masters of the Work, those appointed to rule over the migratory lodges and to

 

superintend the Craftsmen in their hours of labor, were necessarily selected from the Fellows, because of their greater skill, acquired from experience and their freedom from servitude.

 

But when the Theoretic Freemasons, the Honorary members, began to be

 

the dominant party, in consequence of their increased number, their higher social position, and their superior education, it was plainly seen that any claim to privileges which was derived from greater skill in the

 

practical art of building, from the expiration of indentures and from the acquisition of independence and the right to go and come at will, would soon be abolished.

 

The Operative members only could maintain a distinction between

 

themselves founded on such claims. The Theoretic members were, so far as regarded skill in building or freedom from the servitude of indentures, on an equal footing, everyone with all the others.

 

But Desaguliers and his collaborators were anxious to retain as many as

 

they could of the old usages of the Craft. They were not prepared nor willing to obliterate all marks of identity between the old and the new system. Nor could they afford, in the infancy of their enterprise, to excite the opposition of the Operative members by an open attack on the ancient

 

customs of the Craft.

 

Hence they determined to retain the distinction which had always existed between Fellows and Apprentices, but to found that distinction, not on the possession of superior skill in the art of building, but in the possession of

 

peculiar secrets.

 

The Second degree having been thus established, it became necessary to secure the privileges of the Fellows. These in the old system had inured to them by usage and the natural workings of the trade; they were

 

now to be perpetuated and maintained in the new system by positive law.

 

Accordingly, in the following year, Payne made that compilation or code of laws for the government of the new society which is known as the "General Regulations," and which having been approved by the Grand

 

Lodge, was inserted in the Book of Constitutions.

 

It has been already abundantly shown that the whole tenor of these "Regulations" was to make the Fellow‑Crafts the possessors of the highest degree then known, and to constitute them the sole legislators of

 

the society (except in the alteration of the "Regulations") and the body from which its officers were to be chosen.

 

Thus the first step in the separation of Speculative from Operative

 

Freemasonry was accomplished by the establishment of two degrees of initiation instead of one, and by making the Fellow‑Crafts distinct from and superior to the Apprentices, not by a higher skill in an Operative art, but by their attainment to greater knowledge in a Speculative science.

 

For four years this new system prevailed, and Speculative Freemasonry in England was divided into two degrees. The system, in fact, existed up to the very day of the final approval, in January, 1723, of the Book of

 

Constitutions.

 

The First degree was appropriated to the initiation of candidates in the particular, or, as we now call them, the subordinate lodges.

 

The Second degree conferred in the Grand Lodge was given to those few who felt the aspiration for higher knowledge, or who had been elected as

 

Masters of lodges or as officers in the Grand Lodge.

 

The Operative members submitted to the change, and continued to take an interest in the new society, receiving in proportion to their numbers a fair share of the offices in the Grand Lodge.

 

But the progress of change and innovation was not to cease at this point. The inventive genius of Desaguliers was not at rest, and urged onward, not only by his ritualistic taste and his desire to elevate the institution into

 

a higher plane than would result by the force of surrounding circumstances, he contemplated a further advance.

 

"Circumstances," says Goethe, in his Wilhelm Meister, "move backward and forward before us and ceaselessly finish the web, which we ourselves

 

have in part spun and put upon the loom."

 

Desaguliers, with the co‑operation of other Theoretic Freemasons. had united the four Operative Lodges into a Grand Lodge, a body until then unknown to the Craft; he had established a form of government with which

 

they were equally unfamiliar; he had abolished the old degree, and inventedtwo new ones; and yet it appears that he did not consider the system perfect.

 

He contemplated a further development of the ritual by the addition of

 

another degree. In this design he was probably, to some extent, controlled by surrounding circumstances.

 

The Fellow‑Crafts had been invested with important privileges not granted to the Entered Apprentices, and the possession of these privileges was

 

accompanied by the acquisition of a higher esoteric knowledge.

 

Among the privileges which had been acquired by the Fellow Crafts were those of election to office in the Grand Lodge and of Mastership in a subordinate lodge.

 

It is not unreasonable to suppose that the Fellows who had been elevated

 

to these positions in consequence of their possession of a new degree were desirous, especially the Master of the lodges, to be farther distinguished from both the Apprentices and the Fellowv Crafts by the

 

acquisition of a still higher grade.

 

Besides this motive, the existence of which, though not attested by any positive authority, is nevertheless very presumable, another and a more philosophic one must have actuated Desaguliers in the further development of his system of degrees.

 

He had seen that the old Operative Craft was divided into three classes or ranks of workmen. To the first and secede of these classes he had appropriated a degree peculiar to each. But the third and highest class was still without one. Thus was his system made incongruous and

 

incomplete.

 

To give it perfection it was necessary that a Third degree should be invented, to be the property of the third class, or the Masters.

 

It is possible that Desaguliers had, in his original plan, contemplated the

 

composition of three degrees, or it may have been that the willing acceptance of the First and Second by the Craft had suggested the invention of a Third degree.

 

Be this as it may, for it is all a matter of mere surmise and not of great

 

importance, it is very certain that the invention and composition of the ritual of so philosophic a degree could not have been the labor of a day or a week or any brief period of time.

 

It involved much thought, and months must have beer occupied in the

 

mental labor of completing it. It could not have been finished before the close of the year 1722. If it had, it would have been presented to the Grand Lodge before the final approval of the Book of Constitutions, and would then have received that prominent place in Speculative

 

Freemasonry which in that book and in the "General Regulations" is assigned to the degree of Fellow‑Craft.

 

But at that time the degree was so far completed as to make it certain that it would be ready for presentation to the Grand Lodge and to the Craft in

 

the course of the following year.

 

But as the Book of Constitutions was finally approved in January, 1723, and immediately afterward printed and published, Desaguliers being desirous of keeping the new degree under his own control for a brief

 

period, until its ritual should be well understood and properly worked, anticipated the enactment of a law on the subject, and interpolated the passage in the "General Regulations" which required the Second and

 

Third degrees to be conferred in the Grand Lodge only.

 

Logical inferences and documentary evidence bring us unavoidably to the conclusion that the following was the sequence of events which led to the establishment of the present ritual of three degrees.

 

In 1717 the Grand Lodge, at its organization, received the one comprehensive degree or ritual which had been common to all classes of the Operative Freemasons.

 

This they continued to use, with no modification, for the space of two years.

 

In 1719 the ritual of this degree was disintegrated and divided into two parts. One part was appropriated to the Entered Apprentices; the other, with some augmentations, to the Fellow‑Craft.

 

From that time until the year 1723 the system of Speculative

 

Freemasonry, which was practiced by the Grand Lodge, consisted of two degrees. That of Fellow‑Craft was deemed the summit of Freemasonry, and there was nothing esoteric beyond it.

 

On this system of two degrees the Book of Constitutions, the "General

 

Regulations," and the "Manner of Constituting a new Lodge" were framed. When these were published the Craft knew nothing of a Third degree.

 

In the year 1723 Dr. Desaguliers perfected the system by presenting the Grand Lodge with the Third degree, which he had recently invented.

 

This degree was accepted by the Grand Lodge, and being introduced into the ritual, from that time forth Ancient Craft Masonry, as it has since been called, has consisted of these three degrees. (1)

 

There can be little doubt that this radical change from the old system was

 

not pleasing to the purely Operative Freemasons who were members of the Grand Lodge. Innovation has always been repugnant to the Masonic mind. Then, as now, changes in the ritual and the introduction of new

 

degrees must have met with much opposition from those who were attached traditionally to former usages and were unwilling to abandon the old paths.

 

From 1717 to 1722 we find, by Anderson's records, that the Operatives must have taken an active part in the transactions of the Grand Lodge, for

 

during that period they received a fair proportion of the offices. No one of them, however, had been elected to the chief post of Grand Master, which was always bestowed upon a Speculative.

 

But from the year 1723, when, as it has been shown, the Speculative system had been perfected, we lose all sight of the Operatives in any further proceedings of the society. It is impossible to determine whether this was the result of their voluntary withdrawal or whether the

 

Speculatives no longer desired their co‑operation. But the evidence is ample that from the year 1723 Speculative Freemasonry has become the dominant, and, indeed, the only feature of the Grand Lodge.

 

Bro. Robert Freeke Gould, who has written an elaborate sketch of the

 

history of those times, makes on this point the following remark, which sustains the present views:

 

"In 1723, however, a struggle for supremacy, between the Operatives and the Speculatives, had set in, and the former, from that time, could justly

 

complain of their total supercession in the offices of the Society." (2)

 

It is, then, in the year 1723 that we must place the birth of Speculative Freemasonry. Operative Masonry, the mere art of building, that which was

 

practiced by the "Rough Layers" of England and the wall builders or Murer of Germany, still remains and will always remain as one of the useful arts.

 

(1) The dismemberment of the Third degree, which is said to have subsequently taken place to form a fourth degree, has nothing to do with

 

this discussion. (2) "History of the Four Old Lodges," p. 34.

 

But Operative Freemasonry, the descendant and the representative of the mediaeval guilds, ceased then and forever to exist.

 

It died, but it left its sign in the implements of the Craft which were still

 

preserved in the new system, but applied to spiritual uses; in the technical terms of the art which gave rise to a symbolic language; and in the ineffaceable memorials which show that the new association of

 

Speculative Freemasonry has been erected on the foundations of a purely Operative Society.

 

P. 1016

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXVIII

 

INTRODUCTION OF SPECULATIVE FREEMASONRY INTO FRANCE

 

SPECULATIVE Freemasonry having been firmly established in London

 

and its environs (for it did not immediately extend into the other parts of England), it will now be proper to direct our attention to its progress in other countries, and in the first place into the neighboring kingdom of France.

 

The unauthentic and unconfirmed statements of Masonic scholars, until a

 

very recent period, had thrown a cloud of uncertainty over the early history of Freemasonry in France, which entirely obscured the true era of its introduction into that country.

 

Moreover, the accounts of the origin of Freemasonry in France made by

 

different writers are of so conflicting a nature that it is utterly impossible to reconcile them with historical accuracy. The web of confusion thus constructed has only been recently disentangled by the investigations of

 

some English writers, conspicuous among whom is Bro. William James Hughan.

 

Before proceeding to avail ourselves of the result of these inquiries into the time of the constitution of the first lodge in France, it will be interesting

 

to present the views of the various authors who had previously written on the subject.

 

In the year 1745 a pamphlet, purporting to be an exposition of Freemasonry, was published in Paris, entitled Le Sceau Rompu, ou la Loge ouverte aux profanes. In this work it is stated that the earliest

 

introduction of Freemasonry into France is to be traced to the year 1718. This work is, however, of no authority, and it is only quoted to show the recklessness with which statements of Masonic history are too frequently

 

made.

 

The Abbe Robin, who in 1776 published his Researches on the Ancient and Modern Initiations, (1) says that at the time of his writing

 

(1) "Recherches sur les initiations anciennes et modernes," par l'Abbe Rxxx. The work, though printed anonymously, was openly attributed to

 

Robin, by the publisher.

 

 

 

no memorial of the origin of Freemasonry in France remained, and that all that has been found does not go farther back than the year 1720, when it seems to have come from England. But of the date thus ascribed he gives

 

no authentic evidence. It is with him but a surmise.

 

Thory, in 1815, in his Acta Latomorum, gives the story as follows, (1) having borrowed it from Lalande, the great astronomer, who had previously published it in 1786, in his article on Freemasonry in that

 

immense work, the Encyclopedie Methodique.

 

"The year 1725 is indicated as the epoch of the introduction of Freemasonry into Paris. Lord Derwentwater, the Chevalier Maskelyne, M. d'Henquelty, and some other Englishmen, established a lodge at the

 

house of Hure, the keeper of an ordinary in the Rue des Boucheries. This lodge acquired a great reputation, and attracted five or six hundred brethren to Masonry in the space of ten years. It worked under the

 

auspices and according to the usages of the Grand Lodge at London.

 

"It has left no historical monument of its existence, a fact which throws much confusion over the first labors of Freemasonry in Paris."

 

In his record of the year 1736, he says that "four lodges then existed at

 

Paris, which united and elected the Earl of Harnouester, who thus succeeded Lord Derwentwater, whom the brethren had chosen at the epoch of the introduction of Freemasonry into Paris. At this meeting the Chevalier Ramsay acted as Orator." (2)

 

T. B. Clavel, in his Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc‑Maconnerie, (3) says that according to certain English and German historians, among others Robison and the aulic counsellor Bode, Freemasonry was introduced into

 

France by the Irish followers of King James II., after the English revolution in 1688, and the first lodge was established at the Chateau de Saint Germain, the residence of the dethroned monarch, whence the Masonic association was propagated in the rest of the kingdom, in Germany and

 

Italy.

 

Clavel acknowledges that he does not know on what documentary evidence these writers support this opinion; he does not, however, think it altogether destitute of probability.

 

(1) "Acta Latomorum, ou chronologie de l'Histoire de la Franc‑Masonnerie

 

Francaise et Etrangire," p. 21. (2) Ibid., p 51 (3) Chapter III., p. 107.

 

Robison, to whom Clavel has referred, says that when King James, with many of his most zealous adherents, had fled into France, "they took

 

Freemasonry with them to the continent, where it was immediately received by the French, and was cultivated with great zeal, and in a manner suited to the tastes and habits of that highly polished people." (1)

 

Leaving this wholly apocryphal statement without discussion, I proceed to

 

give Clavel's account, which he claims to be historical, of the introduction of Freemasonry from England into France.

 

The first lodge, he says, whose establishment in France is historically proved, is the one which the Grand Lodge of England instituted at Dunkirk

 

in the year 1721, under the title of Amitie et Fraternite. The second, the name of which has not been preserved, was founded at Paris in 1725 by Lord Derwentwater, the Chevalier Maskelyne, Brother d'Heguerty, and

 

some other followers of the Pretender. It met at the house of Hure, an English tavern‑keeper or restaurateur in the Rue des Boucheries in the Faubourg Saint Germain. A brother Gaustand, an English lapidary, about the same time created a third lodge at Paris. A fourth one was established

 

in 1726, under the name of St. Thomas. The Grand Lodge of England constituted two others in 1729; the name of the first was Au Louis d'Argent, and a brother Lebreton was its Master; the other was called A

 

Sainte Marguerite; of this lodge we know nothing but its name, which was reported in the Registry of the year 1765. Finally there was a fourth lodge formed in Paris in the year 1732, at the house of Laudelle, a tavern‑ keeper in the Rue de Bussy. At first it took its name from that of the street

 

in which it was situated, afterward it was called the Lodge d'Aumont, because the Duke of Aumont had been initiated in it. (2)

 

Ragon, in his Orthodoxie Maconnique, asserts that Freemasonry made its

 

first appearance in France in 1721, when on October 13th the Lodge l'Amidie et Fraternite was instituted at Dunkirk. It appeared in Paris in 1725; in Bordeaux in 1732, by the establishment of the Lodge l'Anolaise No. 204; and on January

 

(1) "Proofs of a Conspiracy," p. 27.

 

(2) A review of the Report made in 1838 and 1839 to the Grand Orient of France by a Committee, which is contained in the French journal La Globe (tome I., p. 324), states that "cette loge fut regulierment constituee par la Grande Loge d'Angleterre, le 7 Mas, 1729, sous le titre distinctif de Saint‑Thomas au Louis d'Argent."

 

1, 1732, the Lodge of la Parfaits Union was instituted at Valenciennes. (1)

 

Two other French authorities, not, however, Masonic, have given similar

 

but briefer statements.

 

In the Dictionnaire de la conversation et de Za Lecture it is said that Freemasonry was introduced into France in 1720 by Lord Derwentwater and the English. The Grand Masters who succeeded him were Lord d'Arnold‑Esler and the Duc d'Autin, the Comte de Clermont‑Tonnerre and

 

the Duc d'Orleans. In 1736 there were still only four lodges in Paris; in 1742 there were twenty‑two, and two hundred in the provinces. (2)

 

Larousse, in his Grand Universal Dictionary of the Nineteenth Century, (3)

 

simply repeats this statement as to dates, simply stating that the first lodge in France was founded at Dunkirk in 1721, and the second at Paris in 1725, by Lord Derwentwater.

 

Rebold has written, in his Histoire des Trois Grandes Loges, a more

 

detailed statement of the events connected with the introduction of Freemasonry into France. His narrative is as follows:

 

"It was not until 1725 that a lodge was for the first time founded at Paris by Lord Derwentwater and two other Englishmen, under the title of St.

 

Thomas. It was constituted by them in the name of the Grand Lodge of London, on the 12th of June, 1720. Its members, to the number of five or six hundred, met at the house of Hure, a tavern‑keeper in the Rue des Boucheries‑Saint Germain. Through the exertions of the same English

 

gentlemen a second lodge was established on the 7th of June, 1729, under the name of Louis d'Argent. Its members met at the tavern of the same name, kept by one Lebreton. On the 11th of December of the same

 

year a third lodge was instituted, under the title of Arts Sainte Marguerite. Its meetings were held at the house of an Englishman named Gaustand. Finally, on the 29th of November, 1732, a fourth lodge was founded, which was called Buci, (4) from the name of the tavern in which it held its

 

meetings, which was situated in the Rue de Buci, and was kept by one Laudelle. This lodge, after

 

(1) "Orthodoxie Maconnique," p. 35. (2) "Dictionnaire de la Conversation," art. Franc‑Maconnerie, vol. xxviii.,

 

p. 136. (3) "Grand Dictionnaire Universal du XlXme Siecle," par M. Pierre Larousse. Paris, 1872. (4) This is evidently a mistake of Rebold for Bussy.

 

having initiated the Duke d'Aumont, took the name of the Lodge d'Aumont.

 

"Lord Deroventwater, who, in 1725, had received from the Grand Lodge of

 

London plenary powers to constitute lodges in France, was, in 1735, invested by the same Grand Lodge with the functions of Provincial Grand Master. When he left France (in 1745) to return to England, where he

 

soon after perished on the scaffold, a victim to his attachment for the House of Stuart, he transferred the full powers which he possessed to his friend Lord Harnouester, who was empowered to represent him as Provincial Grand Master during his absence.

 

"The four lodges then existing at Paris resolved to found a Provisional Grand Lodge of England, to which the lodges to be thereafter constituted in France might directly address themselves as the representative of the Grand Lodge at London. This resolution was put into effect after the

 

departure of Lord Derwentwater. This Grand Lodge was regularly and legally constituted in 1736 under the Grand Mastership of Lord Harnouester." (1)

 

Such is the story of the introduction of Speculative Freemasonry into

 

France, which, first published by the astronomer Lalande, has been since repeated and believed by all French Masonic historians. That a portion of this story is true is without doubt; but it is equally doubtless that a portion of it is false. It will be a task of some difficulty, but an absolutely necessary one, to unravel the web and to distinguish and separate what is true from what is false.

 

The names of three of the four founders of the first lodge in Paris present a hitherto insurmountable obstacle in the way of any identification of them

 

with historical personages of that period. The unfortunate propensity of French writers and printers to distort English names in spelling them, makes it impossible to trace the names of Lord Harnouester and M.

 

Hugety to any probable source. I have made the most diligent researches on the subject, and have been unable to find either of them in any works relating to the events of the beginning of the 18th century, which have been within my reach.

 

Lord Derwent‑Waters, as the title is printed, was undoubtedly Charles Radcliffe, the brother of James, the third Earl of Derwentwater

 

(1) "Histoire des Trois Grandes Loges," par Em. Rebold, p. 44.

 

who had been beheaded in 1715 for his connection with the rebellion in

 

that year, excited by the Old Pretender, or, as he styled himself, James III. Charles Radcliffe had also been convicted of complicity in the rebellion and sentenced to be beheaded. He, however, made his escape and fled

 

to the continent. At first he repaired to Rome, where the Pretender then held his court, but afterward removed to France, where he married the widow of Lord Newburghe and remained in that city until the year 1733. He then went for a short time to England, where he appeared openly, but

 

afterward returned to Paris and continued there until 1745. In that year the Young Pretender landed in Scotland and invaded England in the attempt, as Regent, to recover the throne of his ancestors and to place

 

his father upon it.

 

Charles Radcliffe, who had assumed the title of the Earl of Derwentwater on the demise of his nephew, who died in 1731, sailed on November 21, 1745, for Montrose in Scotland, in the French privateer Soleil, for the purpose of joining the Pretender. He was accompanied by a large number

 

of Irish, Scotch, and French offiers and men. On the passage the privateer was captured by the English ship‑of‑war Sheerness, and carried, with its crew and passengers, to England.

 

On December 8th in the following year Radcliffe was beheaded, in

 

pursuance of his former sentence, which had been suspended for thirty years.

 

Of Lord Harnouester, who is said by the French writers to have succeeded the titular Earl of Derwentwater as the second Grand Master, I

 

have been unable to find a trace in any of the genealogical, heraldic, or historical works which I have consulted. The name is undoubtedly spelled wrongly, and might have been Arnester, Harnester, or Harnevester. The change made by the Dictionnaire de la Conversation, which converts it

 

into "d'Arnold‑Esler," only adds more confusion to that which was already abundantly confounded.

 

Maskelyne is an English name. It was that of a family in Wiltshire, from which Nevil Maskelyne, the distinguished Astronomer Royal, born in

 

1734, was descended. But I am unable to identify the Chevalier Maskelyne, of the French writers, with any person of distinction or of notoriety at that period.

 

I am equally at a loss as to M. Hugetty, a name which has been variously

 

spelt as Heguetty and Heguelly. The name does not, in either of these forms, indicate the nationality of the owner, and the probable transformation from the original forbids the hope of a successful investigation.

 

One fact alone appears to be certain, and fortunately that is of some

 

importance in determining the genuineness of the history.

 

The titular Earl of Derwentwater was a Jacobite, devoted to the interests of the fallen family of Stuart, and the English, Irish, and Scotch residents

 

of Paris, with whom he was on terms of intimacy, must have been Jacobites or adherents of the Stuarts also. The political jealousy of the British Government at that time made it unpleasantly suspicious for any loyal subject to maintain intimate relations with the Jacobites who were

 

living in exile at Paris and elsewhere.

 

This fact will be an important element in determining the genuineness of the authority claimed to have been given to Lord Derwentwater by the Grand Lodge at London.

 

The German historians have generally borrowed their authority from the French writers, and on this occasion have not shown their usual thoroughness of investigation.

 

Lenning simply states that the first lodge of France was founded at Paris in 1725, and that it was soon followed by others. (1)

 

Gadicke had previously said that Freemasonry was introduced into France from England and Scotland in the year 1660, but while it flourished in England it soon almost entirely disappeared in France. Afterwards in the year 1725, England again planted it in France, for in that

 

year three Englishmen founded a lodge in Paris which was called the English Grand Lodge of France. (2)

 

Findel is a little more particular in his details, but affords us nothing new.

 

He says that "it is impossible to determine with any certainty the period of the introduction of Freemasonry into France, as the accounts handed down to us are very contradictory, varying from the years 1721, 1725, 1727, to 1732. In an historical notice of the Grand Lodge of France,

 

addressed to her subordinate lodges, there is a statement specifying that Lord Derwentwater, Squire Maskelyne, a lord of Heguerty and some other English noblemen, established a lodge in Paris in 1725, at Hure's Tavern.

 

Lord Derwentwater

 

(1) "Encyclopadie der Freimaurerei." (2) "Freimaurer‑Lexicon."

 

is supposed to have been the first who received a Warrant from the Grand Lodge of England. It is recorded that other lodges were established by these same authorities, and amongst others the Lodge

 

d'Aumont (au Louis d'Argent) in 1729, in la Rue Bussy at Laudelle's tavern, the documents bearing the date of 1732 as that of their foundation." (1)

 

Kloss, who has written a special work on the history of Freemasonry in

 

France, supported as he says by reliable documents, (2) adopts the statements made originally by Lalande in the Encyclopedie Methodique, and which were repeated by successive French writers.

 

So, on the whole, we get nothing more from the German historians than

 

what we already had from the French.

 

We come next to the English writers, whose information must have been better than that of either the French or German, as they possessed a written history of the contemporary events of that period. Therefore it is

 

that on them we are compelled to lean in any attempt to solve the riddle involved in the introduction of the Speculative institution into the neighboring kingdom. Still we are not to receive as incontestable all that has been said on this subject by the earlier English writers on

 

Freemasonry. Their wonted remissness here, as well as elsewhere in respect to dates and authorities, leaves us, at last, to depend for a great part on rational conjecture and logical inferences.

 

Dr. Oliver, the most recent author to whom I shall refer, accepts the

 

French narrative of the institution of a lodge at Paris in 1725, and adds that it existed "under the sanction of the Grand Lodge of England by virtue of a charter granted to Lord Derwentwater, Maskelyne, Higuetty and

 

some other Englishmen." (3)

 

Elsewhere he asserts that the Freemasonry which was practiced in France between 1700 and 1725 was only by some English residents, without a charter or any formal warrant. (4) In this opinion he is sustained

 

by the Committee of the Grand Orient already alluded to, in whose report it is stated that "most impartial historians assert

 

(1) "Geschichte der Freimaurerei," Lyon's Translation, p. 200. (2) "Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Frankreich, aus achten Urkunden

 

dargestellt," von Georg Kloss. Darmstadt, 1852. (3) "Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 32. (4) "Origin of the Royal Arch," p. 27.

 

that from 1720 to 1725 Freemasonry was clandestinely introduced into France by some English Masons."

 

The author of an article in the London Freemasons' Quarterly Review, (1) under the title of "Freemasonry in Europe During the Past Century," says that "the settlement in France of the abdicated king of England, James II., in the Jesuitical Convent of Clermont, seems to have been the

 

introduction of Freemasonry into Paris, and here it was (as far as we can trace) the first lodge in France was formed, anno 1725." The writer evidently connects in his mind the establishment of Freemasonry in France with the Jacobites or party of the Pretender who were then in exile

 

in that kingdom, a supposed connection which will, hereafter, be worth our consideration.

 

Laurie (or rather Sir David Brewster, who wrote the book for him) has, in his History of Freemasonry, when referring to this subject, indulged in that

 

spirit of romantic speculation which distinct guishes the earlier portion of the work and makes it an extravagant admixture of history and fable.

 

He makes no allusion to the events of the year 1725, or to the lodge said

 

to have been created by the titular Earl of Derwentwater, but thinks "it is almost certain that the French borrowed from the Scots the idea of their Masonic tribunal, as well as Freemasonry itself." (2) And he places the

 

time of its introduction at "about the middle of the 16th century, during the minority of Queen Mary." (3)

 

After all that has hitherto been said about the origin of Speculative Freemasonry, it will not be necessary to waste time in the refutation of

 

this untenable theory or of the fallacious argument by which it is sought to support it. It is enough to say that the author entirely confounds Operative and Speculative Freemasonry, and that he supposes that the French soldiers who were sent to the assistance of Scotland were initiated into

 

the Scotch lodges of Operative Masons, and then brought the system back with them to France.

 

Preston passes the subject with but few words. He says that in 1732 Lord Montagu, who was then Grand Master, granted a deputation for

 

constituting a lodge at Valenciennes in French Flanders, and another for opening a new lodge at the Hotel de Bussy, in Paris." (4)

 

(1) New Series, anno 1844, p. 156. (2) "History of Freemasonry " p. x 10. (3) Ibid., p. 109. (4) "Illustrations," Jones's edition, p. 212.

 

 

 

The word "new" might be supposed to intimate that there was already an older lodge in Paris. But Preston nowhere makes any reference to the Derwentwater lodge of 1725, or to any other, except this of 1732. We

 

learn nothing more of the origin of Freemasonry in France from this generally reliable author.

 

We now approach an earlier class of authorities, which, however, consists only of Dr. Anderson and the contemporary records of the Grand Lodge at London.

 

In 1738 Dr. Anderson published the second edition of the Book of Constitutions. In the body of the work, which contains a record, frequently very brief, of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge from 1717 to June, 1738, there is no mention of the constitution of a lodge at Paris, or in any

 

other part of France.

 

In a "List of the lodges in and about London and Westminster," appended to the work, (1) he records that there was a "French lodge," which met at the "Swan Tavern" in Long Acre, and which received its warrant June 12,

 

1723. In the list its number is 18.

 

This fact is only important as showing that Frenchmen were at that early period taking an interest in the new society, and it may or may not be connected with the appearance, not long afterward, of a lodge at Paris.

 

In the list of "Deputations sent beyond Sea" (2) it is recorded that in 1732 Viscount Montagu, Grand Master, granted a Deputation for constituting a lodge at Valenciennes, in France, and another for constituting a lodge at

 

the Hotel de Bussy, in Paris.

 

According to the same authority, Lord Weymouth, Grand Master in 1735, granted a Deputation to the Duke of Richmond "to hold a lodge at his castle d'Aubigny, in France." (3) He adds, referring to these and to other

 

lodges instituted in different countries, that "all these foreign lodges are under the patronage of our Grand Master of England." (4)

 

This is all that Anderson says about the introduction of Freemasonry into France. It will be remarked that he makes no mention of a lodge

 

constituted at Dunkirk in 1721, nor of the lodge in Paris instituted in 1725. His silence is significant.

 

Entick, who succeeded Anderson as editor of the Book of Constitutions,

 

(1) "Constitutions," 2d edition, p. 186. (2) Ibid., p. 194.

 

(3) Ibid., p. 195 (4) Ibid., p. 196.

 

the third edition of which he published in 1756, says no more than his predecessor, of Freemasonry in France. In fact, he says less, for in his lists of "Deputations for Provincial Grand Masters,'' (1) he omits those

 

granted by Lords Montagu and Weymouth. But in a "List of Regular Lodges, according to their Seniority and Constitution, by order of the Grand Master," (2) he inserts a lodge held at La Ville de Tonnerre, Rue des Boucheries, at Paris, constituted April 3, 1732, another at

 

Valenciennes, in French Flanders, constituted in 1733, and a third at the Castle of Aubigny in France, constituted August 12, 1735. He thus confirms what Anderson had previously stated, but, like him, Entick is altogether silent in respect to the Dunkirk lodge of 1721, or that of Paris in 1725.

 

Northouck, who edited the fourth edition of the Book of Constitutions, appears to have been as ignorant as his predecessors of the existence of any lodge in France before the year 1732. From him, however, we gather

 

two facts. The first of these is that in the year 1768 letters were received from the Grand Lodge of France expressing a desire to open a correspondence with the Grand Lodge of England. The overture was

 

accepted, and a Book of Constitutions, a list of lodges, and a form of deputation were presented to the Grand Lodge of France.

 

The second fact is somewhat singular. Notwithstanding the recognized existence of a Grand Lodge of France it seems that in that very year there

 

were lodges in that country which the Grand Lodge of England claimed as constituents, owing it their allegiance; for Northouck tells us that in 1768 two lodges in France, "having ceased to meet or neglected to conform to the laws of this society, were erazed out of the list."

 

It may be that these were among the lodges which, in former times, had been created in France by the Grand Lodge of England, and that they had transferred their allegiance to the Grand Lodge of their own country, but

 

had omitted to give due notice of the act to the Grand Lodge which had originally created them.

 

Our next source of information must be the engraved lists of lodges published, from 1723 to 1778, by authority of the Grand

 

(1) "Constitutions," by Entick, p. 333.

 

(2) Ibid., p. 335. This list bears some resemblance to Cole's engraved list for 1756, but the two are not identical.

 

Lodge of England. Their history will be hereafter given. It is enough now to say, that being official documents, and taken for the most part from the

 

Minute Book of the Grand Lodge, they are invested with historical authority.

 

The earliest of the engraved lists, that for 1723, contains the designations (1) of fifty‑one lodges. All of them were situated in London and

 

Westminster. There is no reference to any lodge in France.

 

The list for 1725 contains the titles of sixty‑four lodges. The Society was extending in the kingdom, and the cities of Bath, Bristol, Norwich, Chichester, and Chester are recorded as places where lodges had been

 

constituted. But no lodge is recorded as having been created in France.

 

In the list of lodges returned in 1730 (in number one hundred and two), which is contained in the Minute Book of the Grand Lodge, (2) a lodge is

 

recorded as being at Madrid in Spain, the number 50 being attached, and the place of meeting the "French Arms," which would seem almost to imply, but not certainly, that most of its members were Frenchmen. (3) Lodge No. 90 is said to be held at the "King's Head, Paris." This is the

 

first mention in any of the lists of a lodge in Paris. The name of the tavern at which it was held is singular for a French city. But as it is said by Bro. Gould to be copied from "the Minute Book of the Grand Lodge," it must be

 

considered as authoritative.

 

We next find an historical record of the institution of lodges in France by the Grand Lodge of England in Pine's engraved list for 1734. (4) Bro. Hughan has said that the first historical constitution

 

(1) At that time lodges were not distinguished by names, but by the signs

 

of the taverns at which they met, as the "King's Arms," the "Bull and Gate," etc. (2) The list is given in Bro. GouldΖs "Four Old Lodges," p. 50. (3) This lodge met on Sunday, a custom still practiced by many French

 

lodges, though never, as far as I know, by English or American lodges. Le Candeur, an old lodge of French members, in Charleston, S. C., which had its warrant originally from the brand Orient of France, always met on Sunday, nor did it change the custom after uniting with the Grand Lodge

 

of South Carolina. (4) A transcript of Pine's list for 1734, copied by Bro. Newton of Bolton from the original owned by Bro Tunnen, Provincial Grand Secretary of East Lancashire. This transcript was presented by Bro. Newton to Bro.

 

W.J. Hughan, who published it in the "Masonic Magazine for November, 1876. He also republished it in pamphlet form, and to his kindness I am indebted for a copy. This list had been long missing from the archives of

 

the Grand Lodge.

 

of a lodge at Paris is that referred to in Pine's list of 1734; but the lodge No. 90 at the "King's Head," recorded as has just been shown in the Grand Lodge list of 1730, seems to have escaped his attention.

 

Pine's list for 1734 contains the names of two lodges in France: No. 90 at the

 

Louis d'Argent, in the Rue des Boucheries, at Paris, which was constituted on April 3, 1732, and No. 127 at Valenciennes in French Flanders, the date of whose Warrant of Constitution is not given.

 

In Pine's list for 1736 these lodges are again inserted, with a change as to the first, which still numbers as 90, is said to meet at the "Hotel de Bussy, Rue de Bussy." The sameness of the number and of the date of Constitution identify this lodge with the one named ln the list for 1734, which met at the

 

Louis d'Argent, in the Rue des Boucheries.

 

The list for 1736 contains a third lodge in France, recorded as No. 133, which met at "Castle Aubigny," and was constituted August 22, 1735.

 

In Pine's list for 1740 the three lodges in France are again recorded as before, one in Paris, one at Valenciennes, and one at Castle d'Aubigny, (1) but the first of them, formerly No. 90, is now said to meet as No. 78, at the Ville de Tonnerre, in the same Rue des Boucheries. This was apparently a

 

change of name and number and not of locality. It was the same lodge that had been first described as meeting as No. 90 at the Louis d'Argent.

 

In Benjamin Cole's list for 1756 the lodge's number is changed from 78 to 49,

 

but under the same old warrant of April 3, 1732, it continues to meet at "la Ville de Tonnerre," in the Rue des Boucheries.

 

It is unnecessary to extend this investigation to subsequent lists or to those to be found in various works which have been mainly copied from the engraved

 

lists of Pine and Cole. Enough has been cited to exhibit incontestable evidence of certain facts respecting the origin of Speculative Freemasonry in France. This evidence is incontestable, because it is derived from and based

 

on the official records of the Grand Lodge of England.

 

(1) The date of the Constitution of this lodge in the list for 1736 is August 22d. In the present and in subsequent lists the date is August 12th. The former date is undoubtedly a typographical error,

 

 

 

It was the custom of the Grand Lodge to issue annually an engraved list of the lodges under its jurisdiction. The first was printed by Eman Bowen in 1723; afterward the engraver was John Pine, who printed them from 1725 to

 

1741, and perhaps to 1743, as the lists for that and the preceding year are missing. The list for 1744 was printed by Eman Bowen; from 1745 to 1766 Benjamin Cole was the printer, who was followed by William Cole, until 1788, which is the date of the latest engraved list.

 

τThe engraved lists," says Gould, τwere renewed annually, certainly from 1738, and probably from the commencement of the series. Latterly, indeed, frequent editions were issued in a single year, which are not always found to

 

harmonize with one another." (1)

 

The want of harmony consisted principally in the change of numbers and in the omission of lodges. This arose from the erasures made in consequence of the discontinuance of lodges, or their failure to make returns. It is not to be

 

supposed that in an official document, published by authority and for the information of the Craft, the name of any lodge would be inserted which did not exist at the time, or which had not existed at some previous time.

 

We can not, therefore, unless we might reject the authority of these official

 

lists as authoritative documents, and thus cast a slur on the honesty of the Grand Lodge which issued them, refuse to accept them as giving a truthful statement of what lodges there were, at the time of their publication, in

 

France, acting under warrants from the Grand Lodge at London.

 

Bro. Hughan asserts that the first historical record of the Constitution of a lodge at Paris is to be referred to the one mentioned in Pine's list for 1734, as

 

having been held au Louis d'Argent in the Rue des Boucheries, and the date of whose Constitution is April 3, 1732.

 

It is true that Anderson's first mention of a deputation to constitute a lodge in Paris is that granted in 1732 by Viscount Montagu as Grand Master, and I

 

presume that there is no earlier record in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge, for if there were, I am very sure that Bro. Hughan would have stated it.

 

But how are we to reconcile this view with the fact that in the list of lodges for

 

1730 a lodge is said to be in existence in that year

 

(1) "Four Old Lodges," p. 16.

 

in Paris? This list, as printed by Bro. Gould in his interesting work on the Four Old Lodges, (1) is now lying before me. It is taken from the earliest

 

Minute Book of the Grand Lodge, and is thus headed, "List of the names of the Members of all the lodges as they were returned in the year 1730."

 

Now if this heading were absolutely correct, one could not avoid the inference that there was a "regular lodge " in Paris in the year 1730, two

 

years before the Constitution of the lodge recorded in Pine's list for 1734, for among the lodges named in this 1730 list is "90. King's Head at Paris."

 

For a Parisian hotel, the name is unusual and therefore suspicious. But

 

the list is authentic and authoritative, and the number agrees with that of the lodge referred to in the 1734 list as meeting at the Louis d'Argent, in the Rue des Boucheries.

 

Indeed, there can be no doubt that the lodge recorded in the list for 1730

 

is the same as that recorded in the list for 1734. The number is sufficient for identification.

 

Bro. Gould relieves us from the tangled maze into which this difference of dates had led us. He says of the list, which in his book is No. 11, and

 

which he calls τList of lodges, 1730 ‑ 32," that this List seems to have been continued from 1730 to 1732."

 

The list comprises 102 lodges; the lodge No. 90, at the "King's Head, Paris," is the fifteenth from the end, and was, as we may fairly conclude,

 

inserted in and upon the original list in 1732, after the lodge at the Rue des Boucheries had been constituted.

 

So that, notwithstanding the apparent statement that there was a regular lodge, that is, a lodge duly warranted by the London Grand Lodge in

 

1730, it is evident that Bro. Hughan is right in the conclusion at which he has arrived that the first lodge constituted by the Grand Lodge of England in Paris, was that known as No. 90, and which at the time of its constitution, on April 3, 1732, met at the Tavern called Louis d'Argent, in

 

the Rue des Boucheries. Its number was subsequently changed to 78, and then to 49. It and the lodge at Valenciennes are both omitted in the list for 1770, and these were probably the two lodges in France recorded

 

by Northouck as having been erased from the roll of the Grand Lodge of England in 1768. With their erasure passed away all jurisdiction

 

(1) Page 50.

 

of the English Grand Lodge over any of the lodges in France. In the same year it entered into fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of France. The

 

lodge at Castle d'Aubigny is also omitted from the list of 1770, and if not erased, had probably voluntarily surrendered its warrant.

 

Thus we date the legal introduction of lodges into France at the year 1732.

 

But it does not necessarily follow that Speculative Freemasonry on the English plan had not made its appearance there at an earlier period.

 

The history of the origin of Freemasonry in France, according to all French historians, from the astronomer Lalande to the most recent writers, is very

 

different from that which it has been contended is the genuine one, according to the English records.

 

It has been shown, in a preceding part of this chapter, that the Abbe Robin said that Freemasonry had been traced in France as far back as 1720, and

 

that it appeared to have been brought from England.

 

Rebold has been more definite in his account. His statement in substance is as follows, and although it has been already quoted I repeat it here, for the

 

purpose of comment.