SIX HUNDRED YEARS OF CRAFT RITUAL

by Henry Carr

            BRETHREN, MANY Of YOU will know that I travel vast
          distances in the course of my lecture duties and the further I
          go the more astonished I am to see how many Brethren
          believe, quite genuinely, that our Masonic ritual came down
          straight from heaven, directly into the hands of King
          Solomon. They are all quite certain that it was in English, of
          course, because that is the only language they speak up
          there. They are equally sure that it was all engraved on two
          tablets of stone, so that, heaven forbid, not one single word
          should ever be altered; and most of them believe that King
          Solomon, in his own lodge, practised the same ritual as they
          do in theirs.
          
          But, it was not like that at all, and tonight I am going to try to
          sketch for you the history of our ritual from its very
          beginnings up to the point when it was virtually
          standardised, in 1813; but you must remember, while I am
          talking about English ritual I am also giving you the history
          of your own ritual as well. One thing is going to be unusual
          about tonight's talk. Tonight you are not going to get any
          fairy-tales at all. Every word I utter will be based on
          documents which can be proved: and on the few rare
          occasions when, in spite of having the documents, we still
          have not got complete and perfect proof, I shall say loud and
          clear 'We think . . .' or 'We believe . . .'. Then you will know
          that we are, so-to-speak, on uncertain ground~ but I will give
          you the best that we know. And since a talk of this kind must
          have a proper starting point, let me begin by saying that
          Freemasonry did not begin in Egypt, or Palestine, or
          Greece, or Rome.
          
          BEGINNINGS OF MASON TRADE ORGANISATION
          
          It all started in London, England, in the year 1356, a very
          important date, and it started as the result of a good
          old-fashioned was a great row going on in London between
          the mason hewers, the men who cut the stone, and the
          mason layers and setters, the men who actually built the
          walls. The exact details of the quarrel are not known, but, as
          a result of this row, 12 skilled master masons, with some
          famous men among them, came before the mayor and
          aldermen at Guildhall in London, and, with official
          permission, drew up a simple code of trade regulations.
          
          The opening words of that document, which still survives,
          say that these men had come together because their trade
          had never been regulated in such form as other trades were.
          So here, in this document, we have an official guarantee
          that this was the very first attempt at some sort of trade
          organisation for the masons and, as we go through the
          document, the very first rule that they drew up gives a clue
          to the demarcation dispute that I was talking about. They
          ruled, 'That every man of the trade may work at any work
          touching the trade if he be perfectly skilled and knowing in
          the same.' Brethren, that was the wisdom of Solomon! If you
          knew the job, you could do the job, and nobody could stop
          you! If we only had that much common sense nowadays in
          England, how much better off we should be.
          
          The organisation that was set up at that time became, within
          20 years, the London Masons Company, the first trade guild
          of the masons and one of the direct ancestors of our
          Freemasonry of today. This was the real beginning. Now the
          London Masons Company was not a lodge; it was a trade
          guild and I ought to spend a lot of time trying to explain how
          lodges began, a difficult problem because we have no
          records of the actual foundation of the early operative
          lodges.
          
          Briefly, the guilds were town organisations, greatly favoured
          by the towns because they helped in the management of
          municipal affairs. In London, for example, from 1376
          onwards, each of the trades elected two representatives
          who became members of the Common Council, all together
          forming the city government. But the mason trade did not
          lend itself to town organisation at all. Most of their main work
          was outside the towns - the castles, the abbeys, the
          monasteries, the defence works, the really big jobs of
          masonry were always far from the towns. And we believe
          that it was in those places, where there was no other kind of
          trade organisation, that the masons, who were engaged on
          those jobs for years on end, formed themselves into lodges,
          in imitation of the guilds, so that they had some form of
          self-government on the job, while they were far away from all
          other forms of trade control.
          
          The first actual information about lodges comes to us from a
          collection of documents which we know as the 'Old Charges'
          or the Manuscript Constitutions' of masonry, a marvellous
          collection. They begin with the Regius Manuscript c1390;
          the next, the Cooke Manuscript is dated c1410 and we have
          130 versions of these documents running right through to
          the eighteenth century.
          
          The oldest version, the Regius Manuscript, is in rhyming
          verse and differs, in several respects, from the other texts,
          but, in their general shape and contents they are all very
          much alike. They begin with an Opening Prayer, Christian
          and Trinitarian, and then they go on with a history of the
          craft, starting in Bible times and in Bible lands, and tracing
          the rise of the craft and its spread right across Europe until it
          reached France and was then brought across the channel
          and finally established in England. Unbelievably bad history;
          any professor of history would drop dead if he were
          challenged to prove it; but the masons believed it. This was
          their guarantee of respectability as an ancient craft.
          
          Then, after the history we find the regulations, the actual
          Charges, for masters, fellows and apprentices, including
          several rules of a purely moral character, and that is all.
          Occasionally, the name of one of the characters changes, or
          the wording of a regulation will be altered slightly, but all
          follow the same general pattern.
          
          Apart from these three main sections, prayer, history and
          Charges, in most of them we find a few words which indicate
          the beginnings of masonic ceremony. I must add that we
          cannot find all the information in one single document; but
          when we study them as a collection, it is possible to
          reconstruct the outline of the admission ceremony of those
          days, the earliest ceremony of admission into the craft.
          
          We know that the ceremony, such as it was, began with an
          opening prayer and then there was a 'reading' of the history.
          (Many later documents refer to this 'reading'.) In those days,
          99 masons in 100 could not read, and we believe, therefore,
          that they selected particular sections of the history which
          they memorised and recited from memory. To read the
          whole text, even if they could read, would have taken much
          too long. So the second part of the ceremony was the
          'reading'.
          
          Then, we find an instruction, which appears regularly in
          practically every document, usually in Latin, and it says:
          'Then one of the elders holds out a book (sometimes "the
          book", sometimes the "Bible", and sometimes the "Holy
          Bible"] and he or they that are to be admitted shall place
          their hand thereon, and the following Charges shall be read.'
          In that position the regulations were read out to the
          candidate and he took the oath, a simple oath of fidelity to
          the king, to the master and to the craft, that he would obey
          the regulations and never bring the craft to shame. This was
          a direct lift from the guild oath, which was probably the only
          form that they knew; no frills, no penalties, a simple oath of
          fidelity to the king, the employer (the master) and to the
          trade.
          
          From this point onwards, the oath becomes the heart and
          marrow, the crucial centre of every masonic ceremony. The
          Regius, which is the first of the versions to survive,
          emphasises this and it is worth quoting here. After the
          reading of the Charges in the Regius Manuscript, we get
          these words:
          
          'And all the points hereinbefore To all of them he must be
          sworn, And all shall swear the same oath Of the masons, be
          they willing, be they loth'
          
          Whether they liked it or not, there was only one key that
          would open the door into the craft and that was the mason's
          oath. The importance, which the Regius attaches to it, we
          find repeated over and over again, not in the same words,
          but the emphasis is still there. The oath or obligation is the
          key to the admission ceremony.
          
          So there I have described for you the earliest ceremony and
          now I can justify the title of my paper, Six Hundred Years of
          Craft Ritual. We have 1356 as the date of the beginnings of
          mason trade organisation, and around 1390 the earliest
          evidence which indicates a ceremony of admission. Split the
          difference. Somewhere between those two dates is when it
          all started. That is almost exactly 600 years of provable
          history and we can prove every stage of our development
          from then onwards.
          
          Masonry, the art of building, began many thousands of
          years before this, but, for the antecedents of our own
          Freemasonry, we can only go back to the direct line of
          history that can be proved, and that is 1356, when it really
          began in Britain.
          
          And now there is one other point that must be mentioned
          before I go any further. I have been speaking of a time when
          there was only one degree. The documents do not say that
          there is only one degree, they simply indicate only one
          ceremony, never more than one. But I believe it cannot have
          been for the apprentice, or entered apprentice; it must have
          been for the fellow of craft, the man who was fully trained.
          The Old Charges do not say this, but there is ample outside
          evidence from which we draw this conclusion. We have
          many law-suits and legal decisions that show that in the
          1400s an apprentice was the chattel of his master. An
          apprentice was a piece of equipment, that belonged to his
          master. He could be bought and sold in much the same way
          that the master would buy and sell a horse or a cow and,
          under such conditions, it is impossible that an apprentice
          had any status in the lodge. That came much later. So, if we
          can think ourselves back into the time when there was only
          one degree it must have been for the fully-trained mason,
          the fellow of craft.
          
          Almost 150 years were to pass before the authorities and
          parliament began to realise that maybe an apprentice was
          actually a human being as well. In the early 1500s we have
          in England a whole collection of labour statutes, labour laws,
          which begin to recognise the status of apprentices, and
          around that time we begin to find evidence of more than one
          degree.
          
          From 1598 onwards we have minutes of two Scottish
          Lodges that were practising two degrees. I will come to that
          later. Before that date there is no evidence on degrees,
          except perhaps in one English document, the Harleian MS,
          No 2054, dated c1650, but believed to be a copy of a text of
          the late 1500s, now lost.
          
          FIRST HINT OF TWO DEGREES
          
          The Harleian MS is a perfectly normal version of the Old
          Charges, but bound up with it is a note in the same
          handwriting containing a new version of the mason's oath, of
          particular importance because it shows a major change from
          all earlier forms of the oath. Here it is:
          
          There is seu'all words & signes of a free Mason to be
          revailed to yu wch yu will answ: before God at the Great &
          terrible day of Judgmt yu keep secret & not to revaile the
          same in the heares of any pson but to the M's & fellows
          
          of the said Society of free Masons so helpe me God xc.
          
          Brethren, I know that I recited it too fast, but now I am going
          to read the first line again:
          
          There is several words and signs of a free mason to be
          revealed to you . . . ' 'Several words and signs . . .'plural,
          more than one degree. And here in a document that should
          have been dated 1550, we have the first hint of the
          expansion of the ceremonies into more than one degree. A
          few years later we have actual minutes that prove two
          degrees in practice. But notice, Brethren, that the
          ceremonies must also have been taking something of their
          modern shape.
          
          They probably began with a prayer, a recital of part of the
          'history', the hand-on-book posture for the reading of the
          Charges, followed by an obligation and then the entrusting
          with secret words and signs, whatever they were. We do not
          know what they were, but we know that in both degrees
          the.ceremonies were beginning to take the shape of our
          modern ceremonies. We have to wait quite a long while
          before we find the contents, the actual details, of those
          ceremonies, but we do find them at the end of the 1600s
          and that is my next theme. Remember, Brethren, we are still
          with only two degrees and I am going to deal now with the
          documents which actually describe those two ceremonies,
          as they first appeared on paper.
          
          EARLIEST RITUAL FOR TWO DEGREES
          
          The earliest evidence we have, is a document dated 1696,
          beautifully handwritten, and known as the Edinburgh
          Register House Manuscript, because it was found in the
          Public Record Office of Edinburgh. I deal first with that part
          of the text which describes the actual ceremonies. It is
          headed 'THE FORME OF GiVING THE MASON WORD'
          which is one way of saying it is the manner of initiating a
          mason. It begins with the ceremony which made an
          apprentice into an 'entered- apprentice (usually about three
          years after the beginning of his indentures), followed by the
          ceremony for the admission of the ,master mason or fellow
          craft', the title of the second degree. The details are
          fascinating but I can only describe them very briefly, and
          wherever I can, I will use the original words, so that you can
          get the feel of the thing.
          
          We are told that the candidate 'was put to his knees' and
          'after a
          
          great many ceremonies to frighten him' (rough stuff,
          horse-play it you like; apparently they tried to scare the wits
          out of him) 'after a great many ceremonies to frighten him',
          he was made to take up the book and in that position he
          took the oath, and here is the earliest version of the mason's
          oath described as part of a whole ceremony.
          
          By god himself and you shall answer to god when you shall
          stand nakd before him, at the great day, you shall not reveal
          any pairt of what you shall hear or see at this time whither
          by word nor write nor put it in wryte at any time nor draw it
          with the point of a sword, or any other instrument upon the
          snow or sand, nor shall you speak of it but with an entered
          mason, so help you god.
          
          Brethren, if you were listening very carefully, you have just
          heard the earliest version of the words 'Indite, carve, mark,
          engrave or otherwise them delineate'. The very first version
          is the one I have just read, 'not write nor put it in wryte, nor
          draw it with a point of a sword or any other instrument upon
          the snow or sand.' Notice, Brethren, there was no penalty in
          the obligation, just a plain obligation of secrecy.
          
          After he had finished the obligation the youngster was taken
          out of the lodge by the last previous candidate, the last
          person who had been initiated before him. Outside the door
          of the lodge he was taught the sign, postures and words of
          entry (we do not know what they are until he comes back).
          He came back, took off his hat and made 'a ridiculous bow'
          and then he gave the words of entry, which included a
          greeting to the master and the brethren. It finished up with
          the words 'under no less pain than cutting of my throat' and
          there is a sort of footnote which says 'for you must make that
          sign when you say that'. This is the earliest appearance in
          any document of an entered apprentice's sign.
          
          Now Brethren, forget all about your beautifully furnished
          lodges; I am speaking of operative masonry, when the lodge
          was either a little room at the back of a pub, or above a pub,
          or else a shed attached to a big building job; and if there
          were a dozen masons there, that would have been a good
          attendance. So, after the boy had given the sign, he was
          brought up to the Master for the 'entrusting'. Here is the
          Master; here, nearby, is the candidate; here is the
          'instructor', and he, the instructor, whispers the word into the
          ear of his neighbour, who whispers the word to the next man
          and so on, all round the lodge, until it comes to the Master.
          and the Master gives the word to thecandidate. In this case,
          there is a kind of biblical footnote, which shows, beyond all
          doubt, that the word was not one word but two. B and J, two
          pillar names, for the entered apprentice. This is very
          important later, when we begin to study the evolution of
          three degrees. In the two-degree system there were two
          pillars for the entered apprentice.
          
          That was really the whole of the floorwork, but it was
          followed by a .set of simple questions and answers headed
          'SOME QUESTIONEs THAT MASONS USE To PUT To
          THOSE WHO HAVE YE WORD BEFORE THEY WILL
          ACKNOWLEDGE THEM'. It included a few questions for
          testing a stranger outside the lodge, and this text gives us
          the first and oldest version of the masonic catechism. Here
          are some of the fifteen questions. 'Are you a mason? How
          shall I know it? Where were you entered? What makes a
          true and perfect lodge? Where was the first lodge? Are
          there any lights in your lodge? Are there any jewels in your
          lodgeT the first faint beginnings of masonic symbolism. It is
          amazing how little there was at the beginning. There,
          Brethren, 15 questions and answers, which must have been
          answered for the candidate; he had not had time to learn the
          answers. And that was the whole of the entered apprentice
          ceremony.
          
          Now remember, Brethren, we are speaking about operative
          masonry, in the days, when masons earned their living with
          hammer and chisel. Under those conditions the second
          degree was taken about seven years after the date of
          initiation when the candidate came back to be made 'master
          or fellow craft'. Inside the lodge those two grades were
          equal, both fully trained masons. Outside the lodge, one was
          an employer, the other an employee. If he was the son of a
          Freeman Burgess of the city, he could take his Freedom and
          set up as a master immediately. Otherwise, he had to pay
          for the privilege, and until then, the fellow craft remained an
          employee. But inside the lodge they both had the same
          second degree.
          
          So, after the end of his indentures of apprenticeship, and
          serving another year or two for 'meat and fee', (ie board plus
          a wage) he came along then for the second degree. He was
          'put to his knees and took the oath anew'. It was the same
          oath that he had taken as an apprentice, omitting only three
          words. Then he was taken out of the lodge by the youngest
          master, and there he was taught the signs, posture and
          words of entry (we still do not know what they were). He
          came back and he gave what is called the 'master sign', but
          it is not
          
          described, so I cannot tell you about it. Then he was brought
          up for the entrusting. And now, the youngest master, the
          chap who had taken him outside, whispered the word to his
          neighbour, each in turn passing it all round the lodge, until it
          came to the Master, and the Master, on the five points of
          fellowship - second degree, Brethren gave the word to the
          candidate. The five points in those days - foot to foot, knee
          to knee, heart to heart, hand to hand, ear to ear, that is how
          it was at its first appearance. No Hiramic legend and no
          frills~ only the FPOF and a word. But in this document the
          word is not mentioned. It appears very soon afterwards and I
          will deal with that later.
          
          There were only two test questions for a fellowcraft degree,
          and that was the lot. Two degrees, beautifully described, not
          only in this document but in two other sister texts, the
          Chetwode Crawley MS, dated about 1700 and the Kevan
          MS, quite recently discovered, dated about 1714. Three
          marvellous documents, all from the south of Scotland, all
          telling exactly the same story - wonderful materials, if we
          dare to trust them. But, I am sorry to tell you Brethren that
          we, as scientists in masonry, dare not trust them, because
          they were written in violation of an oath. To put it at its
          simplest, the more they tell us the less they are to be
          trusted, unless, by some fluke or by some miracle, we can
          prove, as we must do, that these documents were actualiv
          used in a lodge; otherwise thev are worthless. In this case,
          by a very happy fluke, we have got the proof and it makes a
          lovely story. That is what you are going to get now.
          
          Remember, Brethren, our three documents are from 1696 to
          1714. Right in the middle of this period, in the year 1702, a
          little group of Scottish gentlemen decided that they wanted
          to have a lodge in their own backyard so to speak. These
          were gentlemen who lived in the south of Scotland around
          Galashiels, some 30 miles S.E. of Edinburgh. They were all
          notable landowners in that area - Sir John Pringle of
          Hoppringle, Sir James Pringle, his brother, Sir James Scott
          of Gala (Galashiels), their brother-in-law, plus another five
          neighboitrs came together and decided to form their own
          Lodge, in the village of Haughfoot near Galashiels. They
          chose a man who had a marvellous handwriting to be their
          scribe, and asked him to buy a minute book. He did. A lovely
          little leather-bound book (octavo size), and he paid 'fourteen
          shillings' Scots for it. I will not go into the difficulties of
          coinage now but today it would be about the equivalent of
          twenty-five cents. Being a Scotsman, he took very careful
          note of the amount and entered it in his minute book, to be
          repaid out of the first money due to the society. Then, in
          readiness for the first meeting of the lodge, he started off at
          what would have been page one with some notes, we do not
          know the details. But he went on and copied out the whole
          of one of these Scottish rituals, complete from beginning to
          end.
          
          When he finished, he had filled ten pages, and his last
          twenty-nine words of ritual were the first five lines at the top
          of page eleven. Now, this was a Scotsman, and I told you he
          had paid 'fourteen shillings' for that book and the idea of
          leaving three-quarters of a page empty offended against his
          native Scottish thrift. So, to save wasting it, underneath the
          twenty-nine words, he put in a heading 'The Same Day' and
          went straight on with the minutes of the first meeting of the
          Lodge. I hope you can imagine all this, Brethren, because I
          wrote the history of 'The Lodge of Haughfoot', the first wholly
          non-operative Lodge in Scotland, thirty-four years older than
          the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The minutes were beautifully
          kept for sixty-one years and eventually, in 1763, the Lodge
          was swallowed up by some of the larger surrounding lodges.
          The minute book went to the great Lodge of Selkirk and it
          came down from Selkirk to London for me to write the
          history.
          
          We do not know when it happened but, sometime during
          those sixty-one years, somebody, perhaps one of the later
          secretaries of the lodge, must have opened that minute book
          and caught sight of the opening pages and he must have
          had a fit! Ritual in a minute book! Out! And the first ten
          pages have disappeared; they are completely lost. That
          butcher would have taken page eleven as well but even he
          did not have the heart to destroy the minutes of the very first
          meeting of this wonderful lodge. So it was the minutes of the
          first meeting that saved those twenty-nine golden words at
          the top of page eleven, and the twenty-nine words are
          virtually identical with the corresponding portions of the
          Edinburgh Register House MS and its two sister texts.
          Those precious words are a guarantee that the other
          documents are to be trusted, and this gives us a marvellous
          starting point for the study of the ritual. Not only do we have
          the documents which describe the ceremonies; we also
          have a kind of yardstick, by which we can judge the quality
          of each new document as it arrives, and at this point they do
          begin to arrive.
          
          Now Brethren, let me warn you that up to now we have been
          speaking of Scottish documents. Heaven bless the Scots!
          They took care of every scrap of paper, and if it were not for
          them we would have practically no history. Our earliest and
          finest material is nearly all Scottish. But, when the English
          documents begin to appear, they seem to fit. They not only
          harmonise, they often fill in the gaps in the Scottish texts.
          From here on, I will name the country of origin of those
          documents that are not English.
          
          Within the next few years, we find a number of valuable
          ritual documents, including some of the highest importance.
          The first of these is the Sloane MS, dated c1700, an English
          text, in the British Library today. It gives various 'gripes'
          which had not appeared in any document before. It gives a
          new form of the Mason's oath which contains the words
          'without Equivocation or mentall Resarvation'. That appears
          for the very first time in the Sloane MS, and Brethren, from
          this point onwards, every ritual detail I give you, will be a
          first-timer. I shall not repeat the individual details as they
          reappear in the later texts, nor can I say precisely when a
          particular practice actually began. I shall simply say that this
          or that item appears for the first time, giving you the name
          and date of the document by which it can be proved.
          
          If you are with me on this, you will realise - and I beg you to
          think of it in this way - that you are watching a little plant, a
          seedling of Freemasonry, and every word I utter will be a
          new shoot, a new leaf, a new flower, a new branch. You will
          be watching the ritual grow; and if you see it that way,
          Brethren, I shall know I am not wasting my time, because
          that is the only way to see it.
          
          Now, back to the Sloane MS which does not attempt to
          describe a whole ceremony. It has a fantastic collection of
          'gripes' and other strange modes of recognition. It has a
          catechism of some twenty-two Questions and Answers,
          many of them similar to those in the Scottish texts, and there
          is a note which seems to confirm two pillars for the EA.
          
          A later paragraph speaks of a salutation (?) for the Master, a
          curious 'hug' posture, with 'the masters grip by their right
          hands and the top of their Left hand fingers thurst close on
          ye small of each others Backbone . . .'. Here, the word is
          given as 'Maha - Byn', half in one ear and half in the other,
          to be used as a test word.
          
          That was its first appearance in any of our documents, and if
          you were testing somebody, you would say 'Maha' and the
          other would have to say 'Byn'; and if he did not say 'Byn' you
          would have no business with him. (Demonstrate).
          
          I shall talk about several other versions as they crop up later
          on, but I must emphasise that here is an English document
          filling the gaps in the three Scottish texts, and this sort of
          thing happens over and over again.
          
          Now we have another Scottish document, the Dumfries No 4
          MS, dated c1710. It contains a mass of new material, but I
          can only mention a few of the items. One of its questions
          runs: 'How were you brought inT 'Shamfully, w' a rope about
          my neck'. This is the earliest cable-tow; and a later answer
          says the rope 'is to hang me if I should betray my trust'.
          Dumfries also mentions that the candidate receives the
          'Royal Secret' kneeling 'upon my left knee'.
          
          Among many interesting Questions and Answers, it lists
          some of fhe unusual penalties of those days. 'My heart
          taken out alive, my head cut off, my body buried within ye
          sea-mark.' 'Within ye sea-mark' is the earliest version of the
          'cable's length from the shore'. Brethren, there is so much
          more, even at this early date, but I have to be brief and I
          shall give you all the important items as we move forward
          into the next stage.
          
          Meanwhile, this was the situation at the time when the first
          Grand Lodge was founded in 1717. We only had two
          degrees in England, one for the entered apprentice and the
          second was for the 'master or fellow craft'. Dr Anderson, who
          compiled the first English Book of Constitutions in 1723,
          actually described the English second degree as 'Masters
          and Fellow-Craft'. The Scottish term had already invaded
          England.
          
          The next big stage in the history of the ritual, is the evolution
          of the third degree. Actually, we know a great deal about the
          third degree, but there are some dreadful gaps. We do not
          know when it started or why it started, and we cannot be
          sure who started it! In the light of a lifetime of study, I am
          going to tell you what we know, and we will try to fill the
          gaps.
          
          It would have been easy, of course, if one could stretch out
          a hand in a very good library and pull out a large
          minute-book and say 'Well, there is the earliest third degree
          that ever happened;' but it does not work out that way. The
          minute-books come much later.
          
          HINTS OF THREE DEGREES
          
          The earliest hints of the third degree appear in documents
          like those that I have been talking about - mainly documents
          that have been written out as aide-m~moires for the men
          who owned them. But we have to use exposures as well,
          exposures printed for profit, or spite-, and we get some
          useful hints of the third degree long before it actually
          appears in practice. And so, we start with one of the best, a
          lovely little text, a single sheet of paper known as the Trinity
          College, Dublin, Manuscript, dated 1711, found among the
          papers of a famous Irish doctor and scientist, Sir Thomas
          Molyneux. This document is headed with a kind of Triple
          Tau, and underneath it the words 'Under no less a penalty'.
          This is followed by a set of eleven 0. and A. and we know
          straight away that something is wrong! We already have
          three perfect sets of fifteen questions, so eleven questions
          must be either bad memory or bad copying - something is
          wrong! The questions are perfectly normal, only not enough
          of them. Then after the eleven questions we would expect
          the writer to give a description of the whole or part of the
          ceremony but, instead of that, he gives a kind of catalogue
          of the Freemason's words and signs.
          
          He gives this sign (EA demonstrated) for the EA with the
          word B
          
          He gives 'knuckles, & sinues' as the sign for the
          'fellow-craftsman', with the word 'Jachquin'. The 'Master's
          sign is the back bone' and for him (ie the MM) the writer
          gives the world's worst description of the FPOF. (It seems
          clear that neither the author of this piece nor the writer of the
          Sloane MS, had ever heard of the Points of Fellowship, or
          knew how to describe them.) Here, as I demonstrate, are the
          exact words, no more and no less:
          
          Squeese the Master by ye back bone, put your knee
          between his, & say
          
          Matchpin.
          
          That, Brethren, is our second version of the word of the third
          degree. We started with 'Mahabyn', and now 'Matchpin',
          horribly debased. Let me say now, loud and clear, nobody
          knows what the correct word was. It was probably Hebrew
          originally, but all the early versions are debased. We might
          work backwards, translating from the English, but we cannot
          be certain that our English words are correct. So, here in the
          Trinity College, Dublin, MS, we have, for the very first time,
          a document which has separate secrets for three separate
          degrees; the enterprentice, the fellowcraftsman and the
          master. It is not proof of three degrees in practice, but it
          does show that somebody was playing with this idea in
          1711.
          
          The next piece of evidence on this theme comes from the
          first printed exposure, printed and published for
          entertainment or for spite, in a London newspaper, The
          Flying Post. The text is known as a 'Mason's Examination'.
          By this time, 1723, the catechism was much longer and the
          text contained several pieces of rhyme, all interesting, but
          only one of particular importance to my present purpose and
          here it is:
          
          'An enter'd Mason I have been, Boaz and Jachin I have
          seen; A Fellow I was sworn most rare, And Know the Astler,
          Diamond, and Square: I know the Master's Part full well, As
          honest Maughbin will you tell.'
          
          Notice, Brethren, there are still two pillars for the EA, and
          once again somebody is dividing the Masonic secrets into
          three parts for three different categories of Masons. The
          idea of three degrees is in the air. We are still looking for
          minutes but they have not come yet. Next, we have another
          priceless document, dated 1726, the Graham MS, a
          fascinating text which begins with a catechism of some thirty
          Questions and Answers, followed by a collection of legends,
          mainly about biblical characters, each story with a kind of
          Masonic twist in its tall. One legend tells how three sons
          went to their father's grave.
          
          to try if they could find anything about him for to Lead them
          to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had
          
          They opened the grave
          
          finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away
          takeing a greip at a ffinger it came away so from Joynt to
          Joynt so to the wrest so to the Elbow so they Reared up the
          dead body and suported it setting ffoot to ffoot knee to knee
          Breast to breast Cheeck to cheeck and hand to back and
          cryed out help o ffather ... so one said here is yet marow in
          this bone and the second said but a dry bone and the third
          said it stinketh so they agreed for to give it a name as is
          known to free masonry to this day ...
          
          This is the earliest story of a raising in a Masonic context,
          apparently
          
          a fragment of the Hiramic legend, but the old gentleman in
          the grave was Father Noah, not Hiram Abif.
          
          Another legend concerns 'Bazalliell', the wonderful
          craftsman who built the mobile Temple and the Ark of the
          Covenant for the Israelites during their wandering in the
          wilderness. The story goes that near to death, Bazalliell
          asked for a tombstone to be erected over his grave, with an
          inscription 'according to his diserveing' and that was done
          as follows:
          
          Here Lys the flowr of masonry superiour of many other
          companion to a
          
          king and to two princes a brother Here Lys the heart all
          secrets could conceal] Here lys the tongue that never did
          reveal
          
          The last two lines could not have been more apt if they had
          beer, specially written for Hiram Abif; they are virtually a
          summary of the Hiramic legend.
          
          In the catechism, one answer speaks of those that
          
          . . . have obtained a trible Voice by being entered passed
          and raised and
          
          Conformed by 3 severall Lodges ...
          
          'Entered, passed and raised' is clear enough. 'Three several
          lodges' means three separate degrees, three separate
          ceremonies. There is no doubt at all that this is a reference
          to three degrees being practised. But we still want minutes
          and we have not got them. And I am very sorry to tell you,
          that the earliest minutes we have recording a third degree,
          fascinating and interesting as they are, refer to a ceremony
          that never happened in a lodge at all; it took place in the
          confines of a London Musical Society. It is a lovely story and
          that is what you are going to get now.
          
          In December 1724 there was a nice little lodge meeting at
          the Queen's Head Tavern, in Hollis Street, in the Strand,
          about three hundred yards from our present Freemasons'
          Hall. Nice people; the best of London's musical,
          architectural and cultural society were members of this
          lodge. On the particular night in which I am interested, His
          Grace, the Duke of Richmond was Master of the lodge. I
          should add that His Grace, the Duke of Richmond was also
          Grand Master at that time, and you might call him 'nice
          people'. It is true that he was the descendant of a royal
          illegitimate, but nowadays even royal illegitimates are
          counted as nice people. A couple of months later, seven of
          the members of this lodge and one brother they had
          borrowed from another lodge decided that they wanted to
          found a musical and architectural society.
          
          They gave themselves a Latin title a mile long - Philo
          Musicae et Architecturae Societas Apollini - which I
          translate, 'The Apollonian Society for the Lovers of Music
          and Architecture' and they drew up a rule book which is
          beautiful beyond words. Every word of it written by hand. It
          looks as though the most magnificent printer had printed
          and decorated it.
          
          Now these people were very keen on their Masonry and for
          their musical society they drew up an unusual code of rules.
          For example, one rule was that every one of the founders
          was to have his own coat-of-arms emblazoned in full colour
          in the opening pages of the minute book. How many lodges
          do you know, where every founder has his own
          coat-of-arms? This gives you an idea of the kind of boys
          they were. They loved their Masonry and they made another
          rule, that anybody could come along to their architectural
          lectures or to their musical evenings - the finest conductors
          were members of the society - anybody could come, but if
          he was not a Mason, he had to be made a Mason before
          they would let him in; and because they were so keen about
          the Masonic status of their members, they kept Masonic
          biographical notes of each member as he joined. It is from
          these notes that we are able to see what actually happened.
          I could talk about them all night, but for our present
          purposes, we need only follow the career of one of their
          members, Charles Cotton.
          
          In the records of the Musical Society we read that on 22
          December 1724 'Charles Cotton Esq'. was made a Mason
          by the said Grand Master' [ie His Grace The Duke of
          Richmond] in the Lodge at the Queen's Head. It could not be
          more regular than that. Then, on 18 February 1725 '. . .
          beiore We Founded This Society A Lodge was held ... In
          Order to Pass Charles Cotton Esq'. . . .' and because it was
          on the day the society was founded, we cannot be sure
          whether Cotton was passed FC in the Lodge or in the
          Musical Society. Three months later, on 12 May 1725
          'Brother Charles Cotton Esqr. Broth'. Papillion Ball Were
          regularly passed Masters'.
          
          Now we have the date of Cotton's initiation, his passing and
          his raising; there is no doubt that he received three degrees.
          But ,regularly passed Masters' - No! It could not have been
          more irregular! This was a Musical Society - not a lodge! But
          I told you
          
          they were nice people, and they had some very
          distinguished visitors. First, the Senior Grand Warden came
          to see them. Then the Junior Grand Warden. And then, they
          got a nasty letter from the Grand Secretary and, in 1727, the
          society disappeared. Nothing now remains except their
          minute book in the British Library. If you ever go to London
          and go to Freemasons' Hall you will see a marvellous
          facsimile of that book. It is worth a journey to London just to
          see it. And that is the record of the earliest third degree. I
          wish we could produce a more respectable first-timer, but
          that was the earliest.
          
          I must tell you, Brethren, that Gould, the great Masonic
          historian believed, all his life, that this was the earliest third
          degree of which there was any record at all. But just before
          he died he wrote a brilliant article in the Transactions of the
          Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and he changed his mind. He said,
          'No, the minutes are open to wide interpretation, and we
          ought not to accept this as a record of the third degree.'
          Frankly, I do not believe that he proved his case, and on this
          point I dare to quarrel with Gould. Watch me carefully,
          Brethren, because I stand a chance of being struck down at
          this moment. Nobody argues with Gould! But I dispute this
          because, within ten months of this date, we have
          incontrovertible evidence of the third degree in practice. As
          you might expect, bless them, it comes from Scotland.
          
          Lodge Dumbarton Kilwinning, now No 18 on the register of
          the Grand Lodge of Scotland, was founded in January 1726.
          At the foundation meeting there was the Master, with seven
          master masons, six fellowcrafts and three entered
          apprentices; some of them were operative masons, some
          non-operative. Two months later, in March 1726, we have
          this minute:
          
          Gabriel Porterfield who appeared in the January meeting as
          a Fellow Craft was unanimously admitted and received a
          Master of the Fraternity and renewed his oath and gave in
          his entry money.
          
          Now, notice Brethren, here was a Scotsman, who started in
          January as a fellowcraft, a founding fellowcraft of a new
          Lodge. Then he came along in March, and he renewed his
          oath, which means he took another ceremony; and he gave
          in his entry money, which means he paid for it. Brethren, if a
          Scotsman paid for it you bet your life he got it! There is no
          doubt about that. And there is the earliest 100 per cent
          gilt-edged record of a third degree. 
          
           Two years later, in December 1728, another new Lodge,
          Greenock Kilwinning, at its very first meeting, prescribed
          separate fees for entering, passing, and raising.
          
          PRICHARD'S MASONRY DISSECTED
          
          From then on we have ample evidence of the three degrees
          in practice and then in 1730 we have the earliest printed
          exposure which claimed to describe all three degrees,
          Masonry Dissected, published by Samuel Prichard in
          October 1730. It was the most valuable ritual work that had
          appeared until that time, all in the form of question and
          answer (apart from a brief introduction) and it had enormous
          influence in the stabilisation of our English ritual.
          
          Its 'Enter'd Prentice's Degree' - by this time ninety-two
          questions - gave two pillar words to the EA, and the first of
          them was 'lettered'. Prichard managed to squeeze a lot of
          floor-work into his EA questions and answers. Here is one
          question for the candidate: 'How did he make you a masonT
          Listen to his answer:
          
          With my bare-bended Knee and Body within the Square, the
          Compass extended to my naked Left Breast, my naked Right
          Hand on the Holy
          
          Bible: there I took the Obligation (or Oath) of a Mason.
          
          All that information in one answer! And the next question
          was, 'Can you repeat that obligationT with the answer, 'I'll do
          my endeavor', and Prichard followed this with a magnificent
          obligation which contained three sets of penalties (throat
          cut, heart torn out, body severed and ashes burned and
          scattered). This is how they appeared in 1730. Documents
          of 1760 show them separated, and later developments do
          not concern us here.
          
          Prichard's 'Fellow-Craft's Degree' was very short, only 33
          questions and answers. It gave J alone to the FC (not
          lettered) but now the second degree had a lot of new
          material relating to the pillars, the middle chamber, the
          winding stairs, and a long recitation on the letter G, which
          began with the meaning 'Geometry' and ended denoting
          'The Grand Architect and Contriver of the Universe'.
          
          Prichard's 'Master's Degree or Master's Part' was made up
          of thirty questions with some very long answers, containing
          the earliest version of the Hiramic legend, literally the whole
          story as it ran in those days. It included the murder by 'three
          Ruffians', the searchers, 'Fifteen Loving Brothers' who
          agreed among themselves 'that if they
          
          did not find the Word in him or about him, the first Word
          should be the Master's Word'. Later, the discovery, "the
          Slip', the raising on the FPOF, and another new version of
          the MM word*, which is said to mean 'The Builder is smitten'.
          
          There is no reason to believe that Prichard invented the
          Hiramic legend. As we read his story in conjunction with
          those collected by Thomas Graham in 1726 (quoted above),
          there can be little doubt that Prichard's version arose out of
          several streams of legend, probably an early result of
          speculative influence in those days.
          
          But the third degree was not a new invention. It arose from a
          division of the original first degree into two parts, so that the
          original second degree with its FPOF and a word moved up
          into third place, both the second and third acquiring
          additional materials during the period of change. That was
          sometime between 1711 and 1725, but whether it started in
          England, Scotland, or Ireland is a mystery; we simply do not
          know.
          
          Back now to Samuel Prichard and his Masonry Dissected.
          The book created a sensation; it sold three editions and one
          pirated edition in eleven days. It swept all other exposures
          off the market. For the next thirty years Prichard was being
          reprinted over and over again and nothing else could stand
          a chance; there was nothing fit to touch it. We lose
          something by this, because we have no records of any ritual
          developments in England during the next 30 years - a great
          30-year gap. Only one new item appeared in all that time,
          the 'Charge to the Initiate', a miniature of our modern
          version, in beautiful eighteenth-century English. It was
          published in 1735, but we do not know who wrote it. For
          fresh information on the growth of the ritual, we have to go
          across the Channel, into France.
          
          FURTHER EVIDENCE FROM FRANCE
          
          The English planted Freemasonry in France in 1725, and it
          became an elegant pastime for the nobility and gentry. The
          Duke of So-and-So would hold a lodge in his house, where
          he was Master for ever and ever, and any time he invited a
          few friends round, they would open a lodge, and he would
          make a few more Masons. That was how it began, and it
          took about ten or twelve years before Masonry began to
          seep down, through to the lower levels. By that time lodges
          were beginning to meet in restaurants and taverns but
          around 1736, things were becoming difficult in France and it
          was feared that the lodges were being used for plots and
          conspiracies against government.
          
          At Paris, in particular, precautions were taken. An edict was
          issued by Ren6 Herault, Lieutenant-General of Police, that
          tavern-keepers and restaurant- keepers were not to give
          accommodation to Masonic lodges at all, under penalty of
          being closed up for six months and a fine of 3,000 livres. We
          have two records, both in 1736-37, of well-known
          restaurants that were closed down by the Police for that
          reason. It did not work, and the reason was very simple.
          Masonry had started in private houses. The moment that the
          officials put the screw on the meetings in taverns and
          restaurants, it went back into private houses again; it went
          underground so-to-speak, and the Police were left helpless.
          
          Eventually, Herault decided that he could do much more
          damage to the Craft if he could make it a laughing-stock. If
          he could make it look ridiculous, he was sure he could put
          them out of business for all time, and he decided to try. He
          got in touch with one of his girl-friends, a certain Madame
          Carton. Now, Brethren, I know what I am going to tell you
          sounds like our English News of the World, but I am giving
          you recorded history, and quite important history at that. So
          he got in touch with Madame Carton, who is always
          described as a dancer at the Paris opera. The plain fact is
          that she followed a much older profession. The best
          description that gives an idea of her status and her qualities,
          is that she slept in the best beds in Europe. She had a very
          special client&le. Now this was no youngster; she was
          fifty-five years old at that time and she had a daughter who
          was also in the same interesting line of business. And I have
          to be very careful what I say, because it was believed that
          one of our own Grand Masters was entangled with either or
          both of them. All this was in the newspapers of those days.
          
          Anyway, Herault got in touch with Madame Carton and
          asked her to obtain a copy of the Masonic ritual from one of
          her clients. He intended to publish it, and by making the
          Masons look ridiculous he was going to put them out of
          business. Well! She did, and he did. In other words, she got
          her copy of the ritual and passed it on to him. It was first
          published in France in 1737, under the title R&eption d'un
          Frey-Maqon. Within a month it was translated in three
          London newspapers, but it failed to diminish the French zeal
          for Freemasonry and had no effect in England. I summarise
          briefly.
          
          The text, in narrative form, described only a single two-pillar
          ceremony, dealing mainly with the floor-work and only
          fragments of ritual. The Candidate was deprived of metals,
          right knee bare, left shoe worn 'as a slipper' and locked in a
          room alone in total darkness, to put him in the right frame of
          mind for the ceremony. His eyes were bandaged and his
          sponsor knocked three times on the Lodge door. After
          several questions, he was introduced and admitted in the
          care of a Warden (Surveillant). Still blindfolded, he was led
          three times round the floor-drawing in the centre of the
          Lodge, and there were .resin flares'. It was customary in the
          French lodges in those days to have a pan of live coals just
          inside the door of the lodge and at the moment the
          candidate was brought in, they would sprinkle powdered
          resin on the live coal, to make an enormous flare, which
          would frighten the wits out of the candidate, even if he was
          blindfolded. (In many cases they did not blindfold them until
          they came to the obligation.) Then, amid a circle of swords,
          we get the posture for the obligation with three lots of
          penalties, and details of Aprons and Gloves. This is followed
          by the signs, tokens and words relating to two pillars. The
          ceremony contained several features unknown in English
          practice, and some parts of the story appear to be told in the
          wrong sequence, so that as we read it, we suddenly realise
          that the gentleman who was dictating it had his mind on
          much more worldly matters. So Brethren, this was the
          earliest exposure from France, not very good, but it was the
          first of a really wonderful stream of documents. As before, I
          shall only discuss the important ones.
          
          My next, is Le Secret des Francs-Maqons (The Secret of the
          Freemasons) 1742, published by the Abb6 Perau, who was
          Prior at the Sorborme, the University of Paris. A beautiful
          first degree, all in narrative form, and every word in favour of
          the Craft. His words for the EA and FC were in reverse order
          (and this became common practice in Europe) but he said
          practically nothing about the second degree. He described
          the Masonic drinking and toasting at great length, with a
          marvellous description of 'Masonic Fire'. He mentioned that
          the Master's degree was 'a great ceremonial lamentation
          over the death of Hiram' but he knew nothing about the third
          degree and said that Master Masons got only a new sign
          and that was all.
          
          Our next work is Le Catechisme des Francs-Ma(ons (The
          Freemasons' Catechism) published in 1744, by Louis
          Travenol, a famous French journalist. He dedicates his book
          'To the Fair Sex', which he adores, saying that he is
          deliberately publishing this exposure for their benefit,
          because the Masons have excluded them, and his tone is
          mildly anti-Masonic. He continues with a note 'To the
          Reader', criticising several items in Perau's work, but
          agreeing that Le Secret is generally correct. For that reason
          (and Perau was hopelessly ignorant of the third degree) he
          confines his exposure to the MM degree. But that is followed
          by a catechism which is a composite for all three degrees,
          undivided, though it is easy to see which questions belong
          to the Master Mason.
          
          Le Catechisme also contains two excellent engravings of the
          Tracing Boards, or Floor-drawings, one called 'Plan of the
          Lodge for the Apprentice-Fellow' combined , and the other
          for 'The Master's Lodge'.
          
          Travenol begins his third degree with 'The History of
          Adoniram, Architect of the Temple of Solomon'. The French
          texts usually say Adoniram instead of Hiram, and the story is
          a splendid version of the Hiramic Legend. In the best French
          versions, the Master's word (Jehova) was not lost; the nine
          Masters who were sent by Solomon to search for him,
          decided to adopt a substitute word out of fear that the three
          assassins had compelled Adonirarn to divulge it.
          
          This is followed by a separate chapter which describes the
          layout of a Master's Lodge, including the 'Floor-drawing',
          and the earliest ceremony of opening a Master's Lodge.
          That contains a curious 'Master's sign' that begins with a
          hand at the side of the forehead (demonstrate) and ends
          with the thumb in the pit of the stomach. And now, Brethren,
          we get a magnificent description of the floorwork of the third
          degree, the whole ceremony, so beautifully described and in
          such fine detail, that any Preceptor could reconstruct it from
          beginning to end - and every word of this whole chapter is
          new material that had never appeared before.*
          
          Of course there are many items that differ from the practices
          we know, but now you can see why I am excited about these
          French documents. They give marvellous details, at a time
          when we have no corresponding material in England. But
          before I leave Le Cat&hisme, I must say a few words about
          its picture of the third degree Tracing Board or
          Floor-drawing which contains, as its central
          
          theme, a coffin design, surrounded by tear drops, the tears
          which our ancient brethren shed over the death of our
          Master Adoniram.
          
          On the coffin is a sprig of acacia and the word 'JEHOVA',
          'ancien mot du Maitre, (the former word of a Master), but in
          the French degree it was not lost. It was the Ineffable Name,
          never to be uttered, and here, for the first time, the word
          Jehova is on the coffin. The diagram, in dots, shows how
          three zig-zag steps over the coffin are to be made by the
          candidate in advancing from West to East, and many other
          interesting details too numerous to mention.
          
          The catechism, which is the last main item in the book, is
          based (like all the early French catechisms) directly on
          Prichard's Masonry Dissected, but it contains a number of
          symbolic expansions and explanations, the result of
          speculative influence.
          
          And so we come to the last of the French exposures that I
          must deal with today L'Ordre des Francs-Maqons Trahi (The
          Order of Freemasons Betrayed) published in 1745 by an
          anonymous writer, a thief! There was no law of copyright in
          those days and this man knew a good thing when he saw it.
          He took the best material he could find, collected it into one
          book, and added a few notes of his own. So, he stole
          Perau's book, 102 pages, the lot, and printed it as his own
          first degree. He said very little about the second degree (the
          second degree was always a bit of an orphan). He stole
          Travenol's lovely third degree and added a few notes
          including a few lines saying that before the Candidate's
          admission, the most junior MM in the Lodge lies down on the
          coffin, his face covered with a blood-stained cloth, so that
          the Candidate will see him raised by the Master before he
          advances for his own part in the ceremony.
          
          Of his own material, there is not very much; chapters on the
          Masonic Cipher, on the Signs, Grips and Words, and on
          Masonic customs. He also included two improved designs of
          the Floordrawings and two charming engravings illustrating
          the first and third degrees in progress. His catechism
          followed Travenol's version very closely but he did add four
          questions and answers (seemingly a minor contribution) but
          they are of high importance in our study of the rit6al:
          
          Q. When a Mason finds himself in danger, what must he say
          and do to call the brethren to his aid?
          
          A. He must put his joined hands to his forehead, the fingers
          interlaced, and say 'Help, ye Children (or Sons) of the
          Widow'.
          
          
          Brethren, I do not know if the 'interlaced fingers' were used
          in the USA or Canada; I will only say that they were well
          known in several European jurisdictions, and the 'Sons of
          the Widow' appear in most versions of the Hiramic legend.
          
          Three more new questions ran:
          
          Q. What is the Password of an Apprentice? Ans: T 
          Q. That of a Fellow? Ans: S 
          Q. And that of a Master? Ans: G 
          
          This was the first appearance of Passwords in print, but the
          author added an explanatory note:
          
          These three Passwords are scarcely used except in France
          and at Frankfurt
          
          on Main. They are in the nature of Watchwords, introduced
          as a surer safeguard (when dealing) with brethren whom
          they do not know.
          
          Passwords had never been heard of before this date, 1745,
          and they appear for the first time, in France. You will have
          noticed, Brethren, that some of them appear to be in the
          wrong order, and, because of the 30-year gap, we do not
          know whether they were being used in England at that time
          or if they were a French invention. On this puzzle we have a
          curious piece of indirect evidence, and I must digress for a
          moment.
          
          In the year 1730, the Grand Lodge of England was greatly
          troubled by the exposures that were being published,
          especially Prichard's Masonry Dissected, which was
          officially condemned in Grand Lodge. Later, as a
          precautionary measure, certain words in the first two
          degrees were interchanged, a move which gave grounds in
          due course for the rise of a rival Grand Lodge. Le Secret,
          1742, Le Catechisme, 1744 and the Trahi, 1745, all give
          those words in the new order, and in 1745, when the
          Passwords made their first appearance in France, they also
          appear in reverse order. Knowing how regularly France had
          adopted - and improved - on English ritual practices, there
          seems to be a strong probability that Passwords were
          already in use in England (perhaps in reverse order), but
          there is not a single English document to support that
          theory.
          
          So Brethren, by 1745 most of the principal elements in the
          Craft degrees were already in existence, and when the new
          stream of English rituals began to appear in the 1760s the
          best of that material had been embodied in our English
          practice. But it was still very crude and a great deal of
          polishing needed to be done.
          
          The polishing began in 1769 by three writers - Wellins
          Calcutt and William Hutchinson, in 1769, and William
          Preston in 1772, but Preston towered over the others. He
          was the great expounder of Freemasonry and its symbolism,
          a born teacher, constantly writing and improving on his
          work. Around 1800, the ritual and the Lectures (which were
          the original catechisms, now expanded and explained in
          beautiful detail) were all at their shining best. And then with
          typical English carelessness, we spoiled it.
          
          You know, Brethren, that from 1751 up to 1813, we had two
          rival Grand Lodges in England (the original, founded in
          1717, and the rival Grand Lodge, known as the 'Antients',
          founded in 1751) and they hated each other with truly
          Masonic zeal. Their differences were mainly in minor
          matters of ritual and in their views on Installation and the
          Royal Arch. The bitterness continued until 1809 when the
          first steps were taken towards a reconciliation and a
          much-desired union of the rivals.
          
          In 1809, the original Grand Lodge, the 'Moderns', ordered
          the necessary revisions, and the Lodge of Promulgation was
          formed to vet the ritual and bring it to a form that would be
          satisfactory to both sides. That had to be done, or we would
          still have had two Grand Lodges to this day! They did an
          excellent job, and many changes were made in ritual and
          procedural matters; but a great deal of material was
          discarded, and it might be fair to say that they threw away
          the baby with the bath-water. The Beehive, the Hour-glass,
          the Scythe, the Pot of Incense etc, which were in our
          Tracing Boards in the early nineteenth century have
          disappeared. We have to be thankful indeed for the splendid
          material they left behind.
          
          A NOTE FOR BRETHREN IN THE USA
          
          I must add a note here for Brethren in the USA. You will
          realise that until the changes which I have just described, I
          have been talking about your ritual as well as ours in
          England. After the War of Independence the States rapidly
          began to set up their own Grand Lodges, but your ritual,
          mainly of English origin - whether Antients or Moderns - was
          still basically. English. Your big changes began in and
          around 1796, when Thomas Smith Webb, of Albany, NY,
          teamed up with an English Mason, John Hanmer, who was
          well versed in Preston's Lecture system.
          
          In 1797 Webb published his Freemason's Monitor or
          Illustrations of Masonry, largely based on Preston's
          Illustrations. Webb's Monitor, adapted from our ritual when,
          as I said, it was at its shining best, became so popular, that
          the American Grand Lodges, mainly in the Eastern states at
          that time, did everything they could to preserve it in its
          original form; eventually by the appointment of Grand
          Lecturers, whose duty it was (and is) to ensure that the
          officially adopted forms remain unchanged.
          
          I cannot go into details now, but from the Rituals and
          Monitors I have studied and the Ceremonies and
          Demonstrations I have seen, there is no doubt that your
          ritual is much fuller than ours, giving the candidate much
          more explanation, interpretation, and symbolism, than we
          normally give in England.
          
          In effect, because of the changes we made in our work
          between 1809 and 1813, it is fair to say that in many
          respects your ritual is older than ours and better than ours.
 

 

         

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