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The History Of Freemasonry
Albert G. Mackey 33°
PART 2. - HISTORY OF
43. - The Union of the Two
Grand Lodges of England
.......... 1155 / 6
44. - The Grand Lodge of
France ................................................... 1183 / 33
45. - Origin of the Grand
Orient of France ...................................... 209 / 56
46. - Introduction of
Freemasonry into the
. 1224 / 68
47. - The Early Grand Lodge
Warrants .......................................... 1235 / 79
48. - Origin of the Royal
Arch......................................................... 1238 / 82
49. - The Introduction of
Royal Arch Masonry into America
.... 1264 / 109
50. - The General Grand
Chapter of the United States
...... 1290 / 132
Obituary Notices of Dr.
Mackey's Death ....................................... 1302 / 146
Salutatory, by William R.
Singleton............................................... 1305 / 151
51. - General History of
Christian Knighthood............................. 1309 / 153
52. - The Introduction of
Knight Templarism into America......... 1368 / 209
53. - The General Grand
Encampment in the United States....... 1384 / 226
PART 3. - FREEMASONRY IN THE
54. - The First Lodge and the
Grand Lodge of each State
.... 1394 / 247
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
William R. Singleton
Operative Masons of the Middle
The Mother Lodge of Kilwinning
J. M. Ragon
Prudence, and Justice
Dream of Constantine
Sir Christopher Wren
Highest Hills and Lowest Vales
The Old Tun Tavern,
THE UNION OF THE TWO GRAND
LODGES OF ENGLAND
fusion of the two rival Grand Lodges - the "Ancients" and the "Moderns" - was
the most important event that has occurred in the history of Speculative
Freemasonry since the organization of 1717.
mutual denunciations of two bodies, each practicing almost the same rites and
ceremonies, each professing to be actuated by the same principles, and each
tending to the accomplishment of the same objects, and each claiming to be the
supreme Head of the Masonic Institution while it accused its antagonist of
being irregular in its organization and a usurper of authority, could not have
failed eventually to impair the purity and detract from the usefulness of the
sentiment of active opposition on the part of the "Moderns" had grown with the
increasing success of their rivals. In 1777 the constitutional Grand Lodge had
declared "that the persons who assemble in London and elsewhere in the
character of Masons, calling themselves Ancient Masons, and at present said to
be under the patronage of the Duke of Atholl, are not to be countenanced or
acknowledged by any regular lodge or Mason under the constitution of England;
nor shall any regular Mason be present at any of their conventions to give a
sanction to their proceedings, under the penalty of forfeiting the privileges
of the Society, nor shall any person initiated at any of their irregular
meetings be admitted into any lodge without being re-made.'' (1)
anathema was followed at different periods during the rest of the century by
others of equal severity. The " Modern Masons," knowing the legality of their
own organization and the false pretensions of the " Ancients," are to be
excused and even justified for the
Preston gives this degree in full; Northouck only summarizes it. see Preston,
" Illustrations," Oliver's edition, p. 242, and Northouck, " Constitutions,"
intensity of their opposition and even for the harshness of their language.
Feeling assured, from all the historical documents with which they were
familiar, that the Grand Lodge organized in 1717 was the only legitimate
authority in English Masonry, it was natural that they should denounce any
pretension to the possession of that authority by others as an imposture.
"Ancients," who, notwithstanding the positiveness with which they asserted
their claim to a superior antiquity, must, unconsciously at times, have felt
their weakness, never displayed so acrimonious a spirit. On the contrary, they
were unwilling to enter into discussions which might elicit facts detrimental
to the solidity of their pretensions.
we find Dermott saying: " I have not the least antipathy against the gentlemen
of the modern society; but, on the contrary, love and respect them; "
and though in a subsequent edition he complains that this amicable sentiment
was not reciprocated, he admits the equal right of each society to choose a
Grand Master, and expresses the hope to see in his life-time a unity between
the two. (2)
1801 the Grand Lodge of "Ancients," in a circular addressed to the Craft, made
the following declaration:
have too much respect for every Society that acts under the Masonic name,
however imperfect the imitation, to enter into a war of reproaches; and,
therefore, we will not retort on an Institution, established in London, for
some years, under high auspices, the unfounded aspersions into which a part of
their body have suffered themselves to be surprised." (3)
the beginning of the 19th century many leading Masons among the '*Moderns"
began to recognize the necessity of a union of the two Societies. I am
compelled to believe, or at least to suspect, that at first the success of the
"Ancients" was a controlling motive in this desire for a fusion of the two
this time there were Grand Lodges of "Ancients," or as they styled themselves,
"Grand Lodges of Ancient York Masons," which had emanated from the London
body, in Canada, Pennsylvania. Maryland, South Carolina, New York,
Massachusetts, Nova Scotia. Gibraltars and most of the provinces and islands
of the East and
Rezon," edition of 1764, p. 24.
Ibid., edition of 1778, pp. 43-44
Ibid., edition of 1807, p. 124.
Indies, and a recognition by the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland. (1)
with this success and with the diffusion of their authority, the "Ancients"
did not at first incline favorably to the idea of a union of the Craft. They
were willing to accept such a union, but it must be without the slightest
compromise or concession on their part.
before the close of the 18th century the "Ancients" had made an important
change in the character of the claim for regularity which they had advanced in
the beginning of the contest.
time after the Grand Lodge of England, according to the "Old Institutions,"
was organized by a secession of several lodges from the Constitutional Grand
Lodge, Lawrence Dermott, writing in its defense, sought to attribute to it an
origin older than that claimed by the Grand Lodge which had been instituted in
1717, and asserted that that organization " was defective in number and
consequently defective in form and capacity."(2)
he declares that when this Grand Lodge was about to be established, "some
joyous companions," who were only Fellow-Crafts, met together, and being
entirely ignorant of the "Master's part" had invented a "new composition"
which they called the third degree.(3)
later period the "Ancients" appear to have abandoned, or at least to have
ceased to have pressed this claim to a priority of existence and to a greater
regularity of organization. More mature reflection and the force of historical
evidence led their leaders to the conviction that both of these claims were
the death of Laurence Dermott they began to confine their claim to legality,
and their defense of the secession from the Constitutional Grand Lodge upon
the single ground that the latter had made innovations upon the ancient
landmarks, and by their change of words and ceremonies had ceased any longer
to maintain the pure system of Speculative Freemasonry.
these "variations in the established forms" were maintained by the Grand Lodge
of "Moderns," the Grand Lodge of
Ahiman Rezon," edition of 1807, p. 117.
Ibid., edition of 1778, p. 14.
Ibid., p. 35. It will be noted that Dermott did not make these grave
accusations in his previous editions of the "Ahiman Rezon." They are first
advanced in the edition published in 1778.
"Ancients" declared it to be impossible to hold Masonic intercourse with those
who thus deviated from the legitimate work of tithe Order.
though, as has been seen, the Ancients were less agressive in their language
toward their rivals and did not indulge in the harsh censures which
characterized the Constitutional Grand Lodge, they were, until after the
commencement of the 19th century, more averse than that body to a union of the
two divisions of the Fraternity, and met all advances toward that object with
something more than indifference.
evidence of this fact is abundantly shown in the transactions of both bodies.
learn, on the authority of Preston, that in November, 1801, a charge was
presented to the Constitutional Grand Lodge against some of its members for
patronizing and officially acting as principal officers in a lodge of
"Ancients." The charge being proved, it was determined that the laws should be
enforced against them unless they immediately seceded from such irregular
meetings. They solicited the indulgence of the Grand Lodge for three months,
hoping that they might be enabled in that time to effect a union between the
two societies. This indulgence was granted, and that no impediment might
prevent the accomplishment of so desirable an object, the charges against the
offending brethren were for the time with. drawn. A committee of distinguished
Masons, among whom was the Earl of Moira, who was very popular with the Craft
of " Moderns," was appointed to pave the way for the intended union, and every
means were ordered to be used to effect that object.
Moira declared, on accepting the appointment as a member of the Committee,
that he should consider the day on which such a coalition should be formed as
one of the happiest days of his life, and that he was empowered by the Prince
of Wales, then Grand Master of the " Moderns," to say that his arms would be
ever open to all the Masons in the kingdom, indiscriminately. (1)
was the first open and avowed proposition for a union of the two Grand Lodges.
It emanated from the " Moderns," and up to that date none had ever been
offered by the 'Ancients," who were silently and successfully pursuing their
career - in extending
Preston, "Illustrations," old edition, p. 329.
tending their influence, making lodges at home and abroad, and securing the
popular favor of the Craft. (1)
effort, however, was not successful. After suspending all active opposition,
the Constitutional Grand Lodge learned in February, 1803, that no measures had
been taken to effect a union; it resumed its antagonistic position, punished
the brethren who had been charged with holding a connection with the "
Ancients," and unanimously resolved that "whenever it shall appear that any
Masons under the English Constitution shall in future attend or countenance
any lodge or meeting of persons calling themselves Ancient Masons under the
sanction of any person claiming the title of Grand Master of England, who
shall not have been duly elected in the Grand Lodge, the laws of the Society
shall not only be strictly enforced against them, but their names shall be
erased from the list and transmitted to all the regular Lodges under the
Constitution of England."(2)
were the means adopted by the Constitutional Grand Lodge to accomplish the
much-desired object are not now exactly known. But that they were highly
distasteful to the "Ancients" is very clear from the action of their Grand
Lodge adopted on March 2, 1802.
action was evidently intended as a reply to the proposition of the rival body
of "Moderns," tendered in the preceding November.
declaration of the Grand Lodge of "Ancients" is printed in Harper's edition of
the Ahiman Rezon, published in 1807. (3) As this work is not generally
accessible to the Fraternity, and as the document presents a very full and
fair expression of the position assumed by the "Ancients" at that advanced
period in the history of their career, I shall copy it without abbreviation.
was represented to this Grand Lodge, that notwithstanding the very temperate
notice which was taken in the last Quarterly Communication, of certain
unprovoked expressions used toward the Fraternity of Ancient Masons, by a
Society generally known by the appellation of the Modern Masons of England,
that body has been
There is no doubt that at that day, in America certainly, the "Ancients" were
more popular than the "Moderns." Hence there appears to have been a settlement
of expedience exhibited in the desire of the latter to effect a coalition.
Preston, "Illustrations," old edition, p. 330.
further prevailed on to make declarations and to proceed to acts at once
illiberal and unfounded with respect to the character, pretensions, and
antiquity of this institution. It was not a matter of surprise that from the
transcendent influence of the pure and unchanged system of Ancient Masonry,
practiced in our regular lodges, the solidity of our establishment, the
progressive increase of our funded capital, the frequency and extent of our
benevolence, and, above all, from the avowed and unalterable bond of union,
which has so long and so happily subsisted between us and the Ancient Grand
Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, America, and the East and West Indies, it should
be a most desirable object to the body of Modern Masons to enroll the two
societies under one banner by an act of incorporation; but we did not expect
that they would have made use of the means which have been attempted to gain
Bearing, as they do, the Masonic name, and patronized by many most illustrious
persons, we have ever shown a disposition to treat them with respect, and we
cannot suppress our feelings of regret, that unmindful of the high auspices by
which they are, for the time, distinguished, they should here condescend to
the use or language which reflects discredit on their cause. Truth requires no
acrimony, and brotherhood disclaims it. It is a species of warfare so
inconsistent with the genuine principles of Masonry, that they may wage it
without the fear of a retort. Actuated by the benignity which these principles
inspire, we shall content ourselves with a tranquil appeal to written record.
It is not for two equal, independent and contending institutions to expect
that the world will acquiesce in the apse digit of either party. We shall not
rest our pretensions, therefore, on extracts from our own books, or on
documents in our own possession - but out of their own mouths shall we judge
their Book of Constitutions, quarto edition, anno 1784, p. 240, they make this
frank confession: "Some variations were made in the established forms." This
is their own declaration, and they say that these were made "more effectually
to debar them and their abettors (that is, us, the ancient masons) from their
lodges." Now what was the nature of these changes? Fortunately, the dispute
did not rest between the two rival bodies; it was not for either to decide
which had the claim of regular descent from the ancient stock of the "York
Masons." There was a competent tribunal. The Masonic world alone could
exercise the jurisdiction and pronounce a verdict on the case. Accordingly,
after frequent visitations made to our lodges by the brethren from Scotland
and Ireland, who repaired to England, the two Grand Lodges of these parts of
the united empire pronounced in our favor and declared that in the Ancient
Grand Lodge of England the pure, unmixed principles of Masonry -the original
and holy obligations - the discipline and the pure science, were preserved. It
was not in the forms alone that variations had been made by the modern order.
They had innovated on the essential principles, and consequently the Masonic
world could not recognize them as brothers.
the strict and rigorous, but beautiful, scheme of Ancient Masonry, every part
of which was founded on the immutable laws of truth, nothing was left for
future ages to correct. There can be no reforms in the cardinal virtues; that
which was pure, just, and true as received from the eternal ordinance of the
divine Author of all good, must continue the same to all eternity. In this
grand mystery, every part of which contributes to a sacred end, even the
exteriors of the science were wisely contrived as the fit emblems of the white
and spotless lamb, which is the type of Masonic benignity.
Grand Lodge can not be more explicit. They will not follow the blameable
practice of entering into a public discussion of what ought to be confined to
the sanctuary of a regular lodge. Suffice it to say, that after mature
investigation by the only persons who were authorized to pronounce a judgment
on the subject, resolutions of correspondence were passed by the Ancient Grand
Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which were entered in their
respective archives, and which the Fraternity will find in our Book of
resolutions have been constantly acted upon from that time to the present day.
We have since been further strengthened by the formal accession of the Grand
Lodges of America and of the East and West Indies to the Union. And it may now
be said, without any impeachment of the modernized order, that the phalanx of
Ancient Masonry is now established to an extent of communication that bids
defiance to all malice, however keen, and to all misrepresentation, however
specious, to break asunder. May the Eternal Architect of the World preserve
the Edifice entire to the latest posterity; for it is the asylum of feeble man
against the shafts of adversity, against the perils of strife, and what is his
own enemy against the conflict of his own passions. It draws more close the
ties of consanguinity where they are, and creates them where they are not; it
inculcates this great maxim as the means of social happiness, that, however
separated by seas and distances, distinguished by national character or
divided into sects, the whole community of man ought to act toward one
another, in all the relations of life, like brothers of the same family, for
they are children of the same Eternal Father, and Masonry teaches them to
seek, by amendment of their lives, the same place of rest.
Ancient Grand Lodge of England has thought it due to its character to make
this short and decisive declaration, on the unauthorized attempts that have
recently been made to bring about a union with a body of persons who have not
entered into the obligations by which we are bound, and who have descended to
calumnies and acts of the most unjustifiable kind.
desire it therefore to be known to the Masonic world and they call upon their
regular lodges, their Past and Present Grand Officers, and their Royal Arches
and Masters, their Wardens and Brethren throughout the whole extent of the
Masonic communion, to take notice, that they can not and must not receive into
the body of a just and perfect lodge, nor treat as a Brother, any person who
has not received the obligations of Masonry according to the Ancient
Constitutions, as practiced by the United Grand Lodges of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, and the regular branches that have sprung from their sanction.
And this our unalterable decree, 'By Order of the Grand Lodge."
careful perusal of this document will show that the position which had been
assumed by the "Ancients" at the middle of the 18th century, when they
organized their Grand Lodge, was abandoned by them at its close. Dermott
maintained that his Grand Lodge was regular in its organization on the ground
that the organization of the other body was irregular and illegal, and
illegitimate. One of the reasons he assigned for this illegality was that it
had been formed by a less than lawful number of lodges. There were but four
lodges engaged in the organization of the Grand Lodge at London in the year
1717. But, says Dermott, with the utmost effrontery, knowing, as he must have
known, that there was no such law or usage in existence nor ever had been, "to
form a Grand Lodge there must have been the Masters and Wardens of five
regular lodges;" and he adds that "this is so well known to every man
conversant with the ancient laws, usages, customs, and ceremonies of Master
Masons, that it is needless to say more.'' (1) Hence the Grand Lodge of 1717
"was defective in number and consequently defective in form and capacity."
Another charge made by Dermott against the "Moderns" was that they were
ignorant of the true Third degree and had fabricated a mere imitation of it, a
"new composition" as he contemptuously calls it.
the close of the century both these charges were abandoned and a new issue was
joined. The ground on which the "Ancients" rested the defense of their
secession in 1738 from the Constitutional Grand Lodge was that that body had
made "variations in the established forms;" in other words, that it had
introduced innovations into the ritual.
this would seem to be a singularly surprising instance of mental aberration,
if we did not know the perversity of human nature. When charging the "Moderns"
with the introduction of innovations, the "Ancients" appear to have completely
forgotten that far more serious innovations had been previously introduced by
"Moderns" had only made a transposition of a couple of words of recognition;
the "Ancients" had mutilated the Third degree and fabricated out of it a
Fourth, hitherto unknown to the Craft. It ill became these bold innovators to
condemn others for the very fault they themselves had committed to a far
ready to exclaim with the Roman satirist: "Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione
querenges.?" (2) "Who could endure the Gracchi when they complained of
thus, by implication, at least, admitted the legality of the original
organization of the Constitutional Grand Lodge and the correctness of its
primitive work, and restricting their charge of irregularity to the single
fact of the existence of innovations, the "Ancients," notwithstanding the
emphatic language in their address of
Rezon," edition of 1778, p. 13.
Juvenal, Satire II., 24
in which they had declared the impossibility of recognizing their rivals, had
certainly made the way more easy for future reconciliation and union.
they continued to maintain the theory of Dermott that the Grand Lodge of
'Moderns" was an illegal and un-Masonic body, which had never known or had the
Master's part, I do not see how the "Moderns" could, with consistency and
self-respect, have tendered, or the "Ancients" listened to, any offer of union
and a consolidation.
about the beginning of the 19th century there were many Masons, especially
among the "Moderns," who felt the necessity of a reconciliation, since the
protracted dissension was destructive of that harmony and fellowship which
should properly characterize the institution. We have seen that the Prince of
Wales had in 1801, when he was Grand Master of the "Moderns," expressed his
willingness for a union of all English Masons. This sentiment was shared at a
later period by his brothers, the Dukes of Kent and Sussex.
all the distinguished members of the Constitutional Grand Lodge, none was so
zealous and indefatigable in the effort to accomplish a reconciliation as the
Earl of Moira, who in 1795 had been Acting Grand Master under the Grand
Mastership of the Prince of Wales. (1)
1801 he had been appointed one of a committee to attempt to effect a union of
the two Grand Lodges - a mission which was unsuccessful in its results. But he
was more felicitous two years afterward in his efforts to induce a good
understanding between the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Constitutional Grand
Lodge of England.
been heretofore seen that at an early period in the career of the Atholl Grand
Lodge, the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland had been induced, through the
influence and misrepresentations
no person, says Preston, had Masonry for many years been more indebted than to
the Earl of Moira (now Marquis of Hastings).
the end of the year 1812 his Lordship was appointed Governor-General of India;
and it was considered by the Fraternity as only a just mark of respect to
invite his Lordship to a farewell banquet previous to his departure from
England, and to present him with a valuable Masonic Jewel, as a memorial of
their gratitude for his eminent services. Preston, "Illustrations of Masonry,"
old edition, p. 346.
Dermott, to take the part of the "Ancients" and to recognize them as the only
legal Masonic authority in England.
1782 the Constitutional Grand Lodge, supposing, it seems fallaciously, that
there was some prospect of establishing a friendly correspondence with the
sister kingdoms, concurred in a resolution recommending the Grand Master to
use every means which in his wisdom he might think proper, for promoting a
correspondence with the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland, so far as should
be consistent with the laws of the Society. (1)
this last provision necessarily required, on the part of the Irish and
Scottish brethren, a denunciation of their friends the ancient Masons," we may
infer this to have been the cause of the unsuccessful result of the
negotiation. Notwithstanding this resolution, says Preston, the wished-for
union was not then fully accomplished. (2)
twenty years had to elapse before a spirit of conciliation was shown by the
Grand Lodge of Scotland, and eight more before the Grand Lodge of Ireland
exhibited a similar spirit.
annual session of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in November, 1803, the Earl of
Moira being present, addressed the Grand Lodge in what Laurie calls an
impressive speech, equally remarkable for the eloquence of its sentiments and
the energy of its enunciation.
account contained in Laurie's History is a contemporary one, it may be
considered as reliable and is worth giving in the very words of the author of
Earl of Moira stated that the hearts and arms of the Grand Lodge of England
had ever been open for the reception of their seceding brethren, who had
obstinately refused to acknowledge their faults and return to the bosom of
their Lodge; and that though the Grand Lodge of England differed in a few
trifling observances from that of Scotland they had ever entertained for
Scottish Masons that affection and regard which it is the object of
Freemasonry to cherish and the duty of Freemasons to feel. His Lordship's
speech was received by the brethren with loud and
Northouck, "Constitutions," p. 340.
"Illustrations," old edition, p. 257.
Laurie's "History of Freemasonry" was published at Edinburgh in 1804 - the
last entry in the book is the account of this speech.
reiterated applause the most unequivocal mark of their approbation of its
afterward stated by the Earl of Moira, that at that communication the Grand
Lodge of Scotland had expressed its concern that any difference should subsist
among the Masons of England and that the lodges meeting under the sanction of
the Duke of Atholl should have withdrawn themselves from the protection of the
Grand Lodge of England, but hoped that measures might be adopted to produce a
reconciliation, and that the lodges now holding irregular meetings would
return to their duty and again be received into the bosom of the Fraternity.
was certainly an unqualified admission by the Grand Lodge of Scotland that in
its previous action in respect to the contending bodies in England it had been
in error. It did not now hesitate to style the "Ancients" whom it had formerly
recognized irregular Masons, and to acknowledge that their organization was
inevitable result was soon apparent. The Grand Lodge of Scotland entered into
fraternal correspondence with the Constitutional Grand Lodge of England and
recognized it as the Supreme Authority of English Masonry. This good feeling
was still further augmented by the election in 1805 of the Prince of Wales as
Patron and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the appointment of
the Earl of Moira as Acting Grand Master, both of which high offices were
respectively held at the same time by the same persons in the Constitutional
Grand Lodge of England.
then was a thorough reversal of the conditions which had previously existed.
In the year 1772 the office of Grand Master, both in England and in Scotland,
had been filled by the same per son, the Duke of Atholl. But it was over the
irregular and illegal English body that he presided. The result was a close
and friendly alliance between the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the schismatic
Grand Lodge in England.
in the year 1805 we see the Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge of
Scotland united under one and the same Grand Master, the Prince of Wales. But
now it was the regular Grand Lodge of England that shared the honor of this
Laurie's "History," p. 295.
Preston, "Illustrations," old edition, P. 338.
WILLIAM R. SINGLETON
the Scottish Grand Lodge. The result in this latter case was of course exactly
contrary to that which had ensued in the former.
this time there was no question as to the relations existing between the two
further to strengthen the cement of this union, if such strengthening were
necessary, was the occurrence soon after of an event in Scottish Masonry.
Schism, which had wrought so much evil in English Masonry, at length made its
appearance among the Scottish lodges.
year 1808 several lodges had seceded, from political motives, it is believed,
from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. They had organized an independent body with
the title of "The Associated lodges seceding from the present Grand Lodge of
Scotland " and on July 4th had met in the Cannongate Kilwinning Lodge room,
and elected a Grand Master. (1)
Grand Lodge of Scotland announced this rebellious action to the Grand Lodge of
England, which expressed its fullest sympathy with the Grand Lodge, approved
of the methods it pursued to punish the seceders and to check the secession,
and proclaimed the doctrine now universally accepted in Masonic law, that a
Grand Lodge, as the representative of the whole Craft, is the sole depository
of supreme power.
was the union of the two Grand Lodges still more closely cemented, and the
Grand Lodge of Scotland became an earnest advocate and collaborator in the
effort to extinguish the English schism.
same year the Grand Lodge of Ireland addressed a communication to the Grand
Lodge of England, in which it took occasion to applaud the principles of
Masonic law enunciated by that Grand Lodge in its reply to its Scottish
sister. The Grand Lodge of Ireland also expressed its desire to co-operate
with that of England in maintaining the supremacy of Grand Lodges over
individual lodges It also pledged itself not to countenance or receive as a
Brother any person standing under the interdict of the Grand Lodge
is unnecessary and irrelevant to enter here into the history of this
secession. The details will be found at full length in Bro. Lyon's "History of
the Lodge of Edinburgh," pp. 264-281. We are here interested only in its
supposed influence upon the relations of the Grand Lodges of Scotland and
England for Masonic transgression. It thus cut itself aloof from its former
recognition of the Atholl Grand Lodge. (1)
scarcely necessary to say that this act was received by the Constitutional
Grand Lodge with a reciprocal feeling of fraternity.
from the year 1808 the three regular and legitimate Grand Lodges of Great
Britain were united in an alliance, the prominent object of which was the
extinction of the schism which had prevailed in England for three-quarters of
a century and the consolidation of all the jarring elements of English
Freemasonry under one head.
such powerful influences at work, it is not surprising that the happy and
"devoutly wished-for consummation" was soon effected.
leading Freemasons of England, on both sides of the contest, readily lent
their aid to the accomplishment of this result.
Prince of Wales having been called, in consequence of the King's mental
infirmity, to the Regency, the established etiquette required that he should
resign the Grand Mastership, a position which he had occupied for twenty-one
retirement the Duke of Sussex was elected Grand Master of the Constitutional
Grand Lodge. He was recognized as an ardent friend of the proposed union.
Through his influence, as Preston supposes, (2) the Duke of Atholl, who was
Grand Master of the "Ancients," had been led to see the desirableness of a
union of the two societies under one head.
similar desire for union began now to prevail among the Freemasons of both
sides, especially among the "Ancients," who had hitherto rejected all
proposals for a compromise of any kind that did not include the concession of
everything on the part of the "Moderns."
1809 a motion looking to a union was submitted to the Grand Lodge of
"Ancients," but ruled out by the presiding officer, who refused to put the
Nevertheless, the right spirit prevailed, and in 1810 a " Union Committee "
was appointed by the Grand Lodge of "Ancients," which held a joint meeting
with a similar committee of the Grand
Preston, "Illustrations," old edition, p. 340.
Ibid, p. 358.
Haghan's " Memorials," p. 14.
of "Moderns," on July 21, 1810, on which occasion the Earl of Moira, Acting
Grand Master of the Constitutional Grand Lodge, presided.
meeting of the Grand Lodge of "Moderns" on April 12, 1809, that body rescinded
all its former resolutions which forbade the admission of the "Ancients" into
their regular lodges, (1) and thus really took the first step toward a formal
recognition of the seceders.
1810 the "Ancients" began to make concessions. They directed all resolutions
relating to the union to be published and submitted to the Craft for their
consideration. They also made alterations in their regulations to conform to
those of the "Modern." (2)
the time had now arrived when the necessities of concord and harmony
imperatively demanded a cessation of the antagonism which had so long existed
between the two rival Grand Lodges and their consolidation under a common
head, so that Speculative Freemasonry in England should thereafter remain "one
"Moderns" had long been desirous of a union, which, on the other hand, the
Ancients" had always strenuously opposed. "It is," says Bro. Hughan, "to the
credit of the 'Moderns' that they were the firm supporters of the Union, even
when the 'Ancients' refused the right hand of fellowship." (3)
not to be denied that the success of the "Ancients" in winning popularity
among the Craft, especially in America, where they had largely extended they
influence, was a principal reason for their rooted aversion to any sort of
compromise, which would necessarily result in the extinction of their power
and their independent position.
many events had recently begun to create a change in their views and greatly
to weaken their opposition to a union of the two Grand Lodges.
first place, the charge that the "Moderns" had made innovations on the
landmarks was losing the importance which had been given to it in the days of
Laurence Dermott. It was still maintained. but no longer urged with
pertinacious vigor. History was
Hughan's "Memorials," p. 15.
Their regulations, says Hughan, were also altered so as to conform as much as
possible to those of the regular Grand Lodge.
"Memorials of the Masonic Union," p. 15.
beginning to vindicate truth, and those "Ancients" who thought at all upon the
subject, must have seen that their secession from the regular Grand Lodge had
preceded the innovations of that body, and that they themselves had been
guilty of far greater innovations by the disruption of the Third degree and
the fabrication of a Fourth one.
second place, the theory maintained by Dermott and accepted by his followers,
that the regular Grand Lodge of England, instituted at London in the year
1717, was an illegal body, defective in numbers at its organization and
without the true degrees, had long been abandoned as wholly untenable. History
was again exercising its functions of vindicating truth. It is very evident,
and the "Ancients" knew it, that if the Grand Lodge organization of 1717 was
illegal, their own of 1753 must have been equally so, for the latter had
sprung out of the former. It was felt to be dangerous, when men began to
investigate the records, to advance a doctrine which logically led to such a
third reason, and a very strong one, which must have controlled the "Ancients"
in arriving at a change of views, must have been the defection of the Grand
Lodges of Scotland and Ireland. These two bodies which had at first entered
into an alliance with the Atholl Grand Lodge at the expense of the
Constitutional Grand Lodge, had changed sides, and had now recognized the
latter body as the only legal head of Freemasonry in England, had admitted
that the "Ancients" were irregular, and had refused to give them recognition
fourth reason was that the Duke of Atholl, who had long been at the head of
the Grand Lodge which bore his name and that of his father, and who for two
generations had been identified with its existence, had been won by the
arguments or influenced by the friendship of the Duke of Sussex, the Grand
Master of the Constitutional Grand Lodge, and had resolved to resign his Grand
Mastership in favor of the Duke of Kent, for the avowed purpose of preparing
for a union of the Craft.
Yielding to these various influences and perhaps to some others of less note,
the Grand Lodge of "Ancients " in the year 1813 abandoned its opposition to a
union, and accepted the preliminary measures which had been adopted by the
friends of that union.
special meeting of the "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England,
according to the Old Institutions" held on November 8, 1813, at the "Crown and
Anchor Tavern," in the Strand, a letter was read from the Duke of Atholl
intimating his desire of resigning the office of Grand Master in favor of his
Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent. (1)
same meeting the resignation of the Duke of Atholl was accepted and the Duke
of Kent was unanimously elected to succeed him as Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge of "Ancients."
Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathcarne, the fourth son of George the Third, was
then forty-six years of age. He was initiated into Freemasonry in a lodge at
Geneva, in Switzerland. At the time of this election he was and had long been
the Grand Master of the "Ancient Masons" of Canada. He was, therefore,
identified with the cause of the "Ancients," but like his brothers, the Prince
of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, he was greatly desirous of a consolidation of
the two Grand Lodges. At as early a period as January, 1794, he had expressed
this sentiment in his reply to an address from the Masons of Canada, when he
said: "You may trust that my utmost efforts shall be exerted, that the
much-wished for union of the whole Fraternity of Masons may be effected." (2)
December 1, 1813, the Duke of Kent was installed as Grand Master of the
"Ancients." On this occasion the Duke of Sussex, as Grand Master of the
Constitutional Grand Lodge, was present with several of his Grand Officers. To
qualify them for visitation they were previously "made Ancient Masons in the
Grand Master's Lodge No. 1, in a room adjoining."
transactions on that day must be considered as a conclusive settlement of the
vexed question of legality. The fact that the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge
of "Moderns" was present, and by his presence sanctioned the installation of
the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of "Ancients," and that to qualify himself
to do so had submitted to an initiation in the system of the "Ancients,"
forever precluded the "Moderns" from making a charge of irregularity against
their rivals; these in turn were equally precluded from denying the Masonic
legality of a body whose Grand Master had
The minutes of this meeting will be found in Hughan's "Memorials of the
Union," p. 16.
Freemasons' Magazine, vol. iii., July, 1794, p. 14
made participant in their mysteries. and had taken a part in the solemn
ceremonies of installation of their presiding officer.
Indeed, the union had already been virtually accomplished, and all that was
now needed was its formal ratification by the two Grand Lodges.
September fist the Duke of Kent, not then Grand Master, had been associated by
the Grand Lodge of Ancients" with Deputy Grand Master Harper and Past Deputy
Grand Masters Perry and Agar as a Committee to take the preliminary steps for
effecting a union of the two fraternities.
Committee had held several conferences with the Duke of Sussex, who was
assisted by three of his Grand Officers, Bro.
Wright, Provincial Grand Master of the Ionian Isles, and Past Grand Wardens
Tegart and Deans.
joint committee had drawn up articles of union between the two Grand Lodges
which had been signed and sealed in duplicate at Kensington Palace, the
residence of the Duke of Sussex.
in December, at the Quarterly Communications, these Articles had been
submitted to both Grand Lodges and solemnly ratified, and the following
Festival of St. John the Evangelist had been appointed for the Assembly of the
Grand Lodges in joint communication to carry out the provisions which had been
Grand Master had appointed "nine worthy and expert Master Masons or Past
Masters," to whom were assigned by the Articles of Union the following
the Warrant of their respective Grand Lodges they were to meet together in
some convenient central place in London, when each party having opened a lodge
according to the peculiar forms and regulations of each, they were
reciprocally and mutually to give and receive the obligations of both
Fraternities, deciding by lot which should take priority in the giving and
receiving. They were then to hold a lodge under dispensation, to be styled the
"Lodge of Reconciliation," or they were then to visit the different lodges and
having obligated their officers and members to instruct them in the forms of
both the systems. (1)
and other preliminary arrangements having been complied with, the two
Fraternities, with their Grand Lodges, met on December
See "Articles of Union," Article V.
1813, at Freemasons' Hall, which had been fitted up agreeably to a previously
devised plan, and the whole house tiled from the outer porch. (1)
each side of the room the Masters, Wardens, and Past Masters of the several
lodges were arranged on benches, and so disposed that the two Fraternities
were completely intermixed.
two Grand Lodges were opened in two adjoining rooms, each according to its
peculiar ceremonies, and a Grand Procession being formed, the two bodies
entered side by side the Hall of Assembly, the Duke of Sussex closing one
procession and the Duke of Kent the other.
entering the Hall the procession advanced to the Throne, and opening inward
the two Grand Masters proceeded up the center and took seats on each side of
Past Grand officers and illustrious visitors occupied the platform, and the
two Senior Grand Wardens, the two Junior Grand Wardens, and the two Grand
Secretaries and Grand Treasurers occupied the usual stations in the West,
South, and North.
Silence having been proclaimed, the services began with prayer, offered up by
Rev. Dr. Barry, the Grand Chaplain of the "Ancients."
the act of union had been read by Sir George Naylor, Grand Director of
Ceremonies, the following proclamation was made by the Rev. Dr. Coghlan, Grand
Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of "Moderns."
ye: This is the Act of Union engrossed in confirmation of Articles solemnly
concluded between the two Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons of England,
signed, sealed, and ratified by the two Grand Lodges respectively: by which
they are hereafter and forever to be known and acknowledged by the style and
title of THE UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ANCIENT FREEMASONS OF ENGLAND. How say you,
Brothers, Representatives of the two Fraternities? Do you accept of, ratify
and confirm the same ?"
which the whole Assembly answered: "We do accept, ratify any confirm the
This account is condensed from Oliver's edition of Preston, pp. 368-373. The
"Order of Proceedings" to be observed on the occasion are given by Bro. Hughan
in his Memorials. They do not essentially differ from the details by Preston,
and the latter has the advantage of being in the past tense.
Grand Chaplain then said: "And may the Great Architect of the Universe make
the Union perpetual." To which all the Brethren replied: "so mote it be."
Articles of Union were then signed by the two Grand Masters and six
Commissioners, and the seals of both Grand Lodges were affixed to the same.
Proclamation was then made by Rev. Dr. Barry in the following words:
known to all men that the Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Free
and Accepted Masons of England is solemnly signed, sealed, ratified and
confirmed, and the two Fraternities are one, to be henceforth known and
acknowledged by the style and title of "The United Grand Lodge of Ancient
Freemasons of England: and may the Great Architect of the Universe make their
Brethren all responded "Amen," and a symphony was played by the Grand
Organist, Bro. Samuel Wesley.
Ark of the Masonic Covenant, which had been placed in front of the Throne, was
then approached by the two Grand Masters, their Deputies and Wardens.
Grand Masters standing in the East, the Deputies on their right and left, and
the Grand Wardens in the West and South, the square, level, plumb, and mallet
were successively delivered to the Deputy Grand Masters and by them presented
to the two Grand Masters, who having applied the square, level, and plumb to
the Ark and struck it thrice with the mallet, they made the following
the Great Architect of the Universe enable us to uphold the grand edifice of
union, of which this Ark of the Covenant is the symbol, which shall contain
within it the instruments of our brotherly love and bear upon it the Holy
Bible, Square, and Compasses, as the light of our faith and the rule of our
works. May He dispose our hearts to make it perpetual."
the Brethren all responded, "so mote it be."
Masonic elements of consecration, corn, wine, and oil, were then poured upon
the Ark, according to the ancient Rite, by the two Grand Masters, accompanying
the act with the usual invocation.
constituted the impressive ceremony by which the union of the hitherto rival
Fraternities was consecrated.
Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland were not represented, in consequence of
the shortness of the notice, but letters of congratulation were received from
each, with copies of resolutions which had been passed by both.
two Fraternities differed in their forms and ceremonies, it was necessary that
some compromise should be effected so that a universal system might be adopted
by the united Grand Lodge. The determination of what that system of forms
should be, had been entrusted to the "Lodge of Reconciliation " as its most
important, and doubtless its most difficult duty.
duty was accomplished in the following manner: After the ceremonies of
ratification had been performed, the "Lodge of Reconciliation" retired to
another apartment, accompanied by the Count Lagardje, Past Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Sweden, Dr. Van Hess of the Grand Lodge of Hamburgh, and other
distinguished Masons, when the forms and ceremonies which had been previously
determined upon by the "Lodge of Reconciliation" were made known.
their return to the Assembly-room, Grand Master the Count Lagardje announced
that the forms which had been settled and agreed on by the "Lodge of
Reconciliation" were "pure and correct."
were then recognized as the only forms to be thereafter observed and practiced
in the United Grand Lodge and by the lodges under its obedience.
recognized obligation was then administered by the Rev. Dr. Hemming, standing
before the Bible, Square and Compasses lying on the Ark, and repeated by all
the Brethren, who solemnly vowed, with joined hands, to abide by the same.
next step was the organization of the new Grand Lodge by the election of its
this purpose the Officers of the two Grand Lodges divested themselves of their
insignia, and the chairs were taken by Past Grand Officers of the two
Duke of Kent addressed the assembly. He stated that the great object for which
he had taken upon himself the office of Grand Master of the Ancient
Fraternity, as declared at the time, was to facilitate the accomplishment of
the union. He then nominated the Duke of Sussex as Grand Master of the united
Duke of Sussex was unanimously elected and placed upon the throne by the Duke
of Kent and Count Lagardje.
Grand Master nominated the Grand officers for the year ensuing.
Grand Lodge was then called to refreshment, and on returning, some necessary
business having been transacted, the Grand lodge was closed in ample form.
impossible to arrive at any absolutely accurate knowledge of the numerical
strength of the two Fraternities at the time of the union. This arises from
the fact that the lists made by both Grand Lodges at that date contained the
names of many lodges which were either extinct or had passed over to other
in the list of the "Moderns" ending in 1812, as given by Bro. Gould in his
Four Old Lodges, the number of lodges runs up to 640; but of these many, as
the list commences with the year 1721, must have long ceased to exist, and
several are recorded as being in Germany and France, where the English Grand
Lodge had no longer any jurisdiction, and nineteen are credited to the United
States of America, where independent Grand Lodges had long been established.
same inaccurate way we find that the list of the "Ancients," published in 1813
in their Ahiman Rezon, records 354 lodges as being under its jurisdiction.
of these, however, had passed from its jurisdiction or must have ceased to
exist. Ten lodges, for instance, are credited to the United States, and some
to other foreign countries where the Grand Lodge no longer possessed any
may, however, estimate the comparative strength of the two Fraternities at the
union by the registry of lodges made at that time, when the members were
assigned by lot.
that list, which is given by Bro. Hughan in his Memorials of the Union, 636
lodges are enrolled. Of these, 385 were "Moderns," and 251 "Ancients." If,
however, it be considered that the former had been in existence for ninety-six
years and the latter only sixty, (1) it will be seen that the relative
proportion of successful growth was greatly in favor of the "Ancients."
Notwithstanding that the Constitutional Grand Lodge had secured the adhesion
of a much higher class in the social element,
The Grand Lodge of "Moderns" was instituted in 1717, that of the "Ancients"
its 1753. The former commenced with four Lodges, the latter with seven.
from the fifth year of its existence it had been presided over by an
uninterrupted succession of Peers of the realm, and that at the very period of
the Union its Grand Master was a son of the reigning monarch, and that its
acknowledged Patron was the heir apparent of the Crown, (1) the Atholl Grand
Lodge without these advantages enjoyed a much greater share of popularity
among the masses of the Craft.
popularity can properly be attributed only to that innovation on the accepted
ritual of the Constitutional Grand Lodge which produced the secession. The
dismemberment of the Master's degree and the fabrication of a Fourth degree
called the Royal Arch, gave to the seceders a prestige not-enjoyed by their
rivals. Candidates eagerly repaired for initiation to the body, which promised
them a participation in a larger amount of mystical knowledge.
"Moderns" soon became aware of this fact, and it was not very long before,
notwithstanding their outcry against innovation, they adopted the same degree
or at least quietly suffered its intrusion into their own system. A Royal Arch
Chapter and then a Grand Chapter was established by some "Moderns" about the
year 1766, and though it was not actually countenanced, it was not denounced
by the Constitutional Grand Lodge.
been supposed by some writers that the "Ancients" were sustained by and indeed
represented the Operative element of the Craft in opposition to the purely
Speculative, which was represented by the "Moderns."
this there is no satisfactory historical evidence. In 1723 the Operative
Freemasons who, in 1717, had taken a part in the organization of the Grand
Lodge, had been laid upon the shelf by that body, nor is it likely that at a
long interval they would renew the contest in which they had been so signally
excellent results which followed from the union of the two Fraternities, in
the restoration of peace and concord, and the consequent strengthening of the
Institution, have preserved the method in which this union was effected from
union was a compromise, and in all compromises there are
Whatever influence these circumstances must have naturally exerted in a
monarchy, its importance will hardly be appreciated at its full value by the
citizens of a republic. Anderson says that at first the Freemasons were
content "to choose a Grand Master from among themselves, till they should have
the honor of a Noble Brother at their head."
necessarily mutual concessions. But it is a question whether these concessions
by both parties did not involve the sacrifice of certain principles which both
had hitherto deemed important.
"Articles of Union" which constituted the groundwork on which the
consolidation of the two Grand Lodges was framed, are twenty- one in number.
Most of these relate to local regulations made necessary by the circumstances.
Only three - the second, third, and fourth - have reference to the concessions
made in the ritual and in the system of Speculative Freemasonry. These
articles are in the following words:
It is declared and pronounced that pure Ancient Masonry consists of three
degrees, and no more, viz.: those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow-Craft,
and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch. But
this article is not intended to prevent any lodge or Chapter from holding a
meeting in any of the degrees of the Orders of Chivalry, according to the
Constitutions of the said Orders.
There shall be the most perfect unity of obligation, of discipline, of working
the lodges, of making, passing and raising, instructing and clothing the
Brothers; so that one pure, unsullied system, according to the genuine
landmarks, laws and traditions of the Craft shall be maintained, upheld and
practiced, throughout the Masonic World, from the day and date of the said
union until time shall be no more.
To prevent all controversy or dispute as to the genuine and pure obligations,
forms, rules and ancient traditions of Masonry and further to unite and bind
the whole Fraternity of Masons in one indissoluble bond, it is agreed that the
obligations and forms that have, from time immemorial, been established, used
and practiced in the Craft, shall be recognized, accepted and taken, by the
members of both Fraternities, as the pure and genuine obligations and forms by
which the incorporated Grand Lodge of England, and its dependent lodges in
every part of the World shall be bound: and for the purpose of receiving and
communicating due light and settling this uniformity of regulation and
instruction (and particularly in matters which can neither be expressed nor
described in writing), it is further agreed that brotherly application be made
to the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland, to authorize, delegate and
appoint, any two or more of their enlightened members, to be present at the
Grand Assembly on the solemn occasion of uniting the said Fraternities; and
that the respective Grand Masters, Grand Officers, Masters, Past Masters,
Wardens and Brothers, then and there present, shall solemnly engage to abide
by the true forms and obligations (particularly in matters which can neither
be described nor written), in the presence of the said Members of the Grand
Lodges of Scotland and Ireland, that it may be declared, recognized and known,
that they are all bound by the same solemn pledge, and work under the same
examination of these three articles will clearly demonstrate that both Grand
Lodges made concessions to each other, which involved the sacrifice in turn of
the very points of ritualism on which each had, for nearly three-fourths of a
century, maintained its right to supremacy.
Article II. the Royal Arch is recognized as an inherent portion of "Ancient
Craft Masonry." Yet when about 1738 the Freemasons began soon after to call
themselves "Ancient Masons," their lodges were erased from the roll and their
members expelled because they had practiced this same degree. Nothing then and
long after so much incensed the "Moderns" as this innovation, as they called
it, of a new degree. "Our society," said their Grand Secretary, Spencer, "is
neither Arch, Royal Arch, nor Ancient."
this point the "Ancients" certainly achieved a victory. The attempted
qualification in the declaration that Ancient Craft Masonry consisted of only
three degrees, which was a concession to preserve the consistency of the
"Moderns," was without meaning, since it was immediately followed by the
admission that there was a Fourth degree.
Article III. it is declared that the methods of initiation and instruction
should be according to the genuine landmarks, laws, and traditions of the
Craft. But the United Grand Lodge adopted the changes in the words of the
degrees, which had been introduced by the Constitutional Grand Lodge, to
prevent the intrusion of the seceders into the regular lodges. The
preservation of these words and certain other changes was certainly not in
accordance with the "landmarks," supposing these landmarks to be the usages of
the Craft, adopted at or soon after the organization in the year 1717.
result has been to create in these respects a difference between the
Continental and the English-speaking Masons, the former adhering to the
original forms. (1)
would be a victory for the "Moderns," but not one of so much importance as
that achieved by the "Ancients" in the recognition of the Royal Arch degree.
assertion in Article IV. that the obligations and forms which were agreed upon
at the Union were those which " from time immemorial have been established,
used and practiced by the Craft," is thus found to be merely a "facon de
parler" too much in vogue even at the present day, when referring to the
antiquity of usages.
"time immemorial" thus vaunted, dwindles down, in fact, to the date of the
organization of the "Lodge of Reconciliation," to which the regulation of
these "obligations and forms" had been entrusted.
confirmation of this new system by the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland,
which was provided for in the same article, was not carried into effect, for
no representatives of these bodies were present.
Grand Lodge of Ireland, it may be presumed, as the Irish Masons had long
favored the high degrees, would give its implicit assent to the First Article
in which even the degrees of Chivalry were recognized by sufferance.
the Grand Lodge of Scotland had always contended that Ancient Craft Masonry,
or as it was styled, "St. John's Masonry," consisted of only three degrees.
(2) In 1800 it had prohibited its lodges from holding any meetings above the
degree of Master Mason under penalty of the forfeiture of their charter. (3)
And only four years after the United Grand Lodge of England had recognized the
Royal Arch as a part of Ancient Craft Masonry, the Grand Lodge of Scotland
resolved that no person holding official position in a Royal Arch Chapter
should be admitted to membership in the Grand Lodge. (4)
fact we must look for a defense of these compromises by the two Grand Lodges
of England to the peculiar and threatening condition in which they were
placed. Without compromise
The Gordian knot presented by the change in the Master's Word made by the
"Moderns" was cut, by the adoption or sanction of both words, and they are
still so used in English lodges. In the United States of America the word of
the "Moderns" has long since passed out of the memory and the knowledge of the
Craft, and the original word of Desaguliers and his collaborators alone is
"The Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Scotland." (3) Lyon "History of the
Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 293.
Ibid., p. 295.
mutual concession of many things the maintenance of which both had once deemed
essential, no union could have been effected, and without a Union the success
and permanency of one, if not of both bodies, would be seriously endangered.
must therefore be acknowledged, notwithstanding any criticism on the methods
pursued, which were demanded by the claims of historic truth that, here at
least, the generally to be condemned maxim of the Jesuits, which justifies the
means by the end accomplished, may find some excuse.
Looking back, at this distant period, upon the history of the Craft from the
middle of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century, when the passions and
prejudices which distracted the Fraternity have ceased to exist, we recognize
the fact that the rivalry of the two factions was destined to be ultimately of
advantage to the institution.
Oliver, speaking of this and other secessions which occurred in the 18th
century, says: " I am persuaded that these schisms, by their general
operation, rather accelerated than retarded the outward progress of Masonry;
for at the precise time when they were most active, we find the science
spreading over all the European nations and exciting the attention of all
ranks and classes of mankind." (1)
Antagonism, in the long run, leads to development. The protracted struggle
which finally terminated in the recognition of the Royal Arch, not only gave
to the Master's degree a completeness which it had before wanted, but by the
establishment of a new ritual, which more nearly approached perfection than
the old one, tended to develop a more philosophic spirit in the system of
Speculative Freemasonry. Of this fact ample evidence is given in the lectures
of Dr. Hemming which were adopted by the United Grand Lodge, and which are
much more intellectual than any that preceded them. (2)
old and comparatively meager ritual of Desaguliers, and Anderson, with the
slight additions of Martin Clare, of Dunckerley and Preston, presenting only
an imperfect system, would, but for the Union, have been continued to the
present day, if Speculative Freemasonry had not long before died of inanition.
"Historical Landmarks," ii., p. 313 (2) It is to Hemming that we are indebted
for that sentence which defines Freemasonry as "a system of morality, veiled
in allegory and illustrated by symbols." It must be confessed, however, that
he made some omissions and alterations in the old lectures, which had better
been spared. But "nihil est ab omni parte beatum."
rivalry of the two bodies gave an active expansion of that spirit of charity
which is incidental to every Brotherhood. Neither could afford to be less
kindly disposed to the distressed of their fold than the other. And this
spirit of charity, thus developed during the struggle, was vastly strengthened
and made of more practical utility by the consolidation of the Fraternity.
the most important advantage derived from the long antagonism was the
development of the science of symbolism, which has given to the Institution a
just claim to the title of Speculative Masonry, which it had long before
assumed, and elevated it to the rank of a system of moral philosophy.
for the first time since the disseverance, in the beginning of the 18th
century, of the Speculative from the Operative element was it announced as the
accepted definition of Freemasonry that it was "a system of morality, veiled
in allegory and illustrated by symbols."
Hemming who proclaimed this sublime definition in the Union lectures which he
framed and which has awakened the thoughts and directed the Speculations of
all Masonic scholars who have written since his day.
are, it is true, some few defects in the lectures of Dr.
Hemming, but they are on the whole superior to those of Preston - superior
because more philosophic and more symbolical. Preston's system was the germ,
Hemming's the fruit, and the fruit always is better than the germ.
conclusion it may be said that the rivalry of the two factions was productive
of this good, that it stimulated each to seek for a higher plane of action and
of character; and the union which finally took place, no matter what was the
actuating motive, was the most fortunate event that had ever occurred in the
Masonic Society, since it developed a higher plane for its action, and secured
it a long and prosperous continuance of life which one or both of the
antagonizing parties must have long since forfeited had there been no Union
harmony, and concord firmly established, a consolidation of interests - a more
enlarged practice of charity and brotherly relief, and a more elevated
character of Speculative Freemasonry - these were the results of the Union in
1813 in England, which was speedily imitated in all other countries where the
rivalry had previously existed.
THE GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE
has, I think, been conclusively shown in a preceding chapter that in the year
1732 there were but two lodges in the city of Paris, one of which had received
a Warrant from the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England and the other
had been formed, we may suppose, by a secession or, as we should now say, a
demission of a portion of the members of the first lodge, grown, numerically,
is no authentic record that the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge of England
ever granted a Deputation for the establishment of a Provincial Grand Master
or a Provincial Grand Lodge in France.
Indeed, it has been very plausibly urged that the granting of such a
Deputation to the titular Earl of Derwentwater, a convicted traitor to the
English Government, whose execution had only been averted in 1715 by his
escape from prison, would have been a political impossibility.
in his History of Freemasonry in France, says that " the unfortunate
international political relations which existed between England, the
mother-country, and France, the daughter, prevented that free intercourse and
development which might have been looked for." (1)
yet the French authorities claim that to him such a Deputation had been
we are met, on the very incipience of our investigation of the history of the
institution of a Grand Lodge in France, by contradictory statements from the
English and French authorities.
is no way of reconciling these contradictory statements. We must utterly
reject the impossible or the improbable, and accept
"Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Frankreich aus achten urkenden dargestellt,"
von Georg Kloss, I., 336.
that which has the support of reliable authority and as to which there is no
conflict between the writers on both sides of the channel.
the adoption of this rule will not always save us from the pressure of
critical difficulties. The authority of the English writers is generally of a
merely negative character. With the exception of the statement of Anderson,
that Viscount Montagu granted two Warrants for lodges - one at Paris and one
at Valenciennes, in the year 1732 - there is, in the contemporary English
records, an absolute silence in reference to all Masonic affairs in France.
French writers are more communicative, but they have so often mistaken fable
for fact, and tradition for history, that we seldom find satisfaction in
receiving their statements. One of them admits that the absence of any
historical monuments of the first lodge has cast some obscurity over the early
operations of Freemasonry in Paris. (1)
fact, the history of Speculative Freemasonry in France, until the year 1736,
may be considered as almost hypothetical and traditionally. It is said that
there was a Provincial Grand Lodge and a Provincial Grand Master, but the
evidence on this subject is altogether wanting - at least such evidence as a
faithful historian would require.
"Historical Instruction" sent in 1783 by the Grand Lodge of France to its
constituent lodges, it is said that Lord Derwentwater was considered as the
first Grand Master of the Order in France.
is more circumstantial in his details than any other Frenchwriter. He says
that "Lord Derwentwater, who in 1725 received from the Grand Lodge at London
plenary powers to constitute lodges in France, was, in 1735, invested by the
same Grand Lodge with the functions of Provincial Grand Master, and when he
quitted France to return to England, where soon after he perished on the
scaffold, a victim to his attachment to the Stuarts, he transferred the
plenary powers which he possessed to his friend Lord Harnouester, whom he
appointed as the representative, during his absence, of his office of
Provincial Grand Master." (3)
Ragon, " Acta Latomorum," 1., p. 22.
Thory, " Histoire de la Fondation du Grand Orient," p. 12.
"Histoire des Trois Grandes Loges," p. 44. Ragon, who is less imaginative or
inventive than Rebold, though he, also, too often omits or is unable to give
his authorities merely says that Derwentwater was chosen as their Grand Master
by the brethren at the time of the introduction of Freemasonry into Paris.
Latomorum," p. 52. Lalande, in his article on Freemasonry in the "Encyclopedie,"
places the affair of Derwentwater's Grand Mastership in the true light, when
he says that as the first Paris lodge had been opened by Lord Derwentwater, he
was regarded as the Grand Master of the French Masons, and so continued until
his return to England, without any formal recognition on the part of the
Considering the political condition of England, which had only a few years
before been the scene of a rebellion in which the family of Charles Radcliffe,
the titular Earl of Derwentwater, played an important part - considering that
he himself was nothing more nor less than an escaped convict, liable at any
moment when apprehended to undergo the sentence of death which had been
adjudged against him by the law, and considering the existence of a party of
Jacobites who still secretly wished for the downfall of the House of Hanover,
and the restoration of the family of Stuart to the throne, it is really absurd
to suppose that the Grand Lodge of England, which claimed at least to be
loyal, could have selected such a person as its representative among the
Freemasons of France.
may, therefore, I think, unhesitatingly look upon this story of the premier
Grand Mastership of the titular Earl of Derwentwater as a myth, with no other
foundation than the mere fact, which will be admitted, that he was a chief
instrument in establishing, without Warrant, the first lodge in Paris, and
that by his family relations he possessed much influence among the English
Freemasons in Paris, who were for the most part Jacobites or adherents of the
House of Stuart.
who has accepted every tradition of those days of myths as an historical fact,
proceeds to tell us that the four lodges which were then in Paris determined
to establish a Provincial Grand Lodge of England, to which, as the
representative of the Grand Lodge at London, the lodges which might in future
be constituted should directly address themselves. This resolution, he says,
was put into execution after the departure of Lord Derwentwater, and this
Grand Lodge was regularly and legally constituted in 1736 under the presidency
of Lord Harnouester. (1)
hypothesis, universally advanced by the French writers, that Charles Radcliffe,
commonly called Lord Derwentwater, was Grand Master from 1725 to 1736,
therefore is not tenable. There is no
testimony, such as is worth accepting in an historical inquiry, to support it.
That he was not so appointed by the Grand Lodge of England can not be denied.
The existing political condition of the country would make such an appointment
most improbable if not impossible, and, besides, there is no reference in the
records of the Grand Lodge to an act, which would have been too important to
have been passed over in silence.
condition of French Freemasonry was such as to render it extremely difficult,
indeed almost impossible, to attain any accurate or reliable account of its
historians do not deny this. Thory, who had the best opportunities as an
historical investigator, and who was more familiar than any of his
contemporaries with Masonic documents, does not hesitate, when referring to a
period even a little later, to give this opinion of the chaotic condition of
French Masonry in the earlier part of the 18th century.
"Masonry was then in such a disordered condition that we have no register or
official report of its assemblies. There did not exist any bodies organized in
the nature of Grand Lodges, such as were known in England and Scotland. Each
lodge in Paris or in the kingdom was the property of an individual who was
called the Master of the lodge. He governed the body over which he presided
according to his own will and pleasure. These Masters of lodges were
independent of each other, and recognized no other authority than their owner.
They granted to all who applied the power to hold lodges, and thus added new
Masters to the old ones. In fact, it may be said that up to 1743 Masonry
presented in France under the Grand Masterships of Derwentwater, Lord
Harnouester, and the Duke d'Antin the spectacle of the most revolting
description, whose accuracy, considering the impartial authority whence it is
derived, can not be doubted, must render it utterly useless to look for
anything like a constitutional or legal authority, in the English meaning of
the term, for the administration
"Histoire de la Fondation du Grand Orient," p. 13. Clavel confirms this
testimony He says that "all the lodges which were afterwards established in
Paris and the rest of France owed their constitution to the societies (the
primitive lodges) of which we have just spoken. Most of them assumed the
powers of Grand Lodges and granted Letters of Constitution to new lodges." -
"Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Maconnerie," p. 108.
Masonic government during the time in which Derwentwater played an important
part in its affairs.
1732 there was no lodge in France which derived its authority to act from the
warrant of a Grand Lodge. The one formed in 1725, by Derwentwater, Harnouester,
Maskelyne, and Heguetty, and those which had been previously founded in other
parts of France - at Dunkirk and at Mons - must have been instituted under the
old principle of the Operative Freemasons, which ceased to be recognized in
England, in the year 1717, that a sufficient number of brethren might assemble
for Masonic work, without the authority of any superintending power. Warrants
were not known or recognized in England until that year. They had not yet been
extended into France. The first Warrant known in France was that which was
granted by the Grand Lodge at London to the lodge in the Rue de Bussy at
Paris, and numbered in the English list as No. 90.
for years afterward lodges continued to be organized, as we have just seen, in
France under the old Operative system of lodge independence.
all this period there was no Grand or Provincial Grand Master in France. But
Charles Radcliffe, who had, it seems, been the introducer of Speculative
Freemasonry into Paris, must have been very popular with his English
companions, who, like himself, were adherents of the exiled House of Stuart.
After the death of his nephew he assumed the title of Earl of Derwentwater,
and as such was recognized by the French king and the Pretender. He was a
leader of the Jacobite party, and it is very generally supposed that it was in
the interests of that party that he organized his lodge at Paris, the first
prominent members of which belonged to the same political party.
not, therefore, astonishing that his connection with Freemasonry, as the
founder of the first Parisian lodge, has led to the traditional error of
supposing him to have been the first Grand Master of the French Freemasons. In
his day there was no Grand Lodge nor Grand Master in that kingdom.
astronomer Lalande, who wrote a very sensible history of Freemasonry for the
French Encyclopedia, recognizes this fact, when he says that Lord Harnouester
was the first regularly chosen Grand Master.
tradition that when Derwentwater left France for England in 1733 (not as Thory
erroneously states in 1735), he appointed Lord Harnouester as his Deputy and
Representative during his absence, is therefore a mere fiction. He could not
delegate a position and powers which he did not possess. But it is reason able
to suppose that on the departure of Derwentwater, Lord Harnouester as of high
rank, influence, and popularity among the English exiles who were Masons,
assumed the position of a leader, which Derwentwater had previously occupied.
a temporary absence in England, where, notwithstanding the sentence of death
which had been adjudged against him in 1715, he was not arrested, the
government exercising a merciful forbearance, he returned to the Continent,
but we find no evidence of him having taken any further active interest in
French writers all agree in saying that in 1736 Lord Harnouester was elected
Grand Master. But we have no record of the circumstances attending his
election. Rebold's statement that he was elected by the lodges then existing
in Paris, may or may not be truth. There is not sufficient historical
testimony of the fact to remove it out of the realm of tradition.
simply says, " Lord Harnouester was elected Grand Master, after Lord
Derwentwater, in 1736." (1) of Harnouester we know so little that we have not
been able to identify him with any of the public personages of the period, or
to find any record of him in the contemporary lists of the English peerage.
however, we accept, on the mere dictum of the French historians, the truth of
the statement that Harnouester was the first Grand Master of Masons in France,
we must also accept the statement, equally authentic or unauthentic, that his
Grand Mastership was a brief one and unattended with any events that it has
been deemed worthy to record.
merely says that the Duke d'Antin succeeded Harnouester in 1738. (2)
indulges in more details, which, however, we must take on his sole authority.
He says that "in 1737 Lord Harnouester, the second Provincial Grand Master of
France, wishing to return to England, requested that his successor should be
"Histoire de la Fondation du Grand Orient," p. 14 (2) Ibid.
expressed the desire that he should be a Frenchman, the Duke d'Antin, a
zealous Mason, was chosen to succeed him in the month of June, 1738." (1)
account given by French writers of the character of the Duke is a very
favorable one. It is said that he was selected by the Freemasons for their
presiding officer from among those of the nobility who had shown the most zeal
for the Order.
own attachment to it, he had shown a striking proof by disobeying the express
command of the King, Louis XV., who had forbidden his courtiers to unite with
the society, and especially in daring to accept the Grand Mastership,
notwithstanding that the monarch had declared, when he was informed that the
Masons were about to elect such an officer, that if the choice fell on a
Frenchman who should consent to serve he would immediately send him, by a
lettre de cachet, to the Bastille. But the threat was not carried into
now about to pass out of the realm of what, borrowing a term of science from
the anthropologists, may be called the pre-historic age of French Freemasonry.
Henceforth we shall have something authentic from contemporary authorities on
which to lean. The myths and mere traditions which mark the story of the
second decade of the 18th century will be succeeded by historical facts,
though we must still be guarded in accepting all the speculations which the
writers of France have been prone to blend with them so as in many instances
to give us a mingled web of romance and history.
continuing the history of the Grand Lodge from the accession of the Duke
d'Antin, it will not be uninteresting nor unprofitable to suspend the
narrative and to take a view of the condition of Freemasonry in France, and
especially in Paris, at the period of time embracing a few years before and a
few years after his accession to the Masonic throne.
early a period as 1737, the institution, though apparently very popular among
the noblesse and the bourgeoisie - the lords and the citizens - had become
distasteful to the King, Louis XV., whom we have already seen threatening to
imprison its Grand Master if he was a Frenchman.
"Histoire des Trois Grandes Loges," p. 45.
Ibid., p. 49, note.
fact is confirmed by a statement made in the Gentleman's Magazine for March,
1737. The statement is in a letter from Paris and is in the following words:
sudden increase of the Society of Free Masons in France had given such offense
that the King forbid their meetings at any of their lodges."
was the cause of an apologetic letter which was published in Paris and a part
of it copied into the Gentleman's Magazine for the following month. (1)
Portions of this letter are worth copying, because of the principles which the
French Masons, at least, professed at the time.
views the Free Masons propose to themselves," says this apology, "are the most
pure and inoffensive and tend to promote such qualities in them as may form
good citizens and zealous subjects; faithful to their prince, to their country
and to their friends.
duty it prescribes to those who bear it is to endeavor to erect temples for
virtue and dungeons for vice. . . . Their principal design is to restore to
the earth the reign of Astrea and to revive the time of Rhea."
Kloss and from all the French writers we have the record of other instances of
the persecution to which the Freemasons in Paris were subjected at this period
by the municipal authorities, whose actions were undoubtedly in accord with
the sentiments of the king.
these is worth a relation.
10th of September, 1787, the police surprised a lodge of Freemasons which was
being held in the house of one Chapelot. He had for safety bricked up the door
of his public and secretly opened another to the room of meeting.
Notwithstanding these precautions, the police obtained an entrance and
dispersed the assembly. Chapelot was condemned to pay a fine of a- thousand
livres and was deprived of his license as a tavern-keeper for six months.
This expression is found in some of the early French rituals as a definition
of the object of Freemasonry. The English Masonic borrowed and made use of it.
In a Pro Vogue spoken at Exeter, in 1771, are the following lines:
Lodge, the social virtues fondly love:
Wisdom's rules we trace and so improve:
we (in moral architecture skill'd)
Dungeons for Vice - for Virtue temples build."
Jones's Masonic Miscellanies, p. 164.
April 27, 1738, Pope Clement XII. fulminated his celebrated bull in eminenti,
in which all the faithful were forbidden to attend the meetings of the Masonic
lodges, or in any way to consort with the Freemasons under the penalty of ipso
facto excommunication, absolution from which, except at the point of death,
was reserved to the Supreme Pontiff.
condemnation by the Church gave an increased vigor and vigilance to the
attacks of the police. On St. John the Evangelist's day, 1738, the Freemasons
having assembled at the room of the lodge in the Rue des Deux-Ecus to
celebrate the feast of the Order, were arrested and several of them
notwithstanding these efforts to suppress the Order in France, it grew apace,
and was not without an acknowledged standing outside of the Order, and of a
recognition of its independence and regularity by the Grand Lodge at London.
we learn from Anderson, who, in his second edition of the Book of
Constitutions, published by authority of the Grand Lodge of England, in 1738,
the old lodge at York City and the lodges of Scotland, Ireland, France, and
Italy, affecting independence, are under their own Grand Masters, though they
have the same Constitutions, Charges, Regulations, etc., in substance, with
their brethren of England and are equally zealous for the Augustan style, and
the secrets of the ancient and honorable fraternity." (1)
Anderson was right in his statement that the usages of the Craft in the two
countries were similar. The ritual of the French Freemasons, at that early
period, has not been altogether lost. An interesting description of it was
published in a contemporary journal of London, and as the volume which
contains it is not generally accessible except in large public libraries, it
is here copied in full. The reader will be pleased to compare the ceremonies
of admission to the Society, as practiced in the year 1737, in Paris, with
those of the London Masons at about the same period, which appear in a
preceding part of this work.
Gentleman's Magazine, published at London, in March, 1737, is the following
letter, which bears the date of "Paris, January 13:"
Anderson's " Constitutions," second edition, 1738, p. 196.
SECRET OF THE ORDER OF FREE MASONS AND THE CEREMONIES OBSERVED AT THE
RECEPTION OF MEMBERS INTO IT.
of all, persons must be proposed in one of the Lodges by a Brother of the
Society as a good Subject; and when the latter obtains his request, the
Recipiendary is conducted by the Proposer, who becomes his Godfather, into one
of the Chambers of the lodge where there is no light, and there they ask him
whether he has a calling to be received: He answers, Yes. After which they ask
him his Name, Sirname, and Quality, take from him all Metals or Jewels which
he may have about him, as Buckles, Buttons, Rings, Boxes, etc., his Right knee
is uncovered, he wears his left shoe as a slipper, then they blindfold him and
keep him in that condition about an hour delivered up to his reflections;
after this the Godfather goes and knocks three times at the Door of the
Reception room, in which the venerable Grand Master of the Lodge (1) is, who
answers by three knocks from within and orders the door to be opened; then the
Godfather says that a Gentleman by name .......
presents himself in order to be received. (Note, That both on the outside and
within this chamber several Brothers stand with their swords drawn in order to
keep off profane people.) The Grand Master who has about his neck a blue
ribband cut in a triangle says, Ask him whether he has the calling ? The
Godfather puts him the question and the Recipiendary, having answered in the
affirmative, the Grand Master orders him to be brought in: Then they introduce
him and make him take three turns in the room round a sort of ring on the
floor in which they draw with a pencil upon two Columns a sort of
representation of the ruins of Solomon's Temple, on each side of that space,
they also make with the pencil a great I and a great B. which they don't
explain till after the Reception. In the middle there are three lighted wax
candles laid in a Triangle upon which they throw gunpowder and rosin at the
Novice's arrival, in order to frighten him by the effect of these matters The
three turns being made, the Recipiendary is brought
Kloss, in his Geschichte, infers from a contemporary document which he quotes
that at this time the title of Grand Master was equivalent in France to that
of Worshipful Master of a lodge. The use of the title in this account of the
ritual leaves no doubt of the truth of that fact. To this undiscriminating use
of the two titles are we to attribute much of the confusion and uncertainty
that exists in reference to the leadership in French Freemasonry, at this
early period of its history.
the middle of the writing above mentioned in three pauses over against the
Grand Master, who is at the upper end behind an armchair on which is the Book
of St. John's Gospel and asks him: Do you feel a Calling? Upon his answering,
Yes, the Grand Master says.
him the Light, he has been long enough deprived of it. In that instant they
take off the cloth from before his eyes and all the Brothers standing in a
circle, draw their swords; they cause the Recipiendary to advance on three
pauses up to a stool which is at the foot of the arm-chair; The Brother Orator
addresses him in these terms: You are going to embrace a respectable Order
which is more serious than you imagine; there is nothing in it against the
Law, against Religion, against the State, against the King, nor against
venerable Grand Master will tell you the rest. At the same time they make him
kneel on the stool with his Right knee which is bare and hold his Left Foot in
the air: Then the Grand Master says to him, 'You promise never to trace,
write, or reveal the secrets of Free Masons or Free Masonry but to a Brother
in the lodge or in the Grand Master's presence.' Then they uncover his Breast
to see if he is not a Woman and put a pair of Compasses on his left pap, which
he holds himself; he puts his Right Hand on the Gospel and pronounces his Oath
in these terms: 'I consent that my Tongue may be pulled out, my heart torn to
pieces, my Body burnt, and my Ashes scattered, that there may be no more
mention made of me amongst mankind if, etc.,' after which he kisses the Book.
Then the Grand Master makes him stand by him; they give the Free Mason's Apron
which is a white skin, a pair of men's gloves for himself and a pair of
women's gloves for the person of that sex, for whom he has the most esteem.
They also explain to him the I and B traced on the floor which are the type of
the Sign by which Brothers know one another. The I signifies Jahkin and the B.
Boiaes. In the Signs which the Free Masons make amongst one another they
represent these two words by putting the Right Hand to the Left side of the
Chin, from whence they draw it back upon the same line to the Right Side; then
they strike the skirt of their coat on the Right Side and also stretch out
their hands to each other, laying the Right Thumb upon the great joint of his
comrade's first finger which is accompanied with the word Jahkin, they strike
their breasts with the Right Hand and take each other by the hand again by
reciprocally touching with the Right Thumb the first and great joint of the
middle finger which is accompanied with the word Boiaes. This ceremony being
performed and explained, the Recipiendary is called Brother, after which they
sit down and, with the Grand Master's leave, drink the new Brother's health.
Every body has his bottle. When they have a mind to drink they say, Give some
powder, viz: Fill your glass. The Grand Master says, Lay your hands to your
firelocks; then they drink the Brother's health and the glass is carried in
three different motions to the mouth; before they set it down on the table
they lay it to their Left pap, then to the Right and then forwards and in
three other pauses they lay the glass perpendicular upon the table, clap their
hands three times and cry three times Vivat. They observe to have three wax
candles disposed in a triangle on the table. If they perceive or suspect that
some suspicious person has introduced himself amongst them, they declare it by
saying it rains, which signifies that they must say nothing.
some people might have discovered the Signs which denote the terms Jahkin and
Boiaes, a Free Mason may be known by taking him by the hand as above mentioned
and pronouncing I, to which the other answers A, the first says K, the second
replies H. the first ends with I, and the other with N. which makes Jahkin: It
is the same in regard to Boiaes."
administration of the Duke d'Antin was not, so far as respects the institution
and the successful carrying out of reforms, a success. The anarchy and
independence of the lodges which had hitherto prevailed did not altogether
cease. The claim of a personal possession and an immovable tenure of office
made by many Masters, especially tavern-keepers, who had organized lodges at
their places of public entertainment, was not altogether abandoned.
Warrants of Constitution were frequently issued by private lodges, which
should have emanated from the Grand Lodge, had there really been such a body
in existence, of which fact there is much doubt.
admits that there was in 1742, the year before d'Antin's death, no Grand Lodge
organized like that of England, and an English writer having stated that in
the year mentioned there were twenty-two lodges in Paris and more than two
hundred in all France, he confesses his inability to verify the statement
because French Freemasonry was at that time in such a disordered condition
that there were no registers or official reports of lodge meetings. (1)
persecutions of the Church, of the Court, and the police were unabated, and if
the Masonic reign of the Duke d'Antin was eventful in nothing else, it
certainly was in the continual contests of the enemies and the friends of
Masonry, the one seeking to crush and the other to sustain it. That the latter
often were placed in danger, and sometimes endured a sort of martyrdom when
their meetings were detected, is well known. And for their zeal and their
perseverance under all these difficulties and dangers in preserving the
existence, however feeble, of the institution and in delivering to their
successors for better growth and greater strength, the Freemasons owe them a
debt of gratitude.
ritual, too, of the order in France was, as we have seen, derived from that of
the English system, though changes and innovations were already beginning to
appear. The extract given above shows that the ceremony of the table lodge and
the peculiar language accompanying it were the pure invention of French
ingenuity, wholly unknown then and since to English-speaking Masons.
1743 the Duke d'Antin died and he was succeeded in the Grand Mastership by the
Count of Clermont. There were other candidates, and the Prince of Conti and
Marshal Saxe received some votes during the election. This shows that French
Masonry, whatever were its faults of irregularity, had not fallen in the
Count of Clermont was higher in rank than the Duke d'Antin. He belonged to the
royal family of Orleans and was the uncle of the infamous Duke of Chartres,
afterward Duke of Orleans (who succeeded him in the Grand Mastership), and was
the father of Louis Philippe, subsequently the popular King of France.
the French Masons were disappointed in the advantageous results which they
anticipated would follow the choice of one so illustrious in rank as their
leader. This will be seen hereafter.
election, if we may believe the French authorities on the subject, was
accomplished by forms that made it regular and legal, the Masters of the
Parisian lodges having for that purpose united in a General Assembly on
December 11, 1743.
du Grand Orient," p. 13.
Thory (1) says that it is from this epoch that we are to regard the existence
of the Grand Lodge of France as legal and authentic, because it was founded at
Paris with the consent of the Masters of the lodges in the Provinces.
says that it assumed the title of the "English Grand Lodge of France." Whether
it did so at the time of its organization or at a subsequent period is
uncertain, but it is proved that it bore that title in 1754, for Thory says
that he had seen a print engraved in that year by Jean de la Cruz on which
were the words - "Grange loge Anglaise de France."
the assertion made by some writers that the use of the title was authorized by
the Grand Lodge at London, with whom the Freemasons of Paris had, about that
time, been in successful negotiation for recognition and patronage, is
undoubtedly a fiction. There is not a particle of evidence in the contemporary
records of the Grand Lodge of England that any such negotiations had taken
place. It has, however, been seen heretofore that Anderson, in 1738,
acknowledged that the independent authority of the Grand Master of the French
Masons was recognized in England, and that the brethren in Scotland, Ireland,
and France were placed upon the same footing of autonomy.
soon after his election as Grand Master the Count of Clermont ceased to pay
much attention to the administration of the affairs of the Fraternity, whose
interests were thus materially affected by his indifference.
the greatest difficulties with which the Grand Lodge had to contend in its
efforts to secure harmony and to preserve discipline arose from the practice
which it pursued of granting Charters to lodges, the Masters of which held
their offices for life. They were called "Maitres inamovibles" - unremovable
or perpetual Masters. A great many of these were already in existence, having
been created under the irregular system of the preceding times, and the new
Grand Lodge unfortunately increased the number.
Masters" organized local administrations under the denomination of "Provincial
Grand Lodges," which were governed by the presiding officers of the lodges
which had created them.
"Histoire de la Fondation du Grand Orient." p. 14.
speaks of these early days of the English Grand Lodge of France as the period
of illegal constitutions, of false titles, of antedated charters delivered by
pretended Masters of lodges or fabricated by the lodges themselves, some of
which claimed a fictitious origin which went back to the year 1500. (1)
Another evil to which French Freemasonry was subjected at the beginning of its
legal and constitutional career was the inundation of high degrees and the
establishment of Chapters and Councils which became the rivals of the Grand
to the Chevalier Ramsay that the Order is indebted for the doubtful gift of
these high degrees which began to overshadow primitive, symbolic Freemasonry,
and for the invention of new theories as to the origin of the Institution,
which wholly rejecting the Operative element, on which the true symbolism of
Freemasonry so much depends, sought to trace its existence as a Speculative
Organization to the era of the Crusades and to the work of the Christian
Grand Lodge of France, like that of England, recognized and practiced only the
three symbolic degrees. Its charters to the lodges which it instituted
authorized them to confer only these three degrees. It claimed that the
complete cycle of Speculative Freemasonry was embraced within these prescribed
limits. They denied that there was or could be any mystical knowledge above
and beyond that which was taught in the Master's initiation. And it
emphatically refused to concede that there existed any higher authority than
itself from which the power to impart this knowledge could be derived.
when Ramsay's Rite of six or seven degrees was rapidly developed into other
Rites professing a still greater number - when both at Paris and in the
Provinces, other bodies began to be established by the illegal acts of some of
the lodges, which, with the lofty titles of Colleges, Chapters, Councils and
Tribunals, assumed an authority equal to that of the Grand Lodge in respect to
the primitive degrees and one superior to it in respect to the new systems -
these self-constituted or illegally constituted bodies, looked with contempt
on the meager initiations and the scanty instructions of the simple system of
the lodges, and claimed a more elevated,
Latomorum," Tome i., p. 56.
philosophic, more splendid system of their own - it is not surprising that
hundreds should have been attracted by their false theories, their
grandiloquent pretensions, and the glamour which they created by their high
titles, their glittering jewels, and their splendid decorations, so that pure
and simple Masonry was beginning to lose its attractions and the Grand Lodge
it less surprising that, as Thory has said, the result of all these disorders
was such a complication, that at that epoch and for a long time afterward a
stranger and even a Frenchman could not positively determine which was the
true constitutional authority of Freemasonry in the kingdom, in what body it
was vested or by what it was justly exercised.
Harassed by these conflicts for authority, these incessant assumptions of
jurisdiction, which were debasing its position, the Grand Lodge resolved to
take a higher stand, which it was supposed, or hoped, would secure for it a
stronger hold upon the obedience of the Fraternity.
1743 it had adopted, as has been shown, the title of "The English Grand Lodge
of France." This title had been assumed, not with the authority of the Grand
Lodge at London, nor because there was any official connection with the two
organizations, for there is not the slightest evidence of any historical value
to that effect, but rather as an indication, as we may suppose, that the
Freemasonry of France had originally come from England.
there must have prevailed an idea that the English Grand Lodge of France was
in some way a dependence on the London body, which would of course impair its
claim to absolute sovereignty.
Accordingly, the French Grand Lodge asserted its thorough independence in the
year 1756 by omitting the word English from its title and assuming the name of
"The National Grand Lodge of France."
and all the other French writers who followed him, has said that "it shook off
the yoke of the Grand Lodge at London," a phrase that is altogether
inaccurate, as no such "yoke" had ever existed.
effect, however, of this apparent declaration of independence was not such as
had been expected. Chapters of High Degrees persisted in their rivalry of
jurisdiction, and irregular and illegal chapters were still issued by the
perpetual or irremovable Masters of many of the lodges. French Freemasonry was
yet in a sort of chaotic condition.
OPERATIVE MASONS OF THE MIDDLE
to these annoyances and to still further embarrass the efforts for the
establishment of a constitutional authority, the Count of Clermont withdrew
from all participation in the administration of affairs as Grand Master, and
confided the discharge of his functions to a substitute or Deputy, in the
selection of whom he was by no means judicious.
first appointment of a Substitute was one Baure, a banker. This selection was
a most unfortunate one for the Craft. Baure, instead of devoting himself to
the affairs of the Order, neglected to assemble the Grand Lodge. This
inactivity was very disastrous, inasmuch as it encouraged the continuance of
old irregularities and the introduction of many new ones.
contemporary writer mentions among these that certain tavern- keepers who had
on former occasions prepared their houses for the meetings of lodges to which
they had been admitted as serving brothers, wishing to revive the banquets
from which they had derived so much profit, now assumed the functions of
Masters and conferred the degrees on candidates regardless of their proper
qualifications. Warrants became, like the initiations, objects of traffic, and
lodges whose constitutions were purchased, opened their doors to the lowest
classes, and celebrated their indecent orgies in disreputable eating houses.
(1) Freemasonry under this Baure was falling into a deplorable condition.
last, but by no means too soon, he was dismissed by the Grand Master, whose
next selection was one Lacorne, a dancing master. His social position was
inferior to that of his predecessor, and his character not as good. In vain
the old and respectable members of the Fraternity protested against the
appointment of Lacorne, who had by some services to the Grand Master secured
his favor, and in reward he received the title of Particular Substitute, with
a power to execute all the functions of his superior.
fault of Baure had been a supine inactivity, that of Lacorne was too much
activity employed in a wrong direction. The
Chaussie, in a Memoire Justicatif, quoted by Thory, "Fondation du Grand
Orient," p. 20.
had exchanged King Log for King Stork. The history of the Grand Lodge for many
succeeding years is a history of agitations, dissensions, and schisms fomented
by Lacorne to suit his own private ends.
Lacorne hastened to hold a meeting of the Grand Lodge, which was followed by
several others, in the course of which he succeeded in effecting a
reorganization of the body, which had almost ceased to exist under the
indifference of his predecessor. He admitted a great many Masons of all
conditions and professions, and consulted his own caprice in the selection of
first signs of a coming schism began now to make their appearance. The old
members of the Fraternity, who had refused to recognize the new Substitute,
refrained from any participation in these acts, more especially as, in the
appointment of his officers, he had selected illiterate men.
Grand Lodge was soon divided into two factions, the one the adherents, the
other the opponents, of Lacorne. Both claimed to represent the constitutional
authority, and each arrogated the titles and the functions of a Grand Lodge,
so that two pretended Grand Lodges were in active existence at the same time.
dissensions lasted for several years. Finally some zealous brethren, who
foresaw the threatened destruction of the Order, or at least its reduction to
a state of anarchy, offered their services to effect a reconciliation. The
offer was accepted.
Representations were made to the Count of Clermont, who was prevailed upon to
divest Lacorne of the powers which he had so much abused, and to appoint as
his successor M. Chaillon de Joinville.
and harmony seemed to be about to be restored. The two contending parties came
together. All the Masters in Paris hastened to assist in the reconciliation.
The Grand Lodge was reestablished and a circular was issued on June 24, 1762,
which announced the auspicious event to the Freemasons of France. (2)
the promise of peace proved too soon to be fallacious. The two rival Grand
Lodges, which had existed under the administration of Lacorne, were apparently
dissolved and a United Grand Lodge was organized; but the elements which
composed it were so different in character that it is not surprising that new
and still more
Thory, "Fondation de la Grand Orient," p. 21.
factions arose in a short time to disturb its harmony and to seriously affect
cause which led to the birth of these new factions was a very natural one, and
is to be found in the uncongeniality of the two parties who had united in the
reestablishment of the Grand Lodge, arising from the great difference in the
character, habits of life, and social condition of the individuals.
old Masters and Past Masters who had contributed to the support of the
institution in the earlier years of the Grand Mastership of the Count de
Clermont, were members of the nobility, the bar, and the better class of
citizens. They mingled with reluctance with the new-comers and the partisans
of Lacorne, who for the most part were workmen without education or men of bad
reputations, wholly incapable, from their want of culture and refinements to
conduct the labors of the Grand Lodge. (1)
old Masters would willingly have expelled them, and in so doing they would
undoubtedly have improved the moral and intellectual tone of the Grand Lodge;
but the objectionable members had legal and Masonic rights, which made them in
one sense the equals of their adversaries, and it was well considered by the
latter that any violent coercive measures would expose the Order to the danger
of new and perhaps fatal convulsions.
Accordingly, the old brethren resolved to temporize. The regulations of the
Grand Lodge prescribed a triennial election of officers. The time having
arrived, very few of the new members and the partisans of Lacorne were elected
to any of the offices. These, feeling assured that this act had been
preconcerted, declared the election to be illegal and protested against it.
caused defamatory libels to be printed, and scattered them with profusion
among the Fraternity. In these the Grand Lodge and its officers were bitterly
these circumstances, the older brethren who formed the most numerous as well
as the most respectable part of the Grand Lodge, could do no less than
vindicate its authority by expelling the malcontents from it and from all
their Masonic rights and privileges.
expelled members encountered the decree of expulsion with
Thory, " Fondation de la Grand Orient," p. 22.
renewed libels, insults, and personalities, to which the other side responded
by publications of a similar character. The war of words became so vigorous
and offensive even to public decency that the government thought it necessary
to interfere and to issue, in 1767, an order prohibiting any further
assemblies of the Grand Lodge.
must have been previous to this suspension of its meetings by the government
and when the Grand Lodge had hoped that its union of the discordant elements
would effect a permanent and a happy reconciliation, that it announced its
existence to the Grand Lodge of England and sought to establish a fraternal
interchange of courtesies between the two bodies.
Northouck tells us that on January 27, 1768, the Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge of England informed the brethren that he had received from the Grand
Lodge of France letters expressing a desire of opening a regular
correspondence with the Grand Lodge of England. These letters having been
read, it was resolved "that a mutual correspondence be kept up, and that a
Book of Constitutions, a list of lodges, and a form of a deputation, bound in
an elegant manner, be presented to the Grand Lodge of France." (1)
it must be remarked, is the first official recognition, by the Grand Lodge of
England, of the existence and legality of such a body in France. But the ready
willingness of the English Masons to cement a union with their brethren of the
neighboring Grand Lodge appears to have led to no active results.
very time that this friendly act of the English Grand Lodge was recorded the
Grand Lodge of France had suspended its labors.
body was temporarily dissolved and its members dispersed.
expelled members availed themselves of this favorable opportunity to renew
their efforts to obtain a supremacy of the Order. They held clandestine
meetings in the faubourg St. Antoine, and notwithstanding the vigilance of the
magistrates, they resumed the ordinary labors of Freemasonry, and even went so
far as to grant several charters to new lodges. They sent to the lodges in the
country circulars in which they stated that the Grand Lodge having, in
obedience to superior authority, ceased its labors, had delegated to
Northouck, " Book of Constitutions," p. 291.
Brethren, Peny, Duret, and L'Eveille, the exercise, during the continuance of
the persecution, of all its rights and powers.
they did not succeed in this bold effort at deception. The provincial lodges
on examining the lists of expelled Masons which had long before been sent to
them by the Grand Lodge, saw that among them were the names of those persons
who had signed the circular as well as of those who were said to have been
appointed as commissioners to exercise the functions of the Grand Lodge during
its enforced abeyance. They therefore wrote to the Substitute of the Grand
Master, M. Chaillon de Joinville, for an explanation, which was readily given
He denounced the encyclical letter as a false document and declared its
signers to be rebels.
consequence the provincial lodges declined the correspondence which had been
offered to them and refused to take a part in the conspiracy against the Grand
illegal faction was led by Lacorne, who had been deposed from his office as
Substitute of the Grand Master. The legal faction, for the Grand Lodge was
thus divided, was headed by Chaillon de Joinville, the successor of Lacorne in
the office of Substitute General.
body also held its secret meetings and also issued Charters, which, however,
to avoid the appearance of violating the suspensory decree of the Magistrates,
were all dated anterior to the issuing of that decree.
object of the Lacorne faction was to abolish the Grand Lodge and to replace it
by a new power from which all the respectable members should be removed and
all authority be vested in the hands of the conspirators. As a preliminary
step, they sought, but without success, to obtain from the lieutenant of
police a revocation of the edict of suspension.
length the death of the Grand Master, the Count of Clermont, which event
occurred in 1771, gave a renewal of their hopes of seizing the supreme power.
France presented, at this time, the spectacle of two Grand Lodges, or rather
of two discordant and rival factions, each pretending to represent a Grand
Lodge and each exercising the functions of a Supreme authority.
these was the National Grand Lodge, which had existed under the Count of
Clermont and which, though interdicted by the government in 1767, still
continued, though it held no meetings openly to exercise its prerogatives
through its acknowledged officers.
other body was a fragment, consisting of the adherents of Lacorne, all of whom
had been expelled by the legal Grand Lodge, but who in violation both of the
law of Masonry and the Municipal decree of interdiction, persisted in holding
clandestine meetings, granting constitutions to new lodges, and in short
exercising, without the least semblance of legal authority, all the functions
of a Grand Lodge.
very clear that on the death of the Count of Clermont the National Grand
Lodge, the only body in which the supreme authority of Freemasonry was at the
time vested, had but one course to adopt.
should have assembled in open session, and duly elected a successor.
Unfortunately for its own interests and for those of the institution over
which it held so loose a control, it did no such thing.
Discouraged by the useless efforts it had made to obtain, from the government,
a revocation of the decree of suspension, it supposed that the time was not
propitious for an attempt to revive its dormant existence. Its hesitancy and
its timidity were eventually the causes of its destruction.
contrary, the Lacorne faction, consisting, as has been said, wholly of
expelled Masons, who had previously formed the disreputable part of the Grand
Lodge, were more politic and more bold.
Proclaiming themselves as the nucleus of the old Grand Lodge, the labors of
which had been suspended in 1767, they approached the Duke of Luxembourg, with
the design of securing his influence in getting the Duke of Chartres to accept
the Grand Mastership as the successor of the Count of Clermont.
application was successful. The Duke of Chartres consented to accept the
expelled faction, elated with the success of their plan, convoked a general
assembly of all the Masters in Paris, including even the members of the Grand
Lodge which had formerly expelled them.
acceptance of the Grand Mastership by one who was closely related to the
sovereign, but whose infamous character had not yet been developed, had
produced much enthusiasm among the Craft. The Grand Lodge was willing to be
indulgent. The expelled members were restored to all their Masonic rights. On
June 24, 1771, the nomination of the Duke of Chartres as Grand Master was
confirmed and announced to all the lodges of Paris and the provinces The
submission of the Grand Lodge to what it supposed to be the inevitable force
of events, did not have the effect it had hoped of securing harmony in the
Craft. The expelled members, though now restored, do not appear to have
forgotten or forgiven the wrongs which they thought had been inflicted on
them. The old members were still in their view their enemies. They resolved to
maintain a factious rivalry, with the ulterior purpose of abolishing the old
Grand Lodge and establishing a new body on its ruin" Carthage must be
element of discord was now introduced, the tendency of which was favorable to
the execution of these views - an element not new in French Masonry, but which
had not before been introduced into the internal government of the Order. This
element was found in the cultivation of the Hautes grades, or High Degrees.
well known that we are to attribute this innovation, wholly unknown to the
ancient Operative or to the modern Speculative system, to the inventive genius
of the Chevalier Ramsay. He was the first to devise these supplements to Craft
Masonry and to endeavor to develop the instructions of the Third degree by the
establishment of higher initiations, to which the initiation of the Master
Mason was to be deemed subordinate. Ramsay's system of seven degrees was,
however, simple in comparison with those subsequently introduced into France
by his followers and disciples.
was soon inundated by these "high degrees," combined in various series forming
what were called "Rites," and thrusting themselves into rivalry and
competition with the legal authorities which professed to know nothing about
Grand Lodge of France, like its sister of England, had always remained true to
the simplicity of the Speculative system, founded as it was on the traditions
of the old Operative Craft, who had recognized only three classes of workmen.
It had more than once authoritatively declared that Ancient Craft or
Speculative Freemasonry consisted only of three degrees. This was a
fundamental point in its organic law, and it had never as a body violated it.
so, however, was it with its leaders, many of whom had been attracted by the
glimmer of imposing titles and brilliant decorations. Chaillon de Joinville,
who was then the Substitute Grand Master under the Count of Clermont, had, as
far back as 1761, proclaimed himself the "chief of the high degrees and a
Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret." As such he had issued a commission
authorizing Stephen Morin to disseminate these high degrees in America.
fact is, itself, enough to show how far the influence of this advanced Masonry
had already extended when it had been enabled to secure as its chief the
actual head of the legitimate Grand Lodge.
also find that, from an early date, there existed at Paris and in other places
in France, Colleges, Councils, and Chapters which were engaged in the
cultivation and in the conferring of these high degrees, but which were always
without the official recognition of the Grand Lodge.
this recognition they greatly desired, and when the dissidents began to
conspire for the abolition of the Grand Lodge and the establishment of a new
body, they readily lent their assistance, because they anticipated, as was
really the case, that these high degrees would receive some sort of
recognition from it.
this hope they were encouraged by the fact that on June 24, 1771, when the
Duke of Chartres was elected and proclaimed as "Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge," he was also proclaimed by the additional title of " Sovereign Grand
Master of all Scottish Councils, Chapters, and Lodges of France."
for the first time the symbolic Freemasonry of the primitive Speculative
lodges and the Scottish Masonry of the High Degrees were reunited under one
Grand Master by those who had formerly opposed the fusion of the two systems,
and now accepted it without opposition but not without regret. The presence of
the Duke of Luxembourg, who presided over the meeting in which the Grand
Master was proclaimed, was an influence which closed the mouths of the
discontented, who might under more auspicious circumstances have been less
reticent, and less complaisant.
not doubt that the object of the dissidents or schismatics (which are the
titles bestowed by Thory on the Lacorne or less reputable faction of the Grand
Lodge) was to entirely change the
See Thory, " Histoire de la Fondation du Grand Orient," p. 27.
features of the system of Freemasonry which had existed in France since the
establishment of the first lodge and to substitute for it another less
primitive and more complicated one. This they could only expect to do by the
total dissolution of the old Grand Lodge and the organization of some other
Masonic authority on its ruins.
Thory is led to say that at this meeting when the Duke of Chartres was
elected, there was the first appearance of the symptoms which threatened the
destruction of the Grand Lodge. The assembly was entirely influenced by the
dissident brethren. The old controversy as to amendments of the statutes was
revived, the necessity of correcting existing abuses was vehemently insisted
on and the old members saw too late to successfully oppose them the aims of
their rivals. Eight commissioners were appointed to report to the Grand Master
some method for effecting the proposed reforms.
history of the proceedings of these eight commissioners, in carrying out the
reforms contemplated by the dissidents, has been given by a contemporary
writer, (1) and it proves that they arrogated powers which the Grand Lodge had
never intended to entrust to them, and exercised them with an energy that
crushed by its own force all opposition.
Encouraged by the protection of the Duke of Luxembourg, who had been appointed
by the Duke of Chartres as his Substitute, they held meetings at the Hotel de
Chaulnes, where they exercised the functions of a General Assembly or Grand
Lodge. They were joined by several Masters of the Parisian lodges and deputies
from some of the lodges in the Provinces, their professed design being to
abolish the old Grand Lodge. Some of the changes which were calculated to
produce that effect were opposed by a few of the Masters and delegates. But
their opposition was overruled and they were compelled to withdraw from the
future meetings of the commissioners.
much noisy discussion a plan was at length presented of a new constitution.
This was adopted by the eight commissioners,
Frere de la Chaussee, a man of letters, who took an active part in the Masonic
discussions of the day, was a member of the old Grand Lodge and wrote a "Memoire
justificatif," whence Thory has derived many of the facts on which he has
based his "History of the Grand Orient."
without having submitted it to the Grand Lodge for its approval or even for
December 24, 1772, the old Grand Lodge of France was declared to have ceased
to exist, and for it was substituted a National Grand Lodge, which was to
constitute an integral part of a new power which should administer the affairs
of the Order under the title of the GRAND ORIENT OF FRANCE.
progress of this body, its controversies with the old Grand Lodge, whose
members would not consent that it should be thus summarily abolished, and its
final triumph and recognition as the head of Freemasonry in France, a position
which it holds at the present day, must be the subject of another chapter.
ORIGIN OF THE GRAND ORIENT OF
truth of history compels us to acknowledge the fact that the Grand Orient, now
and for a century past the supreme Masonic authority in France, was, in its
inception, a schismatic body.
principles of law, then recognized, as they still are, as directing the
organization of Grand Lodges, appear to have been violated in almost every
point by the dissidents who broke off from the old Grand Lodge and conspired
to establish its rival.
Grand Lodge was still in existence; it is true it was not energetic in action,
but it was not asleep; its consent had neither been asked nor obtained for
this radical change in its constitution; the lodges had not been invited to
meet in general assembly nor to give their sanction to the dissolution of the
old body and to the creation of the new one; everything had been done by the
irresponsible authority of the eight commissioners, who were merely a
committee appointed to make a report on the condition of the Order and to
suggest reforms to the Grand Lodge. But they exceeded their powers; made no
report, and proceeded in secret sessions, to which none but their friends and
co-conspirators were admitted, to the inauguration of a new system, the
adoption of which was to result in the abolition of the body which had
appointed them and the creation of a new one, of which not the remotest idea
was entertained by the authority from which they derived their powers.
ever a violation of law could be defended by the necessity of a reform of
abuses, which could not be effected in a more legal manner, such defense might
surely be found in the corrupt condition to which Freemasonry had been reduced
by the mal-administration of affairs through the neglect of the Grand Lodge,
the indifference of the Grand Masters, and the usurpations of their
the constitution of the old Grand Lodge it will be shown that there were many
abuses and corruptions of the pure and primitive principles on which
Speculative Freemasonry had been founded at the beginning of the century. A
reformation of these abuses was undoubtedly necessary, if the existence of the
Order was to be preserved. There ought not to have been any objection to the
reform, it is only the method in which it was effected that is to be
comparison of the old constitution of the Grand Lodge with that of the Grand
Orient presents us with the abuses of the one and the reforms proposed by the
Grand Lodge of France was composed only of the Masters of the lodges of Paris.
Hence the Masons and the lodges of the Provinces had no voice in the
government of the Order, though they were required to contribute to the
revenues of the Grand Lodge and pay implicit obedience to its decree. It was
simply the old tyrannic principle of taxation without representation, and was
in direct violation of the organic law on which the Mother Grand Lodge at
London had been instituted.
Quarterly Communications, on which the supreme authority rested, was composed
of thirty officers who were elected triennially.
was also a Council consisting of nine officers and nine Masters of Paris
lodges, whose decisions were, however, only provisionary and required to be
confirmed by the Quarterly Communication to which they were reported.
power of punishing offending members was vested in the Masters of lodges, but
there lay an appeal to the Grand Lodge.
Masters of lodges were in general chosen for life, and were not removable by
the lodges over which they presided, and which in fact were merely, in many
instances, instruments provided for the pecuniary interests of their Masters.
very strangely, calls the constitution of which these are the principal points
"simple, uncomplicated, and conformable to the regulations of foreign Grand
Lodges." The reader will be able to give to these two favorable views their
admits that there were abuses, but he attributes them to the factions which
agitated the Grand Lodge after the death of the Duke d'Antin, and to the state
of anarchy which supervened on the suspension of the labors of the Grand Lodge
by the order of government.
Doubtless, these circumstances exerted an unfavorable influence on the purity
of the administration of the law, but whatever were the causes, the abuses
existed, and, of course, their reformation was urgently demanded.
these points the new constitution of the Grand Orient provided a remedy and
presented the desired reform, as may be seen from the following brief view of
its principal features.
Statutes of the Royal Order of Freemasonry in France," for such was the
imposing title of the new constitution, provided in the initial article that
the "Masonic Body of France," that is, the Grand Orient, should be composed,
as its only members, of regular Masons, meaning thereby the members of lodges
which had received Warrants from or had them renewed by the Grand Orient.
this way, while all regular Masons were recognized as constituting a part of
the great Masonic family of France, those who still retained their allegiance
to the old and rival Grand Lodge were excluded from recognition.
was a defensive act, the necessity of which excused its severity.
It was declared that the Grand Orient should be composed of all the actual
Masters or the deputies of lodges not only of Paris but also of the Provinces.
Grand Lodge had never recognized the Provincial lodges as forming any part of
its constituency. Their recognition by the Grand Orient as entitled to
participate in its labors was the removal of a very flagrant abuse of the
Masonic law of equality.
All the Warrants of constitution which had been granted by the old Grand Lodge
to irremovable Masters, that is, to Masters elected for life, were suppressed
by the Grand Orient, which recognized as Masters only those who were elected
from time to time by the lodges.
were the most important points of difference between the Grand Lodge and the
Grand Orient; but they were so important as to make the old Masonic form of
government, as Thory expresses it, an oligarchical government by an
irresponsible few, while that of the new one was representative, the only form
that was recognized by the founders of the Speculative system of Freemasonry.
Society based on the principle of equality it is very endent that the
administration of affairs should not be confided to a privileged class, to the
exclusion of many of its members.
though the Grand Orient of France originated in a schismatic usurpation of
power, and was therefore irregular and illegal in its methods of organization,
the end would seem to have justified the means. It can not be doubted that at
that important epoch, the Masonic Order in France was indebted for its
salvation from impending dissolution to the establishment of the Grand Orient.
"Grand Orient" was, as it were, the generic title assumed for the whole
Masonic Order; within its bosom was the body called "The National Grand
Lodge." The distinctive titles were, how ever, more shadowy than real. The
"Grand Orient" is the name by which the Supreme authority of Freemasonry is
always described by French as well as other writers.
title was a novel one, first invented in France at that time.
never before been heard of in Masonic language, though it has long since
become quite common on the Continent of Europe and in South America. It has,
however, never been adopted by the Freemasons of any of the English-speaking
nations, who adhere to the primitive and better phrase, " Grand Lodge," as the
title of the Supreme Masonic authority.
first meeting of the Grand Orient as a National Grand Lodge was held on March
5, 1773. Other meetings succeeded, until June 24th, when the new Constitution
was adopted, and the nomination of the Duke of Chartres as Grand Master, which
had been made by the old Grand Lodge, was confirmed. The amovability of the
Masters of lodges, and the right of the Provincial lodges to base represented
in the Grand Orient were again proclaimed, and the choice of fifteen officers
of honor as well as the nomination of the ordinary officers was referred to
the Duke of Luxembourg.
though the Duke of Chartres had been nominated as Grand Master, he had not yet
formally accepted the nomination, an act which the members of the new Grand
Orient felt to be imperatively necessary to the success of their designs.
Having been previously elected to the same office by the old Grand Lodge, the
founders of the Grand Orient recognized the policy of withdrawing him from all
connection with the rival organization and of securing the adhesion to their
cause of a prince of the royal blood.
Morally considered, no man in France was more unfit to be called to the head
of the Masonic institution than the Duke of Chartres. From his early youth he
had exhibited a depraved disposition, and passed amid companions, almost as
wicked as himself, a life of vice and in the indulgence of the most licentious
practices. When on the death of his father he became the Duke of Orleans, he
developed a hatred for the king, who had refused to elevate him to posts to
which his high birth entitled him to aspire, but from which he was excluded by
his blackened reputation. Inspired with his hatred for the king, and the
court, and moved by his personal ambition, he fomented the discontents which
were already springing up among the people. On the breaking out of the
revolution he became a seeker for popular favor; rivalled the bitterness of
the most fanatical Jacobins, renounced his rank and title and assumed as a
French citizen the name of Philip Egalite, repudiated Freemasonry as opposed
to republican ideas, such as were then the fashion, threw up his office as
Grand Master, was elected to the National Assembly, voted for the death of his
cousin Louis the Sixteenth, and finally, as a fitting close to his life of
infamy, expired on the guillotine, one of the many victims of the reign of
period of his election as Grand Master, the Duke of Chartres had, though very
young, (1) already exhibited a foreshadowing of his future career of infamy.
Enough certainly was known of his vicious character to have made him an unfit
leader of a virtuous society. But motives of policy overcame all other
Duke himself was reluctant to accept the position which was tendered to him.
Some jests made by the wits of the court, who perhaps saw the unfitness of the
appointment, are said to have been the cause of the coldness with which he
viewed the dignity tendered to him. (2)
deputation consisting of four members of the Grand Orient, all men of rank,
waited on the Duke to obtain his consent to the adoption of the new
constitution, which would of course have been the recognition of the new body
which had enacted it. But he refused to see the deputation.
was born in 1747, and was therefore only twenty-six when elected Grand Master.
This was the cause assigned by contemporary writers for the reluctance with
which he gave his consent. See Thory, "Fondation de la Grand Orient," p. 39.
joyful event of the birth of a son (1) and heir presented it was supposed a
more favorable opportunity for obtaining his consent to their proceedings. The
expectation was gratified. The Duke of Luxembourg, who took an earnest
interest in the success of the Grand Orient and who exercised much influence
over the mind of the prince, repaired to his residence long before the
appearance of the deputation and succeeded in obtaining his consent to grant
been admitted to his presence, his approval of the proceedings by which the
Grand Orient was organized was obtained, and he consented that his
installation as Grand Master should take place soon after his return from a
visit to Fontainebleau which he was obliged to make.
Accordingly, he was installed in his own house, called la Folie Titon, in the
Rue de Montreuil, on October 28, 1773. The Grand Orient was thus legalized, so
far as his patronage could make it so, as the supreme legislative authority of
the Masonic Order in France. Hence, this installation by its rival of the same
Grand Master whom it had itself elected in 1771, and who still retained that
position, was a cause of great annoyance to the old Grand Lodge. The old Grand
Lodge did not, however, cease at once to exist, but continued its labors,
exercising a warfare with the Grand Orient for several years.
held a session on June 17, 1773, at which were present those Masters of the
Paris lodges who were still faithful to it and some deserters from the Grand
Orient, who had abandoned that body when it suppressed the law of
this session the Grand Lodge fulminated its decrees against the Grand Orient,
which it declared to be a schismatic body, surreptitiously formed - a mere
September 10th it declared the eight commissioners deprived of all Masonic
rights, and forbade their admission to any of the lodges.
fully recognizing the embarrassment which resulted from the installation of
the Duke of Chartres, it determined to maintain its independence and to
continue its labors with the assistance of the few lodges which still adhered
to it. For this purpose it continued
This was the Duke of Valois, afterward Duke of Chartres, then Duke of Orleans,
and finally King Louis Philippe of France.
denunciations of the Grand Orient and revoked all its decrees as fast as they
were passed. It had among its adherents some able men, who employed their
talents in the composition and publication of circulars and even books in
which the Grand Orient and all its proceedings were denounced.
Responses were not wanting on the part of the Grand Orient, among whose most
able and energetic defenders was the Duke of Luxembourg, while M. Gouilliard,
a Doctor of Laws and the Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge, was the most
conspicuous writer on behalf of that body.
would be tedious to follow in all its details this internecine war of "paper
pellets," which lasted with equal acrimony on either side for many years. It
will be sufficient to pursue, with rapid sketch, the progress of each of the
rival bodies until the close of the century, when a union was finally
1774 the Grand Lodge assumed the title of the "Sole and only Grand Orient of
France,'' (1) and proceeded to the election of its Grand Officers under the
auspices of the Duke of Chartres, whom it recognized as "Grand Master of all
the lodges of France." It again decreed that the so-called Grand Orient of
France was irregular, and its members and partisans were clandestine Masons;
it forbade its lodges to admit them as visitors unless they abjured their
errors and promised submission to the Grand Lodge; it also interdicted the
members of its own lodges from visiting the Grand Orient.
1775 the Grand Lodge granted Warrants to eight lodges in Paris and to still
more in the Provinces, and continued to increase the number of lodges under
its obedience for many successive years, so that its existence was not merely
a formal one. On the contrary, it appears to have been a troublesome though
not eventually a successful rival of the Grand Orient.
1780 it must at last have felt the inconvenience of having a Grand Master only
in name, for there is no record that the Duke of Chartres, or his Substitute,
the Duke of Luxembourg, ever attended its communications. To remedy this evil,
the Grand Lodge in 1780 appointed three honorary Presidents, who were to
supply the place of the Grand Master in his absence from the meetings.
Seul et Unique Grand Orient de France.
the old Grand Lodge was not yet moribund notwithstanding the greater activity
of its rival, the Grand Orient, is evident from the fact that in its Tableau
issued in 1783, it reports the number of lodges under its jurisdiction in
Paris as well as the Provinces as amounting to the respectable number of 352.
In the same yeas the English printed lists enumerate 453 lodges, but many of
these were extinct and 123 were situated in foreign countries, so that there
were actually at that time more lodges in France under obedience to the old
Grand Lodge than there were in England under the jurisdiction of the
constitutional Grand Lodge. (1)
1789 the political troubles which then began to agitate the kingdom, and which
soon after resulted in the French Revolution, had a very serious effect on the
condition of Freemasonry. The attendance on the lodges was very infrequent,
and finally, in 1792, the Grand Lodge suspended its labors and the members
the time of its organization in 1773, the Grand Orient had maintained a
successful existence; it was patronized by a better class of Masons than that
of which the Grand Lodge was composed, and had the support of the Grand Master
of both bodies, his substitute, the Duke of Luxembourg, showing a very evident
partiality for the Grand Orient, and not only never attending the meetings but
actually denouncing the authority of the Grand Lodge.
record of its transactions for these sixteen years supply us with more
interesting incidents than those which marked the quiet progress of the Grand
Lodge during the same period.
contests with the Grand Lodge for supremacy were unremittingly maintained. The
mutual recriminations of both bodies did not tend to cultivate a spirit of
fraternity. Finding itself embarrassed for the want of the registers and other
archives which were retained by the Grand Lodge, the Grand Orient went so far
as to apply to the Lieutenant of Police and cause the arrest and imprisonment
of the keeper of the Seals and some other members of the Grand Lodge. But the
effort to obtain possession of the documents, even by this harsh means was
found impossible for want of the registers to discover the number and names of
the country lodges, most of which, having
See List No. 16 in Gould's " Four Old Lodges," p. 68
established under the old, corrupt system of immovable Masters or Masters for
life, retained their allegiance to the Grand Lodge, which still preserved the
Grand Orient, therefore, that the knowledge of its existence and its authority
might be brought nearer these country lodges, established Provincial Grand
Lodges, as another of the important changes which it was making in the usages
of French Freemasonry.
Provincial Grand Lodges were not, however, established on the same plan as
those of England. Their design was, as has been said, to relieve the Grand
Orient of the embarrassment of governing lodges at a distance. A provincial
Grand Lodge was to be established not in a Province only, but in any town or
place where there were not less than three lodges; it was to have a
superintendence over them; its decrees were to be subject only to appeal to
the Grand Orient, it was to collect and transmit all dues; and was to be the
medium of all correspondence between the lodges and the Grand Orient.
Grand Orient became rather aristocratic in its ideas and refused to recognize
as members of the Order persons who were attached to the public theatres and
to all artisans who were not Master workmen in their trades. Subsequently it
forbade the lodges to meet in public taverns, a reformation which their
English brethren had not yet reached.
1774 the title of "Royal Order," by which Freemasonry had hitherto been
designated in France, was exchanged for that of the "Masonic Order," certainly
a more appropriate name.
1775 the Grand Orient was occupied in determining the form of the Masonic
government in the kingdom, and several decrees were made for the regulation of
the deputies and representatives of lodges. It expressed its intention to
purify the Order and the lodges which were profaned by the presence of corrupt
men, and a commission was appointed to carry these views into effect.
Duke of Chartres presided at a meeting of the Grand Orient in July, 1776,
being the first time that he had been present since his installation in 1773.
prevalence of "high degrees" and of Councils and Chapters which conferred them
independently of the Grand Orient, had led the members of that body to take
into consideration the expediency of following what had now become the fashion
on the Continent and more especially in France, and of developing within its
own bosom a rite which should be founded on the three symbolic degrees which
had hitherto been practiced by it and by the Grand Lodge. A chamber of degrees
or committee to regulate this matter was accordingly appointed in 1782. Two
years after this chamber reported four degrees, which, with the three symbolic
as a foundation, were to constitute the " Rise Francaise."
degrees were entitled Elu, Ecossais, Chevalier d'Orient, and Chevalier Rose
Croix, or, as they may be translated, Elect Mason, Scottish Mason, Knight of
the East and Knight Rose Croix. Though there were some modifications of the
rituals, the degrees were not an original conception of the Committee, but
were borrowed substantially from those systems which had been practiced in
France since the time of the Chevalier Ramsay.
degrees having been adopted by the Grand Orient, it decreed that they should
henceforth be the only ones recognized and practiced in the several chapters
which were attached to the lodges under its jurisdiction.
Undoubtedly the adoption of these new degrees was a manifest innovation on the
pure system of primitive Speculative Freemasonry, an innovation which the more
conservative spirits of the English- speaking Grand Lodges had always
under the peculiar character which Continental Masonry had long assumed, it
was far better that the Grand Orient should adopt a system of development
comparatively simple and consisting of only four additional degrees, and
confine its lodges within those limits, than to permit them to become the
victims of the numerous and extravagant systems by which they were surrounded
and which were practiced by irresponsible Chapters and Councils.
French lodges of the Grand Orient were thus provided with a uniform system of
their own, far better than the many diverse ones, which bid defiance to all
homogeneity of Speculative Freemasonry.
1791 the lodges under the Grand Orient, like those under the Grand Lodge,
suspended their labors and closed their doors in consequence of the existing
political agitations. Still the Grand Orient, even in that year, constituted
two or three lodges, but Freemasonry had really assumed a dormant condition
throughout the kingdom.
notwithstanding the dissolution of the lodges, several of the officers of the
Grand Orient boldly sustained its activity so far as circumstances would
permit. In France, in this day of trial, there were, as there were in America
in a long subsequent period of persecution, some Masons who were willing to
become Martyrs to their convictions of the purity of the Institution, and to
the love which they bore for it.
such sentiments animated the bosom of the recreant Grand Master, the Duke of
Chartres, who by the death of his father had become Duke of Orleans, and who,
having abandoned his family and his class, had repudiated his hereditary title
and assumed, according to the fashion of the sans culottes, the name of
Citizen Equality - le citoyen Egalite.
Secretary of the Grand Orient having in December, 1792, addressed him an
official note relative to the labors of the Grand Orient, the Duke made a
reply in the following words, on May 15, 1793:
do not know how the Grand Orient is constituted, and as I moreover, do not
think that there should be any mystery or secret society in a republic,
especially at the beginning of its establishment, I no longer wish to have
anything to do with the Grand Orient or with the meetings of Masons."
peremptory, and in its terms insulting, withdrawal was received, as it may be
supposed, by the members of the Grand Orient with expressions of the utmost
indignation. It is said that the sword of the Order, one of the insignia of
the Grand Master, was broken by the presiding officer and cast into the midst
of the Assembly, and the Grand Mastership was declared vacant.
1795 a few of the lodges resumed their labors, and M. Rotiers de Montaleau was
elected Grand Master. He, however, refused to take the title, and assumed that
of "Grand Venerable," with, however, all the prerogatives and functions of a
progress of Masonic restoration to activity was, however, very slow. In 1796
there were but eighteen lodges in active operation in the whole of France,
namely, three at Paris, and the remaining fifteen in the Provinces.
May, 1799, commissioners who had been appointed by the Grand Lodge and the
Grand Orient concluded a treaty of union between the two rival bodies. The
Grand Lodge in this treaty agreed to the abolition of the usage it had always
hitherto maintained of the irremovability of Masters, and accepted the
doctrine of the Grand Orient, that they should hereafter be elected by the
members of the lodges.
June 22, 1799, the two hitherto rivals met in a United Assembly, and the union
of all the Freemasons of France was consummated, the title of Grand Orient
being continued, to designate the supreme Masonic authority, and the Grand
Lodge ceased to exist
the rivalry which had existed in France for twenty-six years between two
bodies, each claiming to be the head of the Order, was terminated by an
England the same sort of rivalry had existed between the Grand Lodge of the
"Moderns " and that of the "Ancients" for a much longer time, and was
terminated at a later period by a similar union.
the circumstances connected with this internecine war there were some singular
coincidences which are worthy of remark.
first place, the original disruption was based in each kingdom on a single
fundamental point of difference.
England it was on the recognition of a Fourth degree in the ritual. The
"Moderns" contended that there were in Speculative Freemasonry no more than
the three primitive degrees of Apprentice, Fellow-Craft, and Master. The
"Ancients" affirmed that for the completion of the ritual a Fourth degree,
which they called the "Royal Arch," was essentially necessary, and that
without it as a development of the Third degree, the system of Speculative
Masonry was imperfect and worthless.
France the single point of difference between the two bodies was that of the
irremovability of the Masters, of lodges. The Grand Lodge had from the very
beginning of its authentic history granted constitutions to certain Masters
for the establishment of lodges over which they were to preside by a perpetual
tenure of office, that is, they were Masters for life. Now as these
"irremovable Masters" were often, nay almost always, appointed through corrupt
motives, and as the lodges thus became, in a way, their personal property, the
attempt was made to abolish them and to make the presidency of the lodges
reform, for it was evidently a reform, was opposed by the Grand Lodge, and
hence those who were in favor of it established the Grand Orient, for the
purpose of carrying out their views, and hence one of its first acts was to
pass a decree abolishing the usage and suppressing the irremovable Masters.
were, of course, supplementary motives for the schism, but this was
undoubtedly the leading one.
England and in France there was a schism founded on a single difference of
opinion, but this difference as it existed in each country never extended into
the other. The English lodges never entertained the question of Masters for
life, because from the organization of the Grand Lodge at London, those
officers had always been annually elected, and this doctrine was held by both
French lodges were never embarrassed by the question of a Fourth degree, which
was the bone of contention in England. Though there were Chapters and Councils
in which a Royal Arch degree under various modifications had existed from the
time of the Chevalier Ramsay, these bodies had no legal connection with or
recognition by either the Grand Lodge or the Grand Orient, both of which
maintained the doctrine that pure Freemasonry consisted of only three degrees.
Another point of very interesting coincidence in the contention in the two
countries was the following.
both in England and France there were, during the contest, two bodies, each
claiming Masonic sovereignty, it is evident that in each, one of the bodies
must have been irregular, illegal, and schismatic, for it is the law of
Freemasonry that the sovereignty can not be divided.
England the schismatic and illegal body was the Grand Lodge of the "Ancients,"
the legal and constitutional one was the Grand Lodge of the "Moderns."
France the schismatic and illegal body was the Grand Orient, which had been
surreptitiously and irregularly formed; the legal and constitutional body was
the Grand Lodge. Now it is very remarkable that when in each country the
dissensions which had so long existed were brought to an amicable end and a
union effected in the settlement of the principal question upon which the
schism had been founded, the irregular and schismatic gained the victory, and
the regular body was compelled to accept the doctrine which it had so long and
so pertinaciously resisted.
in England the Grand Lodge of "Moderns" recognized the Royal Arch, which it
had always repudiated as an innovation, as one of the regular degrees of
ancient Craft Masonry.
France the Grand Lodge abandoned the doctrine of the irremovability of
Masters, for which it had always strenuously contended, and accepted the
theory and usage of the Grand Orient that the office of Master should be
though the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient had been merged into one governing
body of the French Masons, there were still difficulties presenting themselves
in the effort to establish a unification of the Masonic system in the kingdom.
abundance of high degrees, which from a very early period had been introduced
into France, had been conferred in Councils and Chapters, which had never been
recognized by either the Grand Lodge or the Grand Orient, but which had always
acted independently of either authority.
were the Council of Emperors of the East and West, the General Grand Chapter,
and finally the Supreme Council which had been organized by Count de Grasse
Tily in 1804, under the authority of the Supreme Council at Charleston in the
State of South Carolina.
1802 the Grand Orient had forbidden its lodges to confer any degrees which
were not recognized by it. This caused the Scottish lodges, or those
conferring these degrees, to establish a separate locality in the boulevard
Poissonniere. Here they continued in defiance of the decree of the Grand
Orient to practice the Scottish Rite. Finally, they established the "General
Scottish Grand Lodge of France." The existence of this body was but an
ephemeral one, for in two years it united with the Grand Orient.
the infatuation of the French Masons for the decorations and the mysteries of
these high degrees, the Grand Orient, through the prudent counsels of Rotiers
de Montaleau, the Grand Master, that it might put an end to all divisions in
reference to Masonic Rites, declared that it would unite in its own bosom and
recognize all Rites and Degrees whose dogmas and principles were in harmony
with the general system of the Order.
at the present day the Grand Orient assumes jurisdiction over all the degrees
of Freemasonry from the First to the Thirty third.
an abortive attempt to effect a union between the Grand Orient and the Supreme
Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, the latter body assumed and still
maintains jurisdiction over the Rite on which it is founded, and grants
constitutions to lodges of the Symbolic degrees.
at the present day there are in France two independent authorities in
Freemasonry - the Grand Orient, which claims jurisdiction over all Rites, and
the Supreme Council, which confines its jurisdiction to the Ancient and
recently out of this body has sprung an independent Scottish Grand Lodge,
whose existence as permanent or ephemeral is yet to be determined.
these matters belong to the contemporary history of the present day, and as
our investigations are properly restricted to the Origin of the Grand Orient,
which subject has been fully discussed, an end may now properly be given to
the present chapter.
INTRODUCTION OF FREEMASONRY
INTO THE NORTH AMERICAN COLONIES
intercourse of the English colonies with the mother country was continuous,
and, considering the condition of navigation, conducted entirely by
sailing-vessels, was frequent. The colonists brought with them, in their
immigration to the new country, the language, the laws, and the customs of
their ancestors. The personal and political relations existing between the
people on either side of the Atlantic were very intimate, and the wide ocean
formed no sufficient barrier to the introduction among the Americans of new
discoveries and inventions, of new styles of living or of new trains of
thought which, springing up in England, were in a brief course of time brought
over by visitors or by new settlers to the growing colonies.
not, therefore, to be doubted that very soon after the establishment of
Speculative Freemasonry in London, by the organization of a Grand Lodge, in
1717, persons who had been initiated in the London lodges came over to America
and brought with them the principles of the new system as it was just
beginning to be taught at home.
whatever precise date we may place the legal establishment of the first lodge
in America, it is very certain, from the testimony of authentic public
documents, that there was no lack of Freemasons in America not very long after
the establishment of the system in England and anterior to the known legal
organization of any lodge in the country.
course, it is understood that many of these Freemasons had been initiated in
England, either while on a temporary visit to that country, if they were
residents of the colonies, or, if they were recent immigrants, then before
they left their old home for their new one.
is very plain; nothing could be more natural than that a colonist going
"home," as England was affectionately styled, should have availed himself of
the opportunity afforded by his visit, to unite with a society enticing by its
mystic character and its great popularity, and that among the emigrants who
were daily crossing the ocean, to make their homes in the new country, there
should have been many who were members of that society.
the question has never yet been mooted whether some per sons had not been
initiated in America before any deputation had been insured by a Grand Master
of England for the organization of a regular lodge, under the constitutions
adopted at London in 1723.
this is a very interesting question, and the fact that it is a novel one never
having before been entertained, makes it still more interesting.
premise the investigation into which I am about to enter, by saying that
whether the fact be proved or not, its occurrence is by no means impossible.
have seen that lodges were established in France as early as 1721, eleven
years before the constitution of a regular lodge by the Grand Lodge at London.
I have already said that these lodges were organized without a Warrant, by
certain Freemasons from England, who had exercised the ancient privilege of
the Operatives to open lodges and make Masons without a Warrant, whenever a
competent number were present. This privilege had been surrendered its 1717 by
the four London Lodges to the newly erected Grand Lodge, but it was for some
time after asserted occasionally It was in France, may it not also have been
in America ?
first Deputation granted from England for the colonies was granted by the Duke
of Norfolk to Daniel Coxe, Esq., of New Jersey.
date of this Deputation is June 5, 1730. It appoints him Provincial Grand
Master of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and it empowers him to
there is the indisputable evidence of the original Deputation still preserved
in the Archives of the Grand Lodge of England, as well as the printed List of
Deputations published by Anderson in the Second edition of the Book of
Constitutions, and many other irrefragable proofs that the Deputation was
granted to Coxe in June, 1730, there is not the slightest testimony of any
kind, even traditional, that any similar Deputation can have been previously
granted to any person residing in the American Colonies.
other words, the proof is very satisfactory that previous to the latter half
of the year 1730 (1) there was no legal authority in the colonies to
constitute lodges according to the English regulation adopted in 1717.
then, there were any lodges which met in the colonies previous to that date,
they must have been lodges which derived their authority for meeting from the
old Operative usage, which was that a sufficient number of Masons met together
were empowered to make Masons and to practice the rites of Masonry without a
Warrant of Constitution.
now been conceded that the first constitutional lodge of Freemasons acting
under the authority of a Warrant was established in Philadelphia in the latter
part of the year 1730. The evidence of this will be hereafter given in its
there are also proofs that one or more lodges were in existence in
Philadelphia before the time of the reception by Coxe of the Deputation which
had been granted to him by the Duke of Norfolk.
first of these proofs is furnished by the celebrated Dr.
Benjamin Franklin, who was in 1730 the Printer and also the Editor of a paper
published in Philadelphia with the title of the Pennsylvania Gazette.
108 of that paper, published on December 8, 1730, is the following article:
"As there are several lodges of FREE MASONS erected in this Province, and
people have lately been much amused with conjectures concerning them, we think
the following account of Free Masonry, from London, will not be unacceptable
to our readers."
Coxe's Deputation was only issued in June of that year, It could hardly have
taken less than two or three months for it to pass from the Grand Secretary's
office in London into the hands of Bro. Coxe in New Jersey. Between the time
of his receiving it and the publication of the article just cited from
Franklin's Gazette, the interval would be hardly long enough to enable Coxe to
organize and constitute several lodges.
The Deputation having been issued at London, June 5, 1730, allowing for
necessary delays and the length of the passage across the ocean at that time,
it could hardly have reached Philadelphia before the end of August or more
probably September in the same year.
know from the records that there was one lodge constituted in 1730, but we
have no evidence of the constitution in that year of any others, either by
Coxe as Provincial Grand Master or by any brother appointed by him as his
yet Franklin says (and he was neither a truthless nor a careless writer) that
there were several lodges at that time in the Province of Pennsylvania.
several includes more than one, where did the additional lodges come from?
They were not constituted by Coxe nor by his authority, at least we have no
knowledge of any such constitution.
therefore not unlikely that these lodges were like the first lodges in France,
formed by what the Freemasons had been taught was their prescriptive right,
and who, without a Warrant, had before the coming of the Deputation assembled
together in competent number and practiced the rites of Masonry.
there is something more than probable conjecture to support this theory. A
letter was written in 1754 by Henry Bell, at that time residing in the town of
Lancaster (Pennsylvania), to Dr.
Cadwallader of Philadelphia, in which he makes the positive statement from his
own knowledge and participation in the circumstance that there actually was in
1730, perhaps before, at least one lodge formed by prescriptive right without
Bell's letter, containing this important historical statement, was exhibited
in the office of the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in the
year I172. A copy of it made at that time was published in the Early History
and Constitutions of the Grand Lodge and is as follows:
you well know, I was one of the originators of the first Masonic lodge in
Philadelphia. A party of us used to meet at the Tun Tavern, in Water street,
and sometimes opened a lodge there.
in the fall of 1730 we formed a design of obtaining a charter for a regular
lodge, and made application to the Grand Lodge of England for one, but before
receiving it, we heard that Daniel Coxe of New Jersey had been appointed by
that Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey, and
Pennsylvania. We therefore made application to him, and our request was
thus appears from the testimony of one engaged in the transit action that for
some time previous to any authority existing in America for granting Warrants,
a lodge had been opened in Philadelphia, without the sanction of such Warrant
and of course by the old prescriptive right, which had always prevailed as the
law of Freemasonry, until the right was surrendered in 1717 by the four Lodges
which united in forming the Grand Lodge at London.
Clifford P. MacCalla, who has been a most indefatigable and successful
explorer of old documents connected with the early history of Freemasonry in
Pennsylvania, published in his valuable paper, the Key Stone (December 22,
1877), an important and interesting letter which furnishes the evidence that
there were Freemasons in Philadelphia one year at least before the severance
of the Speculative from the Operative element, and the organization of the
Grand Lodge at London.
letter is dated "March 10, 1715," (1) and was written by John Moore, the
King's collector at the port of Philadelphia, and addressed to James
Sandilands, Esq., of Chester, Penn.
letter is an official one, communicating the fact that he had received from
England a bell and some altar furniture, intended for a church at Chester, and
requesting to know how they were to be delivered. But this business matter
having been dismissed, the letter concludes with the following remarkable
winter has been very long and dull, and we have had no mirth or pleasure
except a few evenings spent in festivity with my Masonic Brethren."
the authenticity of this letter is indisputable, (2) it is of great historical
importance. It shows without a doubt that in America, as in England and in
Scotland, there were Freemasons, who lived under the old partly Operative and
partly Speculative regime anterior to what has been called the " Revival."
which took place in
Although the double reference, as 1715-16, was generally affixed to dates in
the first three months of the year, to indicate the old and the new styles, it
is very probable that by "March 10, 1715," the writer meant what we should now
write as "March 10, 1716." (2) Bro. MacCalla states that at the time of
publication the letter was in the possession of Bro. Horace W. Smith, the
great-grandson of the Rev. Dr. William Smith, the Secretary of the Grand Lodge
of Pennsylvania; the grandson of Bro. William Moore Smith, Grand Master of
Pennsylvania, and the son of Richard Penn Smith of Lodge No. 72 in
Philadelphia, and that the granddaughter of John Moore, the writer of the
latter, intermarried with the Rev. Dr. Smith, the great-grandfather of its
present custodian. The letter is thus traced through a reputable descent,
which gives it all needful color of authenticity.
in 1717, when the Speculative began to be wholly dissevered from the Operative
England and Scotland we know that these Freemasons were united in lodges,
which worked without the sanction of a Warrant of Constitution, which was a
new regulation adopted for the first time at the time of the so-called
Revival. They were organized, as has been already said, by a prescriptive
right by which a competent number of Freemasons were always authorized to
assemble and perform the rites of Masonry.
is, it is true, no direct evidence that the Freemasons referred to in the
letter of Bro. Moore pursued the same plan in 1715, and "spent their evenings
in festivity" in an organized lodge. But it is very probable that such was the
fact. There is no reason why, if there were a sufficient number of Freemasons
then living in Philadelphia, and who were in the habit, as the letter
indicates, of meeting for festive purposes, they should not have followed the
custom which prevailed "at home," and for better regularity and discipline in
their meetings have formed themselves into a lodge.
events, we have the positive proof that fifteen years later there was a lodge
which met in Philadelphia in 1730 and for some time before, which acted
without a Warrant, until the latter part of that year, when it asked for and
received one from Coxe, the Provincial Grand Master.
have no such direct proof of the existence in other parts of the continent of
lodges held by "prescriptive right," but there are some circumstances that
lead us to believe that such was sometimes the case.
1736 the brethren of Portsmouth in New Hampshire applied to Henry Price for a
charter. The petition is at least singular in its phraseology. It is
subscribed by "persons of the holy and exquisite Lodge of St. John," as if
there were already a lodge existing under that title, and in asking for a
"Deputation and power to hold a lodge according to order as is and has been
granted to faithful Brothers in all parts of the World;" and in asking for the
Deputation, they say, "we have our constitutions, both in print and manu
script, as good and as ancient as any that England can afford."
See the petition in Bro. Gardiner's able report in the "Transactions of the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts," anno 1871, D.
this may mean either that the Portsmouth brethren were in possession of
rituals and other necessary books to use in forming a lodge; or it may mean
that they were already working and had been working as a lodge by prescriptive
right and now wanted to be duly regularized under the new system which Price
had just received from England. It is an open question.
colonies into which Freemasonry under the new system of the Revival was first
introduced were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Georgia.
is no positive evidence that any lodges existed under the old Operative
System, in either Massachusetts or South Carolina In the former Price opened
his Provincial Grand Lodge in 1733, and in such of the records as have come to
light there is no reference to any previous meeting of the Masons.
South Carolina Hammerton opened a lodge at Charleston in October, 1736, under
a Warrant granted by the Grand Master, Lord Weymouth. There is no traditional
or other evidence that any lodge of Masons had ever met in the Province before
Georgia regular Freemasonry under the Grand Lodge of 1717 was introduced in
1736 when Solomon's Lodge at Savannah was opened under sanction of a Warrant
from Lord Weymouth. But the late Bro.
Rockwell, in his Ahiman Rezon of Georgia, published in 1859, says that "many
still living in Savannah have heard from older Brethren who have passed to
that Undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns,' that a
Lodge was at work in that city before Solomon's Lodge No. I had an existence."
there were any such lodge, it must have been one which worked under the
"prescriptive right" or "immemorial usage" of the olden time.
Pennsylvania we have already seen that at least one such lodge was in
existence in 1730 before Coxe had received his authority as Provincial Grand
Master. And there is also evidence that Freemasons were in the habit of
meeting in Philadelphia for convivial purposes at least two years before the
organization of the Grand Lodge at London.
is true that we have no evidence of the existence of these
Rockwells "Ahiman Rezon of Georgia," 1859, 4th edition, p. 323.
THE MOTHER LODGE OF KILWINNING
independent lodges anywhere in the colonies outside of Pennsylvania, nor any
intimation of their existence, except the traditional report, mentioned by
Rockwell, that a lodge had been in operation in Savannah before the
Constitution of Solomon's Lodge and the suspicious phraseology of the petition
for a lodge at Portsmouth, N. H., which might have emanated from a number of
Masons who either were desirous of forming a new lodge, or who already working
as a lodge by the old prescriptive right, wished to be regularized under the
notwithstanding this deficiency of positive evidence, does not all this show
that there were lodges of this character in various parts of the colonies long
before the issuing of Warrants by the London Grand Lodge ? That is to say, we
have a right to suppose that Freemasonry was first established in this country
by the voluntary association of a certain number of Masons together without
the sanction of a Warrant. This was the rule in England previous to the year
1717, when this right of meeting by what was termed " immemorial usage" was
surrendered to the Grand Lodge by the four Lodges in London.
the right and the practice was not at once abandoned everywhere. Some lodges
in the rural districts of England continued to act without Warrants for a few
years, and lodges under the old privileges were established in France,
apparently by the Jacobites or adherents of the House of Stuart.
is no reason therefore to doubt that the same custom prevailed to some extent
in the American Colonies. During the constant intercourse which was maintained
between the Mother- country and its colonies, many Freemasons would be
constantly repairing to them, either as visitors, as emigrants, or as officers
of the parent government.
Freemasonry that they brought with them they would naturally desire to
practice in the new country into which they had come.
it is probable that they voluntarily associated in lodges and practiced the
rites of the Institution in other parts of the colonies, as we now know that
they did in Philadelphia in 1715.
negative evidence that there are no minutes or records extant of the meetings
of such lodges is not of the least value. It is not certain that they kept any
records, or if they did, it is natural that in the lapse of time and with the
intervention of so many stirring events, these records may have been lost.
There are very few lodges of any antiquity, now existing in this country,
whose earliest records have been preserved.
absence of records is no proof that such unwarranted lodges did not exist at
an early period in this country, and the indisputable fact attested by
documentary proof that one or more did exist at that early period in
Pennsylvania, gives strong presumption to the hypothesis that similar lodges
existed in some of the other colonies.
advance therefore the following theory in reference to the introduction of
Freemasonry into the American Colonies. I do not deny that it is, with the
exception of the colony of Pennsylvania, a mere hypothesis, but an hypothesis
is not necessarily false nor untenable because the proofs of it are not as
strong as the enquirer might desire.
not be doubted or denied that the Masonic spirit which was prevailing in
England in the early part of the 18th century, and which led in 1717 to the
establishment of a Speculative Grand Lodge in London was carried into the
remotest part of the British empire by emigrants and settlers in the colonies
who preserved in their new home the manners and customs, the habits and
associations, which had distinguished them in their old one.
lodges existed in London and other parts of England and had long existed,
organized under the old law of the Craft which authorized the congregation of
Masons for Masonic purposes, without the sanction of a Warrant, we may
reasonably suppose that Freemasons coming from England into the colonies, some
of whom had probably been members of such lodges at home, would continue the
custom in the new country into which they had come and there institute similar
first the brethren may have met together for the purpose of preserving their
Masonic recollections and of renewing the pleasures of their Masonic re-unions
at home. Such appears to have been the case with the brethren referred to by
Bro. Moore, who met in Philadelphia in 1715. As the Speculative Grand Lodge
was not organized in London until two years afterward, these Masons must have
come out of the old Operative lodges.
first, these Masons may have been content to meet together without proceeding
to make initiations. But there was no law to prevent their doing so, and I see
no reason why they should not have proceeded to secure the prosperity of the
Institution by an increase of its numbers.
I think that lodges must have been in existence in the colonies long before
the granting of a Deputation to Coxe. There are no records now extant of the
meetings of any such lodges, but as I have already said, this was not to be
expected, and the fact that no such records can now be found, is not the
slightest evidence that they never existed.
Certainly we know from authentic testimony, which has already been cited, that
such a lodge was in existence and in operation in Philadelphia in 1730, and we
know not how many years before, which applied to Daniel Coxe, when his
Deputation as Provincial Grand Master arrived, and received from him authority
to continue their labors as a regular lodge.
this occurred in Pennsylvania, why should not the like have occurred in other
colonies ? Why should not there have been lodges thus voluntarily formed, in
Massachusetts before the Deputation of Price, in South Carolina before that of
Hammerton, or in Georgia before that of Lacy ?
that there are no records of any such lodges is no answer to the question. The
early records of Freemasonry, everywhere, have been too poorly kept and too
illy preserved to authorize us to found any argument on their absence. Horace
wisely tells us that many heroes perished before Agamemnon, unwept and unsung,
because there was no poet to record their deeds.
conclusion to which I arrive by this course of reasoning is, then, that
Freemasonry was introduced into the colonies of North America at a very early
period in the 18th century, by means of officers of the parent government, or
emigrants intending to be future permanent residents.
Freemasons soon established lodges in various places, which they worked
without the sanction of Warrants, and under the regulation which existed in
England at the time when they left it.
this period Warrants were unknown and lodges met whenever and wherever a
competent number of brethren thought proper to establish one.
in this way that the love of Freemasonrywas preserved in these distant
regions, and when at length the new system of warranting lodges which had been
inaugurated in 1717 by the foul old Lodges in London began to be understood
and Deputations for Provincial Grand Lodges and Provincial Grand Masterships
began to be sent over from the parent country, these primitive, unwarranted
lodges ceased to exist and their members took out Warrants which regularized
had performed their mission. They had introduced Freemasonry into America.
They had fostered it, with the best of their feeble rneans. They had planted
the seed, and the nursing of the plant and the gathering of the crop they were
willing should be left to those who came after them.
new system brought by the various Deputations from England resulted in the
introduction of the regulations which had been adopted by the English Grand
Lodge. Provincial Grand Lodges were organized and no lodge was instituted
except under the sanction of a Warrant.
this time Freemasonry in the colonies begins to be purely historical, and in
that light its early history is now to be considered.
THE EARLY GRAND LODGE WARRANTS
what has been said in the immediately preceding chapter it appears that we may
divide the narrative of the introduction of Freemasonry into the Colonies of
North America into two distinct eras, which, in imitation of the
archaeologists, we might almost call the pre-historic and the post-historic
eras of American Speculative Freemasonry. The pre-historic era embraces that
period of time which is included between the first immigration of settlers
from Britain into the colonies and the granting of the first Deputation for a
Provincial Grand Lodge. More strictly, it would be confined to the first
thirty years of the 18th century.
Freemasonry was not, I think, in a condition, before the opening of the 18th
century, to inspire its disciples with an enthusiasm which would lead to the
propagation of the Order and the establishment of lodges in a new country.
the slow but persevering efforts of Speculative members of the Operative
lodges, Freemasonry was gradually assuming a new character. The old Operative
element was beginning to die off. It finally "gave up the ghost" about the
year 1723, when the purely Speculative became not only the predominating but
actually the sole element of the Institution.
while this transition was going on that many Freemasons, who were initiated
under the old system before 1717, and under the new one after that date,
emigrated into the American Colonies and carried with them their attachment
for the Institution which they had acquired at home.
lodges were established before 1717, the act must have been a spontaneous one
under the usage, which is described by Preston, by which a competent number of
Masons were permitted to assemble for Masonic work without the sanction of a
Constitution, a thing which was unknown to the Craft until after the adoption
of a special regulation in 1717.
that year it is true that every regular lodge was required to be sanctioned
and authorized by a Warrant from the Grand Lodge, and this regulation, which
ought rather to be called a compromise between the four old Lodges, and the
new Grand Lodge was generally obeyed in London, where we have no evidence that
any lodges were formed after 1717 without the sanction of a Warrant of
such was not the case at that early period in other countries where the
principles of English Speculative Freemasonry were carried by immigrants. We
know that English lodges were formed in France before 1712 in the old, which
had now become an irregular, manner.
same thing occurred in the American Colonies before 1730.
Mention has been already made, in the preceding chapter, of an assembly of
Masons in Philadelphia in 1716, and it has also been stated in that chapter,
that a lodge without a Warrant was held in the same city in 1730 and probably
for some years previously.
is an excuse for this, if an excuse be needed, in the difficulty there was of
obtaining a Warrant from England. Again the old regulation or custom was
abrogated, only for those lodges within the "bills of mortality," that is to
says in the city of London and its purlieus.
admits of little doubt," says Bro. Gould, "that in its inception the Grand
Lodge of England was intended merely as a governing body for the Masons of the
we find in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge under the date of November 25, 1723,
the declaration or agreement, "That no new lodge its or near London, without
it be regularly constituted be countenanced by the Grand Lodge, or the Master
or Wardens admitted to the Grand Lodge."
earlier records of the Grand Lodge, contained in Anderson's second edition,
show in other places very plain indications that the regulation which required
a Warrant of Constitution was not intended to apply to lodges outside of
the fact is, that even in England, the regulations were not
"Four Old Lodges," p. 19.
that period strictly enforced. "The general laws of Masonry, however," says
Dr. Oliver, " were but loosely administered." lt is not to be supposed that a
more implicit obedience to them was paid in distant parts of the empire.
Grand Lodge was too young and too weak to extend the influence of its newly
created authority beyond the narrow limits of its domestic territory.
ORIGIN OF THE ROYAL ARCH
event in the history of Speculative Freemasonly has had so important an
influence upon its development, as a system of symbolism, as the invention of
the Royal Arch degree and its introduction into the Masonic ritual.
evident that the limitation of the system to three degrees, terminating in the
"Master's part," left the cycle of symbolism in as incomplete a condition as
would be a novel with the last chapter unwritten.
ritual, as it was devised and presented to the Craft in the beginning of the
18th century, when the Speculative element was wholly dissevered from the
Operative, was an immature conception of its inventors, and was marked by the
imperfections and deficiencies which are always attendant on immaturity.
Accepting the meagre ritual, principally intended to embody merely methods of
recognition, Desaguliers and his collaborators had gradually extended it,
first by the development of the one simple degree, which had been common to
the whole body of the Craft, into two and finally into three degrees.
unfortunately, they desisted from further labors in the construction of a
ritual. The experiment had so far been successful. It had given renewed
vitality to an institution which had long languished; it had excited the
curiosity and gained the support of many who had hitherto felt no interest in
the ruder system of the Operative lodges; and it had placed the society upon a
much higher plane than that which it formerly occupied before the absolute
disseverance of the two elements of which it was composed.
much to be regretted that the experiment of fabricating a ritual so prudently
begun, and which was so successful in its results, had not been continued, and
the Third degree been supplemented by a Fourth that should have given
perfection to the symbolic scheme.
was precisely the ritual of the Master's degree as fabricated by Desaguliers,
Payne, Anderson, and their contemporaries, it is impossible for us to know.
The knowledge of facts which has been only orally transmitted are often lost
in the lapse of time; tradition is scarcely ever unchanged; and when there is
no written record to guide our inquiries, we necessarily grope in the dark.
Masonic system of symbolism as now constituted presents us with a triple
series of antagonisms - that of ignorance and knowledge; that of darkness and
light; and that of loss and recovery.
the first and second of these antagonisms we have nothing here to do. It is
the last only that interests us in the present connection.
antagonism of loss and recovery, when it is symbolized by death and
resurrection - by the ending of the present and the beginning of the future
life, is perfectly represented in the Master's degree. But when it refers to
the doctrine of Divine Truth symbolized by the Word, which being lost for a
time is ultimately recovered, the Third degree, as now constructed, and as it
probably always was, fails completely to carry out the symbolism.
Everyone who has devoted full attention to the study of the ritual of
Speculative Freemasonry must admit that the Word constitutes the central point
around which the whole system of Masonic symbolism revolves. Its possession is
the consummation of all Masonic knowledge when lost, its recovery is the sole
object of all symbolic, Masonic labor.
are not mere truisms, having only a general bearing upon the subject of
symbolism; they are important axioms, indispensably connected with the history
of the origin of the Royal Arch degree, and with the primary cause of its
in the time of pure, unadulterated Operative Freemasonry, the Word was an
important secret of the institution. The German Stonemasons had, at a very
early period, a word, sign, and grip, and in the 17th century, if not before,
the Operative Masons of Scotland attached much importance to the secrets of
the Mason Word.
Analogically we may infer that the English Operative Masons were also in
possession of it, though no reference is made to it in the Old Constitutions
or in the Legend of the Craft.
Whether this was or was not the same Word as that which afterward became the
nucleus of the Royal Arch degree, it is impossible to determine. Most probably
it was not. The Word given in the Catechism of the German Steinmetzen, which
is to be found in Findel and that contained in the catechism of the Sloane
MS., are different from each other and neither of them is the Word now used.
may, however, have been another Word, communicated only to a select few, which
for obvious reasons has not been referred to, in either of these records. But
this is merely conjectural, and I confess is hardly probable.
Word as we now have it is indicative of a more elevated character of religious
symbolism, to which the purely Operative Freemasons never apparently attained.
other hand, it can not be denied that the Freemasons of the Middle Ages
indulged to a great extent in a species of religious symbolism. Christian
iconography abounds in their architectural decorations, among which we find
the triangle in its various modifications.
question is therefore by no means settled by the reticence of the old
catechisms on the subject. Happily, its settlement is not a matter of vital
importance in the discussion of the Origin of the Royal Arch degree. Its
decision would only determine whether the fabricators of the high degrees of
which the Royal Arch was the earliest were original inventors of the Word, or
only the followers of the older Freemasons and the resuscitators of their
Leaving the settlement of this question in abeyance, let us pursue our
historical investigations of the origin and growth of the Royal Arch degree.
the opinion of many eminent Masonic scholars that the original Third or
Master's degree of Desagulier's, which, with some modifications made from time
to time by successive ritualists, continued to be recognized by the
Constitutional Grand Lodge of England until the Union in 1813, contained the
true Master's or Royal Arch Word.
Oliver has furnished, I think, a very convincing proof that the True Word was
communicated in the original ritual of the Third degree, as practiced from
1723 onward. In his Origin of the English Royal Arch, he makes the following
have now before me an old Master Mason's tracing-board or floor- cloth, which
was published on the continent almost immediately after symbolical Masonry had
been received in France as a branch from the Grand Lodge of England in 1725,
which furnished the French Masons with a written copy of the lectures then in
use: and it contains the true Master's Word in a very prominent situation."
not be denied that his deductions from this circumstance are very legitimate.
He goes on to say:
forms an important link in the chain of presumptive evidence, that the Word,
at that time. had not been dissevered from the Third degree and transferred to
another. If this be true, as there is every reason to believe, the alteration
must have been effected by some extraordinary innovation and change of
landmarks. And I am persuaded, for reasons, which will be speedily givenw that
the ancients are chargeable with originating these innovations for the
division of the Third degree and the fabrication of the English Royal Arch
appear, on their own showing to have been their work."
future proof of the fact that the true Word was contained in the original
Third degree may be found in Wilkenson's edition of the Book of Constitutions.
That work was published at Dublin in 1769 and in front of the first page is a
tracing-board, purporting to be the delineation of "A lodge fitted up for the
reception of the most respectable Master." Among the emblems depicted are the
hillock, the sprig of Acacia and the coffin surrounded by the heraldic guttes
de larmes, or drops of tears, symbolic of grief, all of which refer to the
Hlramic Legend of the Master's degree while, in a prominent place and in
conspicuous letters, is the true Master's Word.
another work Dr. Oliver says that the "Royal Arch Word was anciently the true
Wordf of the Third degrees" (2) and he refers to a French writer of 1745 as
stating that "the Master's Word was originally . . . but that it was changed
after the death of Adoniram."
writer here referred to is, I think, Guillemain de St. Victor, who, however,
published the first edition of his Recueil Previezex de Ma Maconnerie
Adonhiramite, not in 1745, but in 1781. Guillemain
"Origin of the Royal Arch," p. 20.
"Discrepancies of Freemasonry," p. 75. In this posthumous work Dr. Oliver has
evidently made the personages of his interesting dialogues merely the media
for communicating his own opinions.
the Word in full, which is precisely the Royal Arch Word of the present day.
It was engraved on the tomb of Hiram upon a triangular plate of gold, and it
was, he says, l' ancien mot de maztre."
what Guillemain knew of the Third degree had for its basis the primitive
ritual of the Constitutional Grand Lodge of England, for this had passed over
into France and been adopted on the Continent long before that Grand Lodge
made the changes so much objected to by the seceding Masons of 1740, His
authority may therefore be accepted as confirmatory of Oliver's statement that
the Third degree originally contained the True Word.
though it should be admitted that the Master's degree was known to the framers
of the ritual of that degree, as it was fabricated soon after the organization
of 1717, and was communicated in the last part of the degree, it will not
follow that there was anything more than a mere communication of it, without
comment or explanation.
Something in the teachings of the ritual must have been wanting; else why
should there have been a secession of a part of the Craft, who sought
professedly to supply a defect which they felt by supplementing a Fourth
loss and the recovery of the Word constitute the foundation on which the
entire system of Masonic symbolism is built. Without these important points,
Speculative Freemasonry as "a science of morality, veiled in allegory and
illustrated by symbols" would be a total failure. As a moral and social
institution inculcating the practice of virtue and cultivating the principle
of brotherhood, it might remain. But it would in no respect differ from
hundreds of other societies professing the same objects, which have sprung
into existence, and recanting the vitality which a deep, religious symbolism
has given to Freemasonry have all passed through only an ephemeral existence.
the invention about the middle of the 18th century of a Fourth degree which
should supply the deficiency of the original "Master's part," gave an impetus
to the institution, which history records in the successful progress of the
seceders who had adopted the invention
Preceiux de la Magonnerie Adonhiramite," p. 105, edition of 1787.
interpretation of the loss and the recovery of the Word, lie, as has already
been said, at the very foundation of all Masonic symbolism.
it is more than probable that the fabricators of the original Third degree
were acquainted with and communicated to their initiates the history of the
loss. We know that the Hiramic legend constituted an important part of the
ritual, and the loss of the Word must have been included in the allegory which
forms the substance of that legend.
the history of the recovery of the Word is not included in the legend, it is
evident that the original Third degree could have made no reference to it, and
the dual symbolism of a loss and a recovery could not have been perfect.
degree, as originally intended, being founded on the Hiramic legend, gave, of
course, a history of the way in which the Word was lost. But though afterward
it was communicated, as it is said, to a select few, we do not learn from its
ritual in what way it was restored to the graft. There was, therefore, an
important defect in the symbolism of the system.
this defect must have at length attracted the attention of some of the
students of the ritual who were looking at Speculative Freemasonry as
something more than a mere social organization, and who were desirous to lift
it to a more elevated plane of intellectuality.
on the continent that the disposition to expand the ritual first displayed
itself. It was this disposition which, in time, passed out of the limits of
propriety and gave rise to the almost innumerable hauts grades, which have
rather overclouded than purified the atmosphere of Masonic symbolism.
first, however, the attempt at expansion was conducted with moderation, and
was confined to only two points - to supplying the deficiency in the history
and symbolism of the Word, and to inventing a new account of the origin of the
the latter of these expansions, the present subject has no connection. It is
only to the former that we must direct our attention.
first innovator on the original ritual of Desaguliers and his collaborators
was the noted Chevalier Ramsay, and it is to him that we have to trace the
first addition to that ritual which was to supplement the Third degree with
another, which has since under great modifications been known to
English-speaking Freemasons as the Royal Arch.
Masonic labors of Ramsay entitle him to, at least, a brief sketch of his life
and character. (1)
Michael Ramsay, commonly known as the Chevalier Ramsay, was born at Ayr, in
Scotland, on June 9, 1668. Having completed his education at the University of
Edinburgh, where he was distinguished for ability and diligence, he became, in
1709, the tutor of the two sons of the Earl of Wemyss.
Subsequently, he left his native country and retired to Holland.
he became acquainted with Peter Poiret, a learned and philosophical disciple
of the celebrated Quietist Antoinette Bourignon. Poiret was a prominent
teacher of the mystic theology which then prevailed on the continent.
intimacy with this pious mystic, Ramsay was very probably indebted for that
love of mystical speculation which he subsequently developed as the inventor
of high degrees in Freemasonry, and as the author of a Masonic rite.
1710 Ramsay visited Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray, became his guest and
pupil, and six months afterward a proselyte to Romanism.
Through the influence of the Archbishop he received the appointment of
preceptor to the young Duke de Chateau-Thierry and the Prince de Turenne.
reward for his services in that capacity he was created a Knight of the Order
of St. Lazarus, whence he derived the title of
"Chevalier," by which he is always designated. (3)
1724 Ramsay went to Rome and was appointed tutor to the two sons of the
titular James III., who, as the son and heir of James II., the exiled King of
England, still claimed the throne of his ancestors.
See a biography of Ramsay in Mackey's "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," from
which the present sketch is condensed.
his "Life of Fenelon" Ramsay gives the full details of the intellectual
process and the arguments of the prelate through which his conversion was
effected. "Life," pp. 189 - 247 (3) The Order of St. Lazarus was first
instituted in Palestine and the knights were devoted to the care of persons
infected. They afterward united with the other Orders in the war against the
Saracens. We may presume that Ramsay's connection with this Order first
suggested to him the idea of tracing Freemasonry to the Crusades and ascribing
its origin to a system of knighthood, which he embraced in his high degrees.
known in history generally by the more appropriate title of the is "Old
Ramsay's close connection with the exiled family of Stuart, and with their
adherents, the Jacobites, undoubtedly exerted much influence in the shaping of
certain high degrees and in the modified interpretation of certain legends, so
as to give a coloring to the preposterous theory that Speculative Freemasonry
was invented or at least used as a political means of promoting the
restoration of the House of Stuart to the English throne. Ramsay, himself, is
not clear from the suspicion of having sown the germs of this theory. He was a
firm believer in hereditary right, and, being an aristocrat at heart, he
spurned the idea that Freemasonry could have had an Operative origin.
year 1728 he visited England and became an inmate of the family of the Duke of
Argyle. While in England the University of Oxford conferred upon him the
degree of Doctor of Laws, a tolerable evidence of his reputation as a man of
return to France he took up his residence at Pointoise, a seat of the Prince
of Turenne, and spent the remainder of his life as Intendant in the Prince's
family, dying on May 6, 1743, in the seventy-fifth year of his life.
literary career of Ramsay was marked by the production of only a few works,
but each of these give evident proofs of his learn.
and of his skill as a writer. His first work appears to have been The Life of
Francois de Salignac de le Motte Fenelon, Archbishop, and Duke of Cambray.
This was published at London in 1723, and gave rise to a severe criticism by "Britannicus"
in several consecutive numbers of the London journals of that year.
1727 he published The Travels. This work, composed after the style of
Fenelon's Telemaque, was enriched by a learned "Discourse on the Theology and
Mythology of the Persians." The book was so favorably received as to be
speedily translated into the French, the Dutch, the German, and the Danish
languages. A much altered and improved edition was subsequently published by
the author at Glasgow in Scotland. (1)
The copy in my possession bears the imprint of James Knox, Glasgow, but
without a date. Kloss registers several London and Paris editions of the work
varying from 1760 to 1829, but omits any mention of this Glasgow edition. See
Kloss, " Bibliography," No 3936
latter years of his life he wrote as a tribute of friendship a History of the
Viscount Turenne. After his death his greatest work appeared, namely, The
Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion, Unfolded in a
Geometrical Order. This work, published in two quarto volumes at Glasgow in
1748, stamps its author not only as a man of varied learning but as a profound
metaphysician and an astute logician. Of all the adversaries of Spinoza, none
has so adroitly and successfully attacked the errors of that incredulous
philosopher as Ramsay.
contributions of published works to the literature of Speculative Freemasonry
are still fewer. They consist of only two productions, and the authorship of
one of these is only conjectural.
1738 there was published at Dublin, Ireland, a work, reprinted at London in
1749, with the title of Relation apologetique et historique de la Societe des
Francs-Macons, par J. G. D. M. E. M.
who styles it a comprehensive and fundamental apology for the Institution of
Freemasonry, and attributes its authorship without doubt to Ramsay. By order
of the Sacred Congregation it was burnt in the following year, at Rome, by the
public executioner, for containing "impious propositions and principles," and
"the faithful" were prohibited from reading it. This act of literary cremation
was the first instance of the impotent persecution of the Order by the Roman
Church after the publication of the celebrated Bull in eminenti of Pope
1740, when Ramsay was Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of France, he pronounced
a discourse before that body. It was first published in 1741 in the Almanach
des Cocus, under the erroneous title of Discours d'un Grand Maitre. Ramsay
never attained to that official dignity.
Discourse and the Apologetic Relation, conjecturally attributed to him, are
the only published writings of Ramsay on Masonic subjects that have come down
to us. It is not known indeed that he ever published any others.
this Discourse is of great importance, inasmuch as in it he develops in
explicit terms his theory of the origin of Freemasonry.
sufficient here to say that that theory repudiated the idea of its connection
with an Operative art and traces its birth to Palestine and to the time of the
Crusaders. He thus gave to Freemasonry not an architectural but a religious
and military character which connected it with the Orders of Knighthood.
to the influence of this theory on the Masonic mind that we are to attribute
the subsequent incorporation of Templarism into the system of Freemasonry, a
thought that never suggested itself to the original founders of the Society.
though Ramsay wrote but little on Freemasonry for the public eye, no one
during the 18th century exerted a greater influence over continental Masonry,
and that influence, as it will hereafter be seen, extended, in some degree,
even into England.
an assiduous and enthusiastic ritualist, and sought to develop the Masonic
system by the invention of new degrees.
we are indebted (though the value of the debt is questionable) for the
invention of the system of Rites, wherein the science of Speculative
Freemasonry is expanded by a superstructure of "high degrees," based upon the
that time the Grand Lodge of England recognized and practiced only the three
degrees of Apprentice, Fellow-Craft, and Master Mason. The same system was
pursued by the Grand Lodge of France.
simple system had no congruity with the theory of Ramsay. It made no reference
to the Orders of Chivalry and bore no appearance of a relationship to anything
but an Operative art.
Ramsay, therefore, found it necessary to construct a new system, which should
bear the evidence not of an Operative, but of a Chivalric origin.
carrying out these views he had rejected the primitive degrees, his new system
would have had no pretensions to be a Masonic one.
unwilling to attempt such a revolution, which would, most probably, have been
unsuccessful in its results.
Speculative Freemasonry had by that time become a popular Institution - it
possessed wealth and influence, and men of rank and learning eagerly sought
admission into the society. Ramsay, himself, was undoubtedly attached to it,
though his aristocratic tendencies induced him to seek for it a more elevated
Grande Loge de France ne reconnaissait que les trois grades symboliques; ses
constitutions ne s'etendaient pas au dela. Thory, "Fondation de la G. L. de
France," p. 15.
Besides, he must have seen that it furnished, even in what he deemed its
imperfect state, a firm foundation on which to erect the edifice of his "high
Ramsay, therefore, constructed a new system, which has since been called a
Rite. His example was afterward imitated, but with less moderation as to the
number of degrees, by ritualists who inundated Freemasonry with their new
inventions. But of all the succeeding rites, though some of them extended to
nearly a hundred degrees, only one of the original ideas of Ramsay, that,
namely, of perfecting the Master's part, by the symbolism of a recovery of the
Word, was sedulously preserved.
first Masonic Rite, which has since been known by the title of "The Rite of
Ramsay," consisted of six degrees, designated as follows:
Ecossais or Scottish Master.
Knight of the Temple or Templar.
Rhigellini adds a seventh degree, which he says was the Royal Arch; but I find
no evidence elsewhere of this fact, and Rhigellini, I am sorry to say, is
worse than useless as an historical authority. (1)
fifth and sixth of these degrees embodied his ideas of the chivalric or
Templar origin of the Institution. Their consideration would throw no light
upon the investigation of the Royal Arch which we are now pursuing.
the Fourth only in which we are interested - the Ecossais - from which it is
supposed that the suggestions were derived which gave origin to the invention
of the Royal Arch degree in England and to the great Masonic schism which
went to England in 1728. How long he remained there is uncertain, but it was
long enough to win the favor of the University of Oxford, and to obtain from
that body one of its highest literary favors. He had also gained warm friends
in that country,
Rhigellini, "La Masonnerie, etc.," tome ii., p. 125. It was a part of Ramsay's
system to ascribe the invention of these degrees to Godfrey of Boulogne, in
the days of the Crusaders. It was Ramsay's legend with less foundation in
truth than legends usually possess.
whom may be named the Duke of Argyle, in whose family he resided, and Lord
Landsdowne, to whom he dedicated his Cravens of Cyrus, and of whose "singular
friendship" he boasts.
not, therefore, improbable that he possessed some influence with the
Freemasons of England, among whom it is said he sought to introduce his new
ritual. (1) But he failed in his effort to get it adopted by the Grand Lodge,
which was then, as it still is and always has been, extremely conservative in
though unsuccessful with the Grand Lodge, his Royal Arch seems to have excited
an interest in some of the Fraternity. His method of supplying the allegorical
symbol of a recovery of the lost Word had awakened them to the fact that this
symbolism, so necessary to perfect the circle of Masonic symbology, was
wanting in the old system of three degrees as then practiced by the Grand
some few years no effort was made to incorporate the new system into the then
accepted ritual. But the thought did not die. It continued to grow, and at
last was given actual life when, about 1738 or perhaps a few years earlier,
(2) certain of the brethren began to manipulate the Master's degree, and to
add to the story of the loss of the Word the new legend of its recovery.
tampering with the Third degree was met by the Grand Lodge first with grave
censure, and then, as the participants in the scheme continued to be
refractory, with their expulsion.
led, as we have already seen, to the schism which divided the Masons of
England into two parties, distinguished by the titles of the "Moderns" and the
latter having organized a Grand Lodge, adopted a new ritual of four degrees,
and called the last the Royal Arch.
been said that Ramsay invented the Royal Arch degree. He did no such thing. He
did not even invent the name. But he did the symbolism which referred to the
recovery of a Word that had been once lost and afterward recovered. And this
constitutes the whole essential sum and substance of all Royal Arch Masonry,
no matter under what name and in what Rite it is to be found.
Ill voulut introducerie a Londres, en 1728, un nouveau Rite; mais il echoua
dans ce projet. Thory, "Acta Latomorum," tome ii., p. 568.
The Grand Lodge first officially noticed the "irregular makings" in 1738; but
it does not follow that they had not been occurring for some time before
attention was called to them.
suppose, and the supposition is a very tenable one, that he said to his
disciples in England, " Your ritual gives you a recital of how the True Word
of a Master was lost, but it does not tell you how it was afterwards restored
to the Craft; and in this respect your system is perfect. The discovery of a
lost Word constitutes a most important part of the symbolism of Speculative
symbolism and the Legend which refers to it, I offer you as necessary
development and improvement of your system."
disciples accepted the idea of the symbolism, but they rejected his Legend,
and invented one of their own.
Neither the Legend of what has been called Dermott's Royal Arch, though he was
not its author, nor Dunckerley's, nor that which has been in existence in
England certainly since the Union of 1813, has any similitude to that of
Ramsay's Ecossais degree.
then, the correct historical statement would be that Ramsay suggested to the
English Masonic mind the symbolism of a Recovered Word, for which Speculative
Freemasonry was indebted to his inventive genius.
this guarded sense of the expression it may be permitted to be said, that he
introduced the doctrine of the Royal Arch into English Freemasonry. Without
the suggestive influence of his ideas, Royal Arch Masonry would have been
unknown to the Masonic system.
theory, which is, I think, generally accepted as correct by Masonic scholars,
has met with, so far as I know, only one opponent.
late Bro. Charles W. Moore, the learned editor for many years of the
freemasons' Monthly Magazine, published at Boston, Mass., in an article (1)
"on the Origin of Royal Arch Chapters, at Home and Abroad," says, "it is not
true that Ramsay had anything to do with the Royal Arch degree." His grounds
for this unbelief are thus stated:
"Ramsay's system consisted of the three degrees of Ecossaizs, Novice, and
Knight Templar only. If he ever invented a Royal Arch degree, which is very
doubtful, no traces of it now remain." (2)
the error of Bro. Moore consisted in his confounding the doctrine and
symbolism of the Royal Arch degree with the specific name adopted in England.
He could End no such title as Royal
"Moore's Magazine." vol. xii. April, 1853, p. 160.
lbid., p. 163, note.
among the degrees of Ramsay's Rite, and he rashly concluded that he had
nothing to do with it.
not occur to him to look in Ramsay's system for the doctrine of the Royal
Arch, under another name. Had he done so, he would have found it in the fourth
degree, or Ecossais, of that system.
word Ecossais, which may be correctly translated as Scottish Master or
Scottish Mason, was invented and first used by the Chevalier Ramsay as the
name of a grade in the Masonic ritual which he had constructed. In pure French
the word signifies Scottish or Scotsman, and is said to have been adopted by
Ramsay, because it was a part of his Legend, that though the degree, like the
rest of Freemasonry, was originally fabricated by the Crusaders, it passed
over from the Holy Land into Scotland, where at Kilwinning it found for a long
period an abiding place, until it was disseminated over Europe.
this as the original degree has sprung up numerous others having the same name
and the same design.
design is to detail the method in which the Lost Word was recovered, so that
the true symbolism of the Word may be preserved.
symbolism, which gave perfection to that of the hitherto incomplete Third
degree, was so acceptable to the Fraternity everywhere, that in all the Rites
subsequently established over the continent, the Ecossais of Ramsay was
adopted with certain modifications
extent to which this cultivation of Ecossaison, or the doctrine of the True
Word, was carried by the ritualists who succeeded Ramsay may be shown from the
fact that Ragon, in his almost exhaustive Nomenclature of the degrees,
enumerates no less than eighty-three which bear the name of Ecossais.
every legitimate Ecossais degree we meet with these two essential
characteristics: first, there is a communication of the True Word which had
been lost; and secondly there is a Legend which details the mode by which it
was recovered and restored to the Craft.
these degrees the Word is substantially the same; in most of the Continental
Rites the Legend of Ramsay, which accompanied it, has been preserved, with but
little or no alteration.
English Masons accepted the suggestions of Ramsay as to the necessity of
expanding the Third degree or Master's partly They adopted the Word which
indeed it is said had always existed in the original ritual of the Third
degree; but they transferred its collocation from the Third to a Fourth
degree; and they wholly rejected Ramsay's Legend, fabricating a new one for
themselves, for which there is some reason for believing that they were partly
indebted to a talmudic or rabbinical tradition. They also declined to adopt
Ramsay's nomenclature, and having perhaps no liking for a name which, by
implication at least, gave a Scottish origin to the Institution, they
abandoned the title of Ecossais and took instead of it that of Royal Arch.
details of this narrative and the conclusions drawn from It are correct, then
the theory has been established that the brethren who seceded about 1738 from
the Constitutional Grand Lodge of England, with its three primitive degrees,
and afterward organized a schismatic Grand Lodge of their own with an
additional or Fourth degree, were indebted to Ramsay for the idea which led to
introduced the doctrine of the Royal Arch into English Masonry, but he did not
succeed in introducing his degree.
thus settled the question of the origin of English Royal Arch Masonry, we are
next to inquire at what time it was introduced into England and incorporated
in the ritual of English Speculative Freemasonry.
is no authority anywhere to be found which traces the existence of a Royal
Arch degree in England anterior to the year 1738.
earliest printed work which makes any reference to the degree is a book
entitled A Serious and Impartial Enquiry into the Castle of the Present Decay
of Free-masonry in the Kingdom of Ireland, by Fifield Dassigny, M.D.,
published in London in 1744. (1)
references of the author of this work to the subject of Royal Arch Masonry,
are, viewing the time when they were printed, of
The book is very scarce, there not being a copy in the British Museum. There
is none to be found in any library in Ireland, and only one in America, which
is in possession of Bro. Carson of Cincinnati, O. Bro. Hughan having obtained
a copy, republished it in his "Memorials of the Union." The passage here
quoted is from p.
interest, and may throw some light on a contested point of history. They are,
therefore, here quoted in full, as follows:
as the landmarks of the constitution of Free-Masonry are universally the same,
throughout all kingdoms, and are so well fixt that they will not admit of
removal, how comes it to pass that some have been led away with ridiculous
innovations, an example of which I shall prove by a certain propagator of a
false system some few years ago, who imposed upon several worthy men under a
pretense of being Master of a Royal Arch, which he asserted he had brought
with him from the city of York; and that the beauties of the Craft did
principally consist in the knowledge of this valuable piece of Masonry.
However, he carried on his scheme for several months, and many of the learned
and wise were his followers, till at length his fallacious art was discovered
by a Brother of probity and wisdom, who had some small time before attained
that excellent part of Masonry in London and plainly proved that his doctrine
was false; whereupon the Brethren justly dispised him and ordered him to be
excluded from all benefits of the Craft, and altho' some of the fraternity had
expressed an uneasiness at this matter being kept a secret from them (since
they had already passed thro' the usual degrees of probation) I cannot help
being of opinion that they have no right to any such benefits until they make
a proper application, and are received with due formality, and as it is an
organized body of men who have passed the chair, and given undeniable proofs
of their skill in Architecture, it can not be treated with too much reverence,
and more especially since the character of the present members of that
particular lodge are untainted and their behaviour judicious and
unexceptionable; so that there can not be the least hinge to hang a doubt on,
but that they are most excellent Masons."
Dassigny's book was published in 1744, the phrase "a few years ago" may be
interpreted as applying to about the year 1741, or perhaps even 1740. With
this explanation as to time, we may infer several facts from this passage.
first place, it appears that an adventurer coming to Dublin to propagate the
Royal Arch thought it favorable to his in terests to claim that he had brought
the degree from the city of York. From this we may infer that it was a belief
among the Freemasons of Ireland as well as elsewhere, that there was a Royal
Arch organization then existing at York. This is not an absolutely essential
inference, because he may have depended for its success on the prestige given
to that city in the Masonic mind by the traditional belief that it was the
cradle of Masonry.
the inference gains some strength from what Dassigny says in a foot-note: "I
am informed in that city (York) is held an assembly of Master Masons under the
title of Royal Arch Masons, who as their qualifications and excellencies are
superior to others, they receive a larger pay than working Masons."
we have the explicit statement of a Contemporary writer that such a belief was
in existence. Whether it was founded in fact or in fiction is another
question. Yet it is a proverbial dogma that there is no rumor without some
foundation. "Flame," says Plautus, "is very close to smoke."
However, Bro. Hughan, whose authority as a Masonic historian demands great
respect, says it is doubtful whether an Assembly of Royal Arch Masons ever met
in York so early as 1744, for there is no trace of such a degree until many
years later in any of the Records preserved. (2)
the absence of any records of a Royal Arch degree among the papers of the
Grand Lodge of York, which have been preserved, is no sufficient evidence of
the non-existence of that degree between 1740 and 1744. These wanted records
may have been among those which have been lost or destroyed. Against this
explainable deficiency of evidence by official records, which it is admitted
are not complete, we have the testimony of a contemporary writer of repute and
intelligence who says that there was in 1744 a rumor that the Royal Arch
degree was conferred in York at that time.
question therefore of this early existence of Royal Arch Masonry in York must
still remain in abeyance; it is sub judice, nor can it ever be decided, until
further testimony is produced.
notwithstanding the high authority of Bro. Hughan, I am disposed to think that
in 1744 and a few years before, the Royal Arch degree was conferred in the
city of York, having of course been brought there from London, where it
does not follow that at that time there was any regular organization
Flamma fiemo est proxima Plautus, "Curculio," i., 53.
"Memorials of the Union,"
connected with the Grand Lodge (which, by the way, was at that time dormant,
or of which we have no records) or with the lodge which was still in
existence. The degree was about that time just beginning, even in London, to
assume an official shape, and irregularities must have prevailed. Bro. Hughan
tells us that Bro.
William Cowling, an officer of the present York Lodge, is of opinion in
reference to the later and undisputed organization of a Chapter in 1780, that
"the Royal Arch Degree was kept distinct from the Craft at York, but that
there was a very intimate connection between them."
is here said of the later organization may probably be applied to an earlier
one. If so, it would be vain to look in the missing records of the York Grand
Lodge from 1735 to 1760, if they are ever found, for any reference to Royal
Returning to the extract from Dr. Dassigny's Enquiry we infer, in the second
place, that in the year 1744 there were Royal Arch Masons in Dublin who
appreciated the degree as a valuable addition to the Masonic system.
infer, thirdly, that at that time there was an organized body of Past Masters
there who regularly conferred the degree, restricting it, however, to those
Masons who had passed the chair. As this was the regulation which existed in
London, it is evident, if other proof were wanting, that the degree given in
Ireland was originally derived from London and from the "Ancients."
this digression for the purpose of demonstrating the time of the first
appearance of the degree at the cities of York and Dublin, we may return to
our investigation of the history of its origin in England.
have seen that in 1728, soon after the Chevalier Ramsay had fabricated his
system of high degrees, among which was one that, under the title of Ecossais
or "Scottish Master" developed his doctrine of the Royal Arch or the recovery
of the true Word, he came to England.
he had personal intercourse with many Freemasons and communicated to them his
views, and demonstrated to them the incompleteness of the established ritual,
which, terminating in the
Hughan, "Memorials of the Union," p. 82.
Master's part, and the loss of the Word, made no provision for its recovery.
greater part of the English Freemasons his theory was either unintelligible as
a doctrine or offensive as an innovation. Hence, the efforts he is said to
have made for its adoption by tne Grand Lodge proved unsuccessful.
happily for the progress of Masonic light, there were some thinkers of more
enlarged views. They saw the deficiency in the old ritual, and were ready to
accept any modification that would improve it.
this party, small at first but gradually increasing in numbers, the ideas of
Ramsay became popular.
while they adopted his doctrine concerning the recovery of the true Word as
the basis of a new degree to be added to the ritual of three degrees, they
refused in the end to adopt his legend.
not unlikely that the first English Freemasons who were engaged in 1738 in the
"irregular makings" which were censured by the Grand Lodge may have used
Ramsay's legend for a time.
is mere guess-work. Still, it is very supposable that Ramsay taught his whole
system to a few disciples who naturally would seek to propagate.
Dassigny, in his Enquiry, throws some gleams of light on this obscure subject
in the following passage:
not help informing the Brethren that there is lately arrived in this city a
certain itinerant Mason whose judgment (as he declares) is so far illumined,
and whose optics are so strong that they can bear the view of the most lurid
rays of the sun at noon day, and altho' we have contented ourselves with three
material steps to approach our Summum Bonum, the immortal GOD, yet he presumes
to acquaint us that he can add three more, which, when properly placed, may
advance us to the highest heavens." (1)
it is at least a coincidence that Ramsay's newly invented Rite added just
three degrees to the three of the original ritual. May not this "itinerant
Mason" referred to by Dassigny have been a disciple of Ramsay, who was seeking
to introduce his ritual into Dublin ?
I have said before, this is mere guess-work. It only
Dassigny's "Enquiry," in Hughan's republication in the "Memorials," p. 97.
a sort of probability to the hypothesis that Ramsay had succeeded in imbuing
the minds of certain English Freemasons with the principles of his system, so
that they were prepared to formulate out of it a degree, which, though
differing in name and differing in legend, retained its doctrine.
out of this system of Ramsay the seceding Masons of England formulated a
Fourth degree, which they called the "Royal Arch," and which, though owing its
origin to Ramsay's Ecossais, resembled it only in the doctrine of a lost Word,
recovered, which is the true and only doctrine of Royal Arch Masonry, under
whatsoever name it may be known.
be considered as a well-settled fact in history that the Royal Arch degree was
not known in England before the year 1738, (1) at which time it was practiced
by certain brethren who afterward assumed the name of "Ancient Masons," and
finally seceded from the Constitutional Grand Lodge. (2) The degree then
conferred was suggested by and founded on the Ecossais degree of Chevalier
the Royal Arch degree," says Brother Hughan, (3) "in its separate and distinct
form, existed prior to 1738, and indeed, was as old as the Third degree, how
comes it that the regular Grand Lodge of England persistently refused to
recognize it until 1813, but the body of Masons which seceded from this
original and premier Grand Lodge, made much of the degree, and by it, we may
truly say, succeeded in making their numerical position in a few years almost
equal to the regular Grand Lodge itself ?"
degree as practiced by the seceding Masons was, as Dr. Oliver (4) remarks,
"imperfect in its construction," and its rude and unfinished state betrayed
its recent origin.
form was, however, gradually improved. When the Grand Lodge of Ancients was
organized in 1753, that body adopted it as one of its series of degrees,
making it the Fourth in order of precedence.
first, the degree was conferred in the lodges and as a supplement to the Third
Hughan, "History of Freemasonry in York," p. 38.
See Northouck's "Book of Constitutions." where, in a note to p.
full but not altogether impartial account of the secession is given.
a Review of Higgins's "Anacalypsis," in the "Voice of Masonry," vol. xiii., p
"Origin of the Royal Arch," p. 21.
Oliver describes it as having at that early period "jumbled together, in a
state of inextricable confusion, the events commemos rated in Ramsay's Royal
Arch, the Knights of the Ninth Arch, of the Burning Bush, of the East or
Sword, of the Red Cross, the Scotch Fellow-Craft, the Select Master, the Red
Cross of Babylon, the Rose Croix," etc. (1)
not whence Oliver derived his authority for this statement.
none of the degrees which he mentions were then fabricated, it is impossible
that he can be correct.
very probable that the Legend of Enoch which was embodied in Ramsay's Ecossais,
and which was afterward adopted in the degree of Knights of the Ninth Arch,
was at first used by the seceders in conferring their Fourth degree. But it
was after ward changed for the very different Legend which is still taught in
the English Royal Arch.
a short time, when the degree had been nursed into a better shape by the Grand
Lodge of Ancients, it was conferred into a body called a "chapter," but still
constituting a part of a Warranted lodge.
regulations "for the Instruction and Government of the Holy Royal Arch
Chapter," adopted by the Atholl Grand Lodge, declare that severs regular and
warranted lodge possesses the power of forming and holding meetings in each of
these several degrees, the last of which from its pre-eminence is denominated
among Masons a chapter." And this regulation continued in force until the
Union of 1813. (2)
earliest official minute of the Royal Arch degree among the "Ancients" bears
the date of 1752. (3) At that time the "Ancients" were organized in a General
Assembly, which bore the name of a "Grand Committee."
degree was then conferred in the lodges but only on those who had passed the
chair. We have seen that this right of the lodges to confer the Royal Arch was
always recognized by the Atholl Grand Lodge.
Grand Chapter was subsequently established, at what precise date is not
"Origin of the Royal Arch," p. 21.
See the "Ahiman Rezon" published in 1807, p. 107.
Hughan, "Memorials of the Union," p. 6.
April 6, 1791, the "Ancients" published "Laws and Regulations for the
Instruction and Government of the Holy Royal Arch Chapters, under the sanction
of the Grand Lodge of England, according to the Old Constitutions." These
Regulations were subsequently revised, amended, and approved "in a General
Grand Chapter" held at the "Crown and Anchor Tavern," in the Strand, on April
1, 1807, and are contained in the Ahiman Rezon of that year.
first of these Regulations that, "There shall be a General Grand Chapter of
the Holy Royal Arch held half yearly at the 'Crown and Anchor,' Strand, on the
first Wednesday in the months of April and October. That agreeably to
established custom the officers of the Grand Lodge, for the time being, are
considered as the Grand Chiefs, and are to preside at all Grand Chapters,
according to seniority; they usually appoint the most expert R. A. companions
to the other Offices; and none but Excellent Masons, being members of
warranted lodges, in and near the Metropolis, shall be members thereof.
Certified sojourners may be admitted as visitors only."
will be perceived that the organization of this Grand Chapter of the
"Ancients," though not recognized as legal, prepared the model on which the
subsequent Grand Chapter of England has been founded.
government by three Chiefs has also been adopted in America, though they are
no longer made identical, as they still are in England, with the three
principal officers of the Grand Lodge.
Warrants were granted by the Grand Chapter for the formation of chapters, but
only where the parties composing such chapter possessed a regular Warrant
granted by the Grand Lodge. (2) Hence, every chapter under the system of the
if "Ancients" was, though independent as to the degree, an appanage of a
warranted lodge. An application for initiation to the Royal Arch degree was to
be dlrected "to the presiding chiefs of the chapter of Excellent Royal Arch
Masons, under sanction of lodge number_____." (3)
usage prevailed in America as long as lodges of "Ancient Masons" existed
there. I have in the early part of my life personally known several old Royal
Arch Masons who received the degree in lodges attached to chapters.
Rezon," 1807, p. 108.
"Laws and Regulations of the General Grand Chapter," No. iv.
Ibid., No. vi.
chapters, though thus closely connected with the lodges, were so far under a
separate jurisdiction as to be required to make returns of their exaltations
and payment of fees to the Grand Chapter. (1)
Another regulation required that none should receive the Royal Arch degree but
those who had "passed the chair." (2) The earliest custom was to confer it
only on those who had been Masters of lodges. But this practice having been
found inconvenient, as it too greatly restricted the number of candidates, the
law was subsequently violated, and a fictitious degree of Past Master was
instituted, brethren being permitted by a mere ceremony to "pass the chair"
without having ever been elected Masters of lodges. Thus the distinction of
actual and virtual Past Masters came in vogue, the degree or rank of Past
Master being thus virtually conferred as a prerequisite to exaltation.
1813 the United Grand Lodge of England abolished this practice and it now
admits Master Masons to be exalted. But the practice still prevails in the
chapters of the United States, though efforts have at times been
unsuccessfully made to abandon it.
"Moderns" had seen with some envy, as we may suppose, the success which the
"Ancients" were securing, and they very properly attributed it to the prestige
given to the seceders by their fabrication of a Fourth degree.
therefore a very judicious movement on their part to avail themselves of a
like prestige by the extension of their ritual and the adoption also of an
we find that some of the "Moderns" formed a chapter for conferring the Royal
Arch degree on June 12, 1765. (3) It has been believed that Thomas Dunkerley
was the founder of this chapter, but Bro. Gould denies this, because the
minutes show that he did not become a member of it until January 8, 1766.
am unwilling to reject the almost universally accepted tradition that to him
we owe the fabrication of the Royal Arch of the "Moderns" - a degree which is
said to have differed in many points from that of the "Ancients."
Dunkerley, who was an illegitimate son of George the Second, and whose claims
to that paternity received a sort of quiet recognition from the royal family,
was a man of excellent character and
"Laws and Regulations of the General Grand Chapter," No. xii.
Ibid., No. viii.
Gould, "Atholl Lodges." p. 38.
considerable talents. He was very popular with the Craft and was the author of
a new system of lectures, or an improvement of the old, which had been
sanctioned by the Grand Lodge.
course of his Masonic studies he appears to have been convinced of the policy,
under existing circumstances, of supplementing the deficiencies of the
original Third degree. We may indeed attribute to him a higher motive than
that of policy, and believe that as a Masonic scholar he saw the necessity of
completing the system by the fabrication of a Royal Arch degree.
does not therefore follow that because Dunkerley's name does not appear as a
member of the new chapter until six months after its formation, he may not
have had an important part in its organization. If he was, as there can be no
valid doubt, the original fabricator of the Royal Arch of the "Moderns," from
whom, except from him, could the original members of the new chapter have
received the degree which qualified them to enter upon its organization?
he appeared later on the scene does not militate against his influence and his
quiet work in its formation. There are no records extant to show what he was
doing between the time when he invented the degree and that when it was first
put into practice by the foundation of a chapter. The leading character in a
drama does not always make his appearance in the first act, nor the hero of a
novel in the first chapter.
more logical to suppose that the inventor of the Royal Arch of the "Moderns"
was the founder of the chapter in 1765. But if Dunkerley was not the inventor,
who was? History upon the best grounds assigns the invention to him, and to
him also I am willing to ascribe the foundation of the chapter, though his
name does not appear on its records until six months after its formation.
chapter did not long continue to hold the position of a private body. In 1766,
according to Bro. Hughan, (1) it assumed the rank of a Grand Chapter. This it
must have done, just as the lodge at York in 1725 resolved itself into a Grand
Lodge. There were no other chapters to unite with it, as the four Lodges did
in 1717 to form a Grand Lodge. It simply changed its title and enlarged its
Oliver places the date of the formation of the Grand Chapter
"Memorials of the Union." v. 8. note.
later date, that of 1779. (1) This is, however, only an assume tion, as he
gives no proof of the correctness of his statement, and on a point of Masonic
history dependent on the authority of old documents and the correctness of a
deduction from them I am compelled to prefer the accuracy and the judgment of
Bro. Hughan to those of even the venerable Oliver.
Notwithstanding that the Grand Chapter counted some of the most distinguished
"Modern" Masons among its members, it was never officially recognized as a
Masonic organization by the Grand Lodge.
1792 it was resolved that the Grand Lodge has nothing to do with the
proceedings of the Society of Royal Arch Masons. (2)
it met with marked success. In 1796 it had one hundred and four chapters under
its obedience and to which it had granted warrants.
the Grand Chapter of the "Ancients," it was independent in its jurisdiction,
being, as has been seen, wholly unconnected with the Grand Lodge. Its
presiding officers were called the three Principals, and bore respectively as
titles the initials of the names Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Joshua. Thus there
was Principal Z., Principal H., and Principal J. This usage has been preserved
in the present Grand Chapter of England. It had for its chief Principal Thomas
Dunkerley as long as he lived, and for its first Patron, the Duke of
Cumberland, who on his demise was succeeded by the Duke of Clarence.
1813, on the union of the two Grand Lodges of the "Ancients" and the
"Moderns," the Royal Arch degree was recognized as a component part of Ancient
Craft Masonry, and the Supreme Grand Chapter was established as one of the
powers of English Freemasonry.
two rituals then in use that invented by Dunkerley, which had been practiced
by the "Moderns," was preferred but the regulation of the "Ancients," which
closely united the Grand Lodge
"Origin of the Royal Arch," p. 38.
Hughan presents this fact in his "Memorials," p. 8. The Grand Chapter, he
says, was purely a defensive organization to meet the wants of the regular
brethren and to prevent their joining the "Ancients." (3) Dunkerley's ritual
was Christian in its character, and his principal symbol, the foundation
stone, was made to allude to the Saviour. In 1834 this ritual was abolished by
the Grand Chapter, and a new one, less sectarian in its interpretation of the
symbols, was adopted, which still continues in England and in English
the Grand Chapter and vested the presiding officers of both bodies in the same
persons, was adopted. Hence, the Duke of Sussex, who had been elected the
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, became, by virtue of his office, the chief
Principal of the Grand Chapter.
says that the Royal Arch degree was introduced into Scotland about the middle
of the last century, through the medium of military lodges whose members had
received it in Ireland. (1) The statement that the degree was first worked in
Scotland by the " Ancient Lodge of Stirling" in 1743 in connection with the
Knight Templar and other high degrees, is said by Bro. Lyon to be without
authentic evidence. But the writer of the introduction to the General
Regulations for the Government of the Order of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland
asserts that the Minute Mook of the Chapter from 1743 is still extant. (2)
1800 several Templar Encampments were founded in Scotland by charters granted
by a body assuming that prerogative in Ireland.
charters authorized the conferring of the Royal Arch degree.
were other chapters which at that time practiced the degree without a charter.
(3) The establishment of a Grand Encampment in 1811 by a charter granted by
the Duke of Kent, the head of Templarism in England, put a stop to the
practice of Royal Arch Masonry in Encampments, and that branch of the
institution was for some time in a very irregular position, though there were
many working chapters.
August 28, 1817, the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland was
established by the representatives of thirty-four chapters at a General
convocation of the Order held at Edinburgh.
Grand Lodge of Scotland, persistently wedded to the idea that Speculative
Freemasonry consists of only three degrees, has always refused to recognize
the Royal Arch as a part of the system. At first it prohibited its members
from receiving the degree, but as that extreme of opposition has long since
ceased, the antagonism now reaches only a quiet, official non-recognition.
introduction of Royal Arch Masonry into the continent of America, and
especially into the United States, will occupy our attention in the following
"History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 291.
"General Regulations of the Grand Chapter of Scotland," Introduction, p. vii.
Lyon's "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 290.
THE INTRODUCTION OF ROYAL ARCH
MASONRY INTO AMERICA
Royal Arch degree was introduced into the North American Colonies not very
long after its invention or adoption in England.
Grand Lodge of Ancients granted its first Warrant for a lodge in the colonies
in the year 1758. (1) In the same year, as will be seen hereafter, a chapter
connected with an Atholl lodge was established. This alone would prove, if
such proof were necessary, that the Royal Arch Masonry of Pennsylvania, where
it first appeared on this continent, was derived from the "Grand Lodge of
England, according to the Old Institutions," and that the degree which was
then worked was what is commonly known as Dermott's Royal Arch.
course, the degree must have been conferred in a chapter working under a
Master's Warrant, as at that time no Grand Chapter had been organized.
Grand Lodge of Ancients had always granted this privilege to its lodges, and
it was maintained up to the early years of the present century by several of
the American lodges. Thus as late as January, 1803, Orange Lodge of Ancient
York Masons, an Atholl lodge in Charleston, S.C., granted the privilege of its
Warrant for the use of the Royal Arch Chapter of South Carolina." (2)
first Royal Arch Chapter in America of which we can find anv account, was held
in Philadelphia in the year 1758. The author of the Historical View prefixed
to Pennsylvania Ahiman Rezon, says that it was held "anterior" to that year.
This is manifestly an error, as the date of the Warrant of the first lodge of
is so stated in Gould's "Register of the Atholl Lodges," p.
and the fact is confirmed by the recent researches of the Grand Lodge of
"Historical Sketch of Orange Lodge." See Mackey's "History of Freemasonry
South Carolina," p. 471.
that city, and indeed in the country, was June 7, 1758, and it is evident that
no chapter could have preceded the lodge in date of birth, as the former
derived its authority from the latter, and worked under its Warrant.
author of the Historical View, which has just been referred to, stated that it
worked under the Master's Warrant of Lodge numbers and that it was recognized
by and had communion with a military Chapter working under a Warrant number
351 granted by the Grand Lodge of England, meaning, as the context clearly
shows, the Atholl Grand Lodge or the Grand Lodge of the Ancients. (1)
can be no doubt of the truth of the statement that a chapter of Royal Arch
Masons was established in Philadelphia about the year 1758 and that it worked
under the Master's Warrant of Lodge number 3. Bro. Clifford MacCalla, who is
the very best authority on the early history of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania,
says that the minutes of this Chapter, which he designates as Jerusalem
Chapter number 3, are in existence as far back as 1767, and that they mention
prior minutes. (2)
is not easy to reconcile the statement that it held communion with a military
lodge, numbered 351, granted by the Atholl Grand Lodge, with the facts of
the year 1756 the Atholl Grand Lodge had granted only two military Warrants,
numbers 41 and 52, one in 1755 and the other in 1756. In fact, at the end of
the year 1757 the numbers on the roll of that Grand Lodge as accurately
arranged by Bro. Gould amounted to only 68. (3)
was a military Warrant numbered 351, but it was not granted until October,
Indeed, number 351 is too high for the year 1758 roll of either of the Grand
Lodges of England, or of those of Ireland or Scotland.
in England, the oldest of the four bodies, the numbers had not at that early
period gone far into the two hundreds.
then was this military Lodge, numbered as 351, at a time
Rezon of Pennsylvania," edition of 1825, p. 79.
"Philadelphia, the Mother City of Freemasonry in America," p.
Gould's "Atholl Lodges," p. 16.
Ibid., p. 102. By a typographical error the number is printed 361 instead of
351 as it should evidently have been.
no such numbers could have been reached by the existing registrations, and
what was this Lodge number 3 on the Pennsylvania roll which held communion
with it, and both of which were thus engaged in the propagation of the Royal
Arch degree in America ?
MacCalla, referring to the military lodges in Pennsylvania, during and before
the war of the Revolution, says that "Lodge number 18 was in the 17th Regiment
British army." Nowin the first official list of the Atholl lodges given in the
Ahiman Rezon for 1807, we find if "18, 17th Regiment of foot," as the third of
the miIitary lodges. No date is given for its Warrant, but from its position
in the list we may presume that it was one of the oldest lodges Gould says it
was originally warranted as number 237, and he gives the original 18 as having
been constituted as a civil lodge at London in 1753. This lodge becoming
extinct, the number seeme by a system of registration peculiar to the Atholl
Masons to have been taken up by the military lodge instead of its original
this military Lodge number 18 makes its appearance in another official
Downes, Past Master of Lodge number 141, on the registry of Ireland, published
at Dublin in 1804, Lists of lodges "according to the 'Old Constitutions' of
the kingdom of Great Britain, and also of America, the East and the West
Indias, &c." Downes was the printer to the Grand Lodge of Ireland and with its
permission had edited the Irish Ahiman Reman. His Lists are therefore
possessed of some official authority.
List of military lodges he also gives Lodge number 18, in the 17th Regiment,
as third lodge in order of sequence as having been warranted by the Atholl
Grand Lodge of England.
also gives a list of the lodges which had been warranted up to the year 1804,
amounting to 65. How many of these had been discontinued, and what was the
date of any of their warrants we can not learn from the List, which gives only
the numbers and places and times of meeting. (1)
8th Pennsylvania lodge in Downes's List is marked as
an article on "Military Lodges," published by Bro. Gould in the "Freemasons'
Chronicle," and copied into the "Keystone" (July 31, 1880), he finds after
much research, much difficulty in "disentangling the history of Lodge number
18." The only explanation at all satisfactory, and that nose altogether so, is
the one given in the text.
18, British 17th Regiment of Foot." The coincidence here apparent would
indicate that this was the same lodge as that marked in Downes's, Harper's,
and Gould's list of military lodges warranted by the Atholl Grand Lodge of
England. By what process it changed its obedience from its Mother Grand Lodge
to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Downes does not inform us.
have an authentic record that in 1767 there had been and was a military lodge
in an Irish regiment stationed at Philadelphia.
records of Lodge number 3, which have been copied in the Early History and
Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, (1) contained the following
9, 1767. The majority of (the) Body was of opinion that it would not be proper
to admit Bro. Hoodless a member of this or to enter, pass, or raise any person
belonging to the army, in this lodge, as there is a lawfull warranted Body of
good and able Masons in the Royal Irish regiment." (2)
much for the military lodge which is said to have introduced Royal Arch
Masonry into the American Colonies, and through whose instrumentality the
degree was first conferred in Lodge number 3.
next inquiry must be directed to the character and position of this lodge,
which, without rhetorical exaggeration, may be well called the Mother of Royal
Arch Masonry in America.
Lists of the Atholl lodges show that the Grand Lodge of the Ancients granted a
Warrant for a lodge at Philadelphia in the year 1758. On the Pennsylvania roll
this lodge was known as number 2, but in Gould's List it is marked as "No. 69,
Philadelphia, 7 June 1758." On June 13, 1761, the Grand Lodge of Ancients
granted a Warrant for another lodge, which Gould records as is 89, number 1
Philadelphia." This Warrant was, however, lost. and another one was issued on
June 20, 1764.
from the date of this Warrant that the organization of the Provincial Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania is reckoned.
the lodge warranted in 1758 should be designated as number 2, while that
warranted three years afterward should be designated
Compiled and published by authority of the Grand Lodge, 1777.
"Early History," etc.,p. 11. The "Royal Irish Regiment" afterward became the
8th on the Muster roll of the British army.
Debrett's "British Imperial Calendar for 1819," p. 137
number 1, can be accounted for in only one way. There was most probably a
deputation accompanying the Warrant for number 2, which deputation must have
organized a Provincial Grand Lodge which took the number 1. The Ahiman Rezon
of Pennsylvanza, for 1825, referring to Lodge number 2, says that "the patents
to Provincial Grand Masters were usually in force for one year, at the
expiration of which, if a Grand Lodge was formed, it elected its Grand Master,
Wardens, Secretary and Treasurer. . . If no Grand Lodge was constituted upon a
patent, it expired, and another patent was issued as occasion required." (1)
writer then concludes that "it is probable that no Grand Lodge had been
organized upon the first patent issued for Pennsylvania since a second was
issued on June 20, 1764, by the Grand Lodge of England to William Ball, Esqr.,
and others authorizing them to form and hold a Grand Lodge for the then
conjecture is very plausible. The deputation which accompanied the Warrant for
number 69 in Philadelphia may have been intended for a Provincial body, which
was not, however, completely organized, but which nevertheless took the number
1, while the lodge which on the registry of the Atholl Grand Lodge of England
bore the number 69 was changed on the Pennsylvania roll to number 2. The
Provincial deputation which had been appointed in 1758 not having completely
fulfilled its functions by the permanent establishment of a Provincial Grand
Lodge, another Warrant for that purpose was issued in 1761, and that having
been lost on the way, a second was issued in 1764, and the Provincial Grand
Lodge was formed. In fact this must have been merely a continuation of the
first lodge or deputation, and the Lodge number 69, which had been originally
transmuted into number 2, retained that number, and, excepting the Provincial
Grand Lodge, we find no number 1 on the registry of Pennsylvania.
though this deputation of 1758 did not formally and permanently organize a
Provincial Grand Lodge, or if it did, has left no record of the transaction,
it performed the functions of one by warranting another lodge, which received
the number 3.
this fact we have the following evidence. When the Grand Lodge of Ancients
granted its warrant for a lodge in 1758, no further
Rezon of Pennsylvania," for 1825, p. 67.
Ibid., p. 68.
of Pennsylvania was taken by it until it granted the Warrant numbered 89 on
its register in 1761, which being lost was replaced by another of the same
tenor issued in 1764, and which Gould calls number 1, at Philadelphia.
Between 1758 and 1764 it granted no more Warrants for the establishment of
lodges in Pennsylvania, nor did it ever afterward do so. With the exception of
the Warrant issued at first in 1761 and renewed or rather replaced in 1764,
Freemasonry in Pennsylvania appears, from the year 1758, to have been
controlled solely by some authority within the Province, and from that
authority Lodge number 3 must have received its Warrant.
first act of the Provincial Deputation, or Provincial Grand Lodge, or whatever
may have been the character and designation of the authority existing in
Philadelphia in the year 1758 was to grant a Warrant for the establishment of
another lodge as number 3.
is no record extant of this Warrant but the author of the Early History of the
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania says that in Lodge number 3 of Philadelphia by
tradition dates its warrant about the same time as number 2." (1)
Lodge number 3 is the one which in 1758, with the concurrence and under the
instruction of the military lodge in the 17th Royal Irish Regiment, introduced
the Royal Arch degree into Pennsylvania and worked it, as all "Ancient" lodges
at that time did, under the authority of its Master's Warrant.
absence of the records of early Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, which were lost
or destroyed during the revolution, forces us to trust, more than is desirable
in writing history, to conclusions mainly based on conjectures; but the
conjectures are reasonable, sustained by the strongest evidence and entirely
consistent with facts derived from the very few authentic documents that
told in the Pennsylvania Ahiman Rezon that other Chapters were afterward
established "upon like principles." That is, they were established under the
shadow of Master's Warrants.
writer of the Historical View of Masonry, contained in the 1825 edition of the
Pennsylvania Ahiman Rezon, tells the story of the further progress of Royal
Arch Masonry in that State in the following words:
"Early History and Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania." p. 35
November, 1795, an irregular attempt was made, at the instance of one Molan,
to introduce innovations in the Arch degree and to form an independent Grand
Royal Arch Chapter, under the Warrants of numbers 19, 52, and 67, held in the
city of Philadelphia, and a lodge constituted by authority of the Grand Lodge
of Maryland, and another holding under the Grand Lodge of Georgia. Chapter
number 3 instituted an enquiry into these proceedings, which they declared,
after investigation, to be contrary to the established uniformity of the
Craft. The Grand Lodge, upon complaint made, unhesitatingly suspended the
Warrants of numbers 19, 52, and 67, and having received the report of the
committee raised for that purpose, resolved that Molan ought not to be
received as a mason by the lodges or brethren under its jurisdiction. The
offending lodges, by the mild and firm course of the Grand Lodges were
convinced of their errors, and were received into favora having their Warrants
restored to them.
"Throughout this controversy, the Grand Lodge acknowledged the right of all
regular warranted lodges, so far as they have ability and number, to make
masons in the higher degrees, but lest differences might exist, or innovations
be attempted in such higher degrees, which for want of some proper place to
appeal, might create schism among the brethren, they resolved that a Grand
Royal Arch Chapter should be opened, under the immediate sanction of the Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania; and that all past and present officers of the Grand
Lodge, having duly obtained the degree of Royal Arch, and all past and
existing officers of Chapters of Royal Arch masons, duly and regularly
convened under the sanction of a warrant from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania,
to be considered as members of the Grand Rowral Arch Chapter; and that all
members of the regular Chapters shall be admitted to their meetings, but
without the right to vote or speak therein, unless requested." (1)
has, from this record, been maintained that this was the first Grand Chapter
established in America, and that Webb was mistaken in giving the priority to
that organized at Hartford in 1798.
the truth is that the Grand Chapter established at Philadelphia in 1795 was
not a Grand Chapter in the sense attached to such
Rezon of Pennsylvania," edition of 1825, p. 79.
by those who organized at Hartford the Grand Chapter of the Northern States.
Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania was merely an instrument of the Grand Lodge.
That body alone could grant permission to hold a Chapter, and no Chapter could
be held unless with the sanccion of the Warrant of a lodge, and it was
expresslydeclared that the Grand Chapter was to be opened "under the immediate
sanction of the Grand Lodge."
all these prmcipies oil dependence were repudiated by Welbb and his
associates. They expressly declared in the very outset of their labors of
organization - no matter whether the statement was historically accurate or
not - that no Grand Lodge could "claim or exercise authority over any
convention or Chapter of Royal Arch masons." In the first constitution which
they formed they placed Chapters exclusively under the control of Grand
Chapters, and by implication abolished all authority of Grand Lodges over them
and at the same time denied the right of any Chapter to work under the Warrant
of a Master's lodge.
system has ever since prevailed in the United States. It was subsequently
adopted by the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania itself.
Grand Chapter established at Philadelphia in 1795 was only an organization for
the more convenient administration of Royal Arch Masonry in the bosom and
under the superintendence of the Grand Lodge.
Grand Chapter established in 1798 at Hartford was, as has been shown, of a
very different construction, and based on very different principles of Masonic
Grand Chapter formed at Hartford in 1798 must therefore in all fairness Ibe
given the precedency of date as being the first independent Grand Chapter
established in the United States - indeed we may say it was the first in the
world, as the Grand Chapters previously established in England were like that
of Pennsylvania, dependent instruments of the Grand Lodge.
credit, however, must be given to Philadelphia of having introduced Royal Arch
Masonry into the British Colonies. We have no record of the establishment of a
Chapter in any other of the Provinces before the year 1758, at which time, as
we have seen, the degree was conferred in a Chapter attached to Lodge number 3
during the succeeding years of the 18th century the degree, under various
modifications, was introduced into other States, principally by Atholl, or as
they were pleased most incorrectly to style themselves, "Ancient York Masons."
original system inaugurated by the "Ancients" was strictly followed, and as
Thomas Smith Webb, the founder of the American system, has said, during all
that period "a competent number of companions, possessed of sufficient
abilities, under the sanction of a Master's Warrant, proceeded to exercise the
rights and privileges of Royal Arch Chapters, whenever they thought it
expedient and proper, although in most cases the approbation of a neighboring
Chapter was deemed useful if not proper."
degree practiced was that of the Grand Lodge of Ancients from whom it was
derived. Virginia was, however, an exception. Whether the English Royal Arch
was worked in the early period of Freemasonry in that State is not known. Dr.
Dove, the author of the Virginia Text Book of Royal Arch Masonry, our best
authority on the subject, does not inform us.
Myers was one of the deputies of M. M. Hayes, who had, under the authority of
Stephen Morin, been engaged in the dissemination of the twenty-five degrees of
the Rite of Perfection, which was afterward developed into the Ancient and
Accepted Rite of thirty- three degrees.
after 1783 Myers removed to Richmond, Va., where, says Bro.
he imparted the degrees of the Rite Ecossats to many Master Masons. (2)
these degrees was the Arch of Enoch, which was really Ramsay's Royal Arch.
This degree, Dove says, was taught in Virginia until the year 1820, when it
was abandoned and Webb's degree, which was the modification of the English
system, and which is novn universally practiced in the United States, was
the latter part of the 18th century several Chapters were organized in
Virginia, each of which worked under the authority of Master's Warrant. Such
were the Chapters at Norfolk, Richmond, Staunton, and Dumfries. In the year
1808 the first three united in the organization of a "Supreme Grand Royal Arch
Chapter," which immediately assumed jurisdiction over the degree in the State.
"Freemason's Monitor," p. 155.
"Virginia Text Book," p. 91.
Royal Arch degree was introduced into New York not long after its introduction
into Pennsylvania, and most probably by some of the English military lodges,
many of which were at that time in the Province. (1)
Independent Royal Arch Lodge was warranted in December, 1760. Bro.
G. Barker, the author of the Early History of Masonry in New York, says "that
the history of this lodge, prior to the year 1784, is involved in obscurity,
as is also the derivation of its name." (2)
is evident that the peculiarity of the name refers to the fact of its having
been engaged in working the Royal Arch degree.
not therefore hesitate to place, conjecturally, the introduction of that
degree into the Province at a time contemporaneous with the organization of
New York, Royal Arch Masonry extended into other Northern Provinces, and
independent Chapters were established which eventually gave birth to the
General Grand Chapter.
Chapters were successively formed in different parts of the Province, each
acting under the authority of a Master's Warrant.
the most important of these was Washington Chapter in the City of New York,
which, as it will hereafter appear, granted Warrants for the establishment of
1798 a Deputy Grand Chapter was formed under the newly adopted constitution of
the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Northern States, and when in 1799 that
body changed its title to that of the General Grand Chapter," the Deputy Grand
Chapter of New York assumed rank and name as a " Grand Chapter."
Province of Massachusetts, Royal Arch Masonry was introduced about the year
1769, probably a year or two later.
that year the Grand Lodge of Scotland granted a Warrant for a lodge under the
title of "St. Andrew's Lodge number 82." In the same year, if we may credit
the statement of Bro. C. W. Moore, (3) "the degree was conferred in Boston in
a "Royal Arch
the nine lodges engaged in 1782 in the organization of the Provincial Grand
Lodge of New York, six were military lodges, attached to different regiments
in the British Army.
"Early History and Transactions of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York,"
published by Kane Lodge, 1876, p. 17.
"Freemasons' Monthly Magazine," vol. xii., p. 165.
Lodge," which he "thinks" was attached to St. Andrew's Lodge Subsequent
researches have removed all uncertainty on that point.
is no positive information as to the original source whence the ritual of the
degree as it was practiced by the St. Andrew's Chapter was derived. Its
introduction has been attributed to Moses Michael Hayes, who is said to have
introduced it from France, under the authority of a patent dated December 6,
1778. This statement Bro. Moore declares to be not true, (1) and his close
official connection for a long series of years with the Masonry of
Massachusetts, certainly makes him a competent judge.
besides Hayes was one of the Inspectors appointed by Stephen Morin for the
propagation of the Rite of Perfection which subsequently became the Ancient
and Accepted Rite, and if the degree had been instituted by him, it would have
assumed, which it did not, the form of Ramsay's Royal Arch, or the thirteenth
degree of that Rite, as it did in Virginia, where Royal Arch Masonry was
introduced by Myers, who was one of the collaborators of Hayes.
according to Moore, the degrees conferred by the St. Andrew's Chapter
corresponded in number and name with the degrees which were then conferred in
Scotland, and hence he asserts with great plausibility that the system was
brought over from Scotland, perhaps at the same time that the Warrant for St.
Andrew's Lodge was issued.
degree had no rapid growth in Massachusetts. In 1798 there were but two
Chapters in the State. St. Andrew's at Boston, and King Cyrus's at
Newburyport. These two united to form a Deputy Grand Chapter, and in 1799
became the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts, under the new Constitution of the
General Grand Chapter.
history of the introduction of Royal Arch Masonry into Rhode Island presents
some interesting facts in reference to the degrees which were at that time
conferred preparatory to the Royal Arch.
year 1793 a number of the members of St. John's Lodge number 1, in the city of
Providence, met to consult upon the proper
"Freemasons' Monthly Magazine," vol. xii., p. 165.
The facts stated in this narrative are derived from the Records of St. John's
Lodge, extracts from which were published in "The Warden," a Masonic magazine,
printed at Providence, No. IV., September, 1879, p. 23 et seq.
to be taken for the establishment of a Royal Arch Chapter, after consulting
with those brethren who were already in possession of the degree.
agent was accordingly sent to New York, who, on October 5, 1793, returned with
a Dispensation issued by Washington Chapter in the city of New York.
called in the official records a Dispensation, the words of the instrument
show that it was really a Warrant of Constitution.
date is September 3, 1793.
brethren proceeded under this Warrant to organize Providence Chapter number 2.
This was done on November 23, 1793, with the assistance of certain Royal Arch
Masons who had been invited from Newport, and who were members of a Chapter.
learn from the records of this Chapter, the essential officers were, a High
Priest, King, Scribe, Royal Arch Captain, and Zerubbabel, the latter officer
evidently being the one now known as Principal Sojourner. The fact that an
inferior office was attributed to Zerubbabel instead of the more exalted
station of King, as is now the case, shows that the ritual used in New York
and in Rhode Island was different from the present one.
position for the "Prince of the Captivity" is more conformable to the ritual
of the Sixteenth degree or Prince of Jerusalem, in the Rite of Perfection
which afterward became the Scottish Rite, but altogether incompatible with the
functions ascribed to him in the Royal Arch of the present day.
circumstance would indicate that there is some foundation for the hypothesis
that in its early introduction into the American Colonies, Royal Arch Masonry
was to a considerable extent affected by the rituals of the Hautes Grades or
High Degrees, which were brought over from France in 1761 by Stephen Morin as
the Agent of the "Deputies General of the Royal Art," for the purpose of
"multiplying the sublime degrees of High Perfection."
appointed his Deputies, who spread over the West India islands and the
continent of North America, and there isvery strong evidence that they or some
of them exercised an influence in the organization of Royal Arch Masonry in
several parts of the country.
Charters for Mark Lodges were originally issued by Grand Councils
The language of the Patent issued to Morin.
Prince of Jerusalem. The Select degree was one of the honorary degrees
conferred by the Inspectors - we have seen that Myers, one of Morin's
Inspectors, organized the Royal Arch Masonry of Virginia according to the
ritual of the Thirteenth degree - Moses Michael Hayes, who was also an
Inspector of the new Rite, was at one time Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts, and as he was a very zealous Mason and a very energetic
officer, it can scarcely be doubted that he exercised an influential
connection with St. Andrew's Chapter, the first Chapter established in that
State - and finally we have a significant fact stated in the records of the
organization of the chapter at Providence, which shows the intimate relation
which existed at that time between the Royal Arch Masons who founded the
Chapter and certain possessors of the High Degrees imported into this country
by the deputies and agents of Stephen Morin.
the Dispensation or Warrant had been issued by Washington Chapter for the
holding of a Chapter at Providence, the brethren to whom it had been granted,
feeling perhaps incompetents from their want of skill and experience to
undertake unaided the task of organization, invited the assistance of the
Royal Arch Masons who resided at Newport to give their assistance in the
ceremony. The invitation having been accepted, the lodge met on Tuesday
evening, October 29th. But "unavoidable necessity having prevented the
attendance of the brethren from Newport, the brethren who had met, agreed to
postpone any further meeting until they should arrive." Nearly a month passed
before any further steps were taken toward the organization, and it was not
until November 23d that the Newport Royal Arch Masons having then made their
appearance, the organization was completed.
evidence of the connection of these Newport brethren with the "High Degrees"
is to be found in the following extract from the record of the proceedings:
worthy and respectable Brethren from Newport, viz.: R. W.
Seixas, 45th Degree or Deputy Inspector General of Masonry in and thro'out the
State, and Master of St. John's Lodge number 1, in Newport, the W. Peleg Clark
28th Degree or Knight of the Sun, and Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge in this
State, and the Hon. Thomas W. Moore 28th Degree or Knight of the Sun and
Consul of his Britannic Majesty in this State, having this Day cheerfully
attended at the Council chamber in this Town, agreeably to invitation, for the
express Purpose of assisting in the Formation of a Royal Arch Chapter, the
Brethren of the Royal Arch here, with the brethren aforesaid and our worthy
Brother, Samuel Stearns, 7th Degree, R. A. (who also attended by Invitation),
proceeded agreeably to the Directions in that case provided to open and
consecrate a Royal Arch Chapter, by the name of 'Providence Chapter of Royal
Arch Masons' under the Dispensation from the M. W.
Washington Chapter of R A. Masons of New York, etc." (1)
figure "45 " is evidently either an error of the pen in the manuscript record
or of the press in the printed copy in The Warden. It should be " 43." In
David Vinton's Short Historical Account of Masonry appended to his Masonic
Minstrel, which was published at Dedham, in Massachusetts, in the year 1816,
will be found a list of the degrees said to be conferred in Charleston, New
York, and Newport. The number is 43, and the last, or 43d, is Sovereign Grand
Inspector-General. The number is made up by adding to the thirty-three degrees
of the Scottish Rite ten others, embracing the degrees of the American Rite
and several Orders of Knighthood. In this enumeration the Knight of the Sun is
made the 38th, and therefore I suppose that the number "28" prefixed to that
degree in the extract above quoted is also an error. This enumeration of 43
degrees was never accepted nor used by the legitimate bodies of the Scottish
Rite, but only by some spurious associations which then existed. Newport was
the locality of one of these associations, and Moses Seixas was its chief.
This does not, however, affect the truth of the statement that the possessors
of the "High Degrees," whether legally or illegally obtained, sought, in the
infancy of Royal Arch Masonry in this country, to take a part in its
institution and in giving complexion to its ritual.
is another record in these minutes of the proceedings of Providence Chapter
which is of far greater importance, as it shows, officially, the number,
names, and sequence of the degrees which in the year 1793 and for some time
before were considered asessentially preliminary to the reception of the Royal
meeting on October 5, 1793, when the Dispensation was
Proceedings of Providence Chapter, published in " The Warden," No. iv., p. 24.
received from New York, we find the following proceedings recorded:
M.W. having suggested that in order to confer the R A. Degree it would be
necessary that the Brethren who were Candidates for the same should previously
be initiated in Three Degrees which were between that of Master Mason and the
R A., and to accomplish the business as soon as possible, proposed the
immediate opening of a lodge for that purpose, which was done accordingly.
"Present, M. W. DANIEL STILLWELL, M.
JONA. DONNISON, S. W.
JACOB SMITH, J. W.
the Brethren whose names here follow after due preparation were regularly
initiated in the degrees of Master lWark, Past Master, and Most Excellent
record conclusively proves that Thomas Smith Webb was not the inventor of the
Mark and Most Excellent degrees, an opinion that has been entertained by
several Masonic writers Webb was not initiated into the symbolic degrees until
about the year 1792; certainly not before, for having been born in October,
1771, he was not qualified by age to receive those degrees at an earlier
Royal Arch degree he of course obtained at a still later date, and it is
certain that in October, 1793, he could not have been competent by skill or
experience to invent a ritual, nor could he have had influence enough to
that can justly be ascribed to him is that in 1798, and in the subsequent
years in which he was engaged in teaching a ritual, he modified the degrees of
the Chapter, as well as those of the lodge, so as to give them that permanent
form which they have ever since retained.
though it appears very satisfactorily from this record that about the year
1793 the system of degrees given in a Royal Arch Chapter was well settled in
the Northern States, at least in New York and in New England, yet in other
parts of the United States and in Canada there remained for a long time, even
to the early years of the 19th century, a great diversity in the names and
number of the preparatory degrees.
Philadelphia, where Royal Arch Masonry made its first appearance, having been
derived from England through a military lodge, warranted by the Ancient
Masons, the system pursued by the Atholl Grand Lodge appears to have adopted,
and the Royal Arch immediately followed the Master's degree. Such was the case
in Royal Arch Lodge number 3, whose minutes, as far back as 1767, have been
lodge was so styled because it conferred the Royal Arch degree as well as the
three symbolic degrees. In its minutes, so far as they have been published, we
shall find no allusion to any preparatory steps. Indeed, the only reference to
the degree in the earlier minutes is on December 3, 1767, when the important
admission is made that the initiation into the symbolic degrees of a candidate
who had been Entered, Passed, and Raised by three Royal Arch Masons acting
without a Warrant was lawful. (2) There is no evidence elsewhere, either in
England or America, that this prerogative was ever claimed or admitted for the
possessors of the Royal Arch degree.
was, however, from the earliest period made the qualification of the Royal
Arch degree that the candidate should have passed the chair either by election
or by a dispensation from the Grand Master.
learn from the minutes of Jerusalem Chapter number 3 that in 1783 the Royal
Arch as given in Pennsylvania differed so much from that conferred in Scotland
that Bro. George Read, coming from the latter country, where he had been made
a Royal Arch Mason, "not being able to make himself known in some of the most
interesting points, he was (in consequence of his certificate) granted the
privilege of a second initiation." Bro. Charles E. Meyer, when quoting this
extract from the Minutes, in his History of Royal Arch Masonry and of
Jerusalem Chapter number 3, as a proof that the rituals of Scotland and
Pennsylvania were not alike, says: "It would be interesting to know what these
points were that Bro. Read did not possess."
"See Early History and Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania," Part
1., p. 11.
"It appearing by good authority that Bro. John Hoodless has been duly and
lawsfully entered, passed and raised at Fort Pitt in the year 1759 by our
brethren, John Maine, James Woodward and Richard Sully, all Royal Arch
Masons." Minutes of Royal Arch Lodge, No. 3.
think it very probable that there was a difference in the rituals of the two
countries at that time, as there is at the present day.
the proof of it from this record is not positive, since the question may very
naturally arise, whether the difficulty in this case arose from the difference
of ritual or from the ignorance or forgetfulness of the candidate, who had
possibly not retained in full the lesson which he had been taught.
May, 1795, we have the first record of the adoption of the Mark as a
preparatory degree, though Bro. Myers thinks it was doubtless previously
conferred as a side degree.
first record of the Most Excellent Master's degree in the minutes of Jerusalem
Chapters is on November 5, 1796, and from that time the three preparatory
degrees have been conferred in Pennsylvania as they are in the other States.
Virginia, the Royal Arch was introduced as we have already seen by Myers, and
was not the degree practiced either by the Ancient Masons of England or by the
Chapters of this country. It was the Thirteenth degree or Royal Arch of
Solomon, contained in the series of degrees of the Rite of Perfection.
Dislocated from its proper place in the original Rite to which it belonged, it
was made to follow the Third degree, without the interpolation of any
Subsequently the Virginia Chapters introduced preliminary degrees, derived
from other sources. In the minutes of the Grand Chapter, as late as 1808, we
find references to the degrees of "Most Excellent Master," and of "Arch and
Royal Arch Excellent and Super-Excellent Masons."
Connecticut all the Chapters except one had derived their Warrants from
Washington Chapter of New York, and necessarily adopted the system of degrees
which was practiced by it and by the Chapters which it established. These
degrees, as we have already seen in the instance of Providence Chapter in
Rhode Island, were the Master Mark, Past and Most Excellent Master as
preliminary to the Royal Arch. (2)
Dove, " Royal Arch Text Book," p. 132.
There was not, however, absolute uniformity. According to Wheeler ("Records of
Capitular Masonry in Connecticut," p. 21), the minutes of Solomon Chapter No.
5 at Derby contain no notice of the Past Master's degree until January, 1796,
and the Mark and Most Excellent Master are not mentioned until a later period.
Vanden Broeck Chapter, at Colchester, which was warranted in 1796 by the Grand
Chapter of New York, the names and sequence of the preparatory degrees was as
follows: Mark Master, Excellent Master, and Super-Excellent Master. In 1800 it
conformed to the system which has been established by the General Grand
Excellent Master was exchanged for Past Master, and Super-Excellent for Most
Excellent. (1) It is probable that the change was rather in the nomenclature
than in the ritual.
have already seen that the names and ranks of the officers of Chapters in the
18th century differed from those now used. For instance, Zerubbabel, who now
occupies one of the prominent places in our modern ritual, was formerly placed
at the bottom of the list.
by-laws of Hiram Chapter, at Newtown, which were adopted March 3, 1792, give
the following succinct account of the duties of these officers, and throw
considerable light upon the ritualistic history of the time:
shall be the duty of the High Priest to preside at every meeting, to direct
the business and to give occasionally a lecture; of the King to preside in the
absence of the High Priest, and to assist him in his duty; of the Scribe, to
preside in the absence of both, to cause the Secretary to enter in a fair and
regular manner the proceedings of the Chapter in a book provided for that
purpose, to summons the members for attendance at every regular and special
meeting and also to administer the obligation; of Zerubbabel, to superintend
the arrangements of the Chapter; of the Royal Arch Captain, to keep watch at
the Sanctuary; of the three Grand Masters, to watch the vails; of the
Treasurer, to receive the monies, to keep an account thereof and to pay none
but on the warrant of the High Priest, and to render an account at the meeting
previous to the annual election; of the Secretary, to keep the minutes under
the direction of the Scribe, to receive the fees for admission, and to pay the
same to the Treasurer; of the Clothier, to provide and to take care of the
clothing; of the Architect, to provide and take care of the furniture." (2)
Royal Arch was probably introduced into many of the Southern States, as it had
been into the Northern, either by possessors of the degree coming direct from
England, or by military
"Records of Capitular Masonry in Connecticut," p. 24.
By-laws of Hiram Chapter, Article VIII. See Wheeler's "Early Records." D. 10.
in the British army, and which held their Warrants from the Grand Lodge of the
Chapters were, however, not organized as independent bodies, but the degree
was, until some time after the beginning of the 19th century, conferred both
in South Carolina and Georgia, and, I think, also in North Carolina, (1) in
Chapters dependent on and deriving their authority from Master's Warrants.
years ago, while investigating the history of Royal Arch Masonry in South
Carolina, I was led to make the following statements, the correctness of which
I have since had no reason to doubt. (2)
in years past made the acquaintance of several Royal Arch Masons in the upper
part of South Carolina, who had received their degrees in Master's lodges. The
long period which had elapsed since their withdrawal from the active pursuits
of Freemasonry, and the imperfection of memory attendant on their extreme age,
prevented them from furnishing me with all the particular information in
reference to the ritual which I desired, but I learned enough from my frequent
conversations with these Patriarchs of the Order (all of whom must long since
have succeeded to their heritage in the Celestial Lodge) to enable me to
state, positively, that in the upper counties of the State, at as late a
period as the year 1813, the Royal Arch degree was conferred in Master's
lodges. The same condition of things existed in the neighboring State of
manuscript Minutes of Royal Arch Chapter number 1, under the sanction of
Forsyth's Lodge number 14," are now, or were, some years ago, on the Archives
of the Grand Chapter of Georgia. For an examination of these interesting
records I was indebted to the kindness of the Grand Secretary, Comp. B. B.
Chapter met in the City of Augusta, and the Minutes, to which I shall have
occasion again to refer, are restricted to the year 1796.
records state that the chapter at Savannah, having announced its intention to
apply to the Grand Lodge of Georgia for
The first warrant for an independent chapter in North Carolina was granted in
1808 by the Grand Chapter of Virginia to "sundry Royal Arch Masons" in Bertie
County. But the petition was recommended by the Lodge at Windsor, and by the
Master of the Lodge at Winston. The Royal Arch Masons who signed the petition
had, it is to be supposed, previously received the degree in these Lodges.
"Royal Arch Text Book," p. 122.
Mackey's "History of Freemasonry in South Carolina," 1861, p.
dispensation or warrant, a letter was written to the brethren at Savannah by
the chapter at Augusta on May 27, 1796, in which the following declaration
there is any rule or by-law that requires a Royal Arch Chapter to apply for a
special dispensation or Warrant, it is unknown to us. We conceive that the
Warrant given to Forsyth's Lodge was sufficient for the members thereof to
confer any degree in Masonry agreeable to the ancient usages and customs." (1)
same usage was pursued at the same time in South Carolina, where, as has been
previously stated, Orange Lodge number 14 in 1796 adopted a resolution to
"sanction the opening of a Royal Arch Chapter under its jurisdiction, and
again in January, 1803, resolved "that the privilege of the Warrant of this
lodge be granted for the use of the Royal Arch Chapter of Charleston." (2)
this usage was not confined to the Atholl lodges is seen from the fact that
while Orange Lodge in South Carolina was a lodge of "Ancient Masons," all the
lodges in Georgia were "Moderns," the Atholl Grand Lodge of England never
having extended its jurisdiction over that State nor organized any lodges in
first Chapters in these States, under the constitution of the General Grand
Chapter, were established in 1805 at Beaufort in South Carolina and at
Savannah in Georgia.
Grand Chapter of the former State was formed in 1812; that of the latter in
reverting to the subject of the early ritual of Royal Arch Masonry and to the
differences which prevailed toward the end of the 18th century in the names
and character of the degrees, we shall meet with some interesting information
in these Minutes of the Royal Arch Chapter at Augusta.
business of electing candidates for the Royal Arch having been accomplished in
an informal meeting of Royal Arch Masons. a Master Mason lodge was opened,
when, the qualification for exal tation being to "pass the chair," they were
made what are now called "Virtual Past Masters."
find this in the records of the first meeting of the Chapter of which the
following is an exact transcript made by me from the original manuscript.
"MS. Minutes of Forsyth's Royal Arch Chapter." (2) "Historical Sketch"
appended to By-laws of Orange Lodge, p. 4
meeting of the subscribers, Royal Arch Masons at Forsyth's Lodge room the 29th
a petition from Brothers Joseph Hutchinson, William Dearmond, and John
McGowan, Master Masons of Forsyth's Lodge, praying to become Royal Arch
companions; and the same being agreed to, a Master's lodge was then opened.
"Present: Thomas Bray, Master; Thomas Davis, S.W.; D.B. Butler, J.
Joseph Hutchinson, Tyler; William Dearmond, John McGowan.
"Brothers Hutchinson, Dearmond, and McGowan were regularly passed the chair
and obtained the degree of Past Master, and returned thanks for the same. The
lodge was closed.
Royal Arch Chapter was then opened in ancient form.
"Present: Thomas Bray, H. P.; Thomas Davis, C.S.; D.B. Butler, K.
Hutchinson (attending) received the preparatory degree; also Brothers Past
Masters Dearmond and McGowan. They were then in rotation raised to the
super-excellent degree of Royal Arch Masons, and returned thanks for the
Subsequent minutes are of the same character, except that the election of the
candidates took place in a Master's lodge and not as in the first in an
informal meeting of Royal Arch Masons. But, of course, we are to suppose that
all the Master Masons present were not only Past Masters but also Royal Arch
what were the preparatory degrees? That question is answered by the Minutes of
November 29, 1796 these degrees are for the first time given. The record is as
extra meeting of Forsyth's Lodge, convened by the order of the W. M. and held
at the court-house on Tuesday 29 November, 1796.
"Present: Thomas Bray, Master; Thomas Davis, S.W.; William Dearmond, J. W. pro
Master's Mark lodge was opened for the purpose of conferring the degrees of
Fellow-Craft Mark and Master Mark on Brothers John McGowan, Lawrence Trotti,
and John B. Wilkinson, when they, attending, received the same and returned
thanks to the lodge; which was then closed. A Past Master's lodge was then
"Present: Thomas Bray, M.; Thomas Davis, S.W.; William Dearmond, J.
tem., John McGowan.
lodge was opened for the purpose of conferring the degree of Past Master on
Brothers Lawrence Trotti and John B. Wilkinson, when, they attending, were
regularly passed the chair and obtained the degree of Past Master, and gave
thanks for the same. The lodge was then closed in ancient form. The Royal Arch
Chapter was then opened.
"Present: Thomas Bray, H. P.; Thomas Davis, C. S.; John McGowan, K.; William
Dearmond, R. A. C.
minutes of the last Chapter were read. The M. E. H. P.
informed the companions present that the Chapter was called for the purpose of
conferring the Super-excellent degree on Brothers Lawrence Trotti and John B.
Wilkinson, who were then attending.
Trotti was then duly prepared and received the preparatory degree of R. M. and
R. A., also Brother Wilkinson. They were then raised to the super-excellent
degree of Royal Arch Mason, and returned thanks. The Chapter was then closed
by order of the M. E.
records supply us with several interesting and important facts relating to the
ritual and the organization of Royal Arch Masonry in America about the close
of the 18th century.
Chapter degrees were then, as has been already shown from other sources,
conferred under the sanction of the Warrant of a Master's lodge, but the body
in which the Royal Arch degree was given was called a Chapter.
Royal Arch Masons were not then deemed necessary to the opening of a Chapter
or the conferring of the degree.
only officers mentioned are a High-Priest, Chief Scribe, King, Royal Arch
Captain, Treasurer and Secretary, and the Scribe appears to have taken
precedence of the King. The officer called "Zerubbabel" in the Northern
Chapters, is not mentioned in the Southern. In the latter it is probable that
the same officer was called the "Royal Arch." The Royal Arch Captain could not
have supplied his place, for both officers are recorded in the Minutes of the
Providence Chapter in Rhode Island. The absence of an officer called "Zerubbabel"
in the Southern Chapters, while it is found in all Northern ones, would
evidently indicate some difference in the rituals of the two sections of the
country. It is also significant on this point, that in the records of the
Chapters at Augusta, no mention is made of the three Grand Masters of the
Vails. They are included in the list of officers of all the Chapters in
Connecticut which derived their Warrants and, we may suppose, their rituals
from the Washington Chapter in New York.
always deemed an indispensable qualification for the reception of the Royal
Arch degree that the candidate should be a Past Master. This practice,
established in England at the origin of the degree, was followed by all the
Chapters in America. As the restriction of the degree to those only who had
presided for twelve months over a Symbolic lodge and thus become "Actual Past
Masters" would have circumscribed the number of candidates within a very
narrow and inconvenient limit, the ceremony of passing the chair was invented,
by which the candidate became a "Virtual Past Master." This usage, which was
the real origin of what is now called the Past Master's degree, was adopted by
all the American Chapters, and thus the earliest records of the Augusta
Chapter show that each person before being raised to the degree of Royal Arch
was made to "pass the chair."
first, as is shown by the minutes of February 29, 1796, the ceremony was
performed in a Master's lodge. The same usage was observed at several
subsequent meetings, but on December 26, 1796, for the first time it is
recorded that the Master's lodge was closed and a Past Master's was opened for
the purpose of conferring what had then become, not a mere qualification, but
a preparatory degree.
preparatory degrees are mentioned in the earliest Minutes, but their names are
not given until a later period. From the later minutes we learn what these
degrees were. They are recorded in the November minutes as having the
following names and being given in the following order:
Master, Fellow-Craft Mark, Master Mark, R.M., and R.A. These last two degrees
are never recorded otherwise than by their initials, but we have every reason
to believe, from other authorities, that they were Royal Master and Royal Ark,
or Royal Ark Master.
Cole, writing in 1826, says of these two degrees that "they are considered as
merely preparatory and are usually conferred immediately before the solemn
ceremony of exaltation." Cole's work received the sanction of the Grand Lodge
of Maryland, and it is hence evident that these two degrees were at one time
conferred in the Chapters of the State. They were not known to or practiced in
the chapters of the Northern States.
will be noticed also, as a further evidence of the want of uniformity in the
rituals of the 18th century, that the Minutes of the Chapter at Augusta make
no reference to the Most Excellent Master's degree, which from an early period
was always conferred as a preparatory step to the Royal Arch in the Northern
Passing over from the United States to Canada, we shall find the Royal Arch
ritual at the close of the 18th century in another but still confused
year 1856 the members of Ancient Frontenac Chapter, attached to the St. John's
Lodge number 491, English Register, situated at Kingston in Canada, published
a history of the Chapter from its organization. From this little but
interesting work may be gleaned a very satisfactory statement of the character
and condition of Royal Arch Masonry at the end of the 18th and the beginning
of the 19th century.
Ancient Frontenac Chapter, which is or was the old Chapter in Canada West, was
established at Freemasons' Tavern, in the town of Kingston, on June 7, 1797,
under the sanction of a Warrant which had been granted to Lodge number 6 on
November 20, 1795, by R. W.
William Jarvis, at that time Provincial Grand Master of Canada, under the
Atholl Grand Lodge of England.
Master's lodges in Canada, as in the neighboring United States, assumed the
right to hold Chapters for conferring the Royal Arch degree. It was a right
always sanctioned by the usages of the "Ancients" and tolerated by the
"Moderns," nor ever denied until after the organization of the General Grand
Chapter at Hartford. As late as February, 1806, at a convocation held in
Kingston a charge was preferred against a member of Frontenac Chapter of "unmasonic
conduct in striving to separate the Holy Royal Arch Chapter from the body of
the year 1809, the three principal officers of the Chapter were designated as
"1, High-Priest; 2, Solomon, King of Israel; and 3, Hiram, King of Tyre."
Judging by this, we must conclude that the ritual used in Frontenac Chapter
differed very materially from all the various systems which prevailed at the
time in other parts of America.
earliest records of the Chapter do not show any recognition of preparatory
degrees. The "Most Excellent" was first conferred on April 17, 1807, and the
"Mark" on July 20, 1818. These degrees were not, however, even then
obligatory, but appear to have been taken or not, at the action of the
candidate; and as there was an attendant expense, few of the brethren availed
themselves of the opportunity of receiving them. The Past Master's was,
however, a prerequisite qualification toward exaltation, and, as elsewhere, it
was always conferred in the Master's lodge to which the Chapter was attached.
the end of the last century, many candidates were exalted when only seven
Royal Arch Masons were present, the mystical number nine not being then
required to constitute a quorum for conferring the degree.
Capitular Masonry seems to have been separated in Canada from Lodge Masonry in
1806, for on January 18th in that year a decision was received from the
Provincial Grand Master for holding a Chapter at Kingston, which, says the
pamphlet from which I have been quoting, was "the first step towards this
Chapter working under a warrant separate from that of the Craft lodge."
February 10, 1818, the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Upper Canada was
established, and on March 25th of the following year Frontenac Chapter number
1 received its Charter as one of its constituents.
extracts given in the preceding pages, from the records of Chapters working at
the close of the last and the beginning of the present century, have been
sufficient to show that there prevailed at that time, in the different parts
of the American Continent, a very confusing variety in the ritual of the Royal
Arch and in the number of preparatory degrees, which clearly demonstrates that
the conflicting systems must have been derived from different sources.
these sources were it is impossible to precisely say, at least in every
instance, in consequence of the unavoidable scantiness of the records. The
general drift of history leads us to believe that among these sources were the
Grand Lodge of Ancients, in England, and at a later period the Grand Lodge of
Moderns, both of whom disseminated the degree through their military lodges,
the Grand Lodge of Scotland, or rather the Royal Arch Masons of that kingdom,
who practiced the degree without the recognition of their Grand Lodge, and as
in Virginia and the Southern States the possessors of the "Sublime degrees,"
as they were called, which had been introduced into this country from France
by Stephen Morin and his emissaries or deputies.
result of borrowing rituals from so many different sources inevitably led to a
deplorable diversity in the ceremonies, which led the Royal Arch Masons in
some of the Northern States to attempt the laying of a firm foundation on
which a uniform system might be established, and the constitution of a
superintending authority which should maintain that uniformity, and give to
Capitular Masonry a symmetry and shapeliness which should secure to it a
permanence and success such as had been previously given to Craft Masonry by
the ritualistic labors of Desaguliers and his associates in the second and
third decades of the 18th century.
work of reformation and of purification, in which the dross was rejected and
the pure ore only retained, was finally accomplished by the institution of the
General Grand Chapter of the United States, which was one of the most
important events in the Masonic history of the United States.
this event we must therefore next direct our attention. But the extent and
interest of the subject demand a separate chapter for its consideration.
THE GENERAL GRAND CHAPTER OF
THE UNITED STATES
system of Royal Arch Masonry which is practiced in the United States of
America is really indebted to the organization of the General Grand Chapter
for its existence and popularity, no history of that body could be complete
without some account of the Masonic life of Thomas Smith Webb, who was the
founder of both the system and the General Grand Chapter.
shall therefore precede the history of the origin of the General Grand Chapter
by a brief sketch of the Masonic services of that distinguished ritualist. (1)
Smith Webb was the son of English parents who had emigrated to this country a
few years before his birth, and settled at Boston, in the State of
Massachusetts, where he was born, on October 13, 1771.
received an elementary education in the public schools, he was bound as an
apprentice to the art of printing, or perhaps of book-binding. There is some
uncertainty about this question, but the testimony preponderates in favor of
the former. It is, however, not material as, in after life, he did not pursue
soon after removed to Keene, in New Hampshire, he there married, and about the
year 1792 was initiated in the primary degrees of Freemasonry.
Subsequently he removed to Albany in New York. It is probable that he there
received the higher degrees, as we find him, while residing there, engaged in
the establishment of a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and a Commandery of
Templars. We may also suppose
"Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry" will be found a copious memoir of Webb,
from which, as the creation of my own pen, I have not hesitated to borrow the
materials and indeed much of the language of the present sketch.
while living in Albany he became acquainted with the Ineffable degrees of
which Albany was an early seat.
about this time that Webb commenced his career as a Masonic ritualist and
teacher. In 1797 he published the first edition of his Freemasons' Monitor, or
Illustrations of Masonry. (1) In the Preface to this work he acknowledges his
indebtedness to Preston for the observations on the first three degrees. But
he states in his Preface that he has made an arrangement of the lectures which
differs from that of Preston, because the latter's distribution of the
sections is not "agreeable to the present mode of working." (2) If other proof
were wanting this would be enough to show that the "Prestonian work," as it
has been called, differed from that then practiced in the United States, and
ought to be an answer to those who at a later period have attempted to claim
an identity between the ritual and lectures of Webb and those of Preston.
1801 he removed to Providence, R. I., and commenced the manufacture of
wall-paper on an extensive scale. But he did not abandon his labors in the
field of Speculative Masonry. By invitation he became a member of St. John's
Lodge number 2, of Providence. He passed through the various grades of office
and was elected in 1813 Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island.
labors in the constitution of a Grand, and afterward a General Grand Chapter,
will be hereafter referred to.
continuing his interest in the manufacture in which he was engaged he did not
neglect his Masonic labors, but in 1816 visited the Western part of the United
States and appeared to have been actively employed in the organization of
Chapters and Encampments.
died at Cleveland, O., where he was on a visit on July 6, 1819, and was buried
with Masonic honors. The body was subsequently disinterred and carried to
Providence, where it was reinterred by the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island.
This edition is very rare. The title-page, in a copy now lying before me, is
as follows: "The Freemasons Monitor; or Illustrations of Masonry: in two
Parts. By a Royal Arch Mason, K. T. - K, of M. - &c., &c. Printed at Albany,
for Spencer and Webb, Market street, 1797," p. 284.
"The observations upon the first three degrees are principally taken from
Preston's 'Illustrations of Masonry,' with some necessary alterations. Mr.
Preston's distribution of the first lecture into six, the second into four,
and the third into twelve sections, not being agreeable to the present mode of
working, they are arranged in this work according to the general practice
First edition. Preface.
Webb's Masonic character and services, I see no reason to say otherwise than
what I have already said on a former occasion.
influence over the Freemasons of this country is to be ascribed almost wholly
to his personal communication with them and to his oral teachings. He has made
no mark in Masonic literature of any importance. His labors and his reputation
as an author are confined to a single work, and that one of but little
pretension. It is, indeed, only a meager syllabus of his Lectures. He seems,
though the author of a Masonic system now universally practiced in the United
States, to have been but very inadequately imbued with the true philosophical
spirit of symbolism. He was an able workman of the ritual which he had
invented, and an effective teachers and to this he owed his popularity. The
deficiencies of his system are to be regretted, but Webb undoubtedly deserves
commendation for his devotion and perseverance in the establishment or a
system of ritualism which has been productive of such abundant fruit.
Freemasons of America have generally attributed to him the invention of the
preliminary degrees of the Chapter. But of this fact we have no satisfactory
evidence, while there is much to the contrary. It has been seen in a preceding
chapter that the Mark and Past degrees, as well as the Most Excellent, though
probably under a different name, had been conferred in Chapters before Webb
had been exalted in Albany to the Royal Arch.
what Webb really did, was to change the rituals of these degrees and to give
to them the form which is now universally adopted in the Chapters of this
instance, the Mark Master's and the Most Excellent Master's songs, which now
constitute essential parts of the working of those degrees, and are
indispensably connected with their most important ceremonies, were composed by
him and first published in his FreeMason's Monitor. They could therefore have
been introduced into the work only after his composition of them.
short, Webb can be deemed the founder of what is now called the "American
Rite" only in so far that he modified the degrees which had previously
existed, and gave to them not only a new and improved form, but established
them in a legitimate sequence which has ever since been recognized by the
Previous to his teaching, there was no regularity in the management of the
preliminary degrees. In some Chapters they were conferred as preparatory to
the Royal Arch; in others they were omitted, and the Royal Arch immediately
followed the Third degree. For the permanent regularity now existing, we are
certainly indebted to Thomas Smith Webb.
this brief sketch of the Masonic life of this popular ritualist, we are now
prepared to direct our attention to that portion of his labors which were
especially given to the establishment of Royal Arch Masonry on a plan peculiar
to this country.
supplement of the Master's degree, which had been introduced by the Seceders
into the English system, about the middle of the last century, was not long
after imported into this country. This importation has been generally
attributed to the military lodges which worked under the regime of the Atholl
Grand Lodge, and which had received, at the time of their constitution, the
instructions and the privileges of the Royal Arch.
been seen that the first American Chapter was instituted at Philadelphia in
1758, and that the degree had been received from an English military lodge, at
that time stationed in that city.
somewhat later period in the century the Royal Arch degree was conferred in
many lodges in the United States, under a Master's Warrant. This custom
continued for several years to be observed in the Southern States, where
distinct Chapters were unknown until the 19th century.
the Northern States, the control of the Royal Arch was assumed by independent
Chapters at an earlier period.
the records of the General Grand Chapter it appears that St.
Andrew's Chapter was instituted at Boston, in 1769; King Cyrus Chapter at
Newburyport, Mass., in 1790; Providence Chapter at Providence, R. I., in 1793;
Solomon Chapter at Derby, Conn., in 1794; Franklin Chapter at Norwich, another
of the same name at New Haven, Conn., and Hudson Chapter at Hudson, N. Y., in
Chapter at Albany, N. Y., is mentioned in the Proceedings of a convention held
in 1797, and was probably instituted at an earlier period.
October 24, 1797, a convention of Royal Arch Masons was held in Boston, for
the purpose of forming a Grand Chapter.
this convention delegates from three Chapters were present:
"Compendium of Proceedings of the General Grand Chapter from 1797 to 1856," p.
Andrew's, of Boston; Temple, of Albany, and King Cyrus, of Newburyport.
convention, probably in consequence of the small number of Chapters
represented, did no more than issue a circular addressed to the various
Chapters in the Northern States, recommending a future meeting to be held at
this circular the delegates at Boston enunciated the principle which has since
been universally accepted as the law of Royal Arch Masonry in the United
States; namely, that "no Grand Lodge of Master Masons can claim or exercise
authority over any convention or Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, nor can any
Chapter, although of standing immemorial, exercise the authority of a Grand
January 24, 1798, a convention of delegates from seven Chapters assembled at
Hartford, in the State of Connecticut.
this convention the following Chapters were represented: St.
Andrew's, of Boston; King Cyrus, of Newburyport; Providence, of Providence;
Solomon, of Derby; Franklin, of Norwich; Franklin, of New Haven; and Hudson,
States represented were, therefore, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut,
and New York.
then unanimously resolved that the delegates should establish a Grand Chapter
for the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut,
Vermont, and New York, to be denominated " The Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the
Northern States of America." (2)
next day, delegates from Temple and from Horeb Chapter, both of New York,
presented their credentials. These nine Chapters then proceeded to the
organization of a Grand Chapter.
January 26, 1798, a constitution was adopted and immediately afterward the
officers were elected.
preamble to this constitution ordains and establishes the body as "The Grand
Royal Arch Chapter for the Northern States of America," a title under which
jurisdiction was assumed over the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York.
each of these States there was to be under the jurisdiction of the Grand
Chapter a Deputy Grand Chapter, over which a Deputy
"Compendium of Proceedings," p. 6.
Ibid., p. 9
High-Priest was to preside, assisted by a Deputy Grand King and a Deputy Grand
Grand Chapter was to be composed of its officers elected for the time, of the
Past Grand High-Priests, Kings, and Scribes, and of the first three officers
of the Deputy Grand Chapters.
Deputy Grand Chapters were to be composed of the elected officers, of the Past
Deputy Grand High-Priests, Kings, and Scribes, and of the High-Priests, Kings,
and Scribes of the subordinate Chapters.
Grand Chapter was to meet biennially and the Deputy Grand Chapters annually,
and the first meeting of the former body was to be held at Middletown, Conn.,
on the following September.
this Constitution the nomenclature and precedency of the Capitular degrees,
which had hitherto been somewhat unsettled, was finally determined, so that
the names and order of sequence should remain forever thereafter as they were
arrangement has ever since remained unchanged and makes the Mark Master, Past
Master, and Most Excellent Master essentially preliminary degrees, to be
followed by the Royal Arch degree as the consummation of the system.
constitution gave to the Grand Chapter an exclusive power to hear and
determine all controversies between Chapters within its jurisdiction, and an
appellate jurisdiction over all the proceedings of the Deputy Grand Chapters.
as regards the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New
York, which States were represented in the convention, the Constitution was
definitely adopted. But the Chapters in Vermont and New Hampshire, not having
sent delegates, a committee was appointed to solicit their concurrence in the
convention then proceeded to the first election on the newly adopted
constitution, which resulted in the following choice of officers:
Ephraim Kirby, of Connecticut, Grand High-Priest; Benjamin Hurd, Jr., of
Massachusetts, Grand King; Thomas Smith Webb, of New York, Grand Scribe;
William Woart, of Massachusetts, Grand Secretary; Rev. Abraham Lynsen Clarke,
of Rhode Island, Grand Chaplain; Stephen Titus Hosmer, of Connecticut, Grand
Treasurer, and Gurdon Lathrop, of Connecticut, Grand Marshal.
will be seen that the meeting here described was only that of a convention to
take the preliminary steps for the organization of a Grand Chapter. The first
meeting of the "Grand Chapter of the Northern States," after that
organization, was holden on October 19, 1798, at the city of Middletown in
Connecticut. The object of the meeting, as expressed in the Proceedings, was
"for the choice of officers." Although these had already been elected, at the
meeting of the convention in January preceding, that election was not by the
Grand Chapter, which was at that time inchoate, and could hardly have been
considered as regular. It was therefore legalized by the subsequent action on
October 1, 1798, which was in fact the first meeting of the Grand Chapter.
"Agreeably to the Constitution," says the compendium, "the Grand Chapter
proceeded to the choice of officers, when on sorting and counting the votes
the old officers were all declared reselected." (1)
other business was transacted, and the Grand Chapter adjourned to hold its
second meeting on the second Wednesday of January, 1799, at Providence, in the
State of Rhode Island.
Grand Chapter accordingly convened at Providence on January 9, 1799, when the
representatives of the Deputy Grand Chapters of Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
and New York were present.
this Convocation some important changes in the regulations were made, and the
constitution was revised.
title of the Grand Chapter was altered to that of the "General Grand Chapter
of Royal Arch Masons for the six Northern States of America," and its meetings
were changed from a biennial to a septennial period. The Deputy Grand Chapters
were in future to be styled "State Grand Chapters." The powers of the General
Grand Chapter were much abridged. The section giving it appellate jurisdiction
over the State Grand Chapters was omitted from the new Constitution, and has
never again been re-asserted. Its powers were confined to a control of the
ritual and to the establishment of Chapters in States where there were no
Grand Chapters. It continued, however, to maintain the prerogative of defining
the powers and functions of State Grand Chapters. This prerogative has never
been denied, and the law of Royal Arch Masonry, as it now exists and has ever
since the close of the last century existed in this country, is dependent on
the Constitution of the General Grand Chapter.
"Compendium of Proceedings," p. 18.
the internal regulations of the State Grand Chapters and their subordinates
are all directed by this Constitution. It prescribed the method of granting
charters, the number of petitioners, the fee to be paid, the titles of the
officers, the time of election, the price of the degrees, and the rule for
receiving candidates, with several other points, all of which have always been
word, the Constitution of the General Grand Chapter has been received as, in
some sort, the common law of Royal Arch Masonry in this country. This law,
derived from and formulated by that body, has universally been accepted, and
it is admitted that it cannot be repealed or rescinded in any of its parts by
any inferior body.
General Grand Chapter had accomplished no other good result by its
organization, this alone would furnish a sufficient defense of its
institution, and an answer to those discontented spirits who from time to time
have sought for its dissolution.
third convocation was holden at Middletown, Conn., on January 9, 1806.
Representatives from only four States were present. The Constitution was again
revised, and some important changes were made. Hitherto the General Chapter
had claimed jurisdiction over only the six Northern States. But it now sought
to extend its territorial limits over the whole country and assumed the more
pretentious title of "The General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons for the
United States of America." This title it has ever since retained.
oath of allegiance was also for the first time prepared, and every officer of
a lodge or Chapter under the jurisdiction of the General Body was required, on
assuming office, to swear that he would support and maintain the General Grand
Royal Arch Constitution.
exclusive right of issuing charters to subordinate Chapters, in States where
there were Grand Chapters, was conferred by this constitution on those bodies,
while the General Grand Chapter reserved to itself the right of issuing
warrants for Chapters which were to be established in States where no Grand
next septennial convocation of the General Grand Chapter should have taken
place in 1813. But at that time the United States were engaged in a war with
Great Britain, and the situation of the country incidental to such a cause was
such as to prevent the General Grand Chapter from convening.
special session was called in 1816 at the city of New York. But no business of
any especial importance was transacted, except the admission of the Grand
Chapter of Maryland and the District of Columbia, under a provision which
permitted it to confer the degrees of Royal and Select Master as preliminary
to the Royal Arch. This permission has always been refused to other Grand
Chapters, as being in positive contradiction of the terms of the constitution,
which recognizes only three preparatory degrees in the Chapter. In the
subsequent history of the General Grand Chapter this too liberal action has
been found to be productive of some trouble.
Indeed, in the very inception of this proceeding there was an evident
irregularity. The Grand Chapter of Maryland proposed to enter the Union of the
Grand Chapters and to support the Constitution of the General Grand Chapter,
but "requests that it shall not be forced to alter its mode of working."
was reported to the General Grand Chapter by the Committee of conference,
which recommended the admission of the Grand Chapter of Maryland, "under a
consideration of all the circumstances," which of course must have referred to
its request to continue its peculiar mode of working. The terms of the report
were agreed to by the Maryland delegates, and accepted by the General Grand
Chapter, which immediately afterward resolved that the Grand Chapter of
Maryland and the District of Columbia be admitted under its jurisdiction,
"subject to the Constitution and Regulations of the said General Grand
very difficult to discover the real meaning and result of this action. The
acceptance of the report permitted the Maryland body to confer its two
additional preliminary degrees. The adoption of the subsequent resolution
prohibited it from so doing, because the Constitution to which it was made
subject as a condition of admission, recognized only three preliminary
degrees, and excluded the two conferred in Maryland.
Maryland companions selected the explanation which was most agreeable to their
own views. They entered the Union of Grand Chapters, and continued, for a
time, to confer the Royal and Select Master's degrees as preliminary to
exaltation to the Royal Arch.
Subsequently they dropped the Council Degrees and confined themselves to the
usual four degrees.
1829 the General Grand Chapter recommended that these degrees, which have
always been under the control of independent organizations, known as Grand
Councils, should be conferred in Royal Arch Chapters, but in 1853 it retraced
its steps and declared that the Mark, Past, and Most Excellent Master were the
only captular degrees, thus returning to the original arrangement of Webb.
1870 another attempt was made by several of the Grand Chapters to get the two
degrees of Royal and Select Master incorporated as preparatory steps in the
Capitular system, but it did not succeed, and most probably never will.
According to adjournment another session of the General Grand Chapter was
holden in the city of New York on September 9, 1819. No business of great
importance was transacted and it was ordered that the next convocation should
be held at the city of Washington in February, 1823. No such meeting was held.
sixth session of the General Grand Chapter was holden at the city of New York
on September 14, 1826, which was the regular septennial convocation. The Grand
Chapters were largely represented, delegates from no less than fifteen of them
Constitution was again revised, and among other amendments the word
"triennial" was substituted for "septennial," so that the Convocations were
thenceforth to be holden every three years. This regulation has ever since
Probably the most important event that occurred at this meeting was an attempt
made to dissolve the General Grand Chapter. This was the first effort at a
suicidal policy which has since been several times repeated, but always
attack was made by the Grand Chapter of Kentucky, which presented a memorial,
copies of which had previously been transmitted to the different Grand
Chapters with the hope that they would unite in the action.
this memorial the Grand Chapter of Kentucky set forth at great length its
reasons for desiring a dissolution of the organization.
are the same arguments which have since been advanced at different times.
objections urged against the General Grand Chapter were its nationality, the
danger of its usurping the functions and destroying the sovereignty of the
State Grand Chapters, the existence in it of life members, whose voice and
numbers might become more potential than the votes of the elected delegates
who would soon be in a minority, and, finally, the great expense of supporting
such an organization.
the arguments, plausible as they might have appeared, had no weight with the
Grand Chapters, nearly all of which expressed their opposition to any such
movement. When the question was submitted to the convocation, only two votes,
those of the delegates from Kentucky, were found in its favor. Every other
officer and member voted against a dissolution.
"passing strange" that an institution whose utility has been proved by ample
experience, should ever have met with opposition to its existence. We have
already seen that to it we are indebted for that common and universal law,
which has done so much good in the establishment of an organized system.
we remember the discordant condition of Royal Arch Masonry at the close of the
last century, when the number of the degrees, their names and the order of
their sequence, which varied in every State and sometimes even in adjacent
Chapters, when there was no positive and generally recognized principles of
Masonic law, and no authority to which to appeal for the settlement of
controversies in ritual or in custom, and when we view the uniformity which
now prevails in all parts of the country, which is undoubtedly owing to the
weight and influence of the General Grand Chapter as a well- organized head,
it can not be denied that all American Royal Arch Masons owe a debt of
gratitude to the founders of that institution which thus wisely brought order
out of chaos.
not worth while to extend this history beyond the period at which we have
arrived. From the year 1826 the General Grand Chapter, now placed on a stable
foundation, has continued to meet triennially at different cities of the
United States. There has been but one interruption to this continuity. In 1862
a civil war then dividing the country into two hostile sections so that there
was a military impossibility for the convocation to be held at the appointed
place, which was Memphis in Tennessee, the General Grand High Priest, Albert
G. Mackey, suspended the meeting until the restoration of peace, and by his
proclamation the session was held at Columbus, O., in 1865. The session lasted
but one day, when it adjourned to meet in the same place and on the next day
in a new triennial session.
jurisdiction now extends over the whole of the United States, embracing all
the Grand Chapters except those of Pennsylvania and Virginia, which have never
entered into the confederation, and Texas, which withdrew during the war, 1861
- 65, and has never reunited.
following list of all the Presiding officers of the body since its
organization will be of interest as an historical document. It will be seen to
embrace the names of some who have been distinguished in Freemasonry or in
EPHRAIM KIRBY, of Connecticut.
BENJAMIN HURD, of Massachusetts 1816, DEWITT CLINTON, of New York.
EDWARD LIVINGSTON, of Louisiana 1832, EDWARD LIVINGSTON.
Rev. PAUL DEAN, of Massachusetts
Rev. PAUL DEAN.
Rev. PAUL DEAN.
Rev. PAUL DEAN.
ROBERT P. DUNLAP, of Maine.
ROBERT P. DUNLAP
ROBERT P. DUNLAP.
CHARLES GILMAN, of Maryland.
ALBERT G. MACKEY, of South Carolina.
JOHN L. LEWIS, of New York.
JAMES M. AUSTIN, of New York
JOSIAH H. DRUMMOND, of Maine
ELBERT H. ENGLISH, of Arkansas.
JOHN FRIZZELL, of Tennessee.
ROBERT F. BOWER of Iowa.
ALFRED F. CHAPMAN, of Massachusetts.
NOBLE D. LARNER, of District of Columbia.
DAVID F. DAY, of New York.
JOSEPH P. HORNOR, of Louisiana.
GEORGE L. MCCAHAN, of Maryland.
REUBEN C. LEMMON, of Ohio.
JAMES W. TAYLOR, of Georgia.
ARTHUR G. POLLARD, of Massachusetts.
JOSEPH E. DYAS, of Illinois.
NATHAN KINGSLEY, of Minnesota.
In Deo Fiducia Nostra.
Or \ of Washington, June 24th,
GRAND COMMANDER OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL FOR THE SOUTHERN JURISDICTION OF THE
Free-Masons of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite throughout this
BRETHREN: Sickness and old age have brought the ending of his days to the Dean
of the Supreme Council, its Secretary-General, Brother ALBERT GALLATIN MACKEY,
Born at Charleston, in South Carolina, on the 12th of March, 1807, made a
Mason there, it is said, in the year 1831, he became a member of the Supreme
Council and Secretary General in 1844, and continued to be both until his
death, at Fortress Monroe, in Virginia, on the 20th of June, 1881.
Masonic Text-books written by him for the Symbolic Lodge, the Chapter of Royal
Arch, and the Council of Royal and Select Masters, his Treatises on Masonic
Jurisprudence, on Parliamentary Law as applied in Masonry, and on Symbolism,
his Lexicon and Encyclopaedia of Free-Masonry, and the Masonic Periodicals at
different times edited by him, have made his name as an Author widely and well
known in this and in other countries. He stood, indeed, at the head, facile
princeps, of all the Masonic writers of the world. A ripe scholar and an
accomplished writer as well as an educated physician, he would have won even a
larger fame in other and wider fields of literature.
Mackey was Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina for many
years, a Commander of Templars, Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of
Royal Arch Masons of the State, and General Grand High Priest of the General
Grand Chapter of the United States. In the Sessions of 1856 and 1859 of that
Body, he was especially prominent in debate. In our Supreme Council, in 1870,
he was elected Lieutenant Grand Commander, and declined, preferring to
continue to be Grand Secretary. The Symbolic Masonry, above all, is his
debtor, because most of his works were written for the use of the Masons of
the Blue Degrees; and he intended to render it further service, if he had
lived, by exploding some of the fictions that have been imposed upon Masons
for history and truth.
Mackey had lived all his life among gentlemen, and had the manners and habits
of a gentleman. Tall, erect, of spare but vigorous frame, his somewhat harsh
but striking features were replete with intelligence and amiability; he
conversed well, and was liked as a genial and companionable man, of a
cheerful, tolerant and kindly nature, who if he had quarrels with individuals,
had none with the world. Idolized by his wife and children, he loved them
devotedly, and suffered intensely when, one after another, his two intelligent
and amiable daughters died. He had many friends, and made enemies, as men of
strong will and positive convictions will always surely do. He plotted no harm
against any one, and sought no revenge, even when he did not forgive, not
being of a forgiving race, for he was a McGregor, having kinship with Rob Roy.
Masonry will not soon lose as great a man, and she may well put dust upon her
head and wear sackcloth in her Lodges, where, in Masonry, his heart always
course, as he grew old, he had his crosses and troubles, and fortune was not
kind to him. Adversity may be profitable; but the world goes too hardly with
too many of us; and Sallust truly says:
luctu argue miseries mortem arumnarum requtem, non cruciatum, esse:'
grief and sorrows, death is a rest from troubles, and not a misfortune.
great man hath fallen in Israel; and, in the words of Pushmataha the Chahta
Chief, it is like the falling of a huge oak in the woods The fall will be
heard afar off, and the sound be re-echoed from many and far-off lands.
the reading of this letter in the Bodies of our Obedience, the altars and
working-tools will be draped in black, and the Brethren will wear the proper
badge of mourning during the space of sixty days. And may our Father Which is
in Heaven have you always in His holy keeping!
Pike 33d, Grand Commander.
Supreme Council, 33d, A\ A\ S\ Rite,
the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the U.S.
ORIENT, BOSTON, MASS
of the the M\ P\ Sov\ Gr\ Commander,
Milwaukee, Wis., July 10th, 1881.
P\ Sovereign Grand Commander, to all Free Masons of the Ancient Accepted
Scottish Rite of the obedience of the said Supreme Council.
profound sorrow I announce to you the decease of our Illustrious Brother
ALBERT GALLATIN MACKEY of the A.'.A.'.Scottish Rite of the Southern Masonic
Jurisdiction of the U. S. He died at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, on the 20th of
June, 1881. Bro.'. MACKEY was born at Charleston, South Carolina, on the 12th
of March, 1807.
had long since passed the allotted span of three score years and ten.
full half century he had been an active, zealous Mason, always laboring where
his work was most needed, to elevate and dignify Masonry and enlarge the
sphere of its usefulness. During his long and active Masonic career he honored
many exalted official stations, the duties of all of which he discharged with
signal fidelity. He was for many years Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of
South Carolina, "a Commander of Templars, Grand High Priest of the Grand
Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State and General Grand High Priest of the
General Grand Chapter of the United States."
Ancient Accepted Rite he was the Dean of the Supreme Council of the Southern
Masonic Jurisdiction, and at the time of his decease and for many years prior
thereto, the Grand Secretary General of our sister Supreme Council. A ripe
scholar and an accomplished writer, his taste naturally led him to enter the
literary field of the craft, in which his labors were of immeasurable value to
the Great Brotherhood he loved so well. The various works he prepared and
published, and without which no masonic library is complete, have rendered his
name a household word among the fraternity everywhere, and constitute a
fitting monument of his love for masonry and his patient and intelligent labor
in its behalf. After a long and useful life he has been called to rest, his
departure leaving a void to be filled - when ? by whom ? Others may indeed
extend and enlarge the work he commenced, but it was he who laid the
foundation, and first reared the superstructure. In addition to the various
text books prepared by him for the use of Lodges and Chapters, and his other
works of a more general character, the Fraternity are more indebted to him
than to any other one man for its present admirable system of masonic
jurisprudence. When such a man falls, it is meet that his brethren, who alone
can appreciate his entire worth, should deplore his loss.
we tender our sincere sympathy to our Brethren of the Southern Jurisdiction,
who were more immediately connected with our deceased Brother, we also feel
the loss we have all sustained, and mingle our tears with theirs.
these letters be read in all the Bodies of our obedience at the first meeting
thereof held after its receipt, and let the altars and working tools be draped
with the usual badge of mourning for the space of sixty days.
at the Grand Orient, the day and year aforesaid.
ROYAL ORDER OF SCOTLAND IN
CRUCE STAT SECURUS AMOR
Washington, 24 June, 1881, A.
Brethren of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the United States will already have
learned that their Brother, the Senior Provincial Grand Wardens SIR ALBERT
GALLATIN MACKEY, closed his eyes upon this world, and his life here ended, at
seven of the clock on the morning of the 20th day of this month of June. Worn
and wasted by age and disease, he fell into unconsciousness a little while
before he died, and his life passed painlessly away, as when one falls asleep.
Forn at Charleston, in South Carolina, on the 12th of March, 1807, and so was
an old man. Made a Mason in 1831, he had laboured in Masonry during half a
century, and the works of his brain, published for the use of Masonic Bodies
and for the instruction of the Brethren, are known to all reading Masons at
home, and to many abroad By them he will be long remembered. He was a man of
mark, who toiled in the Masonic field assiduously, an accomplished writer and
impressive speaker, and one who made many friends, a genial and companionable
man, whose death a host of Masons will regret.
invite the Brethren of the Provincial Grand Lodge to wear with me the badge of
mourning of the Order, on account of the death of this Veteran Brother and
Knight, during the space of thirty days from the receipt of this letter.
detur aliquando otium Quiesque fessis.
PIKE PROV'L GRAND MASTER
HISTORY OF THE INTRODUCTION AND PROGRESS
FREEMASONRY IN THE UNITED STATES
HISTORY OF THE SYMBOLS OF FREEMASONRY
HISTORY OF THE A.'. A.'. SCOTTISH RITE
WlLLIAM R. SINGLETON, 33D
HISTORY OF THE INTRODUCTION
PROGRESS OF FREEMASONRY
death of Dr. Albert Gallatin Mackey, June 21, 1881, prevented the completion
of his great work on the "History of Freemasonry." The preceding chapters,
ending on page 1302, were all written by him, and, as he had contemplated
continuing his labors until the whole history of the Masonic Orders and
Degrees should have been completed, his publishers have complimented the
present writer by selecting him to do, imperfectly as it will appear, what so
able a writer as Dr. Mackey would have done, had his life been spared a little
longer. Dr. Mackey's long and useful career as a Masonic savant and writer had
endeared him to all Masonic students over the wide world of Masonry. Wherever
the English language is spoken may be found the Masonic works of our
distinguished brother. In the conclusion of the admirable "Historical Sketch
of the Order of Knights Templar," by Theodore S. Gourdin, of Charleston, S.
C., 1855, he says: "The history of our Order remains yet to be writs ten. It
can not be attempted by an American, alone and unaided. in fact, it can not be
written at all in this country; for we have not the materials. But this great
work can and ought to be undertaken by the Templars of the United States. . .
. Let them select a Brother, who, from his great learning and his thorough
knowledge of the principal modern languages, as well as the dead, is fully
qualified for the work. I know but two brethren in the United States who are
qualified to execute the work proposed: Bro. Albert G. Mackey, of Charleston,
S. C.; and Bro. William S. Rockwell, of Milledgeville, Ga."
thus see that, at as early a date as 1855, Bro. Mackey shared, with that other
eminent and distinguished Brother, Rockwell, the highest reputation for
scholarship among all the Masons of the United States. He then continues:
"Then would a history be written worthy of our illustrious Order, and of the
distinguished body which governs it in this country ! The author of such a
work would earn, for himself, an immortal reputation, and each individual
brother who contributed his mite would enjoy the delightful consciousness that
the Masonic world was, in a measure, indebted to him for a work which would
prove the great desideratum of the age."
rapid and continued increase of the membership of the Templar Order has kept
pace with the growth of the population of the United States, and the progress
in all branches of human knowledge, in science, and arts, as we shall
demonstrate when we give a history of the Order and show in each particular
State, what is the present membership, and the great field for usefulness laid
open and the prospect before us, for the great battles which are yet to come,
between truth and error, light and darkness, ignorance and enlightenment,
crime and obedience to lawful authority, fanaticism, bigotry, and persecution
against toleration, liberality and freedom of thought.
Templars, in the Crusades, for two hundred years fought with material armor
against the Infidels and Turks of Syria, but our modern Templars are engaged
against more powerful and insidious foes, scattered everywhere in our midst.
The Templars of the Crusades were carried from the West to the East, to fight
for the Christianity as then known and practiced, a system of ignorance, the
great parent of superstition, bigotry, fanaticism, intolerance, and
persecution; these are the elements which finally culminated in the Middle
Ages, in the Inquisition; and by which the Templar Order, for so many
centuries the instrument of the Church of Christ in oppressing mankind, was
totally destroyed, and the leaders burned at the stake by Clement V. and
Philip the Fair, after they had no further use for them.
works in a mysterious way His purpose to fulfill ! "
Templars, now only such in name, may be the instruments of God, in turn, in
the next century, to deliver His true children from the fangs of the monster
who for so many ages has kept mankind, so far as they could be, within his
power, in total ignorance of the TRUTH as it was, and is yet, in Christ the
Lord, for whose sake and in whose name the original Templars fought, bled, and
died upon so many hard-fought battle-fields of Syria. Let this thought be in
the mind of every Knight Templar of the present day and in the future, whose
eyes may see these words, written in the year 1899: That this great country,
beginning with a few emigrants from several European nations, bringing with
them to Virginia, first, at Jamestown, the descendants of the pride and
chivalry of Old England; then the Puritans in New England - while these
differed greatly in their method of interpreting the Scriptures, they were yet
agreed in the great principles therein inculcated, viz.: EQUALITY, FRATERNITY,
the descendants of the Reformation, have grown from the original Thirteen
Colonies, despised and looked down upon by the great monarchies of Europe and
Asia, with scorn and sometimes with contempt. Now these scornful peoples begin
to appreciate what is before them in the future.
therefore say to the Commanderies, Preceptories, and Encampments, and also to
each private member of the Knightly Order of the Temple, remember your vows of
obedience to the Grand Master of all Temples. The sword which you wield is not
a weapon of carnal warfare, but a symbol, whose significance you have learned,
and should ever put in practice in the defence of Truth, not as explained by
the Mother Church of the Middle Ages, for the purpose of propagating error,
but the truth as so well understood by every Templar, and in whose cause he
should be prepared to make every sacrifice, and perform his pilgrimage even to
the loss of life while engaged therein, and remember that you shall reap your
reward if ye faint not.
est Veritas, et prevalebit."
WILLIAM R. SINGLETON
GENERAL HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN
examination of various authors who have written on Templarism, we have found
it very difficult, if at all possible, to determine, categorically, when the
American Rite of the " Commandery " was really formulated. We learn from
ancient as well as recent writers that the Knights of the Red Cross of Rome
and Constantine, Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, Knights of St. John the
Evangelist, and Knights of the Grand Cross were of a much earlier date than
the Knights of the Templar Order. The Knights of the Red Cross of Rome and
Constantine was the first Order of Christian Knights. The Knights of the Red
Cross, which is the first degree conferred in the Commandery of Knight
Templars in the United States, has no connection whatever with the Templar
Order of the Crusades, nor the events in the history of the other Knightly
Order of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine first above mentioned.
real history of the present American degree of the Red Cross is, that it is
composed of the 15th and 16th degrees of the A.'.
S.'. R.'.; and the incidents commemorated therein are located at the time of
the captivity of the Jews, after the destruction of King Solomon's Temple, and
the return of the Jews to Palestine by direction of Cyrus, and after him by
Darius the Persian monarch.
original symbol of the red cross, which is a Christian symbol, has no place in
the Ritual of the Commandery degree of Red Cross, which relates to the Jews in
captivity and the Persian Court of that date. The first red cross of
Constantine, with its motto, "In hoc sings vinces," was adopted by Constantine
the Great as the "Labarum" from the following circumstance, according to
tradition: The night before the battle between himself and Augustus Maxentius
the sign of the cross appeared to him in the heavens, with the inscription "In
hoc signo vinces." This battle has been called "of Saga Rostra," which was an
ancient station on the "Flaminian Way," eight miles north of Rome, which meant
been successful in defeating his opponent, Constantine, on December 25, A.D.
312, instituted a new order of knights, of the "Red Cross of Rome and
Constantine." The red cross became a badge, and was worn on the right arm of
each knight or on his shield, this insignia thereafter being the highest honor
Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, some writers say, "was instituted
by Constantine, at the prayer of his mother Helena, for the avowed purpose of
protecting the Holy Sepulcher, and defending it from the enemies of the
Christian faith. Only Knights of the Red Cross, by royal decree, were eligible
for the Order." It is also said that Constantine " instituted the Order of
Knight of the Grand Cross, which he conferred (in 326) on several of his
generals and ministers, as a special mark of merit and distinction."
same writers say: "After the death of Constantine (337) the popes of Rome
claimed, and exercised, sovereign authority over the Order throughout
Christendom, delegating to the Papal Nuncios and Cardinal Princes, at the
various Catholic Courts, the right to nominate candidates fos the Order of
Knights of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine. Samuel Cole, in the
Freemason's Library, gives a list of the various Masonic degrees and says:
later publication, 1816, we find the following list of Masonic degrees, which
the author states are conferred on the Sublime Grand Lodges in Charleston,
S.C., in the city of New York and in Newport, R. I.: No. 9 is Knight of the
Red Cross; No. 10, Knight of Malta; No. 11, Knight of the Holy Sepulcher; No.
12, Knight of the Christian Mark; No. 13, Knight Templar. The degrees
enumerated amount to forty-three. Besides these degrees there were ten others
which were in the possession of most of the Inspectors given in different
parts of the world, and which they generally communicate, free of expense, to
those brethren who are high enough to understand them - such as Select Masons
of 27, and the Royal Arch, as given under the Constitution of Dublin; six
degrees of Maconnerie d' Adoption , Compagnon Ecossais, le Maitre Ecossais, et
"Freemason's Library " and General Ahiman Rezon. Baltimore, Md., 1826.
Master Ecossais, etc., making, with the regular number of forty-three, in the
aggregate fifty-three degrees.
will be well here to notice that the Select Masons of 27, which the Grand
Chapter of Virginia alone retains in her curriculum and confers prior to the
Royal Arch, was designed, by the Consistories of the Ancient and Accepted Rite
of the last century, and by the Supreme Council of the A.'. A.'. A.'. S.'.
Rite of 1802, to follow the Royal Arch. A great many of our distinguished
Masons think that the Select of 27 should precede the Royal Arch, as, by its
chronology, it does; but they forget that the same chronological circumstances
occur in the present arrangement of the Mark degree, which not only follows
the Fellow-Craft but also the Master's degree, while chronologically the
events of the first section were prior to the completion of the Temple."
thus refers to the Knight of the Red Cross: " After having, as we had
supposed, satisfactorily shown that the Order of Knights Hospitalers of the
Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who were afterwards called Knights of Rhodes,
and now Knights Templars and Knights of Malta, is indisputably the oldest
order of knighthood in the world, we are suddenly transported into the distant
regions of Persia, and instructed to believe that the Order of the Cross was
instituted 520 years before the birth of Christ, namely during the reign of
Darius.'' (1) This was written prior to 1826, and he continues: "This Order
has not, until late years, been practiced in America. I have, indeed,
conversed with well-informed knights, who received the degree in Ireland;
perhaps it may have originated there - be that as it may, it has found its way
into our books, and is practiced, though very imperfectly, in some of our
encampments, usually preceding the degrees of Knights Templars and Knights of
Malta. A reference to the foregoing list will show us that the author has
given us two other degrees, which are intended to precede the two last
mentioned, namely, Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and Knights of the Christian
Mark. Nor shall we have cause to wonder, if, in the process of time, an
attempt should be made to precede the important Degree of Knights Templars,
etc., with that of Knight of
Golden Spur, Knight of the White Elephant, or of the Golden Fleece."
does not seem to have been aware that the 15th and 16th
Samuel Cole: "Freemason's Library," p. 321, 1826. Note. - Cole refers of
course, to the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine. - EDITOR.
degrees of the A.'. A.'. S.'. R.'. were the materials for the so- called Red
Cross, which has no connection historically with the Templarism of
Caleph Muez destroyed the church of the Holy Sepulcher, which was rebuilt by
the Red Cross Knights and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, in 969. In 1093
Philip I., King of France, revived the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher,
and nominated his son, the Dauphin of France, as Grand Marshal. After the
return of the Crusaders from the Holy Land, the Knights of the two Orders were
called the first and second grades of the " Knight of the Red Cross of Rome
A.D. 337 to 1094 the Popes exercised sovereign authority over the Orders. In
1099 there was held a Grand Conclave of the Orders of the "Knights of the Red
Cross and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher."
Addison says: "The Holy Sepulcher presented itself to the eyes of the
pilgrims, surrounded by a magnificence which redoubled their veneration.
obscure cavern had become a marble temple paved with precious stones and
decorated with splendid colonnades. To the east of the Holy Sepulcher appeared
the Church of the Resurrec tion, in which they could admire the riches of
Asia, mingled with the arts of Greece and Rome. Constantine celebrated the
twenty first year of his reign, A.D. 333, by the inauguration of this church,
whose corner-stone had been planted under the auspices of his sainted mother,
and thousands of Christians came, on occasion of this solemnity, to listen to
the panegyric of Christ from the lips of the learned and holy Bishop Eusebius.
St. Jerome, who, toward the end of the 4th century, had retired to Bethlehem
for literary labors and religious solitude, informs us, in one of his letters,
that pilgrims arrive in crowds in Judea, and that around the holy tomb the
praises of the Son of God were to be heard uttered in many languages. From
this period pilgrimages to the Holy Land were so numerous that several doctors
and fathers of the Church thought it their duty to point out the abuses and
dangers of the practice.
told Christians that long voyages might turn them aside from the path of
salvation; that their God was not confined to one city, that Jesus Christ was
everywhere where faith and good works were to be found. But such was the blind
zeal which then drew Christians toward Jerusaiem that the voices of the holy
doctors severe scarcely heard. The councils of enlightened piety were not able
to abate the ardor of the pilgrims, who believed they should be wanting in
faith and zeal if they did not adore Jesus Christ in the very places where,
according to the expression of St. Jerome, ' the light of the Gospel first
shone from the top of the Holy Cross.'
soon as the people of the West became converted to Christianity, they turned
their eyes to the East. From the depths of France, from the forests of Germany
from all the countries of Europe, new Christians were to be seen hastening to
visit the cradle of the faith they had embraced. An itinerary for the use of
pilgrims served them as a guide from the banks of the Rhone and the Dordogne
to the shoresof the Jordan, and conducted them on their return from Jerusalem
to the principal cities of Italy. When the world was ravaged by the Goths, the
Huns, and the Vandals, pilgrimages to the Holy Land were not at all
interrupted. Pious travelers were protected by the hospitable virtues of the
barbarians, who began to respect the Cross of Christ, and sometimes even
followed the pilgrims to Jerusalem. In these times of trouble and desolation a
poor pilgrim who bore his scrip and staff often passed through fields of
carnage and traveled without fear amidst armies which threatened the empires
of the East and the West.
"Illustrious families of Rome came to seek an asylum at Jerusalem and by the
tomb of Christ. Christians then found, on the banks of the Jordan, that peace
which seemed banished from the rest of the world. This peace, which lasted
several centuries, was not troubled before the reign of Heraclius, A.D. 610 -
641. Under this reign the armies of Chosroes, King of Persia, invaded Syria,
Palestine, and Egypt. The Holy City fell into the hands of the worshipers of
conquerors bore away into captivity vast numbers of Christians and profaned
the churches of Jesus Christ. All the faithful deplored the misfortunes of
Jerusalem, and shed tears when they learned that the King of Persia had
carried off, among the spoil of the vanquished, the Cross of the Saviour,
which bad been preserved in the Churches of the Resurrection." (1)
Council of Clermont in Auvergne, November, 1095, Pope Urban addressed himself
to all the nations represented at
"Addison," p. 66
council, and particularly to the French, who formed the majority:
Nation beloved by God," said he, " it is in your courage that the Christian
Church has placed its hope. It is because I am well acquainted with your piety
and your bravery that I have crossed the Alps and am come to preach the word
of God in these countries. You have not forgotten that the land which you
inhabit has been invaded by the Saracens, and but for the exploits of Charles
and Charlemagne (A.D. 768-800), France would have received the laws of
Mohammed. Recall without ceasing, to your minds, the dangers and glory of your
fathers. Led by heroes, whose names shall never die, they delivered your
country, they saved the West from shameful slavery. More noble triumphs await
you under the guidance of the God of armies. You will deliver Europe and Asia;
you will save the city of Jesus Christ - that Jerusalem which was chosen by
the Lord, and from whence the law is to come to us."
Urban proceeded, the sentiments by which he was animated penetrated to the
very souls of his auditors. When he spoke of the captivity and misfortunes of
Jerusalem, the whole assembly was dissolved in tears; when he described the
tyranny and the perfidy of the Infidels, the warriors who listened to him
clutched their swords and swore in their hearts to avenge the cause of the
Jesus Christ summons you to his defense, let no base affections detain you in
your homes. See nothing but the shame and the evils of the Christians; listen
to nothing but the groans of Jerusalem, and remember well what the Lord has
said to you: He vho loves his father or his mother more than Me is not worthy
of Me; whoever will abandon his house, or his father, or his mother, or his
wife, or his children, or his inheritance, for the sake of My name, shall be
recompensed a hundred-fold, and possess life eternal."
these words the auditors of Urban displayed an enthusiasm that human eloquence
had rarely before inspired. The assembly arose in one mass as one man and
answered him with the unanimous cry, " Dieu le veut ! Dieu le veut ! "It is
the will of God ! It is the will of God!" "Yes, without doubt, it is the will
of God," continued the eloquent Urban; "you to-day see the accomplishment of
the word of our Saviour, who promised to be in the midst of the faithful when
assembled in His name. It is He who has dictated to you the words that I have
heard. Let them be your war-cry, and let them announce everywhere the presence
of the God of armies." On finishing these words, the Pontiff exhibited to tne
assembled Christians the sign of their redemption. " It is Christ himself,"
said he to them, "who issues from His tomb, and presents to you His Cross. It
will be the sign raised among the nations, which is to gather together again
the dispersed Children of Israel. Wear it upon your shoulders and upon your
breasts. Let it shine upon your arms and upon your standards. It will be to
you the surety of victory or the palm of martyrdom. It will unceasingly remind
you that Christ died for you, and that it is your duty to die for him."
Urban had ceased to speak, loud acclamations burst from the multitude. Pity,
indignation, despair at the same time agitated the tumultuous assembly of the
faithful. Some shed tears over Jerusalem and the fate of the Christians.
Others swore to exterminate the race of the Mussulmans. But all at once, at a
signal from the Sovereign Pontiff, the most profound silence prevailed.
Cardinal Gregory, afterward St. Innocent II., pronouncing, in a Bud voice, a
form of General Confession, the assembly all fell upon their knees, beat their
breasts, and received absolution for their sins.
Francois Michaud, in his Historyof the Crusades, states: "To the feudal
Princes, assembled in the Holy Land in A.D. 1099, belongs the glory and honor
of reviving the Order of the ' Knights of the Holy Sepulcher.' The Order was
conferred on the Knights of the Red Cross for rare personal valor and courage.
Every recruit receiving the Order of 'Knight of the Holy Sepulcher,' or that
of 'Knight of St. John,' was required to wear a Red Cross on his arm or
1100 the Crusaders of every country carried the banner of the Order of Knights
of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine.
Grand Conclave of that Order assembled in Rome, May, 1119.
Emperor Michael Angelo Comnenus was chosen Sovereign Grand Master.
Sovereign Grand Council issued an edict limitng the active membership of
Knights of the Grand Cross to fiftty
McCoy's " Addison," pp. 87, 88.
Knights in each kingdom or independent country, and that a Grand Cross Knight
shall have precedence, in all assemblies of Sir Knights of the Red Cross,
immediately after the Sovereign Grand Master.
Innocent III. urged the Knights of the Red Cross, Knights of the Holy
Sepulcher, and Knights of St. John to overthrow the Infidels in Constantinople
in 1193. Richard of England in 1195 was proclaimed Sovereign Grand Master of
the Knights of Rome and Constantine, and Senior Knight of the Grand Cross, by
the Duke of Burgundy, for valorous services in front of Jerusalem. After the
return of the Crusaders (1200), to about 1654, the history of the Order of
Knights of Rome and Constantine is somewhat uncertain. No General Assembly was
held. The Kings of Spain and France and the Emperor of Germany asserting
sovereignty by Divine authority in their respective countries. In 1270 the
Knights of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine, under the leadership of the
monarch of France, a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order, drove the
Mohammedans out of Carthage. In 1460 the germs of a new civilization had been
scattered over Europe by this Order. They opened up the East to the nations of
Europe and brought Asia and Europe in closer relations. In 1550 Father
Boniface, a Prior of the Order, was appointed Warden of the Holy Sepulcher, by
Pope Julius III. The Orders of Red Cross, Holy Sepulcher, and St. John were
resuscitated in England, the first conclave being instituted by the German
embassador to the Court of St. James, February, 1688. The Abbe Guistiniani, a
Venetian priest of great learning, while visiting England, May, 1692,
conferred these three Orders, of Red Cross, Holy Sepulcher, and of St. John,
on several of the attaches of the English Court. The Abbe was the first writer
to gather, prepare, and preserve the traditions and rituals of the Order as
now existing. Sir Bernard Burke says: "Duke Francis I., of Parma, of the house
of Farnese, was installed (September, 1699) Grand Master of the Knights of the
Red Cross of Rome and Constantine with much pomp."
Hunde states: "The great and rapid progress of Freemasonry on the European
Continent is largely due to the efforts of the Knights of the Red Cross of
Rome and Constantine." He also credits the Knights of the Red Cross as being
the true Templars and as the only Order of Christian Knighthood that has had a
regular succession since it was instituted in 312. After the Royal Arch degree
was introduced into English Freemasonry prior to 1760. Many companies of the
Royal Arch, in England, petitioned the local conclaves to modify the ancient
landmarks of the Order, in age interest and welfare of Royal Arch Masonry, by
changing the qualifications of membership in the Knights of the Red Cross of
Rome and Constantine and the Appendant Orders, from a Master Mason to Royal
time immemorial a Master Mason, if a believer in the Christian religion, has
been the qualification necessary for membership. In January, 1760, the Grand
Masters of the English and Scottish Knights of the Red Cross of Rome and
Constantine assembled in London, and adopted as a requirement for Knighthood
in the Order that the applicant be a Royal Arch Mason and a believer in the
Charleston, S.C., November 12, 1783, in St. Andrew's F. & A. M.
the Order of Knight of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine was conferred on
a class of eight, a dispensation having been obtained in England by a retired
British officer, then residing in Charleston. This is the second authentic
account of the conferring of the Order in America.
history of the Order of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine and also of
Masonry being both silent as to the first connection of these two, there is
some authority in the statement of the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of
Masons of England, that (in 1788) all the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of
England and Scotland received the Order of Knight of the Red Cross of Rome and
Constantine on their election, and before being installed as a Grand Officer.
The retiring Grand Master, if he served two or more terms, receiving the Order
of Knight of the Grand Cross on retiring from the Grand East. Masonry and
Knights of the Red Cross evidently became closely allied early in the 17th
century. All of the above extracts, referring to the Knights of the Red Cross
of Rome and Constantine, Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, and Knights of St.
have been taken, with some slight alterations of language, from a small
pamphlet, issued by C.L. Stowell, K.T. 33d, Sovereign Grand Master of the
Knights "of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine," and Thos. Leahy, K. T.
32d, Grand Registrar General -
pamphlet is an addition to the literature on the subject of the Knightly "Appendant
Orders," and shows the chronological sequence of those degrees from their
origin and present connection with freemasonry through the degree of Knights
of Malta - which at present is conferred after the degree of Knight Templar.
Heylinl in his Cosmography of the World (1660), says:
Chief Orders of Knighthood in this Kingdom (Jerusalem), after the recovery
from the power of the Turks, were:
the Sepulcher, said to be instituted originally (A.D. 314) by Queen Helena,
the Mother of Constantine the Great, by whom the Temple of the Sepulcher was
indeed first built; but more truly by Philip, King of France. Anna 1099, at
such time as that Temple was regained from the Turks. The Arms, the same with
that of the Kings (the Arms of the Christian Kings in Hierusalem was Luna, a
cross Crosset, crossed, Sol, which was commonly called the Hierusalem Cross),
representing the five wounds of our Saviour CHRIST. At the first, conferred on
none but Gentlemen of blood and fortunes, now (A.D. 1660) salable to any that
will buy it of the Pater-Guardian who with a Convent of Franciscans doth
reside near that Temple.
Saint John of Hierusalem, begun by one Gerrard, Anno 1114, and confirmed by
Cope Paschalis the second. Their Badge or Cognizance is a White Cross of eight
points. Their duty to defend the Holy Land, relieve Pilgrims, and succor
Christian Princes against the Infidels. They were to be of Noble Parentage and
Extraction; and grew in time to such infinite riches, especially after the
suppression of the Templars (most of whose lands were after given to the
Order), that they had at one time in the several parts of Christendom no fewer
than 20,000 Mannors; and of such reputation in all Christian Kingdoms, that in
England the Lord Prior of this Order was accounted the prime Baron in the
Realm. But now (1660) their Revenue is not a little diminished, by the
withdrawing of the Kings of England, and other Protestant Princes, from the
Church of Rome; who on that change seized on all the Lands of that Order in
their several Countries, and either kept them to themselves, or disposed them
to others, as they pleased.
See Mackey in chapters xxviii. - xxix.,
first Great Master was that Gerrard by whom they were founded; the last that
had his residence in the Holy Land was one John D. Villers, in whose time,
being driven out of Palestine, they removed unto Cyprus, and in the time of
Fulk de Villaret, Anno 1309, to the Isle of Rhodes. Outed of which by Solomon
the Magnificent, Anno 1522, they removed from one place to another, till at
last by the magnificence of Charles V., Anna 1530, Whey were settled in Malta;
and there we shall speak further of them.
the Templars, instituted by Hugh of Pagennes, Anno 1113, and confirmed by Pope
Euggenius. Their ensign was a red cross, in token that they should shed their
blood to defend Christ's Temple. They were buried cross-legged, and wore on
their backs the figure of a Cross; for which they were by the common people
called Cross-backs, and by corruption crook-backs. Edmund, Earl of Lancaster,
second son to Henry the Third, being of this Order, was vulgarly called Edmund
Crook-back; which gave Henry the Fourth a foolish occasion to feign that this
Edmund (from whom he was descended) was indeed the eldest son of King Henry
the Third, but for his crookedness and deformity, his younger brother was
preferred to the Crown before him. These knights had in all Provinces of
Europe their subordinate Governors, in which they possessed no less than 16000
Lordships; the greatness of which revenue was not the least cause of
dissolving the Order. For Philip the Fair, King of France, had a plot to
invest one of his sons with the Title of King of Hierusalem, and hoped to
procure of the Pope the revenue of this Order to be laid unto that Kingdome,
for support of the Title: which he thought he might the better do, because
Clement the V., then Pope, for the love he bore to France, had transferred his
seat from Rome to Avignon. But herein his hopes deceived him; for this Order
being dissolved, the lands thereunto belonging were given to the Knights
Hospitallers or of St. John. The crimes objected against this Order were -
first, their revolt from their professed obedience unto the Patriarch of
Jerusalem, who was their Visitor.
Secondly, their unspeakable pride; and, Thirdly, their sins against Nature.
The House of our Law-Students in London called the Temple was the chief house
of the Knights of this Order in England; and was, by the Knights of St. John,
whose principle Mansion was in Smithfield, sold unto the Students of the Laws,
for the yearly rent of 10l., about the Middle of the reign of Edward III.
These three Orders M. Selden (and deservedly) put not in his Title of honour,
in that they were prohibited to kiss a woman; honorary Knighthood and the love
of Ladies going together, like Virtue and Reward."
KNIGHTS TEMPLARS DURING THE SEVEN CRUSADES FROM 1118 TO 1291 .
de Paganis, after arriving in Palestine, as a Crusader and pilgrim, finding
that the Moslem inhabitants infested the approaches to Jerusalem and other
sacred places, and persecuted such pilgrims as were not in sufficient numbers
to protect themselves, gathered with him eight other companions, viz.:
Godefroi de St. Aldemar, Roral, Gundemar, Godefroi Bisol, de Montdidier,
Archibald de St. Aman, Andrew de Montbar, and the Count of Provence, and bound
themselves to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, in A.D. 1118, "to guard the
approaches to the Holy City, so that pilgrims to the sacred places might have
easy access; to live as regular Canons of the Church, under the Benedictine
rule; and to fight for the King of Heaven and the Bride of Christ, in
chastity, obedience, and self-denial. In 1119 Hugo de Paganis became the first
Master. The palace of the Latin Kings of Jerusalem, which had been a Mosque on
Mount Moriah - which Mount constitutes now the Haram Es Sheriff - and then was
known as "Solomon's Temple," was assigned to them as their quarter (1) This
Mosque, after many vicissitudes from the time of its first erection, is at the
present day called the "Mosque of Omar," because at one time in its history he
was supposed to have been its builder, but it has been well determined by good
authority that he was not; but when he conquered Jerusalem, between A.D. 640
and 644, he put it in thorough repair.
consequence of the services to the Christians performed by the "Poor Fellow
Soldiers," Baldwin II., King of Jerusalem, gave them for a habitation, for
hitherto they seem to have had no fixed place of abode, " the palace or royal
house to the South of the Temple of the Lord, vulgarly called the Temple of
Solomon " (Addison). There seems to be confusion in this locality, by
different writers, owing to the ignorance concerning the various buildings on
this site. - EDITOR.
Mosque of Omar or Kubbet es Sakra (Dome of the Rock). This building, which is
on the Platform or Original Site of Solomon's Temple, is an Octagon of 66 feet
to each side, having four porticoes and a range of pointed windows incrusted
with beautifully colored Persian tiles. Within are two concentric ranges of
columns and square pillars - the interior range supporting the drum of the
magnificent dome, which is nearly too feet in height and over 60 feet in
diameter. Within the central range is a rock 60 x 50 feet rising seven feet
above the pavement - tradition saying that it was upon this rock Abraham was
about to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Underneath this rock is a cave - a chamber 14 x 16 feet, in which the
Mohammedans now worship. The walls and the drum are covered with beautiful
Byzantine Mosaics of different dates, and the windows are filled with splendid
sixteenth century colored glass.
supposed that this Mosque was originally a very early Byzantine church. It was
no doubt greatly improved by Omar, when the Mohammedans occupied Jerusalem.
Some writers say, by Abd-el- Malek Ibn Marwan, before the time of Omar.
this palace, or "Solomon's Temple," these Knights took the name of
and were also called "poor fellow soldiers of Christ and the Temple of
Solomon." They had every one of them seen hard service under the leadership of
Godefroi de Bouillon, and were well qualified to render efficient service in
aid of pilgrims and all others requiring their assistance.
fame and valuable services soon spread over all Europe, and many of the sons
of noble houses were induced to enter into this body, so distinguished by its
acts of benevolence and charity. The Order was brought prominently to the
especial notice of St.
Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, by whom a pastoral was issued praising the valor
and extolling the merits of the Templars. At the Council of Troyes, in 1128,
statutes were formulated for the new Order.
Seventy-two rules of discipline were adopted, which met the concurrence of
Pope Honorius II. and the Patriarch of Jerusalem. So rapid was the growth of
this Order that they had been established in every kingdom of Latin
Christendom. Domains in Normandy were granted to them by Henry I. of France.
In 1129 they were established in Castile, in 1131 in Rochelle, in Languedoc in
1136, in Rome in 1138, in Brittany in 1141. The White Mantle was chosen to be
worn to distinguish them from the Hospitalers, who wore a robe of black. The
Red Cross was added in 1146 by Pope Eugenius III., to be placed on the breast
as a symbol that the Order was expected to invite martyrdom.
de Paganis, the first Master of the Templars, visited England, and many
English knights followed him to Palestine as Members of the Order. Among these
was Fulk, Count of Anjou, who afterward was King of Jerusalem, in II3I. Hugo
de Paganis died in 1136.
de Craou, a nephew of Anselm, Archbishop of Canter bury, succeeded Paganis as
Grand Master of the Order.
Second Crusade was excited by the troubles and dangers to which the Christians
of Syria were exposed from the conquering arms of the Turks, who defeated the
Franks at Antioch, and had taken Edessa, and threatened the destruction of all
the Christian kingdoms of Syria. In this crusade Everard de Baris, the third
Master of the Templars, was greatly renowned for his deeds of valor. This
crusade, as before stated, was incited by St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux in
Champagne, who was distinguished for his learning and devotion. Under Louis
VII., King of France, and Conrad III., Emperor of Germany, two immense armies
marched for the Holy Land - this was in 1147. Manuel Comnenus, the Greek
Emperor, through whose country the armies marched, by his treacherous conduct,
caused great and a long series of disasters. A fruitless attempt was made to
take Damascus, and the expedition was finally abandoned; only a small remnant
of this vast host returned to Europe. Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, in 1187
caused a Third Crusade to be started. Frederick Barbarossa, Emperor of Gem
many; Philip Augustus, King of France; and Richard I. of England, were the
Leaders of this crusade. In 1189 the Emperor of Germany set out first, but
unfortunately died of a fever caused by imprudently bathing in the Orontes
River, the modern Nahr-el-Asi, the chief river in Northern Syria; it flows
past Antioch, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. His army was then joined
to the forces of the other two monarchs at Acre. Nearly two years were passed
by these armies in the siege of Acre before it was surrendered, although
Saladin made every effort to relieve the defenders. Nine battles were fought,
and over 100,000 Christians perished during the siege. Unfortunately, from the
peculiar temperaments of Philip of France and Richard of England, they could
not agree; and Philip returned to Europe. Richard led his army to Ascalon and
defeated Saladin; but was finally driven from Jerusalem. Richard performed
prodigies of valor during this crusade, by which the admiration of the
Saracens was excited, and from which he derived his name of "Coeur de Lion."
He made a treaty with Saladin, by which the pilgrims were protected from
injury and oppression; he then returned to Europe, in 1192. Saladin died in
1193; the unity of his empire was destroyed. The Sultans of Damascus, Egypt,
and Aleppo became hostile to each other, and the Christians of Syria were not
molested for many years. Pope Innocent III., in 1203, promoted the Fourth
Crusade. At Venice an extensive armament was fitted out. The expedition,
however, was diverted from its true mission against the Mohammedans, and, led
by Baldwin, Count of Flanders, proceeded against Constantinople. In 1204 the
Crusaders took this city, and then founded there the Latin dynasty of emperors
who continued to fill the throne for fifty-six years.
Frederick II., Emperor of Germany, in 1228 led the Fifth Crusade, and it was
ended by a treaty which he made with the Sultan of Egypt, according to which
Palestine was ceded to Frederick, and free toleration granted to the two
faiths of Christianity and Mohammedanism. By this arrangement the Christians
lived in Jerusalem in peace and prosperity, until the Mongols, in the middle
of the 13th century, disturbed this harmony.
IX. (St. Louis) of France, in consequence of the capture and pillage of
Jerusalem by the barbarous Mongols, in 1249, undertook the Sixth Crusade.
After he had taken Damietta he was completely defeated by the Sultan of Egypt
and taken prisoner; but was, in 1250, ransomed by his subjects. In alliance
with Prince Edward (afterward Edward I.), son of Henry III. of England, St.
Louis undertook the Seventh and last Crusade, in 1269, because of the capture
of Antioch by the Mame-luke (1) Sultan of Egypt. Louis went to Africa,
expecting to receive the King of Tunis as a convert to Christianity; he,
however, found him to be a determined enemy. A pestilence having seized upon
the French camp, they perished by thousands upon the burning sands. St. Louis
died in his tent; and his son, after making a treaty with the King of Tunis,
returned to France. Prince Edward, who at the age of fifteen had been married
(August 5, 1254) to Eleanora of Castile (infants donna), not ten years of age,
sister of King Alphonso, surnamed the "Astronomer," proceeded to Palestine,
accompanied by his wife, who, leaving her three infants in England at Windsor,
met her lord at Bordeaux, and from thence they sailed to Ptolomais, and in
that campaign he won a great battle and stormed Nazareth. Embarking at Cyprus
he won another victory, June, 1271, at Cahow.
Mame-luke, meaning in Arabic slave.
Saracens became greatly alarmed, and an attempt was made against Edward by the
prince of the Assassins, called the "Old Man of the Mountains." He employed a
fanatic, who, pretending to be a Christian convert, was admitted to the
presence of Edward, aimed a dagger at his side, but stabbed him in the arm.
Although wounded as he was, he overcame and killed the assassin before his
attendants reached him. Being fearful that the weapon had been poisoned, for
the wound turned black, when the Master of the Temple and the doctors
recommended incision, the Princess Eleanora, agonized at what her lord had to
suffer, cried and lamented, until his brother Edmund said: "My sister, it is
better you should cry than all England weep." Edward, holding out his arm,
bade his surgeons "cut away and spare not, he would bear it," and told his
favorite knight, John de Vesci, to "carry the Princess away from a sight not
fit for her to witness." Sir John carried her away to her ladies, she
shrieking and struggling all the time. The surgical operation was effectual,
and, owing to Edward's virtue of temperance and Eleanora's tender care of him,
he was convalescent in fifteen days.
forces of Edward, having been greatly reduced by sickness and want, prepared
to leave the Holy Land, where his wife had given birth to a daughter,
celebrated under the name of "Joanna of Acre," in which city she was born, and
who afterward married Gilbert de Clare, the first nobleman of England. On
their arrival in Sicily sad news met them - that their heir, Prince John, had
died suddenly, and his brother Henry also. A messenger arrived on the third
day, announcing that Edward's royal sire, Henry III., had expired, and Edward
was now King of England. He had borne the loss of his sons with firmness, but
was thrown into agonies upon the news of his father's death. When surprise was
expressed at this he replied, "Eleanora may bring me more sons, but the loss
of a father can never be replaced."
closed the era of the Crusades. Antioch had fallen by the hands of the Sultan
of Egypt, and the inhabitants were slaughtered or carried into slavery in
1268. All the other towns in Syria, successively, were reduced and fell into
the hands of the Mohammedans excepting Acre, which for some time was the seat
of the Christians. It was captured by the Sultan in 1291, and 60,000 of its
Agnes Strickland, "Queens of England," 1871, p. 97.
massacred or sent into slavery. Soon afterward all the churches and
fortifications of the Latin Christians throughout Syria were destroyed.
might with some profit here pause, and reflect upon the wonderful effect that
resulted from these vast and religious wars, between the Western Christian
nations and the hordes of ignorant and benighted Mohammedan believers of the
East, which successively followed from the First Crusade in 1096 No less than
275,000 men, mostly the dregs of the population of the various nations of
Europe, were commanded by a religious fanatic, Peter the Hermit.
first detachment, under Walter the Penniless, was destroyed by the Bulgarians,
a few only succeeding in reaching Constantinople, where those led by Peter
himself joined with them. After many difficulties a part of these succeeded in
reaching Asia Minor, opposite Constantinople, where, upon the plains of Nice,
they were defeated with great slaughter by the Turkish Sultan. A third and
fourth expedition met with similar misfortune. However, the real Crusaders
very soon thereafter arrived at Constantinople, who consisted of six armies of
veteran soldiers, who were commanded by the most skillful and experienced
commanders of that age: Godfrey of Bouillon; Duke of Lorrain; Hugh the Great,
brother of Philip I., King of France; Robert, son of William the Conqueror of
England; Count Robert of Flanders; Bo'he-Mond, Count of Tarentum, with his
cousin, the noble and illustrious Tancred; and Count Raymond of Toulouse;
amounting to nearly 600,000 men.
force, under these noble leaders, defeated Sultan Sol'i-man, and took
possession of his capital, Nice, in 1097, and afterward marched on to Syria,
and besieged and took Antioch, in 1098, after seven months' siege; during
which time Peter the Hermit, with multitudes of others, deserted the
Crusaders. The Persian Sultan, having sent an immense army of Mohammedans to
aid the others, they were also defeated and routed. The Crusaders then marched
to Jerusalem, and found their numbers reduced to 40,000. This city surrendered
to the Crusaders in 1099, after a short siege; and Godfrey de Bouillon was
unanimously chosen King. Soon thereafter he met the Sultan of Egypt, with an
immense army, at Ascalon, and there defeated him.
Kingdom of Jerusalem, in a short time, was extended, until it embraced the
whole of Palestine; nearly all or the best parts of Asia Minor were restored
to the Eastern Empire; Bohemond was made Prince of Antioch. At this time the
two Orders of Knights Hospitalers of St. John and Knights Templars above
referred to were founded, " and for nearly fifty years the three Latin
principalities or Kingdoms of the East - viz.: Edessa, Antioch, and Jerusalem
maintained themselves against the Mohammedans, and increased in power and
Turkish Emir, who, having been made Governor of Aleppo, had defeated the
Franks at Antioch, had taken Edessa, and threatened the destruction of all the
Christian Kingdoms in Syria.
influence of these crusades, extending from 1090 to 1291, a period of two
hundred years, was very evident upon the European nations who had so
repeatedly furnished their contingents to supply the armies who fought so hard
and through so many difficulties in that unfavorable climate of Syria. In
reading the accounts of these various crusades we are constantly reminded that
in nearly every successful battle the conduct of the brave and gallant Knights
Templars insured a complete victory.
great reputation which they gained caused a constant increase of their numbers
from the very best elements of the higher classes in Europe - and a constant
increase of lands and monasteries and other estates. The political and social
improvement of the nations of Europe followed. They tended to break up the
feudal system, and the great barons were compelled to sell their extensive
estates, in order to get the means of paying for the equipments of their
armies; and their estates were divided up among the people generally. Popular
freedom was given to towns and cities, with political privileges, in return
for contributions of money to pay for troops and equipments. Commerce was
encouraged by the demand for so many ships to transport such immense amounts
of supplies and men - and every branch of trade was greatly stimulated and
increased to furnish arms, equipments, and food supplies. Knowledge was
diffused among the people, who formerly were almost as ignorant of the outer
world as their domestic animals. Where was in those two centuries a wonderful
advance in science, art, and literature.
Greek and Saracenic civilization was soon imbibed by those who visited the
East, and on their return to Europe, their own countries soon felt the
influence in every branch of human knowledge.
PRUDENCE AND JUSTICE
those who returned, and thus impressed at home the great improvement in
manners and customs, none were more influential than the Knights of the
several Orders. Their influence was greater by far than any others who were
fortunate to return; and consequently, according to human nature everywhere,
these Orders became distasteful to all classes by their arrogant and
tyrannical conduct, both to high and low; until the King of France, Philip the
Fair, and Pope Clement V., for their own selfish purposes, and to gain the
wealth of these Orders, determined to suppress them, which resulted in, first,
their imprisonment for several years, until the plot was ripe; then by their
execution, after the minds of the people had become sufficiently reconciled to
A.D. 1118, some writers say 1188, according to a Swedish Legend, "the Rose
Croix came from the East into Europe, to propagate the doctrine of Jesus.
Three of them founded in Europe the Order of Masons of the East [some writers
say that our Knight of the Red Cross may probably have been derived from this
degree], to serve as a preparatory seminary for those pupils whom they
intended to instruct in the sublime sciences." (1)
Ormesius, a priest of Alexandria in Egypt, is attributed the origin of the
Order of Rose Croix. He with six others embraced Christianity at the
solicitation of St. Mark the Evangelist, A.D.
This tradition may be reconciled with the tradition of the formation of the
Order of the Temple in Paris, which declares that the "Order of the East gave
birth to the Order of the Temple; that, in Ancient Egypt, we find the cradle
of the Order of the East." Also, "the Swedish brethren," as Reghellini
observes, "have always enjoyed in the Order a very brilliant reputation for
their learning; the proof of which is that all nations have adopted, in the
Master's degree, the distress stgn as it was established in the catechism of
their symbolic degrees." (3) This, however, can not be reconciled with that,
which gives the origin of the Rose Croix, by the admission of the Order of St.
John of Jerusalem of 27,000 Scottish Masons, who had given their
"La Maconnerie," tome ii., p. 431.
Ibid., tome ii., p. 431. "Acta. Lat.," tome i., p. 336.
"La Maconnerie," tome ii., p. 430.
the Christian Princes during the wars of the First Crusade, as given by Oliver
(1) and several others. (2) Addison says (3): "That the first authentic notice
of an intention on the part of the Hospitalers to occupy themselves with
military matters occurs in the bull of Pope Innocent the Second, A.D. 1130."
It is very probable that the latter Order was not of a military character at
Order of the Templars, by the exertions of Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, was
greatly extended throughout Europe. The church, through the Pope and clergy,
was enlisted in their favor. A code or set of rules was given them, afterward
confirmed by a Papal Bull.
grants of land, and also money, were made to the Templars, after the visit of
Hugode Payens, to Normandy, England, and Scotland, as before mentioned (A.D.
1128). According to Reghellini, "Eighty-one Masons, under the conduct of
Garimont, Patriarch of Jerusalem, crossed into Europe, in 1150" (date probably
went to the Bishop of Upsala, in Eastern Sweden, who received them very
favorably, and by this means the Bishop was initiated into the mysteries
brought from the Copts; afterward they intrusted to him the sacred depot of
these doctrines, rites, and mysteries.
Bishop of Upsala took care to conceal them in the subterranean vault of the
tower of the four crowns, which at that time was the treasure-house of the
King of Sweden. Nine of these Masons, among whom was Hugo de Payens,
established in Europe the Order of the Templars, who subsequently received the
depot, which had been given to the Bishop of Upsala, which held the doctrines,
dogmas, and mysteries of the Coptic Priests. Reghellini adds: "It was by this
action that the Templars became the conservators and guardians of the
mysteries, rites, and ceremonies brought from the East by the Masonsand the
Levites of the true light." (4) Hugo of the Temple, as he is sometimes called,
before he left England, appointed a Prior to govern (5) the Order in England.
enthusiasm which prevailed in favor of the Templars was so great over Europe
at this time that the King of Navarre bequeathed his kingdom to the Order.
Most of the Barons of Navarre and Aragon ratified the act; notwithstanding
which, the claims of the Templars were afterward successfully resisted. After
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 135, note 40.
Oration," Appendix, note A, p. 66, Lexicon.
"Addison," p. 55.
"La Maconnerie," tome i., p. 437.
"Addison," p. 27.
the foundations of the Order, he returned to Jerusalem and was greeted with
great distinction (A.D. 1129), and a grand Council of War was called; soon
after which he died.
de Payens was succeeded by Robert de Craou, surnamed the Burgundian,
son-in-law of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1136, who became a Templar
after the death of his wife. The Templars were defeated in several battles by
Zenghis and Naureddin, and lost several towns, the principal one being Edessa
In consequence of these defeats application was made to the Pope for
assistance by the clergy of the Eastern Churches, and he commissioned St.
Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. In 1146 Everard des Barres, or de Barri,
succeeded; Lord Robert convened a general chapter at Paris, where the Second
Crusade was arranged. The Red Cross was permitted to be worn by the Templars
by Eugenius III. In 1148 the red cross banner was first unfurled in battle, it
is supposed, at Damascus.
a white standard, having in the center the blood-red cross, the symbol of
martyrdom. Reghellini supposes the origin of this symbol to be of the highest
antiquity. The Second Crusade having been a failure, the Master returned with
King Louis to Paris. The Templars could only collect one hundred and twenty
knights and one thousand serving brethren to recover the province of Antioch,
which had been invaded by the enemy. The Master abdicated, and spent the rest
of his life in the Monastery of Clairvaux.
succeeded by a nobleman of illustrious family of Burgundy, in France, Bernard
de Tremelay, a valiant and experienced soldier, who was chosen Master in 1151.
The Infidels were defeated near Jerusalem (1152) in a night attack, and driven
to the Jordan, five thousand being left dead on the plain near the ford.
Against this victory a disastrous defeat was encountered by the Templars, who
in 1153 attempted to take the city of Ascalon. "They penetrated, at dawn of
day, through a breach in the wall, reached the center of the town, were
surrounded by the Infidels, and 'slain to a man.' Their bodies were exposed in
triumph from the walls."
Bertrand de Blanquefort, of a noble family of Guienne, a pious and God-fearing
man, succeeded to the Mastership in 1154. The enemy captured him, with Otho,
the Marshal, and eighty-five others in an ambuscade near Tiberias in 1156.
Shortly thereafter, thirty Knights Templars put to flight, slaughtered, and
captured two hundred Infidels. At the instance of Manuel Comnenus. Emperor of
Constantinople, the Master was liberated (1158). in 1167 "Phlilp of Naplous
became Master; he was the first Master who had been born in Palestine. He had
been lord of the fortresses of Krak and Montreal in Arabia Petrsea; having
assumed the habit and taken the vows of the Order of the Temple, after the
death of his wife." Philip resigned his office in 1170, and Odo de St. Amand,
of undoubted courage and resolution, succeeded as Master of the Temples
according to William, Archbishop of Tyre, "having the fear neither of God or
man before his eyes." In 1168, because the Master of the Temple refused to
invade Egypt, in violation of certain treaties, Gilbert d'Assalit, the
Guardian of the Hospitalers, the friend and confident of Almaric, King of
Jerusalem, armed the Hospitalers as a great Military Society, in imitation of
having been unjustifiably invaded by the Christian Knights, without the
Templars, Saladin crossed the desert with 40,000 horse and foot, and after
ravaging the borders of Palestine, advanced to and laid siege to Gaza, but was
forced to retire again into Egypt by the Templars.
this the Templars and Hospitalers became the guardians of the true cross - the
former marched on the right, and the latter on the left of the sacred emblem.
Templars conquered the Assassins in 1172, and their chief, "the Old Man of the
Mountains," was forced to sue for peace. Near Ascalon, in a battle (November
1, 1177), "the Infidels were defeated. Odo with eighty Knights broke through
the famous guard of Mamelooks, slew their commander, and forced Saladin to
fly, almost naked, on a fleet dromedary." At the battle of Jacob's Ford,
"where there was much hard fighting, the Master of the Hospital, covered with
wounds, having fled, and the Count of Tripoli also, the Templars were all
killed or taken prisoners and the Master Odo de St. Amand fell into the hands
of the enemy. The fortress was burned down, and all the Templars taken in the
place were sawn in two except the most distinguished."
CAUSES WHICH LED TO THE MARTYRDOM OF DE MOLAY AND OTHERS.
the difficulties between Philip, King of France, and Boniface VIII., the
Templars coincided with the Pope. The King had issued coin below the proper
standard, which caused a rebellion, and as the rents of the Templars were very
great, they were thought by the King to be the instigators of the
disaffection. The King determined to be revenged, and was not long in finding
someone suited to his purpose. The evidence of the party who, to obtain the
royal pardon, gave his testimony, was merely "hearsay," but two apostates from
the Order, who were expelled and condemned to imprisonment for their crimes,
corroborated this testimony. This information was treasured up by the King, to
be made use of at the right time. Clement, an unprincipled man, in order to
gain the summit of his ambition, had pledged himself on the holy sacrament to
comply with a condition of which he was then ignorant. He became the
instrument of the vindictive and wily monarch This Order, which had been for
one hundred and seventy years the admiration of all Christendom, its members
having shed freely their blood, and given thousands of lives to defend
Christianity, and lavished their treasures in defense of the Cross against the
Infidels, were declared to be heretics and apostates; they were accused of the
blackest crimes, all of which were impossible. All the Templars in French
dominions were simultaneously arrested and cast into prison.
Tortures of every kind were unsparingly applied. Some, to escape these
horrible pains, confessed these crimes and absurdities imputed to them, in
hopes of obtaining pardon. Most of these, after being restored to liberty,
renounced their confessions and solemnly declared that the excessive torments
to which they had been put alone induced them to confess that which they knew
to be false.
were then treated as relapsed heretics and cast into the flames. Neither age
nor rank could escape of those who persisted in denying the guilt of the
Order. Some languished in loathsome dungeons for years and perished from
neglect disease, and starvation. Others, more robust, were in time restored to
liberty, to wander about the world with mutilated limbs, to gain a living as
best they could.
would seem that these events, so well known to the nations of Europe, would
have taught them all along the ages, from the Crusades to the 19th century,
the humanitarian principles inculcated in their religion. Unfortunately,
cruelty of every kind was so deep set ln the very nature of all the Latin
races, that where the religious sentiment was prevalent it was utterly
impossible for the Roman Church ever to forgive any individual, high or low,
who dared to controvert in the least manner any dogmatic utterance which might
be promulgated from the Church authorities. Total obedience, the most abject
and servile, was exacted from every individual. The history of every nation
upon the continent of Europe, and where the Pope of Rome had authority
elsewhere, shows that cruelties of the worst description were visited upon all
who would not conform to the exactions of the Church of Rome. Such were the
influences of that "curse of the world" which followed upon the suppression of
the Templars by that "Curse of France" - as Philip the Fair was styled by
Dante - that cruelties for differences in religious matters have been
continued to the present day where any particular church is sustained by
secular authority. The conduct of Spain in her treatment of her West and East
Indian colonies in political matters is but the continuation of the old
religious persecutions of the "Inquisition," " which caused countless millions
to mourn." The persecutions of the Spanish governors in Cuba, Porto Rico, and
Philippines, are the latest phases of the Spanish "Inquisition" and the
"French Bastile" - The Devil's Island being but an outgrowth of that famous
fortress destroyed in Paris during the Revolution.
EXECUTION OF DE MOLAY
now complete the history of the Templars of the Crusades.
recent author says: "The last scene of this dreadful tragedy was yet to be
enacted. The four most noble victims were reserved for the last. James de
Molay, the Grand Master; Guy, the Grand Preceptor; Hugo de Paralt or Peraldes,
the Visitor General. and Theodore Bazile de Merioncourt, who had returned from
the East (1307), when summoned by the Pope, and who had languished In prison
for five years and a half, were (March 11, 1313) led out to a scaffold which
had been erected in front of Notre Dames publicly to avow confessions which
the Grand Master had declared were forged.
confessions were read, their assent was required. Two were silent, and were
condemned to be incarcerated for life. "But the Grand Master raising his arms,
bound with chains, toward heaven, and advancing toward the edge of the
scaffold, declared, in a loud voice, that to say that which was untrue was a
crime, both in the sight of God and man. 'I do,' said he, 'confess my guilt,
which consists in having to my shame and dishonor suffered myself, through the
pain of torture and the fear of death, to give utterance to falsehoods,
imputing scandalous sins and iniquities to an illustrious Order, which hath
nobly served the cause of Christianity. I disdain to seek a wretched and
disgraceful exist ence by engrafting a naked lie upon the original falsehood.'
He was here interrupted by the Probo and his officers, and Guy, the Grand
Preceptor, having commenced with strong asseverations of his innocence, they
were both hurried back to prison." (1)
Philip was then informed of the occurrence, and in his blind fury ordered them
to be immediately executed. This took place at four o'clock the same day,
Addison says at dusk. There is no apparent discrepancy in this, as in March it
often occurs that it is dusky soon after 4 P.M. They were conducted to the
"Isle de la Cite," a funeral pile having been erected, and not yet completed,
near where now stands the equestrian statue of Henry IV.
the work of completion was going on, the Grand Master solemnly declared the
innocence of his brethren, and then prayed as follows: "Permit us, O God! to
remember the torments which Jesus Christ suffered to ransom us, and to imitate
the example which he set us in enduring, without a murmur, the persecutions
and tortures which injustice and blindness prepared for him. Pardon, O my God!
the false accusations which have caused the total destruction of the Order of
which Providence appointed me the head. And if thou wilt deign to hear the
supplication which we now offer thee, grant that the deceived world may, at
some future day, better know those who have endeavored to live for thee. We
hope to receive, from thy goodness and mercy, the reward for the torments and
death which we are about to suffer - to enjoy thy divine preset ence in the
realms of bliss."
"Addison," p. 279. Vertot gives this speech in different cords, though alike
is substance, vol. i.,p. 219.
were then hurried off to the stake, the executioners of the King being fearful
of an insurrection of the people. Small fires were kindled under their feet.
"This hellish torture was borne with fortitude and resignation, without cries
or groans, imploring the mercy of God and maintaining the innocence and purity
of their beloved Order to the last. At length De Molay, when his body was
almost consumed, having yet command of his tongue, looking at the crowd before
who behold us perishing in the flames shall decide our innocence! I summon
Pope Clement V. to appear in forty days, and Philip the Fair in twelve months,
before the just and terrible throne of the ever-living God, to render an
account of the blood which they have unjustly and wickedly shed!" (1)
fires burned lower and lower, and in time became extinguished! The mortal
parts of James de Molay and Guy had been reduced to ashes - their spirits had
returned to their creator!
and L'Histoire de l'ab. de l'Ord. both doubt the truth of this tradition. The
manuscript of Knights Hospitalers, the manuscript of Knights Hospitalers of de
la Hogue, and the degree of Novice of the Order of Unknown Phil. Judges state
that De Molay made this prediction just before he was placed on the funeral
piles. (2) *
Vertot, vol. i., p. 219.
Maconnerie," p. 393.
Vertot, in his account of the origin of the Order of Knights Templars, states
that "A Templar and a citizen of Breziers, having been apprehended for some
crime, were committed together to a dungeon; for want of a priest, they
confessed each other; that the citizen, having heard the Templar's confession,
in order to save his own life, accused the Order to Philip, King of France;
charging them, on the authority of what his fellow-prisoner had told him, with
idolatry, sodomy, robbery, and murder; adding that the Knights Templars being
secretly Mahomedan, each Knight, at his admission into the Order, was obliged
to denounce Jesus Christ, and to spit on the Cross, in token of his abhorrence
of it. Philip, on hearing these accusations, pardoned the citizen, and
disclosed to the Pope this extraordinary confession, with a request that their
Order should be suppressed." - Cole, " Masonic Library," p. 286.
says that "In Germany the historians of that nation relate that Pope Clement
having sent his bull for abolishing the Order to the Archbishop of Metey, for
him to enforce, that prelate summoned all his clergy together, that the
publication might be made with greater solemnity; and that they were suddenly
surprised by the entry of Wallgruffer, Count Sauvage, one of the principals of
the Order, attended by twenty other Templars armed and in their regular
habits. The Count declared that he was not come to do violence to any body,
but, having heard of the bull against his Order, came to insist that the
appeal which they made from that decree to the next Council and successor of
Clement should be received and published.
he pressed so warmly that the Archbishop, not thinking it proper to refuse men
whom he saw armed, complied. He sent the appeal afterward to the Pope, who
ordered him to have it examined in a Council of his province. Accordingly a
synod was called, and after a lengthy trial, and various formalities which
were then observed, the Templars of that province were declared innocent of
the crimes charged upon them. - Cole, " Masonic Library," pp. 288, 289.
Notwithstanding this verdict of innocence it does not appear that either their
government or their possessions were restored to them as a distinct order.
Their estates in the German Empire were divided between the Knights of Malta
and the Teutonic Knights. Many of the Templars joined themselves to the
Knights of Malta; and some writers hold this to be probable, for prior to this
time the habit of the Knight Templar was originally white; but they now
distinguish themselves by the same color as the Knights of Malta, viz., black.
fate of the persecutors of the Order is not unworthy of notice. A year and a
month after the horrid execution, the Pope, Clement V., was attacked by a
dysentery, and speedily hurried to his grave. His dead body was transported to
Carpentras, where the Court of Rome then resided. It was placed at night in a
church which caught fire, and the mortal remains of the Holy Pontiff were
almost entirely consumed. His relations quarreled over the immense treasures
he left behind him and a vast sum of money, which had been deposited for
safety in a church at Lucca, was stolen by a daring band of German and Italian
freebooters. Before the close of the same year, King Philip IV. died of a
lingering disease which had baffled all the art of his medical attendants, and
the condemned criminal, upon the strength of whose information the Templars
were originally arrested, was hanged for fresh crimes.
"History attests," says Raynouard, " that all those who were foremost in the
persecution of the Templars came to an untimely and miserable death. The last
days of Philip IV. were embittered by misfortune. His nobles and clergy
leagued against him to resist his exactions. The wives of his three sons were
accused of adultery, and two of them were publicly convicted of that crime."
chief cause of the ruin of the Templars," justly remarks Fuller, "was their
extraordinary wealth. As Naboth's vineyard was the chiefest ground of his
blasphemy, and as in England Sir John Cornwall, Lord Fanhope, said merrily,
not he, but his stately house at Ampthill, in Bedfordshire, was guilty of high
treason, so certainly their wealth was the principal cause of their overthrow.
believe that Philip IV. would never have taken away their lives, if he might
have taken their lands without putting them to death, but the mischief was. he
could not get the honey unless he burnt the bees."
Philip IV., the Pope, and the European sovereigns appear to have disposed of
all the personalty of the Templars, the ornaments, jewels, and treasures of
their churches and chapels, and during the period of five years over which the
proceedings against the Order extended they remained in the actual receipt of
the vast rents and revenues of the Fraternity. King Philip IV. put forward a
claim upon their lands in France, to the extent of a million dollars, for the
expenses of the prosecution, and Louis, his son, claimed a further sum of
$300,000. "I do not know," says the celebrated Voltaire, "how much went to the
Pope, but evidently, the share of the Cardinals, the Inquisitors delegated to
make the process good, amounted to immense sums." The Pope, according to his
own account, received only a small portion of the personalty of the Order, but
others make him a large participator in the good things of the Fraternity.
SUBSEQUENT TO THE DISPERSION OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLARS.
Extracts from writings of Edward Manning, Cardinal Archs bishop of
south of France, where a large Jewish and Saracenic element remained, was a
hotbed of heresies, and that region was also a favorite one with the guild of
Masons. It is asserted too that, as far back as the 12th century, the lodges
of the guild enjoyed the special protection of the Knights Templars. It is
easy in this way to understand how the symbolical allusion to Solomon and his
Temple might have passed from the Knights into the Masonic formulary. In this
way too might be explained how, after the suppression of the Order of the
Temple, some of the recalcitrant, maintaining their influence over the
Freemasons, would be able to prevent what had been hitherto a harmless
ceremony into an elaborate ritual that should impart some of the errors of the
Templars to the initiated.
document was long ago published, which purports to be a charter granted to a
lodge of Freemasons in England, in the time of Henry VII., and it bears the
marks in its religious indifference of a suspicious likeness between
Freemasons of then and now. In Germany the guild was numerous, and was
formally recognized by a diploma granted in 1489 by the Emperor Maximilian.
But this sanction was finally revoked by the Imperial Diet in 1707.
far, however, the Freemasons were really working stonemasons; but the
so-called Cologne Charter (the genuineness seems certain), drawn up in 1535 at
a reunion of Freemasons gathered at Cologne to celebrate the opening of the
Cathedral Edifice, is signed by Melanchthon, Coligny, and other ill-omened.
Nothing certain is known of the Freemasons - now evidently become a sect
during the 17th century, except that in 1646 Elias Ashmole, an Englishman,
founded the Order of Rose Croix, Rosicrucians, or Hermetic Freemasonry, a
society which mingled in a fantastic manner the jargon of alchemy and other
occult sciences with Pantheism. This Order soon became affiliated to some of
the Masonic lodges in Germany, where from the time of the Reformation there
was a constant founding of societies, secret or open, which undertook to
formulate a philosophy or religion of their own.
know it now, however, Freemasonry first appeared in 1725, when Lord
Derwentwater, a supporter of the expelled Stuart Dynasty, introduced the order
into France, professing to have his authority from a lodge at Kilwinning,
Scotland. This formed the basis of that variety of Freemasonry called the
Scotch Rite. Rival organizations soon sprang up. Charters were obtained from a
lodge at York, which was said to have been of a very ancient foundation." (1)
this extract some of our recent writers have thought that "this connection
exists just so far as the Templary of our own day clings to its knightly
practices, and is true to its Templar Dogmas of the Christian faith and
same spirit of Clement V. is here shown by this famous Manning.
the various high-grade systems which sprang into existence in Europe during
the middle and latter past of the 18th century came the Templary on the
continent of Europe, for in each system there was to be found the Knight
Templar degree. The Ancient and Accepted Rite of Twenty-five degrees. and its
successor, the "Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite," formulated at the close
of the last century, are permeated with the Templar spirit.
principles in all of the several rites wherein is to be found
Catholic Dictionary containing some "Account of tbe Doctrine, Discipline,
Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church." By
William E. Addis, Secular Priest, sometime Fellow of the University of
Ireland, and Thomas Arnold, M.A., Fellow of the same university. Second
Edition, London. Large 8vo, 1884. In loco.
Templar degree, are dogmatic utterances, and "squared with the words of that
Ancient Landmark, God's Holy Word." The lessons of duty found in our modern
Templarism are to be applied and practiced in our daily life, and he who
follows faithfully all the teaching of our Order will be a "Christian in deed
and in truth, and in whom there is no guile."
History says Philip died a few weeks after the martyrdom of De Molay, and
Addison fixes the period of the death of the Pope a year and one month
afterward, and he also says, "History attests that all those who were foremost
in the persecution of the Ternplars came to an untimely and miserable death.''
execution of the principal officers of the Templar organization their enemies
supposed that the Order was destroyed for all time; " but the Eagle of St.
John was merely scorched - not killed. From the ashes of the old Phoenix has
arisen another Order, more glorious in all its aspects than the original; and
in the latter part of the 19th century, the Knightly Order of the Templars,
clad in the Armor of Integrity, and armed with the sword of knowledge have
waged, are still waging, and will ever wage eternal war against the three
ancient enemies of the human race - Falsehood, Fanaticism, Superstition! Dieu
le vent - 'The will of God."'
the execution of De Molay and the dispersion of the Templars, in all the
nations of Europe, their possessions were confiscated and divided among
various other Orders; the survivors were compelled to leave their homes,
discard their garb of Templars, and mingle again with the world.
traditions can be relied upon, some preserved their "Order of the Temple at
Paris; " and some the "Templars in Scotland," of whom Charles Edward Stuart
was chosen Grand Master. Some, it is said, sought refuge in the Society of
Free and Accepted Masons, in order "that they might there enjoy with impunity
the religious dogmas which they had brought with them from the East - the
liberal sentiments of the Johannite Christians - the pure doctrines of the
primitive Christian Church. Many entered the preceptories of the Knights
Hospitalers, after a part of their lands had been granted to them." From this
circumstance no doubt the modern degree of Knights of Malta has been
incorporated into the Encampments of
"Addison," p. 280.
Knights Templars. The Knights of Malta were never anciently claimed to have
been Freemasons. "In 1740 the Grand Master of the Order of Malta caused the
bull of Clement XII. to be published in the Island of Malta, and forbade the
meetings of Freemasons. On this occasion several Knights and many citizens
left the Island." " In 1741 the Inquisition pursued the Freemasons at Malta.
The Grand Master proscribed their assemblies under severe penalties, and six
knights were banished from the Island, in perpetuity, for having assisted at a
tradition, after the death of De Molay, in 1313, the Templars were divided
into four parties, viz.:
Templars in Portugal and Italy - known since as Knights of the "Order of
Those who accepted Peter d'Aumont as the successor of De Molay.
Those who asserted that John Marc Larmenius was his successor.
Those who refused to accept either Larmenius or D'Aumont.
Passing by the first, second, and third classes, our sketch need only to refer
to the fourth - as Modern Templarism is supposed to be derived from the fourth
class, which may be divided into two classes - the Scotch and English.
having debarred the Templars from taking refuge either in England or Ireland,
and who attempted to force them, as he had done their brethren, in those
countries to enter the preceptories of the Knights of St. John, they were
forced to join Bruce, who gave them ample protection; and it is said by their
assistance he was enabled to defeat the forces sent against him by Edward at
the battle of Bannockburn. He is said to have created, on June 24, 1314, the
Order of St. Andrew du Chardin,' to which was afterward united that of Heredom
(H.D.M.). He reserved to himself and to his successors forever the title of
Grand Master; and founded the Royal Grand Lodge of the Order of H.D.M. at
Kilwinning. As our object is, if possible, to trace the origin of our Templar
Orders, we must here drop the history of the Royal Order and refer to the
General History preceding - Chapter XXIX. - where a full
This order was most probably created by James II. in 1440.
Mackey, in this work Chapter xxix., p. 259 et seq.
statement is made, according to all the light which could possibly be thrown
on this difficult problem.
death of De Molay, the Order of the Temple was broken up, and the members
scattered in all directions, as they had no common head. Those of them who had
been leaders in each country were mostly imprisoned for life, or executed, the
brethren, persecuted in all directions, and for concealment, wandered about
and cast off the clothing of the Order, and again mingled with other men.
Addison says: " Papers and certificates were granted to men with long beards,
to prevent them from being molested by the officers of justice as suspected
assemblies were forbidden under severe penalties, and at one time six Knights
were banished from the island for having been at one of the meetings. There
was no ritual of the Order, hence the ritual now used, which is a very
beautiful and impressive one, is entirely modern. Gourdin says: " From
ignorance of the true causes which forced some of the Templars to enter the
Order of Malta has arisen the highly reprehensible practice of dubbing the
candidate ' a Knight of the most valiant and magnanimous Order of Knights
Templars and Knights of Malta of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.' This
ritual was once in force in the United States, and was incorporated in the
diploma or patent."
Order of Christ. When the Templars were suppressed in Portugal, their
property, of all kinds, was assigned over to the Order of Christ, the
equestrian militia, the latter name having been changed to the former. This
Order, since its foundation in 1317, has been always protected by the Kings of
Portugal, and also by the Popes. They wear "a long and loose black mantle,
turned up with ermine and thereupon the Crosses." They are called "Christian
Militia," which is their motto. Thory says that "A Portuguese Mason founded at
Paris, in 1807, in a Lodge, a chapter of this Order; he applied the formulas
of reception to those of Freemasonry. It was the Templar system. He pretended
to have received from Portugal the power to create Knights.'' (1) The same
Order was in Italy. Pope John XXII. reserved the right of nominating those
members called Pontifical Knights. (2)
D'Aumont Templars. They professed the system of
Latomorum," tome i., p. 299.
"Encyclopedia of Heraldry," vol. i.
"Strict Observance," which its opponents declare to have been organized in
Prussia by Baron Hund, who derived his knowledge of the doctrines in the
Chapter of Clermont, in Paris, he being a member in 1754. (1) This system is
exclusively used in Germany and Sweden. A long list of Grand Masters is
produced who succeeded De MoJay, the first being D'Aumont, who is said to have
been elected on an island of Scotland, December 27, 1313. (2) In Sweden it is
said that the Grand Chapter of Stockholm has the last will and testament of De
Molay, and that Beaujeau, his nephew, collected his ashes, interred them, and
erected his monument with suitable inscriptions. (3)
Larmenius Templars. James de Molay, foreseeing the evils by which the Order
was threatened, nominated as his successor John Mark Larmenius, of Jerusalem,
and invested him with the Patriarchal and Apostolic power. Larmenius
transmitted this power to Brother Thibault of Alexandria in 1324. (4) The
Order of Paris claim to have the Charter of transmission signed by Laminius
and also the others who succeeded him in Office, down to the present time.
They claim also to have the original statutes of the year 587 in manuscript,
and several relics which formerly belonged to the martyrs. Some of the
Templars were sent out in 1826 to Greece, to fight the Turks. (5)
has been a difference of opinion among the brethren as to the authenticity of
these legends relative to D'Aumont, Beaujeau, and Larmenius, and the relics.
Some writers have asserted that De Molay had appointed four Grand Chiefs of
the Order in Europe: at Edinburgh in the north; Paris in the west; Naples in
the south, and Stockholm in the east. (6) According to the rules of the Order
at that time it is very doubtful if De Molay appointed anyone as his
successor, as the office had, up to that time, been elective, and no one
appointed by De Molay or anyone else would have been recognized by the Order
at large unless he had been regularly elected; hence we may be sure that De
Molay had no successors.
fourth were the Templars, who did not recognize either of
Latomorum," tome i., pp. 68, 328. "Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 45. The
system of Ramsay was known in Germany before the Chapter of Clermont. "Orthodoxie
Maconnerie," p. 222.
Latomorum," tome i., p. 329. "Historical Landmarks," vol.
p. 13, note 26 (3) "Acta Latomorum," p. 339.
"Manuel," p. 8.
"Freemasons Magazine." vol. I p. 170.
"La Maconnerie." tome I., p. 466.
three above mentioned who assumed the authority of a Grand Master. Those may
be divided into two classes: 1st. The Scotch Templars. These may be
sub-divided into two sections: a. Those who fought with Robert Bruce; b. Those
who entered the Order of Knights Hospitalers.
Templars in Scotland, in consequence of the hostility of Edward III., King of
England, were forced to join with Bruce, as he had refused to let them take
refuge either in England or Ireland, and had endeavored to force them, as he
had their brethren in those countries, to enter the preceptories of the
Knights of St. John.
Knights having joined Bruce and aided in the victory at Bannockburn, he
created, June 24, 1314, the Order of St. Andrew du Chardon, to which was
afterward united that of Heredom (H.D.M.).(1) He raised the Lodge of
Kilwinning in Scotland, founded at the time of the constitution of the abbey
of that name, in 1150, to the rank of Royal Grand Lodge of Heredom. These
Scotch Templars are reported to have been expelled in 1324 by Larmenius, who
had invented different signs and words to exclude them from the Order of which
he was chief, because they had assisted Bruce, and of having joined the order
of H.R.D.M. Some writers have conjectured that from this Royal Order had
sprung the Ancient and Accepted Rite. The present writer feels confident that
the third degree of Symbolic Masonry was originally derived from the H.R.D.M.
the General Regulations of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland, it may be inferred
that the preservation of a remnant of the Templars in Scotland is chiefly to
be attributed to the wars between Robert Bruce and Edward III. of England." It
is confidently said that "the 25 degrees of Heredom were practiced at York, in
1784, by the College of Heredom Templars, being No. 1 under the Constitution
of the Ancient Lodge at York, south of the river Trent, sitting at York."
1785 the Order of H.R.D.M. resumed its functions at Edinburgh, the presiding
officer being styled Wisdom. (2) The body at Edinburgh established a Chapter
at Rouen in 1786. (3) On January 4, 1787, a Chapter of Harodim was opened in
London, (4) but it is not known whether this was a branch of the Royal Order.
Chapter xix., ante.
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 86.
Latomorum," tome i., p. 169.
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p . 86.
DREAM OF CONSTANTINE
beginning of the present century there was a consistory at Hull and one at
has it that the Grand Lodge of Heredom of Kilwinning united together with all
the subordinates to the St. John Grand Lodge of Edinburgh. (2)
Those who entered the Order of Knights Hospitalers. In Scotland, in England
and Ireland, many of the Templars joined the Order of the Knights of St. John.
They resided amicably in the same preceptories at the end of the 14th and
beginning of the 15th centuries, and continued thus until the Reformation. (3)
But they did not, however, hold all their lands in common. (4) Many of these
Knights of both Orders embraced Protestantism, and fraternized with the
Freemasons. The Preceptor in Scotland, having become a Protestant, resigned
the whole prosessions of the Preceptory, of the Hospitalers and Templars,
received the same, as Lord Torphichen, ftom the Crown. Those Knights who
remained Roman Catholics united with David Seaton. The Grand Master, Viscount
Dundee, was slain at Killiekrankie. Charles Edward Stuart, who had been
admitted, September 24, 1745, at Holyrood, became the Grand Master. (5) Mr.
Oliphant, of Bachiltar, succeeded him. He died in 1745. (6) From the General
Regulations of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland it may be inferred that the
Masonic branch of the Order preserved the ceremonies which are used at a
reception. The Sterling Ancient Lodge conferred the degree of Royal Arch, Red
Cross, or Ark, the Sepulcher, Knights of Malta and Knights Templars, until the
beginning of the last century, when two lodges were formed. The Ancient Lodge
joined the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736, and the new one, called the Royal
Arch, in 1759, when another division took place. And these degrees were
conferred in an encampment until 1811, when the supreme encampmnent of Masonic
Knights Templars was formed in Scotland. (7) Sev
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 671, note 16.
"Histoire Generale de la Francois Maconnerie," p. 151 Oliver, "Historical
Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 16.
"General Regulations of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland," Introduction, p. iii.
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 20, note 46.
Gourdin, p. 25.
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 20, note 46. It is presumed that this
portion of the Order is not connected with Freemasonry.
"General Regulations of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland," Introduction, pp. ii.,
encampments in Scotland, however, obtained, about 1795, charters from Ireland
with the privilege of conferring the Royal Arch degrees, though the
encampments in the latter country were merely private bodies. (1)
English Templars. It is supposed, that with the exception of the Encampment of
Observance, all the encampments in the United States and England owe their
origin to the three original is Encampments of Baldwin," established at
Bristol, Bath, and York.
Oliver says: " In England and Ireland, as the Conciliae Magnae Britannicae
show, the Templars were put down, and the Knights compelled to enter the
preceptories of their opponents, the Knights of St. John, as dependants." (3)
" Their lands were confiscated and given to the latter Order. But in treating
of the manner in which a remnant of the Order was preserved in England, I must
avail myself of information kindly furnished me by an eminent Brother who
resides in Bristol."
Order of Knights Templars has existed in Bristol from time immemorial. The
Templars held large possessions in this ancient city, and, with their House or
Preceptory, and the Men of the Temple, are mentioned in many old charters and
documents. The Temple Church and Parish of Temple point out the locality of
their residence. About fifty years ago an active and respected member of the
Craft, Brother Henry Smith, now deceased, introduced from France three degrees
of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, which, with the degree of R.C., long before
that time connected with the Knights Templars, were united into an Order or
Community, called the Royal Orders of Knighthood. These were the degrees of
the Nine Elect, the 9th degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, the Knights
Grand Architects of Kilwinning, the 14th degree of that Rite, and the Knights
of the East, the Sword and Eagle, answering to the 16th degree, and the
Knights R.C. or 18th degree, were, together with the order of the Knights
Templars, held and practiced under one authority. In our oldest records the
style or title of Knights Templars is given with the addition of K.-H., but
that degree was, as far as I know, never given, and even the meaning of the
title has fallen into oblivion."
"General Regulations of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland," Introduction, p. vii.
"Lexicon," p. 265. Temp. chart, p. 47, by J. L. Cross.
"Historical Landmarks," vol. ii., p. 20, note 46.
candidate for admission into any one of the five degrees before mentioned must
be a Royal Arch Mason. He may, however, take any one of the five degrees
first, which may happen to be about to be given, at the time he seeks
admission, as one general payment to the fund of the United Orders entitles
him to admission to all. An attempt was made to enforce the proper progression
through the five degrees, but failed.
"Nothing is known here of the Order of the Temple of Paris, but that is the
real source of the present Grand Conclave of England, the late Grand Master,
the Duke of Sussex, having been created at Paris in that body.
will shortly endeavor to explain the difference between the Encampment of
Baldwyn and the Grand Conclave.
Duke of Sussex, having been installed as Knight Templar at Paris, I believe by
Sir Sidney Smith, then Grand Master, was created Grand Master of the Knights
Templars in England. From some cause or other, he never would countenance the
Christian degrees connected with Masonry, and would not permit a badge of one
of these degrees to be worn in a Craft Lodge. In London, of course, he ruled
Supreme, and the meetings of Knights Templars there, if they continued at all,
were degraded to the mere level of public-house meetings. A true descendant of
the Knights of St. John of the Hospital was held, with all circumstances of
ribaldry, at St.
Gate, Clerkenwell, and the degrees conferred at a weekly convivial meeting for
the sum of 5s. On the death of the Duke of Sussex it was resolved to rescue
the Order from its degraded position, and the Grand Conclave of England was
formed, some of the officers of the Duke of Sussex's original Encampment,
which he held once, and I believe once only, being then alive.
the mean time, of the three Original Encampments of England, the genuine
representatives of the Old Knights of the Temple, two had expired, those of
Bath and York, leaving Bristol the sole relic of the Order with the exception
of those encampments which had been created in various parts of the country,
not holding under any legitimate authority, but raised by Knights who had, I
believe, without exception, been created in the Encampment of Baldwyn at
these circumstances, the Knights of Baldwin felt that their place was at the
head of the Order, and though willing, for the common good, to submit to the
authority of Colonel Tynte, or any duly elected Grand Master, they could not
yield precedence to the Encampment of Observance (the Original Encampment of
the Duke of Sussex) derived from a foreign and spurious source, the socalled
Order of the Temple in Paris, nor could they consent to forego the privileges
which they held from an immemorial period, or to permit their ancient and
well-established ceremonies, costume, and laws to be revised by persons for
whose knowledge and judgment they entertained a very reasonable and well
grounded want of respect.
Encampment of Baldwyn, therefore, refused to send representatives to the Grand
Conclave of England, or to acknowledge its authority in Bristol, until such
time as its claims should be treated with the consideration it is believed
they deserve. I am, however, in hope that an arrangement will shortly be
effected, and all the Templars in England united under one head." (1)
Gourdin, from whose admirable Historical Sketch of Knights Templars we have
made many extracts, says, in continuation of the matters referred to in the
above letter: "While we approve of the noble conduct of the Encampment of
Baldwin, and trust that it may soon attain the eminent position to which it is
entitled as the sole surviving preserver of our Ancient Mysteries in England,
during many centuries of trial."
writers have contended that the Masonry of modern times "originated in the
Holy Land during the Crusades, and was instituted by the Knights Templars."
Laurie, or Brewster, who it is said wrote the work which bears Laurie's name,
embodies the tradition as follows:
"Almost all the secret associations of the Ancients either flourished or
originated in Syria and the adjacent countries. It was here that the Dionysian
Artists, the Essenes, and the Kassideans arose. From this country also come
several members of that trading association of Masons which appeared in Europe
during the dark ages; and we are assured that, notwithstanding the unfavorable
condition of that Province, there exists at this day, on Mount Libanus, one of
these Syrian Fraternities. As the Order of the Templars, therefore, was
originally formed in Syria, and existed there for a considerable time, it
would be no improbable supposition that they received
Letter of David W. Nash, September 29, 1853, to Theo. S.
Gourdin, Charleston, S. C., in his " Historical Sketch," 1855.
Masonic knowledge from the Lodges in that quarter. But we are fortunately, in
this case, not left to conjecture, for we are ex pressly informed by a foreign
author [Adler, de Drusis], who was well acquainted with the history and
customs of Syria, that the Knights Templars were actually members of the
Syriac fraternities There is no evidence of Freemasonry in Syria at that
very certain, from the best histories of the Templar Order, that, in addition
to the open ritual for the reception of a candidate for the Order, there was a
secret ritual, and no one was admitted within their quarters during the
ceremony of reception.
does not, however, prove that, whatever secret ceremonies were used, they were
in any manner connected with the Freemasons. Recent examinations by our most
advanced Masonic scholars, such as Wm.
Hughan, Robert Freck Gould, and others too numerous to mention who are members
of the Lodge Quartuor-Coronati in England, and the Grand Secretary of the
Grand Lodge of Scotland, D. Murray Lyon, that, prior to the formation of the
Grand Lodge of England in 1717, there was no ritualistic observance in the
reception to Masonry. Nor have any indications been found anywhere in the
world, that our modern rituals of the various degrees of the Lodge, Chapter,
Council, and Templar Order, had any ancient formulas whatever. To the careful
student, every one of these ritualistic formulas bears intrinsic evidence of
the modern era in Masonry. In the three degrees of the Blue Lodge, the want of
congruity and manifest errors as to the facts at the building of King
Solomon's Temple, the topography itself of the site of the Temple, and the
situation of the City of Jerusalem - all concur in the conclusion that the
ceremonies are all symbolic and allegorical, and consequently so much the more
valuable to the student of symbolism and the philosophy contained in these
degrees - and this can be said also of all the other degrees.
Knights of Malta being at the present day incorporated in the Order of Knights
Templars, we deem it necessary that this sketch should include some important
matters connected with that Order, which, from our preceding notices of them,
it will be seen succeeded the Knights Hospitalers, or Knights of St. John, and
so called Knights of Rhodes.
Pilgrims and traders from the West to Palestine were so numerous and constant,
it became requisite to build in the city of Jerusalem hospitals or places of
entertainment during their stay in Jerusalem. In 870 Bernard, a monk, founded
in the valley of Jehoshaphat, close to the Church of the Virgin, a hospital,
consisting of twelve houses for pilgrims from the West, which held possession
of gardens, vineyards, and fields for grain. There was a collection of books
given by Charlemagne (in 768 to 800). A market was held in front of this
place. When, in the 11th century, pilgrimage was greatly increased, a hospital
was established in the city of Jerusalem, for the Latin pilgrims, which was
erected by Amalfi and the Latin traders, about A.D. 1050. They also erected a
church to the Holy Virgin, called St. Mary of the Latins. This hospital was
the residence of the Benedictines, who devoted themselves to the necessities
of the pilgrims, and contributed to the wants of those who were poor, or had
been robbed by the banditti who infested all the roads leading to Jerusalem,
and also aided them to pay the taxes required by the Moslems for permits to
visit the Holy Places.
great increase of pilgrims required another hospital which was raised near
their church, having a chapel dedicated to St. John Fleemon (Almoner), a
canonized Patriarch of Alexandria, who was the son of the King of Cyprus in
the 6th century. He was elected Patriarch and founded a Fraternity in
Jerusalem, whose object was to attend upon the sick and wounded Christian
pilgrims to the Sacred Land. The Greek and also Roman Churches canonized this
Archprelate by the name of St. John of Jerusalem.
Gerard, as before mentioned, presided over the Hospital of St. John at the
time the Crusaders appeared at Jerusalem. When the city was taken (July 15,
1099), the wounded pilgrims were received, and "Duke Godfrey de Bouillon, some
days afterward, visited them, to whom he personally administered aid and
consolation, and, to mark his sense of the humane services rendered by the
brethren, he endowed the hospital with his own Lordship of Montboire, in
Brabant, and all its dependencies. Having enjoyed universal favor, Gerard and
his brethren desired to be separated from the Monastery of St. Mary de Latina
and become independent. There was no opposition to this, and they made a rule
for themselves, to which they vowed obedience in the presence of the
Patriarch, and assumed a black mantle with a white cross on the breast.
1130, from the Bull of Pope Innocent II., we have the first authentic notice
of an intention of the Hospitalers to have any connection with military
affairs. This Bull gives information that the Hospitalers retained, at their
own expense, a body of foot- soldiers and horsemen to defend the pilgrims in
going to and returning from the Holy Places. The Hospitalers had resolved to
add the protecting to the task of relieving pilgrims.
1168, the first year of Philip of Nablous as Grand Master of the Templars, the
King of Jerusalem and Knights Hospitalers went forth on their memorable and
unfortunate expedition to invade Egypt. The Templars refused to join this
expedition, as it was in violation of all treaties.
this period there was an entire change in the Order of the Hospital of St.
John, and they became a great military body; their Superior was styled Grand
Master, and he led in person the brethren into the field of battle. They,
however, still continued their duties as attendants upon the sick and to
relieve the indigent.
Order of the Holy Sepulcher was instituted at the same period as the Knights
of St. John of Jerusalem, and for the same causes.
following is a list of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, A.D. 1099 to 1187, from De
Diambert ) Arnulphe )
to 1107 Ebremard ) Gibelin 1107 to 1111 Arnulphe 1111 to 11118 Gorman 1118 to
1128 Etienne (Stephen) 1128 to 1130 Guillaume (William) 1130 to 1146 Foulcher
1146 to 1157 Amanry 1157 to 1180 Eraclius (Heraclius)
1847 the Pope re-established the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the person of
Bishop Velerga. He only had authority to confer the Order of Knights of the
Holy Sepulcher. This was done in the apartment styled the Chapel of the
Apparition, where Jesus is said to have appeared to Mary after his
resurrection. The Candidate, kneeling before the Patriarch, is asked the
traditional questions, and is then girded with the sword and spur of King
Godfrey. We have in a former part of this sketch explained the union of the
Knights of the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine with the Knights Hospitalers
and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, so that, when these Orders, after the
Crusades had ceased, had been driven successively from Cyprus and Rhodes and
found refuge in the island of Malta, Which was tendered to them by Charles V.,
King of Spain, and when the Order of the Templars was suppressed and many of
them found a home with the Order of Malta, the junction of the two Orders was
formed. We presume that when the modern Order of Knights Templars was
formulated, the ritual of Malta was added to that of Knight Templar, and we
consider the association much more consonant with the history of these two
Orders than the degree of Knight of the Red Cross of Persia and Syria, which
has evidently been mistaken for the Red Cross of Rome and Constantine, as
OF KNIGHTS OF MALTA.
Order has been known at different periods by the title of the Knights of St.
John of Jerusalem, Hospitalers of St. John, Knights of St. John D'Acre,
Knights of Rhodes, and finally Knights of Malta
year 1048 some pious merchant from Amalfi, in the kingdom of Naples, built a
church and monastery at Jerusalem, which they dedicated to St. John the
Almoner. The monks were hence called Brothers of St. John, or Hospitalers, and
it was their duty to assist those sick and needy pilgrims whom a spirit of
piety had led to the Holy Land. They assumed the black habit of the hermits of
St. Augustine, distinguished only by a white cross of eight points on the left
breast. They rapidly increased in numbers and in wealth and at the beginning
of the 12th century were organized as a military order by Raymond du Puy, who
added to their original vow of chastity, obedience, and poverty, the
obligation of defending the church against Infidels. Raymond then divided them
into three classes: Knights, who alone bore arms; Chaplains, who were regular
ecclesiastics; and Servitors, who attended to the sick. After long and bloody
contests with the Turks and Saracens, they were finally driven from Palestine
in the year 1191. Upon this they attacked and conquered Cyprus, which,
however, they lost after eighteen years' occupation. They then established
themselves at the island of Rhodes, under the Grand Mastership of Fulk de
Villaret, and assumed the title of the Knights of Rhodes.
here that the illustrious Villars died in the seventieth year of his age and
the fourteenth of his Grand Mastership. In justice to his distinguished merit,
the following epitaph was inscribed on his tombstone: "Here lies Virtue
victorious over Fortune."
December 15, 1542, after a tranquil occupation of this island for more than
two hundred years, they were finally ejected from all their possessions by the
Sultan Soliman the Second.
this disaster they successively retired to Castro, Messina, and Rome, until
the Emperor Charles V., in 1530, bestowed upon them the island of Malta, upon
the condition of their defending it from the depredations of the Turks and the
Corsairs of Barbary, and of restoring it to Naples, should they ever succeed
in recovering Rhodes.
island was formerly called Melita, from the vast quantities of honey which it
produced. The Romans gained possession of it when they conquered Sicily; they
were deprived of it by the Arabs in 828, who were expelled by Roger the Norman
in 1190. From that period it continued under the dominion of the Kings of
Sicily, till it fell, by the conquest of that island, into the hands of the
emperor, Charles V.
Order now took the name of the Knights of Malta, by which title they have ever
since been designated. Here the organization of the Order was as follows: The
chief of the Order was called "Grand Master of the Holy Hospital of St. John
of Jerusalem and Guardian of the army of Jesus Christ." He was elected for
life, and resided at the city of Valette. He was addressed by foreign powers
with the title of "altezza eminentissima," and enjoyed an annual revenue of
about one million guilders. The Knights were divided into eight languages,
according to their respective nations. The languages were those of Provence,
Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon, Germany, Castile, and England. Upon the
extinction of the language of England, that of Anglo-Bavaria was substituted
The Grand Officers were also eight in number, and consisted of the chiefs of
the different languages, as follows:
Chief of the language of Provence was Grand Commander 2.
Auvergne was Marshal.
was Grand Admiral.
Chief of the language of Aragon was Grand Conservators 6.
Germany was Grand Bailiff.
Castile was Grand Chancellor.
England was Turcopolier, or Captain-General of the Cavalry.
Knights, in time of war, wore over their usual garments a scarlet surcoat,
embellished before and behind with a broad white cross of eight points. In
time of peace, the dress of ceremony was a long black mantle, upon which the
same cross of white linen was sewed.
the time that the island of Malta was bestowed upon the Order, until the year
1724, the Knights were continually at war with the Turks; during which time
the latter had expended vast quantities of blood and treasure, and the former
had exhibited the most magnanimous examples of patience and undaunted heroism.
A peace was at length concluded for twenty years, to be renewed at the
expiration of that period, if the parties could agree.
1565 the island of Malta was beleaguered by Soliman II., on which occasion the
Knights suffered immense loss, from which they never entirely recovered. Of
the eight languages, the English became extinct in the 16th century; those of
France, Auvergne, and Provence perished in the anarchy of the French
Revolution; Castile and Aragon were separated at the peace of Amiens; and the
remaining two have been since abolished. The Order, therefore, as respects its
ancient constitution, has now ceased to exist.
June 9, 1798, the island of Malta was taken by the French under Bonaparte. In
the same year the Knights chose Paul I., Emperor of Russia, as their Grand
Master, who took them under his protection.
his death they elected Prince Carriciolo. Upon the reduction of the island by
the English in 1800, the chief seat of the Order was transferred to Catanea in
Sicily, whence, in 1826, it was removed, by the authority of the Pope, to
Ferrara. The last public reception of the Order took place at Sonneburg in
1800, when Leopold, the present King of Belgium, and Prince Ernest, of Hesse
Philippsthal Barchfeld, with several other Knights, were created.
1841 Ferdinand I., Ernperor of Austria, issued a decree restoring the Order in
Italy, and endowing it with a moderate revenue. But the wealth, the power, and
the magnificence of the Order have passed away with the age and the spirit of
chivalry which gave it birth.
Chapter XXIX. of this work, p. 258 et seq., Bro. Mackey reviews the history of
the Templars in Scotland, and emphatically denies any claims of the Scottish
Modern Templars to be the successors of the Templars who were dispersed after
the death of De Molay. We shall not, in this sketch, attempt any defense of
their claims or those of the Templars of the present day as to the legitimate
succession. However, we must give our readers some extracts from Addison which
will demonstrate that there were some reasons why such claims have been set
in his History of Freemasonry in Scotland, says that before 1153 King David I.
introduced the Knights of the Temple into Scotland and established them at the
Temple on the Southesk, and was greatly attached to them.
is known of the history of the Knights Templars from the time of Alexander II.
until the 14th century, except that all their privileges (which we have
omitted) were continued to them by succeeding kings, who directed their piety
and their bounties toward the religious Orders. The possessions of the
Fraternity were so extensive that their lands were scattered 'over the whole
kingdom of Scotland toward England and over the whole kingdom to the Orchardis."
time of the persecution of the Order in other countries correspondently the
Templars of Scotland suffered spoliation, but it is to be remarked, to the
credit of the people of Scotland, that there is no account of any single
member having suffered any personal torture. Their estates were transferred to
their rivals the Hospitalers, and like their brethren in England a number very
probably entered into that Order.
Knights of St. John had also been introduced by David I. into Scotland, and
Alexander II. had granted a charter to them soon after that granted to the
Knights Templars. Their first Preceptory was at Torphicen, in West Lothian,
which continued to be their principal residence, and after the acquisitions of
the lands of the TempIars and some others thelr possessions came to be immense
and the date of the Reformation.
union was effected, at the beginning of the reign of James IV., between the
Knights Templars and the Knights of St. John, and their lands were
consolidated. The precise period of this union is nor known. but the fact is
established by the charter of King James, October 19, 1488, confirming the
grants of lands made by his predecessors to these two Orders in Latin, which
is thus translated: "To God and the Holy Hospitalers of Jerusalem and to their
brethren of the Soldiers of the Temple of Solomon." Both Orders were then
united and placed under the charge of the Preceptor of St. John, and there can
be no doubt that such an arrangement was political and natural.
in Scotland alone that the Knights Templars owned independent property. The
ban against them being yet in force throughout Europe, necessarily contracted
their sphere of action.
Knights of the Hospital, however, being entirely free of any obstruction, had
great wealth and influence, and stood high in the favor of the sovereigns of
Europe. Both Orders were represented by the Preceptor of St. John in the
Parliament of Scotland, and the union continued down to the Reformation.
the era of the Reformation these two Orders, combined, appear in Scotland only
as a Masonic body; but the late Mr. Deucher averred that so early as 1590 a
few of the brethren had become mingled with the Architectural Fraternity, and
that a Lodge at Stirling, patronized by King Jamest had a Chapter of Templars
attached to it, who were termed cross-legged Masons, and whose initiatory
ceremonies were performed, not in a room, but in the old Abbey, the ruins of
which are still to be seen in the neighborhood.
first authentic notice we can find on the subject is in M.
Thory's excellent Chronology of Masonry, wherein it is recorded that about
1728 Sir John Mitchell Ramsay, the well-known author of Cyrus, appeared in
London with a system of Scottish Masonry, up to that date perfectly unknown in
the Metropolis, tracing its origin from the Crusades, and consisting of three
degrees, the Ecossais, the Novice, and the Knight Templar. For further notice
of this subject we refer our readers to Chapter XXIX., ante.
the 18th century the Scottish Order can be but faintly traced; though Mr.
Deucher had, in 1836, the assurance of well-in formed Masons that, thirty or
forty years previously, they knew old men who had been members of it for sixty
years, and it had sunk so low at the time of the French Revolution that the
sentence which the Grand Lodge of Scotland fulminated in 1792 against all
degrees of Masonry except those of St. John, was expected to put a period to
its existence. Soon after this, however, some active individuals revived it,
and with the view to obtaining documentary authority for their chapters, as
well as avoiding any infringement of the Statutes then recently enacted
against secret societies, adopted the precaution of accepting Charters of
Constitution from a body of Masonic Templars, named the Early Grand
Encampment, in Dublin, of whose origin we can find no account, and whose
legitimacy, to say the least, was quite as questionable as their own. Several
charters of this description were granted to different Encampments of Templars
in Scotland about the beginning of the present century; but these bodies
maintained little concert or intercourse with each other, and certainly were
not esteemed in the country. Affairs were in this state when, about 1808, Mr.
Alexander Deucher was elected Commander or Chief of the Edinburgh Encampment
of Templars; and his brother, Major David Deucher, along with other Officers
of the Royal Regiment, was initiated into the Order. A General Convocation of
all the Templars of Scotland, by representatives, having taken place in
Edinburgh, they unanimously resolved to discard the Irish Charters, and to
rest their claims, as the representatives of the ancient Knights, on the
general belief and traditions of the country.
further determined to entreat the Duke of Kent, the Chief of the Masonic
Templars in England, to become the patron protector of the Order in North
Britain, offering to submit themselves to his Royal Highness in that capacity
and to accept from him a formal Charter of Constitution. The Duke of Kent lost
no time in complying with their request, and his Charter erecting them into a
Conclave of "Knights of the Holy Temple and Sepulcher, and of St. John of
Jerusalem. H.R.D.M. + K.D.S.M." bears date June 19, 1811. (1)
provision in it Mr. Deucher, who had been nominated by the brethren, was
appointed Grand Master for life. (2)
Southerland, De Magny, Dumas, Burnes, Gregoire, and
"Addison," p. 548.
Ibid., p 549
show that the Order of Knights Templars, although suppressed, was never
dissolved in France.
persecution of the Templars in the 14th century does not close the history of
the Order; for though the Knights were spoliated, the Order was not
annihilated. In truth, the Cavaliers were not guilty, the brotherhood was not
suppressed, and, startling as is the assertion, there has been a succession of
Knights Templars from the 12th century even down to these days; the chain of
transmission is perfect in all its links. James de Molay, the Grand Master, at
the time of the persecution, anticipating his own martyrdom, appointed, as his
successor in power and dignity, Johannes Marcus Larmenius of Jerusalem, and
from time to time to the present there has been a regular, uninterrupted line
of Grand Masters. The Charter of transmission, with the signatures of the
various chiefs of the Temple, is preserved at Paris, with the ancient statutes
of the Order, the rituals, the records, the seals, the standards, and the
early memorials of the early Templars. (1)
brotherhood has been headed by the bravest Cavaliers in France; by men who,
jealous of the dignities of knighthood, would admit no corruption, no base
copies of the Orders of Chivalry, and who thought that the shield of their
nobility was enriched by the impress of theTemplars' Red Cross. Bertrand du
Guesclin was the Grand Master from 1357 till his death, 1380, and he was the
only French commander who prevailed over the Chivalry of Edward III. of
England. From 1478 to 1497 we may mark Robert Lenoncourt, a Cavalier of one of
the most ancient and valiant families of Lorraine. Philippe Chabot, a renowned
Captain in the reign of Francis I., wielded the staff of power from 1516 to
1543. The illustrious family of Montmorency appears as Knights Templars, and
Henry, the first Duke, was chief of the Order from 1574 to 1614. At the close
of the 17th century, James Henry de Duras, a Marshal of France, the nephew of
Turenne, and one of the most skillful of the soldiers of Louis XIV., was Grand
Master. From 1724 to 1776, three princes of the Bourbon family were Grand
Masters, viz.: Louis Augustus, Duke of Maine, 1724-1737; Louis Henry Bourbon
Conde, 1737-1741; and Louis Francis Bourbon Conde, 1741-1746. Louis Hercules
Timoleon, Duke de Cosse Brissac, accepted
"Addison." p. 550.
office of Grand Master in 1776 and remained in office until he died in the
cause of royalty at the commencement of the French Revolution. The Grand
Master at that time was Bernardus Fabre Palaprat. There are Colleges in
England and in many of the chief cities in Europe. (1)
Master Bernard Raymond died in 1838; he was succeeded in the regency of the
Order by Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, until his death in 1840. At that
time, among the subjects of Great Britain who were office-bearers were the
names of the Duke of Sussex, Grand Prior of England; the Duke of Leinster,
Grand Prior of Ireland; the Earl of Durham, Grand Prior of Scotland; the
Chevalier Burnes (Grand Master of Scottish Freemasons in India), Grand
Preceptor of Southern Asia; the Chevalier Tennyson D'Eyncourt, Grand Prior of
Italy; General George Wright, Grand Prior of India, etc. Among the
functionaries of France were Prince Alexander de Wirtemberg, Dukes de Choiseul
and Montmorency, and Counts Le Peletier, D'Aunay, De Lanjuinais, De Brack, De
Chabrillan, De Magny, De Dienne, and others equally distinguished. (2) In
consequence of the political changes in France, an institution so much
identified with ancient nobility and tradition naturally fell into abeyance;
it, however, in 1874, is said by McCoy's Addison to number about thirty
British Ministers, most of whom are in the Public Service in India, received
by the Grand Preceptor of Southern Asia, under legative powers from the Grand
Master, Bernard Raymond, sanctioned by the Duke of Sussex, without whose
approval no British subject was admissible.
history of Sir William Sidney Smith's connection with the Order of
KnightsTemplars is well substantiated, and is brought very near to our period,
as will appear in the following extracts from John Barrow's Life and
Correspondence of Admiral Sir W. Sidney Smith.
the end of 1815, Sir Sidney mostly made his residence in Paris, France. It was
here, in fact, that he carried on the vast correspondence with the Knights
Liberators, and also with another Order of Knighthood, of which he became a
member, invested at the fountain-head, in a curious and romantic manner.
following is Sir Sidney's own account of his obtaining this
"Addison," p. 251.
Ibid., p. 551.
Ibid., p. 552.
which he wore during his life, and which is now in possession of the Convent
of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem at Paris. The paper is in Sir Sidney's
own handwriting, but has no address, though, judging by the appeal made on a
point of conscience and religion, it was probably meant for the English Bishop
resident in Paris at that time, viz., Dr. Luscomb.
Sidney wrote a letter to a friend from Paris, dated October 28, 1839, saying:
most anxious to leave Paris before another insurrection, though as Regent of
the 'Order of the Orient' and the 'Milice du Temple,' denominated the Order of
the Temple, I must always have a pied a terre (foot of ground) here, a
the exercise of my duty, representing the King in his dignity, as his Minister
Plenipotentiary at the Ottoman Porte, and being decorated by Sultan Selim with
his imperial Aigrette, and with a commission to command his forces by sea and
land, on the coast of Syria and Egypt, consequently representing that
Sovereign in his authority, in the absence of the Grand Vizier (his highness
being the one to exert it, when present), and as the Captain Pasha was
expressly put personally under my Orders, I thought it my duty to land at
Cyprus, for the purpose of restoring subordination and the hierarchy of
authority, on a sudden emergency, which arose from the bursting out of an
insurrection of Janissaries, Arnants, and Albanians, in the year 1799, after
the raising of the siege of Acre.
visiting the Venerable Greek Archbishop afterward at the capital (Nicosia), to
prevent him from disgracing himself by a visit to me, which I understood was
his intention, his grace met me outside the city gates. I, of course,
dismounted to receive his welcome and animated harangue, at the termination of
which he embraced me paternally, and at the same moment adroitly threw the
Templar's cross, which he wore as an Episcopal decoration on his breast,
around file neck of his English guest, saying, 'This belonged to an Englishman
formerly, and I now restore it. It belonged to Sr. Richard (Agio Ricardo),
surnamed "Coeur-de-Lion," who left it in this church at his departure, and it
has been preserved in our treasury ever since. Eighteen archbishops, my
predecessors, have signed the receipt thereof, in succession. I now make it
over to you, in token of our gratitude for saving all our lives, the
archbishops ecclesiastics, laymen, citizens, and peasantry."
writings, sketches, and theses upon any particularly im portant subject, it is
eminently proper to draw conclusions there upon, that those who read may learn
and duly appreciate the value of such examinations upon the subject-matter
old philosophers suggested that upon all valuable questions, or propositions,
there should be, first, the affirmation; second, the denial; third, the
discussion; fourth, the conclusion. We have, in preceding pages, endeavored,
by quotations and deductions from the most approved authors, shown, we think,
the tme history of the Organization, the progress, triumphal success, decline,
and final destruction of the most glorious, chivalnc, and magnanimous Order of
Knights which the world has ever witnessed
day of their successful and triumphant battles of Truth against Error over
their Saracen and Turkish opponents, they excited the wonder of their friends
in the West and the highest admiration of their enemies. They were enthused by
their zeal for the cause of Christ, as were also the Crusaders of every rank
who suffered every inconvenience, toil, dangers, from their human foes, and
the more insidious foes found in the climatic conditions of the countries
through which they passed and were more than decimated by the peculiar local
circumstances which accompanied and surrounded them, in their journeys,
marches, and camping-grounds; yet they faltered not, nor ever ceased in their
persistent efforts, which many times were so eminently successful in repelling
all attacks, and in the forward movements to conquer and possess the
strongholds of the Infidels. In the First Crusade, after untold misfortunes
due to the special conditions of the country, diseases of the climate, and
attacks of their foes, they, with a mere handful compared with the vast
numbers with which they crossed the Hellespont, at length conquered and took
Jerusalem, and finally, with the aid of the Templars and Hospitalers,
succeeded in extending the Kingdom of Jerusalem
"Addison," p. 554
the whole country of Palestine. Their success, as is often the case in human
affairs, caused their rulers to forget the circumstances of the "Crusade,"
and, exalting themselves above the great CAUSE for which they should be
fighting, strove for dominion and empire for themselves each individual
claiming rank and power, for human glory, and not for Christ's sake. Human
history from time immemorial teaches the scholar this great lesson, that all
things are by the direction of a Divine Providence. This is the true
philosophy of all history; without that Providence we are driven to the
evident conclusion of Fatalism of the Mohammedan, or Fortuity of the Infidel.
These three conditions are alone possible. Which shall we choose? The vast
majority of the world in all ages have chosen and acted under the "Faith" in a
"Divinity above who shapes our ends, rough hew them as we may."
history repeat itself? What shall we say of the events at the close of the
19th century, as to the war between Spain and the Young giant of the West?"
Can we perceive any parallel between the 11th, 12th, and 13th century Crusades
and that of the 19th? Both have been impelled by a force beyond human
conception. History has told us why the Old Crusades were undertaken - viz.,
for the Salvation, the conservation of the doctrines of Christ, which was for
Humanity's sake. can any deny that the United States, almost unanimously,
entered into the War for " Humanity's" sake and not for conquest or
limits will not admit of the many extracts from various writers, in
continuation of the history of the Knight Templar Order in France, England,
Scotland, and Ireland, which could be made to show that, up to the close of
the 18th century, and some years in the present century, the Order was in a
measure intact in Europe, and consequently, when Masonry was introduced into
the United States, very many of the brethren belonged to the Templar Order,
and from them we may surmise that the several encampments which are mentioned
in the history of Masonry in this country can trace their origin. This
particular matter will engage our attention when we write the history of the
Knights Templars in the United States in the appropriate chapter.
OF GRAND MASTERS OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS
Hugho de Payens, 1118.
Robert de Craon, 1136.
Everard des Barres or Barri, 1146.
Bernard de Tremelay, 1151.
Bertrand de Blanquefort, 1154.
Philip of Naplous (Native), 1167 to 1170.
de St. Amand, 1170.
Arnold de Torroge or de Troy, 1180, Chief Preceptor; while St.
was a prisoner the Chief Preceptor died at Verona, 1185.
Gerard de Riderfort, 1185. Taken captive near Brook Kishon, 1187; surrendered
October 2, 1187; seat removed to ancient Tyre, successfully defended against
Saladin; Grand Master released, 1188; eleven cities given up as a ransom;
Grand Master fell at siege of Acre, October 4, 1189.
Brother Walter, 1189. During four years of siege of Acre, 100,000 Christians
perished, among them Patriarch Heraclius. Third Crusade, preached by William,
Archbishop of Tyre, Richard Coeur de Lion, and Philip Augustus, King of
France, arrived in Palestine, 1191.
Robert de Sable or Sabloil, 1191. Great battle of Ramlah was gained and city
of Gaza taken by Templars, 1191. About this time three encampments were
established in England, at Bristol, Bath, and York. (1) Those in Bath and York
were in existence in the early part of the present century, the one in Bristol
in active operation in 1855. King Richard, in the guise of a Templar, left
Palestine October 25, 1192. Bro. Richard John Bridges was the Eminent
Commander of this Ancient and Venerable body, probably the oldest Encampment
of Knights Templars in the world.
Gilbert Horal, or Erail, 1195. Many strong fortifications were built; most
celebrated was Pilgrims' Castle, which would hold a garrison of four thousand
Philip Duplesseis, 1201. King John of England frequently resided at the Temple
in London. He was there when he resigned England and Ireland "to his lord Pope
Innocent the Third" and signed the "Magna Charta."
Letter of D.W. Nash, Secretary General H. E. for England and Wales, September
29, 1853. MS.
William de Charters became Grand Master. The Grand Master died at siege of
Peter de Montague, Grand Preceptor of Spain, the Veteran Warrior, 1218.
Damietta was surrendered to the Infidels, together with the prisoners of Tyre
and Acre, and he obtained in return "the wood of the true Cross" and the
prisoners at Cairo and Damascus; and the Sultan granted a truce for eight
Herrnan de Perigord, 1236. In this time a treaty was made with the Infidels to
surrender again the Holy City to the Christians, 1242. In 1243 the Templars
rebuilt the "formidable Castle of Saphet." In a great battle in 1243, near
Gaza, with the Carizmians, a pastoral tribe of Tartars, which continued two
days, the Grand Master was slain. Thirty-three Templars and twenty-six
Hospitalers alone escaped. Pope Innocent IV. ordered a new crusade to be
preached, but very little assistance was obtained 17. William de Sonnac, "A
Veteran Warrior," 1245. The brethren in the Western Preceptories were summoned
to Palestine The Carizmians, in 1247, were annihilated. The Grand Master
presented to Henry III.
magnificent crystal vase, containing a portion of the blood of our Lord Jesus
The Templars, with Louis IX of France, took Damietta in 1249. Louis was taken
captive; afterward released by paying ransom. In 1250, in a battle near the
Tanitic branch of the Nile, the Grand Master lost one eye, but was enabled to
cut his way through the lines of the enemy with only two knights; however soon
after, on the first Friday in Lent, he lost the other eye and was killed.
Reginald de Vichier, Grand Marshal, 1152. King Louis, after his release from
captivity, aided in placing Palestine in a defensible condition.
Thomas Berard, 1256. The country was in a miserable condition.
Bibars or Benocdar, the Sultan of Egypt, with 30,000 cavalry, had invaded
Palestine (1262) The Infidels took all the strongholds with the exception of
Pilgrims' Castle and Acre. When the Castle of Saphet capitulated (1266),
Benocdar put the whole garrison to death, because of their refusal to become
Mahomedans. Edward, afterward Edward I. of England, drove the enemy back to
Egypt; a truce lasting ten years was made.
William de Beaujea was elected, May 13, 1273. Lists of Strict Observance give
Robert , who died in 1277, and then Pierre de Beaujeu.
closed the Seventh and last Crusade An effort was made by the Pope to raise
another crusade; having, however, died in the meantime, with him all hopes of
assistance from Europe died also.
1291 the city of Tripoli and fortress of Margat were taken by the Infidels,
and very soon thereafter, in the third year from recommencement of
hostilities, Acre and the Pilgrims' Castle were all that were left to the
Gourdin. Hist. Sketch. p. 12.
was besieged on April 4th of the same year by Sultan Kahlil with 60,000 horse
and 140,000 foot, and Acre had only 12,000 men under the Grand Master,
"exclusive of the forces of the Templars and Hospitalers, with 500 foot
soldiers and 200 cavalry commanded by the King of Cyprus."
Addison says: "so the garrison, which plainly saw they could not hold out long
without a commander that was skilled in the art of war, elected Brother Peter
Beauieu, Grand Master of the Templars, a general of great experience, who had
grown old in the command of armies, to be Governor of the place Necessity of
State, the truest interpreter of merit, made them offer the command to him and
it was done even with the consent of the King of Cyprus himself, who on a
juncture of such importance and so full of danger was well contented to forget
the title, which he had always affected, of King of Jerusalem."
Beaujeu was killed on May 18, 1291, and the three hundred knights who had
fought their way to the Temple appointed Theobald de Gaudini Grand Master
(Addison fails to give his first name; the Manual calls him Theobaldus
Grand Master, however, and a few companions, with the treasure of the Order
and ornaments of the Churchs May 19th, at night, made their escape through a
secret postern, and safely reached Cyprus.
The rest of the Knights were buried beneath the ruins of "the Tower of the
Master" when it fell, victims to their resolution to protect, at all hazards,
the Christian women from insult and violation by the ruthless Infidels, and to
their jealous devotion to the religion of the Cross. The power of the Latin
Church in the East was extinguished by the destruction of the city of Acre.
Limisso, in Cyprus, became the chief seat of the Order. However, from Vertot,
we learn that an anonymous writer says that Knight Roger succeeded Beaujeu as
Grand Master, and that he established the seat of the Order at Ninove? a town
of Cyprus, which belonged to the Order. He also says that Jean de Gaudin
succeeded Brother Roger. (4)
de Molay, Preceptor of England, was elected Grand Master by a general Chapter
of the Order in 1297. He is thus described by an enemy of the Order, a French
writer: "Molay was the younger brother of one of the most distinguished houses
of the 'Comte' of Burgundy.
elder brother possessed, in that country, a large property, and had a higher
position. From his youth, Molay had been a member of the Order; in it he had
acquired a great reputation. He had passed through all the degrees, and had
become a Grand Prior.
Vertot, vol. i., p. 171, says: "The Sultan tempted the Grand Master with
offers of immense sums, to which the Templar made no answer but by showing a
just indignation at the Sultan's fancying him capable of listening to him."
(2) "Manual," p. 252, and Lists of Strict Observances.
"Addison " p. 395. Vertot (vol. i., p. 173) says: "Out of five hundred
Templars that behaved themselves so bravely in the defense of Acre, only two
escaped, who, getting into a boat, landed happily on the coast of Cyprus." (4)
Vertot, vol. i., p. 174. "Histoire de lab. de l'ord. des Templiers," p. 5. In
another place he calls Gaudin, Monaoui de Gaudin. p. 21.
a lord of true merit; brave, of high intellect, of a mild and amiable
character; his morals were pure, and his character without a reproach. He had
always appeared with distinction at the Court of France, and had been
fortunate enough to merit the favor of the King, who, in 1297, had selected
him to hold, at the baptismal font, M. Robert, his fourth son. He was still
held in such high esteem, when all the lords of the Court, who were yet
ignorant of the hatred of the King. and his fatal determination against the
Order, concerning which he preserved the most profound secrecy, aided in the
election of Molay, even believing that they were affording a pleasure to that
endeavor was made by the Grand Master to recover Palestine in 1302, which the
Sultan of Egypt defeated, with a loss to the Knights of one hundred and
twenty. This closed the efforts for the recovery of the Holy Land, and the
usefulness of the Knightly Orders as military organizations ceased. No longer
did the people of the several nations in Europe manifest any zeal in the
Templars, by many grants, from time to time, had become possessed of large
estates and they were very rich, and consequently very powerful. Instead of
Christendom having now any use for these military Orders, who were so
prosperous from the donations of the lords and princes, they were jealous of
clergy were also in constant dispute with them, and the Pope had been
compelled to intervene. By some means Philip had become manifestly displeased
with the Templars, and it is asserted that his need of money, and his own
avarice, prompted him to suppress the Order, that he might enjoy the benefits
to be derived from the confiscation of their riches and estate.
MASTERS OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN, RHODES, AND MALTA, A.D.
Gerard Tunc, installed, 1099; died, 1118.
Raymond du Puys, installed, 1118, died, 1160 3. Otteger Balben, installed,
Arnaud de Comps, installed, 1162.
Gilbert d'Ossaly (De Sailly), installed, 1163; drowned 1170.
Castus, installed, 1170 7. Joubert (De Osbert), installed, 1175; died, 1177 8.
Du Moulin (Roger de Moulin), installed, 1177; killed, May 1, 1187 9. N.
Gardiner, installed, 1187; died at Askalon, 1187.
Godfrey de Duison, installed, 1192; died, 1201.
Alphonsos installed, 1202; abdicated.
Godfrey Lo Rath, installed, 1205; died, 1208.
Gawen de Montacute, installed, 1208; died, 1231.
Bernard de Texis, installed, 1231.
Girino, installed, 1232; died, 1236.
Bertrand de Comps, installed, 1236; slain in battle, 1241 17. Peter de
Villebride, installed, 1241; slain in battle, 1243 18. William de Chateau-neuf.
installed, 1243; died, 1259, 19. Hugh de Revel, installed, 1259; died, 1278
20. Nicholas de Lorgne, installed, 1278, died broken-hearted, 1289.
John de Villiers, installed, 1289; died, 1297 22. Otho de Pins, installed,
1298 23. William Villaret, installed, 1300; died, 1306 24. Fulk de Villaret,
installed, 1307; deposed, 1319 25. Helion de Villannoba, installed, 1319;
died, 1346 26. Deodate de Gozon, installed, 1346; died, December, 1353 27.
Peter de Cornillan, installed, 1354; died, 1355 28. Roger de Pins, installed,
1355 29. Raymond de Berenger, installed, 1365; died, 1374.
Robert de Julliac, installed, 1374; died, 1377 31. Heredia Castellan d'Emposta,
installed, 1377 32. Richard Caraccioio, installed, 1383; died, 1395 33. Philip
de Naillac, installed, 1396; died, June, 1421 34. Antony Fluvian, installed,
1421; died, October 26, 1437.
John de Lastic, installed, 1437; died, May 19, 1454 36. James de Milly,
installed, 1454; died, August 17, 1461 37. Peter Raymond Zacosta, installed,
1461; died February 14, 1467 38. John Orsini, installed, 1467; died, 1476 39.
Peter D'Aubusson, installed, 1476; died, June 30, 1503 40. Almeric Amboise,
installed, 1503; died, November 8, 1512.
Guido de Blanchefort, installed, 1512; died, 1512 42. Fabricius Carretto,
installed, 1512; died, January, 1521.
Philip Villers de l'Isle Adam, installed, 1521; died, August 22, 1534 44. A.
del Ponte, installed, 1534; died, November, 1535 45. Desiderio di s. Jalla,
installed, 1536; died, September 26, 1536.
Homedez, installed, 1536; died, September 6, 1553 47. Claudius de la Sengle;
installed, 1553, died, August, 1557 48. John de Valetta, installed, 1557;
died, August 21, 1568 49. Peter del Moate, installed; 1568; died, January 20,
Cassiere, installed, 1572 51. Verdale, died, 1595 52. Garzes, installed, 1595;
died, February, 1601 53. Wignacourt, installed, 1601; died, 1622 54.
Vasconcellos, installed, 1622 55. De Paul, installed, 1622; died, 1636 56.
Paul de Lascaris Castellar, installed, 1636; died August 14, 1657 57. Redin,
installed, 1657; died, February 6, 1660 58. Clermont de Chattes Gessan,
installed, 1660; died, June 2, 1660 59. Raphael Cotoner, installed, 1660;
died, 1663 60. Nicholas Cotoner, installed, 1663; died, April 29, 1680 61.
Caraffa, installed, 1680.
Wignacourt, installed, 1690; died, September 4, 1697.
Perrellas, installed, 1697; died, February, 1720.
Zondadari, installed, 1720; died, 1722.
Anthony Manoel de Vilhenas installed 1722; died, 1742.
Pinto de Fonseca, installed, 1742.
Ximenes, installed, 1773; died, November, 1776 68. Rohan, installed, 1776,
Hompesch, installed, 1797.
0F RULERS OF THE LATIN KINGDOM OF PALESTINE, A.D. 1099 - 1205
Godfrey de Bouillon, crowned, 1099; died, July 11, 1100 II. Baldwin I.,
crowned, 1101; died, 1118.
Baldwin II., crowned, 1118; died, 1131.
Foulques (Fulk), Count Anjou, crowned, 1131, died, 1144.
Baldwin III., crowned, 1144, died, 1162.
Almeric, crowned, February 18, 1162; died, 1174.
Baldwin IV., crowned,
Baldwin V., crowned, 1184; died, 1186.
Sibylla and her husband, Guy de Lusignan, crowned 1186; Sibylla died, 1192;
Guy abdicated, 1192.
Henry, Count of Champagne, crowned, 1192, killed by accident, 1194.
Amauri, King of Cyprus, crowned, 1194; died, 1205
following lists of Popes of Romey A.D. 1088 to A.D. 1316, will be found;
useful for reference. The authority is Haydn's Dictionary of Dates.
II., 1088. Promoted the First Crusade from 1096-1099.
II., 1099. Council of Clermont, 1095 Gelasius II., 1118.
Calixtus II., 1119.
Honorius II., 1125.
Innocent II., 1130.
Celestine II., 1143.
Eugenius III., 1145. Promoted the Second Crusade, 1146.
Alexander III., 1159.
Gregory VIII., 1187.
Clement III., 1188. Promoted the Third Crusade, 1188.
Celestine III., 1191. Promoted the Fourth Crusade, 1195-1197.
Innocent III., 1198. Promoted the Fifth Crusade, 1198.
Honorius III., 1216.
Gregory IX., 1227. Promoted the Sixth Crusade.
Celestine IV., 1241.
Innocent IV., 1243. Promoted the Seventh Crusade Alexander IV., I254.
Clement IV., 1265. The eighth and last Crusade. (1) Gregory X, 1271.
Innocent V., 1275.
Vicedominus, John XXI., Nicholas III., 1277.
IV., 1281 Honorius IV., 1285 Nicholas IV., 1288, Celestine V., Boniface VIII
Benedict XI., 1303.
Clement V., 1305.
comment upon the chronological confusion of the times we append from Dr.
Barclay's City of at Great King, a second Table of the Crusades:
Crusade I., 1096 - 1099. Capture of Jerusalem.
Crusade II., 1147.
Crusade III., 1189.
Crusade IV., 1202.
Crusade V., 1217.
Crusade VI, 1238.
Crusade VII., 1245.
Crusade VIII. 1270.
Barclay wisely adds: "The cessation of the Crusades was not produced by any
abatement of the love of arms, or of the thirst of glory to the chivalry of
Europe. But the union with these martial qualities, of that fanatical
enthusiasm which inspired the Christian warriors of the 11th century, had been
slowly but almost thoroughly dissolved.''
After the Seventh Crusade and the surrender of all the places in Syria, there
were several expeditions inaugurated, but the seventh was the last crusade.
THE INTRODUCTION OF KNIGHT
TEMPLARISM INTO AMERICA
given in Chapter LI. a short history or the Knights Templars during the
Crusades, and the suppression of that magnanimous and Christian Order by the
Church of Rome, aided by its wretched and villanous adherents, the various
sovereigns of Europe; and having also shown the remnants of the Order down to
recent times, in England and France, it becomes a pleasing task to trace, as
nearly as possible, the connection between those noble spirits, who gave their
fortunes and their lives for the cause of Christianity against the Infidels
and Mohammedans of Asia, and our modern Templars, who do not use the material
implements of a carnal warfare, but employ the legitimate symbols of the
Knightly Armor, to contend against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
our recent writers on the Order of the Temple agree, that there can not be
found any direct connection between the ancient and present Templar systems;
yet, like the sunken rivers found in many parts of the world, where we can
trace the waters thereof, after they disappear on one side of a mountain, and
discover where these same waters again appear, and proceed onward to the sea;
the same flowing spirit which was manifested in the lives of the original
Templars, from their origin in the 12th century until they disappeared beneath
the obstructions placed in their path by the monarchies of Europe, and the
succeeding prejudices of the peoples of each, we can now clearly trace in the
Templar rituals of England and the United States the fundamental principles of
the ancient Order, of ' Fidelity, Zeal, and Obedience," without those
superstitions which always have been the accompaniments of the Priestly Orders
of the Romish Church. Those superstitions of the early Templars were abolished
by them after the close of the Crusades. The Templars, very soon thereafter
having learned the deceptions of priestcraft, failed to pay the required
respect and obedience to the hierarchy; and, consequently were antagonized by
the Church, and their existence as an Order soon thereafter terminated. The
modern Templars pay due allegiance to, and worship, the risen Saviour, in
spirit and in truth, with no unmeaning ceremonies.
learn from hilarious writers thats in the progress of Freemasonry in the
American Colonies, somewhere about the latter half of the 18th century, some
of fixers of an Irish regiment claimed to be possessed of the Knight Templar
Order, and through them, several of our own Masons received the several
appendant degrees and the Order of Knight Templar. Patents issued to such
Knights, bearing dates as early as 1783, are now extant, notably one from
Charleston, South Carolina. Toward the close of that century there appeared
several appendant degrees, unknown to earlier times, such as Excellent,
Superexcellent, Royal Arch Masons. In some of the New England States these
degrees were promulgated and conferred under the charters of Blue Lodges; such
as the body in the City of Washington in 1794 - two record books of which the
present writer had the honor of discovering among the old papers in the office
of the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia in 1875,
which no living Mason in the District could give an account of. This body was
called the "Excellent, Superexcellent, Royal Arch Encampment." The first book
ran from 1795 to 1799; and then the body closed its labors and divided their
funds. The second book was commenced in 1804 when the same body, under the
charge of Companion Philip P. Eckles, of Baltimore, resumed its labors and
continued until August 21, 1808, when the book ends abruptly after the annual
election of officers.
was published by Cornpanion Joseph K. Wheeler, of Connecticut, which gave an
account of similar bodies, bearing the same title, in the State of
Connecticut. From these came the first independent particular Royal Arch
Chapters, and from which Thos.
Webb and John Hanmer, both from Temple Chapter of Albany, New York, formed the
first Grand Chapter of New England and New York in 1798, the history of which
will be found under Capitular Masonry (Chapter XLIX.). Also under the chapter
relating to the history of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite will be
found the writer's views as to what was the reason for these degrees being
brought into the Masonry of the Blue Lodge, which we here casually mention as
having been part and parcel of the very many appendant degrees communicated to
the Brethren who had passed through the curriculum of the twenty-five degrees
of the Rite of Perfection, or the Ancient and Accepted Rite of 1762-65, which
was, in 1802, at Charleston, enlarged into thirty-three degrees of the Ancient
and Accepted Scottish Rite by the Mother Council. It is well known to all
well-read and advanced Masonic scholars, that all degrees of Masonry above the
third degree, or so-called Master Mason's degree, are the outcome of the
"thousand and one degrees" promulgated and sometimes worked in France and
Germany from the middle to the close of the 18th century. Until the emperors
of the East and West formulated the regular twenty-five degrees of the
1762, those various degrees were communicated to all who desired, and were
willing to pay for them. Within the regular twenty-five degrees were found the
Arch and Templar degrees. Also from two of them the present Red Cross of the
Commandery was formulated, which degree has no connection with the primitive
Red Cross of " Rome and Constantine," attributed to Constantine the Great.
the Templar degree ritual, it is entirely different from the English ritual,
as the latter, at the present day, is different from the ritual of the last
century at its close and the commencement of the present. We have a certified
copy of that ritual made as early as 1801 from an older ritual, which is also
a copy from a much older one, which was sent to Brother General Albert Pike,
and by him given to the present writer.
first authentic information that we have of the Templar Order in the United
States, is found in the history of St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter, which held
its first recorded meeting, August 28, 1769, in the Mason's Hall in Boston,
under the charter of St.
Andrew's Royal Arch Lodge, from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the record of
that date shows that the degree of Knight Templar was conferred. (1) At that
time, and somewhat later, the bodies were termed "Excellent, Superexcellent,
Royal Arch Encamp
Oration of Companion W. Sewall Gardner, at Centennial of St.
Andrew's Chapter, pp. 42, 43.
as before stated. The records of that Chapter show that " Brother William
Davis came before the Lodge, begging to have and receive the parts belonging
to the Royal Arch Masons, which being read, was received, and he unanimously
voted in, and was accordingly made by receiving the four steps, that of
Excellent, Superexcellent, Royal Arch, and Knight Templar." (1) In all the
histories of the chapters in the New England States, the above titles were
first used; as also in the Chapter organized in the City of Washington, under
the Charter of Federal Lodge. The Red Cross does not appear in any of those
old bodies. It has occurred to the writer that after the Templar degree had
been dropped by Thos. Smith Webb, when in 1796 the movement had been
inaugurated to institute the General Grand Chapter of New England and New
York, that some of the Brethren formed a separate body for the Templar Order;
and wishing to have the "Red Cross of Constantine" united with the Templar
degree, as was the case after the Crusades, they must have mistaken the united
degrees of the 15th and 16th for the "Constantine Red Cross." At all events,
there is considerable difficulty in accounting for the curious mixture of the
Persian Mysteries with the solemn ceremonies of the Christian Order of the
Temple. Some writers say that "the records of Kilwinning Lodge, of Ireland,
warranted 8, in 1779, show that its Charter was used as the authority for
conferring the Royal Arch, Knight Templar, and Rose Croix degrees as early as
1782; but the Red Cross and the Rose Croix are two different degrees, and
should not be confounded. It is thought possible that the Irish lodges, having
the High Knight Templar degree, communicated it to their American Brothers
prior to the Revolution, though there is no evidence of it; on the contrary,
the records show that it was conferred first (1769) in America, and afterward
in Ireland, 1779." (2)
Theo. S. Parvin says: " In 1766 there were two Military Lodges stationed at
Boston: No. 58 on the register of England, connected with the Fourteenth
Regiment, and No. 322, register of Ireland, attached to the Twenty-ninth
Regiment. As early as 1762 St.
Andrew's Lodge, of Boston, applied to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, from which
it had received its Warrant, for leave to
Oration of Companion W. Sewall Gardner, at Centennial of St.
Andrew's Chapter, pp. 42, 43.
Bro. Fred. Speed in "History of Freemasonry," p. 704.
the Royal Arch degree; and subsequently, under this Warrant, it conferred both
the degrees of Royal Arch and Knight Templar.
prior to this, as early as 1758, Lodge No. 3, at Philadelphia, working under
Warrant as No. 359, granted by the Grand Lodge of All England, also worked as
a chapter, and conferred the Royal Arch degree; but, as previously stated we
do not find that this Chapter ever conferred the degree of Knight Templar."
writers suppose that it was possible "that the degree of Knight Templar was
conferred in Military Lodges and perhaps in other Lodges prior to the
Revolutionary War." (2)
about the years 1776 to 1783, during the War of Independence, but little
attention was given to Masonic organization except in the military lodges
After peace had assumed her sway and the country began to thrive in all
material interests, and the various Grand Lodges of the separate States were
organized, what were termed the "higher degrees," which had been, up to that
period always conferred in the lodges under the sanction of their Warrants,
became the subject of a more independent character. We find from the various
histories of the Royal Arch Chapters, especially in the New England States,
that in various towns and cities independent bodies were organized, wherein
the degrees of Royal Arch, Excellent, and Superexcellent Masters were attached
to the Templar degree; and in some instances, the Red Cross, whatever ritual
of that degree may have been used in its conference, was given.
of these organizations have continued until the present time, and still fewer
have left any records of the earlier years of their existence. An occasional
discovery of an ancient diploma, or other fragment, has revived previously
formed opinions as to which is the elder organization; but for the reason that
bodies were self- constituted, and consisted of individuals who, being in
possession of a degree, called to their assistance the requisite number of
other qualified brethren, and gave the degrees to certain chosen spirits and
then dissolved never to meet again, it is manifest that there can be no
gathering together of the facts; and that beyond an occasional hint, received
from the meager record of some old lodge- book, as it may be unearthed from
its hiding-place, nothing further is to be looked for. As time passed on, and
these occasional gatherings became more frequent, when the number of Templars
Bro. Fred. Speed in "History of Freernasonry," p 703 (2) Ibid.
sufficiently, and more permanent organizations began to be made, out of these
emergency bodies grew permanent ones." (1)
has been much discussion in the various older jurisdictions as to the first
duly organized encampment (commandery), and we do not know if the question has
been finally settled. From the Proceedlngs of the Grand Encampment of 1883 we
learn from the Address of Grand Master Dean that there was "Indisputable
evidence that the degrees of Knight of the Red Cross and Knight Templar were
conferred in Charleston, South Carolina, in a regularly organized body as far
back as the year 1782." (2)
South Carolina Encampment, No. 1, of Knights Templars and the Appendant Orders
was established in 1780, as is evident from the old seal in our archives. But
it does not appear from what source our ancestors derived their first Charter,
all of our records previous to November 7, 1823, having been lost or consumed
clear, however that this encampment was in active operation in 1803, and
continued so until long after the date of our oldest record, for, on December
29, 1824, it was "Resolved that, in consideration of the long and faithful
services of our Most Eminent Feast Commanders Francis Sylvester Curtis, who
regularly paid his arrears to this Encampment for more than twenty years, he
is considered a life-member of this Encampment, and that his life- membership
take date from November, 1823." (3) In artist of various Masonic degrees," in
Cole's Ahiman Rezon, extracted from a publication in 1816, the Knight of the
Red Cross is termed the ninth degree, the Knight of Red Cross is termed the
ninth degree, the Knight of Malta the tenth, and the Knight Templar the
thirteenth, and they are said to be conferred in the Sublime Grand Lodges in
Charleston, S.C., in the City of New York, and in Newport, R.I. (4) on
November 7, 1823, that encampment, which was then regularly working at Sir
Knight Roche's Asylum, under the command of the M.E. Sir Moses Holbrook, M.D.,
Grand Commander, received "the authority from the G.G.E." to work. At the
following meeting (November 15th) Moses Holbrook was reselected to the office
which he then held John Barker was elected
Speed, " History of Freemasonry," etc., pp. 703, 704.
Proceedings of the Grand Encampment of the United States, 1883, p. 59, Grand
Master Dean's Address.
Gourdin (MS. Records of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1), pp.
"Freemason's Library," p. 317.
honorary member, January 16, 1824. It was, at this time, the practice to
introduce the candidates separately in both degrees. On January 18, 1824,
James Eyland was created a Templar. The encampment met January 30, 1824, at
Sir Knight H.G. Street's Asylum, and the meetings, which had hitherto taken
place on every Friday evening, were changed, February 15, 1824, to the last
Wednesday in each month, and the last Wednesday in November was fixed for the
annual election. March 31, 1824, SirJohn Barker was voted to be recommended to
be Grand Visitor for the Southern States. (1)
24, 1824, M.E. and M.W. Henry Fowle, Deputy General Grand Master of the G. G.
Encampment of the United States of America, granted a Charter at Boston (S.
C.), countersigned by John G.
G. G. Recorder, to Benjamin Thomas Elmore, and eleven others, to form, open,
and hold Columbia Encampment, No. 2. Brother Elmore was appointed the first
Grand Commander, E. H. Maxey, Generalissimo, and John Bryce, Captain General.
The Charter is in the Archives of Richland Lodge, No. 39, A.'. F.'. M.'. at
Columbia, S. C., with some "rough sketches of their meetings," which were held
in the hall of that lodge. (2)
number of members increased to thirty or more, their meetings continued about
four years, and from some cause ceased to exist.
was at that time no Grand Encampment in South Carolina, as we find from the
"February 23d, 1825, the Encampment was informed that the three first officers
had, in accordance with a previous resolution giving them discretionary power
in the matter, recommended Georgetown Encampment to the G. G. Encampment for a
interesting incident in the history of this encampment, we make the following
members of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1, were summoned to meet at Sir H.G.
Street's, on the 16th of March, 1825, to wait on General La Fayette agreeably
to a previous
MS. Records of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1.
Gourdin, p. 30.
Ibid., p 31
SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN
arrangement with him. The following Officers and Members attended precisely at
half-past 2 o'clock."
consequence of a gap in the minutes from this time until January 26, 1827, no
further information could be obtained concerning this very interesting
September 18, 1826, the Grand Encampment of the State of South Carolina was
represented in the G. G. Encampment at New York by Sir John Barker, proxy for
M. E. Moses Holbrook, Grand Master, and Sir William H. Jones, proxy for the M.
E. Sir William E. Lathrop, G.
Gen'ls, and the Committee, to whom were "referred the proceedings of the
Officers of the G. G. Encampment since the last Meeting" (September 16, 1819),
reported. "That these have been established, with the approbation of the G. G.
Officers, Grand Encampments in the following States; to wit: New Hampshire,
Vermont, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia." (2)
the year 1819, Beaufort Encampment of South Carolina, at Beaufort, was
established, which continued about four or five years. The records were burned
M'Cosh, who was afterward an Ins. Genl. of the thirty-third degree, resigned
November 28, 1827. He was the Recorder, November 7, 1823. During the year
1828, Sir James Eyland was Grand Commander. Many resignations took place.
1829, Sir James Eyland, G. Master, represented the Grand Commandery in the G.G.
Encampment. He was elected that year G.G.
General, and in 1832 was elected G.G. Generalissimo. (4)
this time the meetings of the S.C. Encampment were very poorly attended. May
12, 1830, there was not a quorum, nor in October 11, 1830. The encampment was
adjourned to the stated meeting of December. The following note appears:
certify that no quorum ever after assembled. I met one or two only after the
above note of an attempted meeting. Sir J. W. Rouse handed me over the books
and papers all for me to deliver up to this Encampment, some time in 1832,
with a letter of resignation
MS. Records of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1, Gourdin, p.
B. French. "The Grand Encampment of Knights Templars, and the Appendant
Orders, in the State of South Carolina," was incorporated for fourteen years,
by A.A. of 20th December, 1826, viii Stats. p. 350.
same time. The books and papers of Grand Encamp ment of S.C.
all were flooded when Sir John May's workshop was burned. I received the
remains in 1840.
(Signed) MOSES HOLBROOK, P. Gr. Commander.
Rouse died 23 April, 1834 Past Gr. Master of Gr. Encampment of South Carolina.
The record of the G.G. Encampment does not show any representation from the G.
Encampment of South Carolina subsequent to 1829. (1)
October 14, 1841, seven of the former members of South Carolina Encampment,
among them the Grand Commander J. S. Burges, met at Rame's Hall, in Meeting
Street, for the purpose of reviving it, after its long nap of eleven years and
January 27, 1842, it was Resolved that the degree of Red Cross should be
conferred upon Sr. Knight Benjamin Greer, on his paying $5, with the condition
of his becoming a member of this encampment, he having received the other
degrees before in Europe. (3)
dispensation was issued to the encampment by Sir Jos. K.
Stapleton, D. G. G. Master, May 17, 1843, to continue their labors, the
Warrant having been burned up. This dispensation was brought to the notice of
the encampment only on October 19, 1843, by Rev. A.
the G. Chaplain. In 1844, the G.C., Sir A. Case, represented South Carolina
Encampment in the G.G. Encampment, and during this session a charter was
ordered to that encampment free of charge, in consequence of the loss by fire
of a former one. This charter was reported to the meeting, March 15, 1845, as
having been received.
February 9, 1853, Joseph Hunter, P.D.G.M. of Savannah, Gag, was made a K.R.C.
and K.T., and in token of respect his fees were returned to him, and he was
elected a life member.
1853, M.'.E.'. A. G. Mackey represented the encampment in the G.G. Encampment,
and was elected G.G. Warden. (4)
December 27, 1854, the encampment acted as an escort to the Grand Lodge of
South Carolina at the celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the
formation of a Provisional Grand Lodge. (5)
MS. Records of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1. The last meeting held was
March 9, 1830.
MS. Records of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1.
1855, South Carolina Encampment was the only one in existence in the State.
Continuing the interesting history of this, one of the oldest organizations of
Knights Templars, we refer to the Proceedings of the Grand Encampment of the
United States for 1883:
Grand Master states in his address that "on 8th of December, 1880, I issued a
dispensation to South Carolina Commandery, No. 1, to appear in public in full
Templar costume on the twenty-ninth day of December, 1880, for the purpose of
celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of its organization. I also issued
dispensations for a like appearance in public, to join in the celebration to
Columbia Commandery, No. 2, Georgia Commandery, No. I, and Palestine
Commandery, No. 7." (2)
question of when the first encampment in the United States was regularly
organized is of great interest, we continue our notice of the introduction of
the Templar Order of Knighthood into South Carolina, and show what Brother A.
G. Mackey says of it in his History of Freemasonry in South Carolina. (3) He
quotes from Gourdin what we have already copied, and then continues: "I have
been unable to find any reference in the cotemporary journals of the day to
the existence of South Carolina Encampment, No. 1, at that early period. I
have, however, been more successful in obtaining indisputable evidence that
the degrees of Knight of the Red Cross and Knight Templar were conferred in
Charleston, in a regularly organized body as far back as the year 1783, and I
have no doubt that the seal with the date 1780, to which Gourdin refers,
belonged to that body and afterward came into the possession of South Carolina
proofs of what I have stated is contained in a small compass but the testimony
is irrefutable. I have in my possession a diploma, written in a very neat
chirography on parchment, with two seals in wax attached, one in red, of the
Royal Arch, and the other in black, of the Knights Templar. The upper part of
the diploma contains four devices within four circles, all skillfully executed
with the pen. The first device, beginning on the left hand, is a star of seven
points, with the ineffable name in the
Gourdin, p. 33.
Proceedings of the Grand Encampment of the United States, 1883, p. 58.
Ibid., p. 58.
Ibid., p. 59
center, and the motto, 'Memento Mori,' the second is an arch on two pillars,
the all-seeing eye on the Key-stone, and a sun beneath the arch, and 'Holiness
to the Lord' for the motto; the third is the cross and brazen serpent, erected
on a bridge, and 'Jesus Salvador Hominum' for the motto; and the fourth is the
skull and cross- bones, surmounted by a cross, with the motto, 'In hoc signo
vinces.' The reference of the three last devices is evidently to the Royal
Arch, the Red Cross, and Templar degrees. The first is certainly a symbol of
the Lodge of Perfection, and hence, connectedly, they show the dependence of
the Order of Templarism in the State at that time upon the Ancient and
Accepted Rite." In the Proceedings is a heliotyped copy of the diploma, which
is here shown. The original was placed in the possession of the Grand Master,
Benjamin Dean, by the son of Bro. A. G. Mackey, the Hon.
Mackey, to be presented, in his name, to the Grand Encampment of the United
States. The expense of this and other plates in the volume was paid for by the
Grand Master. As a matter of considerable interest, we subjoin further remarks
of the Grand Master in connection with the subject.
the 6th of May, 1881, Sir Knight W. J. Pollard, because of a conversation with
him in Boston, wrote me a long and interesting letter on the history of
Freemasonry in South Carolina and Georgia, in which he says: 'I find in
Charleston, from the South Carolina Gazette, that at some period, not clearly
defined, there was a Lodge established in West Florida called St. Andrew's
and that it was moved to Charleston about 1783, and was Chartered as a York
Lodge in the city of Charleston July, 1783, by the Grand Lodge of
also called my attention to the recovery by Sir Knight Jennison of valuable
papers relating to the Encampment. Sir Knight Jennison also sent me copies of
the papers. . . . A careful examination of the old diploma discovered on the
Seal the words 'Lodge No. 40' These words and figures were not so prominent as
the other legends on the Seal, and seemed to have escaped the attention of
Brother Albert G. Mackey.
careful examination disclosed the remains of two ribbons, under those in
sight, showing that there were originally four seals attached to the diploma;
one of these ribbons is quite rotten."
an address delivered December 10, 1878, before the Grand Lodge of South
Carolina by M. W. Wilmot G. De Saussure, P.G.M. of South Carolina, we quote
"that the Warrant for No. 40 was granted to Brethren formerly of St. Andrew's
Lodge No. 1, West Florida, and then of Charleston, on the 12th of July, 1783."
Brother Frederick Speed says:
summing up the evidence, this writer is compelled to regret the conclusions of
Fratres Dean and Mackey, that there is "Indisputable evidence that the degrees
of Knight of the Red Cross and Knight Templar were conferred in Charleston in
a regularly organized body as [ar back as the year 1783." He then continues:
"St. Andrew's Lodge No. 1 was not a Templar body at any time in its history.
Like St. Andrew's Lodge of Boston, it was a Master's Lodge and the degrees
were conferred, as evidenced from the diploma, under the sanction of its
warrant as a Blue Lodge; but it seems to be established beyond a reasonable
doubt, by the resolution relating to the membership of Francis Sylvester
Curtis, that South Carolina Encampment No. 1 was a regularly organized Templar
body as far back as the year 1804, and probably earlier. It was, like all
older encampments, self-created, and worked without a charter, until the year
1823, when it was "reopened in conformity with the Constitution" of the
General Grand Encampment of the United States, at which time, it appears from
the petition - and resolution of the encampment embraced therein -
on diligent search being made in the archives, it clearly appears that this
encampment was in full operation under the sanction of a warrant of 'Blue'
Lodge, No. 40, upwards of thirty years ago, and continued in operation many
years subsequent; and has, time out of mind, caused to be made and used a
common seal. It also further appears that the said encampment has lain dormant
for several years past.
"Resolved, That the M.'. E.'. Sir James C. Winters, together with the
Recorder, be authorized to forward the necessary documents to prove the
existence of this encampment prior to the year 1816, and obtain the desired
Extract from the minutes. (Signed) JOSEPH McCOSH,
Recorder pro tem. (1)
question of in "Regularity" here presents itself as to the "Validity" of the
Templar organizations as it does as to the "Vailidity" of the Capitular
degrees, not only in the United States, but originally in Europe.
the very first organization of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, all Masons
agree that no single individual has any prescriptive right or prerogative to
communicate any knowledge of a "Rite" or any part of its ritual, unless so
authorized by the "Confi
Grand Encampment Proceedings, 1883, p. 172.
stitution" under which said ritual is promulgated. The Altar obligations, of
all the Rites, provide against any such violation of the "Constitution." In
the Section VIII. of the New Regulations of 1738 we find the following as an
amendment to the Section VIII.
Every Brother concerned in Making Masons clandestinely shall not be allowed to
visit any Lodge till he has made due submission, even though the Brother so
admitted may be allowed.
who make a stated Lodge without the Grand-Master's Warrant shall be admitted
into regular Lodges, till they make due submission and obtain Grace.
any Brethren form a Lodge without leave, and shall irregularly make Brothers,
they shall not be admitted into any regular Lodge, no not as Visitors, till
they render a good Reason or make due submission.
"Seeing that some extraneous Brothers have been lately made in a clandestine
manner; that is, in no regular Lodge, or by any authority or Dispensation from
the Grand Master, and upon small and unworthy considerations to the Dishonour
of the Craft:
Grand Lodge decreed, that no person so made, nor any concerned in making him,
shall be a Grand Officer, nor an officer of any particular Lodge; nor shall
any such partake of the General Charity, if they should come to want."
have here the general principles upon which to base a judgment as to all
legitimacy of Masonic work. The innocent parties; upon whom Masonic work has
been commenced, are to be held blameless, and are to be admitted to
fellowship, and those only are to be punished who were guilty of the irregular
and clandestine work.
matter of the various parties, who without competent authority attempted to
confer the degrees of the Commandery upon innocent Brethren, it appears, from
all that we can learn from recent writers, that the several degrees of Red
Cross, Knight Templar, and Knight of Malta were conferred, whatever may have
been the severai rituals, at that early period, and they were assumed to be
correct. These germs, however obtained, came in time to be the veritable means
for establishing the bodies, by which finally, and however irregularly
conducted, the several State Grand Commanderies were organized. We have seen
that from these have grown up, in the United States, a system of Masonic
Templarism which is the most extensive and influential body of men anywhere in
the world, as we shall be able to demonstrate in the conclusion of this
have carefully read and pondered over nearly all, if not quite all, the
writings of reliable authors who have, as far as possible, culled from
authentic documents and every source of legitimate information every item
which could add to our knowledge of the introduction of the Templar and
appendant orders into the United States; and we must deal with the subject as
we have found it. It is barely possible that the fountain was impure at the
beginning; but taking the system, as it is at the very close of the 19th
century, where else in the world can we find such a body of United Fraters,
Masons, distinguished gentlemen, of all the useful professions, arts,
sciences, and trades, as compose the Officers, Constituencies, and Members,
scattered as they are, in all the States, Territories, cities, towns, and
hamlets of this vast country? What is now the true status of Masonic Templary
in the United States - with its total membership of 114,540 at the close of
admirable history of the Order by Lieutenant-Colonel W. J.
MacLeod Moore, he is very persistent in challenging the Masonic Templary of
the United States. He says: "I may appear to have frequently indulged in
fault-finding with the system of purely Masonic Templary practiced in the
United States of America, and am fully alive to the fact that the popularity
of the degrees there among its most enlightened members is an argument
stronger than all the criticism that can be brought against it; but in order
to explain my objections, it was necessary to refer to the glaring
discrepancies and inconsistencies existing, which prove the system to be not
only false, but a perversion of the principles of the true Templar Order, from
which it derives its name - merely an imitation Military Masonic degree - a
parody upon the pure doctrines of the Ancient Templars."
Several pages are devoted to his view of these inconsistencies and
discrepancies - too lengthy for our columns - and hence must refer our readers
to his sketch. (1)
many things we must, of course, concur with him; but suppose we apply his
method of criticism to our Modern Masonry, beginning with the early rituals of
1725 by Anderson and Desaguliers, all the
"History of Masonry and Concordant Orders," p. 742 et seq.
through the various Modifications of Martin Clare, Hutchinson, Dunckerley, and
Preston, to the very last formed by the union in 1813 of the Modern and
Ancient work of Hemmingway, which isthe present ritual of the United Grand
Lodge of England, - and compare all of the various forms with well-known facts
as we have them in the sacred writings and history - and where will the
ritualism of the three degrees of the Blue Lodge stand? where the ritualism of
the Mark degree, where that of the R A. Chapter ?
say, let the question, as to Orthodoxy of American Templarism, settle itself;
all in good time; very very few Templars in the United States know anything
whatever of this controversy and
ignorance is bliss, twere folly to be wise
have among our Members distinguished Clergymen of all our Christian
denominations, but we are not aware of a single descendant of Jacob who is a
Knight Templar. Our ceremonies all conduce to the idea of a pure Christianity.
Let us therefore be content to let matters remain as they are; that each
individual Member shall for himself interpret the ceremonies, and apply him
self to the consideration of Christianity as his instructions in Christianity
have dictated, according to his "FAITH."
appears from all accounts of the introduction of the Order of Knights Templars
into the United States, prior to the period of the War of Independence, that
where there was any attempt to confer the Order, the same was mingled with the
"Excellent, Superexcellent, and Royal Arch," the Templar degree following the
Royal Arch. We have concluded that the Templar Order with appendant degrees of
Red Cross, St. John's of Jerusalem, and Knights of Malta, were as legitimately
conferred, and by the same authority, as were the degrees now constituting "Capitular"
will endeavor, in our list of Commanderies, which were subsequently organized
as such in the different jurisdictions, to give authentically the first
efforts to establish the Encampment degrees chronologically, until the firm
establishment of State Grand Commanderies (Encampments) and the General Grand
Encampment in 1816. We may make some errors, but trust that in the main we
shall be found quite accurate in dates. In the preceding pages of this
chapter, we have quoted vanous writers as to the workings of the Order in the
different States; but there have been vagueness and uncertainty as to the
William B. Hubbard, General Grand Master of the General Grand Encampment of
the United States, said:
to be regretted that we have no authentic and reliable history of the first
formation of the first Encampments, with the governmental rituals, as we now
have them. For these, if I may be allowed the expression, are somewhat
Americanized. I suppose that we owe the origin of the introduction of Templar
Masonry into the United States to a distinguished Sov.'.Ins.'. of the.Scottish
first notice of the Templar degree being conferred is found in the history of
St. Andrew's Chapter of Boston, and the dates given are August 28th and
September 17th, 1769, by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts,
Wm. Sewall Gardner, in his oration at the centennial celebration of that
chapter, September 29th, A. L. 5869.
will now give the dates referred to in the preceding pages, in Chapters LI.
and LII., and the States wherein the Templar degree was conferred.
Massachusetts - authority, Wm. Sewall Gardner.
1783 } South Carolina, Patent.
New York, McCoy 1790. Maryland 1793. Pennsylvania, Creigh 1794. District of
Columbia Ceased in 1799, renewed in 1804, ceased in 1898 1796. Connecticut
1797. Pennsylvania first Grand Encampment 1802. Pennsylvania 1802. Rhode
Island, St. John's Encampment, No. 1.
1814.} Pennsylvania 1816. Organization of General Grand Encampment at New York
MS. Letter. March 16, 1855 (from Gourdin, p. 29, Note A).
THE GENERAL GRAND ENCAMPMENT
OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS IN THE UNITED STATES
true origin of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templars of the United States
is involved in some uncertainty. In the first volume of the "Proceedings" of
the Grand Encampment of the United States, from the Preface we learn that from
its formation in 1816 the proceedings, and also those of the Second Conclave
in 1819, were not printed until 1859; and at that session the Grand Recorders
Sir Knight Benj. B. French, presented the following paper:
have found it impossible to obtain a single set of the printed proceedings of
this Grand Body from its origin. By the aid of our respected and distinguished
former General Grand Recorder, Sir Charles Gilman, I succeeded in obtaining
two printed copies of the proceedings of 1826, and more or less of these of
each year up to 1847. By writing out from the original records the proceedings
of 1816 and 1819, I succeeded in making two perfect copies of the proceedings
up to and including those of 1856. One of these I sent to our M. E. Grand
Master and the other I retained myself. These are, probably, the only perfect
copies of our proceedings in existence, except the original written records in
the office of the Grand Recorder. I respectfully suggest the propriety of
having the proceedings up to and including 1856 reprinted. There are now no
copies of the proceedings in my office anterior to 1847; only two of 1847,
twenty-six copies of 1850, one hundred and four copies of 1853, and one
hundred and thirty copies of 1856.'
pursuance of instructions given to the General Grand Recorder, " What purport
to be the Minutes of the 'Formation of the General Grand Encampment of Knights
Templars of the United States,' was printed and distributed among the members
of the Grand Body." The statements published were accepted as authentic, until
within very recent years, when great doubts arose as to the correctness of the
statements made as to those who constituted the membership of the Convention
conclave in 1889, Past Grand Master James H. Hopkins presented a paper,
showing the result of his examination as to the origin of the General Grand
Encampment. This paper was ordered to be printed in the is "Proceedings," and
that, in a reprint of the older "Proceedings," the history of the formation
should be corrected, in accordance with his statement. The committee, how.
who had charge of the reprint, deemed it advisable to print the formation," as
it was first printed, and as it appears in manuscript in the Minute Book of
the General Grand Recorders and to publish in the Preface the facts as
discovered in the paper referred to. This report was signed by James H.
and Wm. B. Isaacs, names well known and highly tlonored, as worthy of all
credence, by every true and valiant Knight Templar.
subjoin a few extracts from Knight Hopkins's paper, for a better understanding
of the "Formation of the General Grand Encampment." That record states that
"at a convention holder at Mason's Stall in the City of New York on the 20th
and 21st June, 1816, consisting of Delegates or Knights Companions from eight
Councils and Encampments of Knights Templars and Appendant Orders, viz. : (1)
"Boston Encampment, Boston; St. John's Encampment, Providence; Ancient
Encampment, New York; Temple Encampment, Albany; Montgomery Encampment,
Newport; Darius Council, Portland, the following Constitution was formed,
adopted, and ratified."
"Anyone investigating the history of the Order in this country, without any
other information than this, would be bound to believe that this official
record was entirely accurate and to be accepted as absolute verity. It can
scarcely be doubted that those who, in
Proceedings of the General Grand Encampment of the United States, 1891,
Prefaces pp 3, 4
caused the first 'proceeding' to be disseminated, had implicit faith in the
correctness of the statements." . . .
have recently had occasion to look more fully and deeply into the facts
connected with the early history of the Order in this country, and with the
formation of the Grand Encampment, and I submit some of the results of that
investigation. None but the weak, or worse, will hesitate to make a frank
admission of error of opinion, when discovered rather than obstinately adhere
to a position proved to be untenable."
Minutes of the Convention which formed this Grand Encampment, as first
published in 1859, are a correct transcript from the manuscript on file in the
Office of our Grand Recorder. How or why this entry was made. no living man
can tell. That it is wholly inaccurate is perfectly demonstrable.
Official Minutes declare that the delegates from eight different Councils and
Encampments, therein specified, met in New York on June 20 and 21, 1816 and
formed the Grand Encampment.
have caused diligent search to be made for the records of the different
subordinates mentioned. Some of them can not be found of a date early enough
to throw any light on the subject; and of those still preserved there is no
mention of any appointment of any delegates for the purpose named, nor any
action indicating that the Council or Encampment had any part in the Work. The
absence of any positive, affirmative Minute in matter of such importance is
strong evidence that no such participation was had. But there exists not only
negative proof that the subordinate sent no delegates to the Convention, but
direct evidence that they did not.
Minutes of the Boston Encampment (Commandery), show that on May 28, 1816, the
Treasurer was authorized to lend to the Grand Encampment (Commandery), the
money in his hands to pay the expenses of the delegates from said Grand
Encampment (Commandery) to the Convention referred to. Saint John's Encampment
(Commandery), of Providence, by a vote, declined to make a loan to the Grand
Encampment for the same purpose. Here is evidence on the records of two of the
Commmanderies that they did not, but that the Grand Commanders of that
jurisdiction did, send delegates to the Convention. Of the other Subordinates
of Massachusetts and Rhode Island mentioned as participating, the Minutes of
the one at Newburyport can not be found; those of Newport and Portland are
we have the positive testimony of the Minutes of the Grand Commandery of
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, wherein it appears that on May 15, 1816, three
delegates were appointed to confer with delegates from other Grand Encampments
(Commanderies) upon the subject of a general Union of all under one head. On
June 25, 1816, there is the report of these delegates and the action of the
Grand Encampment (Commandery) of Massachusetts and Rhode Island approving of
their action and changing the local Constitution so as to bring it into
harmony with that of the General Grand Body.
"Although this official record is of no greater weight than that of our Grand
Encampment, the corroborating and circumstantial evidence renders it
conclusive that our record is wrong and that of Massachusetts and Rhode Island
addition to the Minutes referred to, more conclusive evidence has been
discovered amongst the papers of Thomas Smith Webb. These papers were examined
by our late Grand Master, W. Sewell Gardner, and by him vouched for as
authentic and in Webb's handwriting. They consist of the Credentials of the
delegates appointed by the Grand Bodies of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, New
York and Pennsylvania, to represent them at a Convention in Philadelphia, a
Minute of adjournment to New York with a copy of the Constitution there
Encampments (Commanderies) of New York which are reported to have had
representatives in the Convention which formed this Grand Encampment were
Ancient Encampment, New York; Temple Encampment, Albany; Montgomery
of the early records of these bodies can be found, and the history of two of
them is mainly traditional. It is quite certain, however, that neither of them
belonged to the Grand Commandery of New York in 1816.
truth of history requires of us to mention some things which may prove of
interest, yet it will be found not to be very agreeable; yet like very much of
the Ancient history of Masonry in all its branches, we will find great
irregularities, according to our present ideas of how Masonic bodies should be
1802, Boston Encampment was organized by ten Knights of the Red Cross without
a Warrant from any competent power.
the same year St. John's Encampment, of Providence, was formed without
authority from any source by six Sir Knights.
"Darius Council of Portland was organized by three Knights of the Red Cross in
1805, when after admitting two more members, they applied to Massachusetts for
1795 at Newburyport an Encampment was organized without any authority. In
Newport, several Royal Arch Masons deputed Companion Shaw to visit New York,
where the Orders of Knighthood with other degrees were conferred upon him. The
Consistory there gave him a Warrant authorizing him to confer the Orders.
Joseph Cerneau presided over the Consistory which he had organized in 1807,
without any authority whatever. The only authority ever produced to show that
he was more than a Master Mason is the following well- authenticated patent
from Mathew Dupotet, which, it will be perceived, emanated from an Inspector
General of the A.'.A.'.A.'.R.'. on the Island of Cuba, viz.:
[TRANSLATION.] TO THE GLORY OF THE GR: ARCH: OF THE UNIV: Lux ex Tenebris.
the Orient of the Very Great and Very Puissant Council of the Sublime Princes
(of the Royal Secret), Chiefs of Masonry, under the C: C: of the Zenith (which
responds) to the 20d 25' N: Lat:
III: and Very Valiant Knights and Princes, Masons of all the Degrees, over the
surface of the two Hemispheres:
Antoine Mathieu Dupotet, Grand Master of all the Lodges, Colleges Chapters,
Councils, Chapters and Consistories, of the higher degrees of Masonry, Deputy
Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Pennsylvania, in the United States of
America; and of the Grand Lodge and Sovereign Provincial Grand Chapter of
Heredom of Kilwinning, of Edinburgh, for America, under the distinctive title
of the Holy Ghost, Grand Provincial of San Domingo in the Ancient Rite, Grand
Commander or Sovereign President of the Th: Puissant Grand Council of the
Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, established at Port au Prince, Island of
San Domingo, by constitutive patent of 16 January and 19 April, 1801, under
the distinctive title of The Triple Unity; transferred to Baracoa, Island of
Cuba, on account of the events of war,
declare, in the name of the Sublime and Th: Puissant Grand Council, do certify
and attest, that the Very Resp: Gr: Elect Knight of the White and Black Eagle,
Joseph Cerneau, Ancient Dignitary of the Lodge No. 47, Orient of Port au
Prince Grand Warden of the Provincial Lodge, same Orient, Venerable founder of
the Lodge of the Ancient Constitution of York, No. 103, under the distinctive
title of the Theological Virtues, Orient of the Habana, Island of Cuba, has
been regularly initiated in all the Degrees of the Sublime Masonry, from that
of Secret Master to, and including that of Grand Elect Knight of the White and
Black Eagle; and wishing to give the strongest proofs of our sincere
friendship for our said Very Dear Bro: Joseph Cerneau, in recognition of the
services which he has rendered to the Royal Art, and which he is rendering
daily, we have initiated him in the highest, in the most eminent and final
Degree of Masonry; we create him our Deputy Grand Inspector, for the Northern
part of the Island of Cuba, with all the powers that are attached thereto,
giving him full and entire power to initiate the Bros: Masons, whom he may
judge (Worthy ?), to promote them to the Sublime Degrees, from the 4th up to
and including the 24th; provided however, that these Masons shall have been
officers of a Lodge regularly constituted and recognized, and in place only,
where there may not be found Sacred and Sublime and regularly constituted
Asyla; from which Bros: he will receive the obligation required and the
authentic submission to the Degrees of the Sublime Princes; consulting,
however, and calling to his aid the B: B: whom he shall know to be decorated
with the Sublime Degrees; we give him full and entire power to confer in the
name of our aforesaid Grand Council, the highest Degree of Masonry on a Kt:
Prince Mason, one only each year, whose virtues he shall recognize, and the
qualities required to deserve this favor; and to the end that our dear Bro:
Joseph Cerneau, so decorated, may enjoy, in this quality, the honours, rights
and prerogatives, which he has justly deserved, by his arduous labors in the
Royal Art, we have delivered to him these presents, in the margin whereof he
has placed his signature, that it may avail him everywhere, and be useful to
pray our Resp: BB: regularly constituted, spread over the two Hemispheres,
with whatever Degree they may be decorated, whether in Lodge, Ch:, Col:,
Sovereign Council . . . . . . . Sublime, to recognize and receive our dear
Bro:, the Very Illustrious Sov: and Subl: Prince, Joseph Cerneau, in all the
Degrees above mentioned; promising to pay the same attention to those who, in
our Orients shall present themselves at the doors of our Sacred Asyla,
furnished with like authentic titles.
by us, S: Sublime Princes, G: C: G: I: G'al: of our aforesaid Grand and
Perfect Council, under our Mysterious Seal, and the Grand Seal of the Princes
of Masonry, in a place where are deposited the greatest treasures, the sight
whereof fills us with consolation, joy and gratitude for all that is great and
Baracoa, Island of Cuba anno 5806, under the sign of the Lion, the 15th day of
the 5th month called Ab, 7806, of the Creation 5566, and according to the
Common Style the 15th July, 1806.
Signed, MATHIEU DUPOTET, President, Sev:....G'al:
true copy :] Signed MATHIEU DUPOTET, President, S: G: I: G'al:
certify that what is transmitted above and the other portions are conformable
to my Register.
foregoing translation of the ancient copy in French has been correctly and
faithfully made by me.
Grand Commandery of New York was organized in the following manner, as
ascertained from the Official Proceedings. On January 22, 1814, the Sovereign
Grand Consistory, Joseph Cerneau's body, decreed the establishment of a Grand
Encampment of Sir Knights Templars and appendant Orders for the State of New
York, and immediately proceeded to its formation by choosing the Grand
Officers thereof (1) who were all members of said Consistory. This was done
solely by the action of the Consistory, without the concurrence of any
Commandery, nor of any Knights Templars. This body, which it has often since
been proved to have had no legal Masonic authority for its existence, as a
Consistory, having been established by Joseph Cerneau alone, in 1807, a few
months only after his patent from Mathieu Dupotet had been issued to him which
gave him permission to confer one degree, the 25th of the A.'.
A.'.A.'.R.'. upon one person only each year, who was qualified by having
received all the lower degrees of that Rite, in Cuba only, made his appearance
in New York, and finding a total ignorance on the part of all Masons in New
York as to the "Rite of Perfection," induced a large number to receive, at his
hands, degrees which he had no authority to give. From this beginning, he
Proceedings of the Grand Commandery of New York, 1800, PP. 5, 6, from the
paper by Sir Knight James H. Hopkins.
HIGHEST HILLS AND LOWEST VALES
Consistory. In 1816, Columbian Commandery in New York received a Warrant; and
a Warrant on the same day was issued to a new commandery in New Orleans. These
two were the only Commanderies who recognized the Grand Encampment of New
York. All the other encampments in the State refused to recognize the Grand
Body, and remained independent for many years.
not certain that any of those members, who formed this Grand Commandery of New
York, had ever received the degrees of the Commandery in a regular body of
Knights Templars, but that they assumed the degrees of the Consistory as being
the same as those in the Commandery. There is no evidence whatever that
Cerneau, who went from Port Republican in San Domingo to Cuba, and from Cuba
to New York, in 1807, ever saw a regular Knight Templar Mason, or ever was
anywhere in the vicinity of a Commandery; hence we draw a fair inference, that
the Knight of the Red Cross, and also of the Temple, were derived from the
rituals of the 15th and 16th and 24th degrees of the A.'.A.'.A.'.R.'. The
ritual of the Templar degree in the United States differs so essentially from
the old ritual of England of 1801, now in the possession of the writer, and
also from the present English one, that nave can presume that it was invented
in the United States by those who took the degree from the possession of the
Lodges and constituted the semblance of Commanderies (Encampments).
Grand Convention of Knights Templars was held in the Masonic Hall in the city
of Philadelphia, Tuesday, February 15, 1814, for the purpose of forming a
Grand Encampment of Knights Templars in Pennsylvania, with jurisdiction
belonging thereto, and also over all such Encampments in other States as may
agree to come under the jurisdiction of the same. Sir Knight John Sellers, of
Wilmington, Del., was called to the Chair, and Sir Knight Henry G. Keatinge,
of Baltimore, Md., was appointed Secretary.
"Resolved, That the Delegates and Proxies from the Several Encampments to be
represented in the Convention from the respective States be called over. The
following named Sir Knights produced their Credentials under Seals of their
respective Encampments as Delegates and Proxies, and were admitted to take
their seats in the Convention: Encampment No. 1, Philadelphia, Delegates, Sir
William M. Coxkill, Sir Alphonso C. Ireland, Sir Nathaniel Dilhorn.
"Encampment, City of New York, Proxies, Sir Thomas Black, Sir James Humes.
"Rising-Sun Encampment, City of New York, Delegate, Sir James M'Donald;
Proxies from same, Sir Thomas Armstrong, Sir Anthony Fannen.
"Encampment No. 1, Wilmington, Del., Delegates, Sir John Sellers, Sir
Archibald Hamilton, Sir John Patterson.
"Encampment No. 1, Baltimore, Md., Delegate, Sir Henry G. Keatinge.
Grand Convention being duly organized, proceeded to form a Constitution which
was agreed to February 16, 1814, and signed by the Delegates and Proxies as
above named. Also the Grand Officers were elected and installed.
Most Eminent Sir William McCorkle, of Philadelphia, General Grand Master.
Eminent Sir Archibald Hamilton, of Wilmington, Del., Grand Generalissimo.
Eminent Sir Peter Dobb, of New York, Grand Captain General.
Eminent George A. Baker, of Philadelphia, Grand Recorder."
foregoing account of the formation of this Freemason's Grand Encampment in
Philadelphia is taken from The Freemason's Library and General Ahiman Rezon,
by Samuel Cole, P.M., Edition of 1826, and we do not find any notice whatever
of the Convention held in June, 1816, by those celebrities, viz.: Thomas Smith
Webb, Henry Fowle, and John Snowe, who went to Philadelphia to confer with the
above-mentioned Grand Encampment of Pennsylvania, "upon the subject of a
general Union of all the Encampments in the United States under one head and
general form of government," pursuant to the resolution of the "Grand
Encampment of the United States," Massachusetts and Rhode Island Encampment
being known as such.
failed in their mission to Philadelphia, they repaired to New York and being
there joined by Thomas Lowndes, who had been appointed by the Grand Encampment
of New York as its delegate to represent that body at a Convention of Knights
Templars from different States of the Union, to be held in the City of
Philadelphia, on Tuesday, June 11th, on the 20th and 21st of June.
Masons' Hall. held "a Convention." The records of this quartette's proceedings
describe them as " delegates from eight Councils and Encampments," all of
which we have mentioned on page 1386 of this chapter.
Witt Clinton, New York, N. Y.
Witt Clinton, New York, N. Y.
Witt Clinton, New York, N. Y.
Jonathan Nye, Claremont, N.H V.
Jonathan Nye, Claremont, N. H VI.
Madison Allen, Cayuga, N. Y.
Madison Allen, Cayuga, N. Y.
Madison Allen, Cayuga, N. Y.
Archibald Bull, Troy, N. Y.
Blackstone Hubbard, Columbus, Ohio.
Blackstone Hubbard, Columbus, Ohio XII.
Blackstone Hubbard, Columbus, Ohio XIII.