The True History of
February 19, 2014
In 1988 the Scottish historian
David Stevenson published his research on the late
sixteenth-century Scottish origins and subsequent Scottish
development of "modern" Freemasonry, which he placed within
a European intellectual context of serious interest in the
occult sciences. (1)
Working from the surviving
Scottish documents of operative and speculative lodges,
Stevenson filled the frustrating gaps between early Stuart
culture, its links with Scottish Masonry, and its
preservation within the Jacobite diaspora after the
expulsion of the last Stuart king, James VII and
Stevenson's doctoral student Lisa
Kahler carried this research further into the early
eighteenth century and documented the inaccuracies and
distortions of the "orthodox" English version of Masonic
history, which served Hanoverian-Whig political purposes.
More importantly for my own
research, this revisionist history enabled me to trace the
eighteenth century ramifications of Ecossais Masonry
back to their early roots in Jewish and Scottish
discussions of the role of the Art of Memory a mnemonic
technique of architectural visualization-in the training of
operative masons in Scotland provided a missing link to the
similar art of visualization practiced by heterodox Hebraic
mystics in the Jewish diaspora.
It thus became possible to utilize
objective scholarly accounts of ancient and medieval Jewish
building practices, guild organization, and stone-technology
to build a real world base for the imaginative flights of
visionary Temple-building which appear in Jewish mystical
Reinforced by Elliot Wolfson's
studies of the persistence of "iconic representation and
visualization" in officially anti-iconic Judaism, it is
possible to connect the previously perplexing role of
Cabalism in Freemasonry to the Whig-Newtonian-Hanoverian
culture that allegedly created "modern" Freemasonry.
Pre-modern Scotland provided a
uniquely "Judaized" culture for the preservation of
architectural and Solomonic traditions that were largely
suppressed or ignored in other Western countries especially
in Scotland's southern neighbor and traditional enemy,
The work of Arthur Williamson on
the strange history of the "judeo Scots" sheds light on this
peculiarly Hebraic national self-image that made Scotland-a
land with no public Jewish community-a major repository of
rare Jewish traditions. (6)
Moreover, an accident of
geological history the ready availability of "hewable" stone
for monumental architecture in ancient Israel and medieval
Scotland-provided an unusually technological base for
similarities of development in Jewish and Scottish national
According to Stevenson, Masonic
history has been generally led astray by the prevailing
misconception that the emergence of Freemasonry took place
in England - "a belief maintained in the face of the
overwhelming preponderance of Scottish documentary evidence
relating to the process, evidence which is often
simultaneously explained away ... and then used in an
English context to make up for the lack of English
Because the occultist systems of
Masonry that survived underground in post-Stuart Britain and
that flourished in eighteenth-century Europe developed out
of the architectural, scientific, religious, and political
policies of the Scottish descended Stuart kings of Britain,
it is necessary to examine those elements of early Stuart
culture which were preserved within the secret enclaves
of Ecosaisses lodges. The vigorous revisionism
currently undertaken by historians of sixteenth- and
seventeenth-century Scotland and England makes possible a
new factual context, which sheds light on the deliberately
secret history of Stuart Freemasonry.
With the expulsion of James VII
and II from the British throne in 1688, political exiles
carried Masonic traditions throughout the 'Jacobite"
diaspora, where they attracted a startling variety of
monarchs, philosophers, scientists, and artists to their
supposedly defeated creed and culture. The
Hermetic-Cabalistic masques of the Stuart court, which were
often designed and constructed by Masons, disappeared from
Britain after the "Glorious Revolution," but they eventually
reappeared in the elaborately theatrical ceremonies
developed by Jacobite exiles and their local supporters in
The revival of the Masonic
"masque" in late nineteenth-century Scottish Rite lodges in
the United States is revealed in the recently published
paintings and photographs of the scenic designs, theatrical
techniques, and illusionistic effects which recreated the
Solomonic magnificence and mystical radiance of the early
With the accession of the Elector
of Hanover as King George I of England in 1714, Masonic
supporters of the Stuarts mounted a decades long,
clandestine campaign to regain the British
In 1717 a rival Hanoverian system
of Masonry was established, which aimed to suppress and
defeat that campaign. When the Hanoverian victors in
England-and their descendants among Whig historians wrote
the histories of this great cultural and political rivalry,
they created their own myth of Protestant progress and
toleration, which almost obliterated the
Celtic-Catholic-Jewish elements in the opposition's struggle
and which ignored the survival of those elements in an
international Jacobite culture.
However, the investigations of
academic Jacobite studies-. led by Eveline Cruickshanks,
Paul Nionod, Frank McLynn, Edward Corp, Bruce Lenman, and
Murray Pittock-overturns much of the conventional wisdom
about the Whig-Newtonian-Hanoverian culture that allegedly
created "modern" Freemasonry."
The Invention of
The Ancients / Perennial
The today untenable idea of an
Ancient Wisdom Tradition that Theosophists and Esotericists
are referring to, had its roots in the Renaissance
where the Cabalah as "the oral Torah," was considered the
Ancient Wisdom Teaching.
(deemed "science") taught the Cabalah contained the secret
teachings of Moses, an oral supplement to Scripture, making
it possible to accurately interpret the written Word of the
Bible. (Pico della Mirandola "On the Dignity of Man" p.
In other words the
Renaissance philosopher/scientists worked within a
view of history in which their own tradition was represented
as an ancient philosophy, contemporary with Moses, only to
have this legend gradually undermined by scholarly studies,
the Enlightenment rejected this old order.
Renaissance Neo-Platonist used the
"prisca theologia" (ancient wisdom tradition) theory to
support their claim that Platonism was reconcilable with
The notion of a "perennial philosophy," a
wisdom which the ancient sages had once been in possession
of but since then had been lost to mankind, is a common
theme in Renaissance scholarship. The Calvinist scholar
Michel Servet summarized it in this paragraph:
"This was from the beginning of
the world the received doctrine about the Wisdom of God,
published in the Holy Scriptures, and taught to the Greeks
by the Chaldeans and Egyptians from the tradition of their
Zoroaster and Trismegistus taught it, from
whom, chiefly from Trismegistus, all the Greeks learnt it,
from Orpheus to Plato."
(As quoted and translated in Walker, "The
Prisca Theologia in France", p. 249.)
Masonry and Stuart Politics
Scottish Masonry had less to do
with “Knights Templar” from the middle ages as is often
claimed in frince cottage industry History books, but rather
with an interest in the Cabalah, and later for a
period of time, in the restoration of the Stuart
Elias Ashmole and John Evelyn were
both suspected by Parliament of maintaining contact with
royalists abroad, and they may have facilitated
communications with Moray's Scottish Masonic network. When
Sir Robert Bruce left the company of Moray and Alexander
Bruce in Holland and returned to England, he called on
Ashmole and Evelyn. Evelyn also received a Visit from the
Marquis of Argyll, Lord Lothian, and "some other Scotch
noblemen, all strangers to me. At this time, Moray believed
that Argyll would support the royalist cause, which may
explain Evelyn's growing intimacy with him. Though Lothian
had developed friendly relations with some of Cromwell's
officers in Scotland, his motivation was the alleviation of
his exiled father's poverty. Despite some royalists'
suspicions, Moray maintained his trust in Lothian's
Evelyn also communicated with Sir
John Denham, who had returned to London in late 1653, where
his presence was noted by Hartlib, who described him as "a
Mighty ingenious man for all manner of waterworks and other
ingenuities" and "a great mechanical traveller."
It was perhaps these interests and
skills that led to his alleged association with Masonry and
to his later friendship with Moray. In 1655 Denham was
arrested as a royalist plotter, but two years later he was
privy to the plans of Buckingham to return to England, "upon
some design, for a rising in the city or against the
Protector's person. (J.Denham “Poetical Works” p.
The royalists hoped to 'Win Sir
Thomas Fairfax to their cause, and Buckingham succeeded in
marrying his daughter. As noted earlier, Buckingham was also
named as a Mason, probably initiated during his service in
Scotland. Throughout the Interregnum, Evelyn carried on a
ciphered correspondence with the exiles, while Ashmole was
kept under surveillance. In August 1659 Ashmole recorded
that "My Study was broken open by the Soldiers, upon
pretence of searching for the King, but I lost nothing out
of it. (12)
Moray's other Masonic contact in
England was Lauderdale, his "friend at Windsor," who sent
word to him about the work of Dr. Brian Walton on the
English Polyglot Bible (1654-57), which stimulated a revival
of' interest in Villalpando's interpretations of the Temple.
Walton's Polyglot featured an
elaborate architectural engraving on the frontispiece,
designed by John Webb, as Well as complex depictions of
Jewish architecture by N. Venscelas Hollar. That Moray
wanted to see this London publication on the restored Temple
of Jerusalem points to the cross-channel links established
in the late 1650's which laid the Masonic groundwork for the
king's restoration. That these links also included a Swedish
dimension would become important to the international spread
of Stuart-style Freemasonry in the
Since Alexander Bruce's arrival in
Bremen, Moray had solicited news about the Swedes and Danes,
whom the royalists assiduously courted. On 29 April 1658
Moray informed Bruce that he was anxiously awaiting the
arrival of Bellenden, whose effort to gain Swedish support
now depended on the many Scottish residents in Gothenburg.
He also recalled his earlier
friendship with a Swedish military officer, whose name he
uncertainly spelled as Col. Owagh Clough or Clook, and who
was an expert on fortifications. "Clook" was a fellow
prisoner at Ingolstach, at the time of Moray's
correspondence with Kircher, and the two spent much time in
discussions of their mutual interests. Moray would later
maintain contact with Swedish scientists.
Thus, it is possible that he was
privy to the clandestine establishment of a Masonic lodge,
named "St. Magnus," in Gothenbur , which was chartered from
The lodge is mentioned in ' Johan
Starck, Apologie do Franc-Macons (Philadelphie. 17 79) p.
68: also see Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Lessing's Masonic
Dialogues (1778) , trans. A. Cohen 'London. 1927', p.99-100.
Both Starck and Lessing attended Swedish Rite lodges in
From 1656 on, there were rumors
that General Monk, who was currently employing the Swedish
Freemason Tessin on fortification work at Leith, was leaning
towards the royalist cause. (15)
Christina, who had earlier
recruited members of the Tessin family to Swedish service,
now used her influence with Swedes, Spaniards, Germans, and
Jews to build support for Charles. (16)
While this multi-national, Masonic
network carried out its clandestine collaboration, an
additional secret network was utilized for the restoration
effort. Since January 1654 the younger sons of old royalist
families in England had organized a resistance movement
known as "The Sealed Knot." Collaborating with its agents
were the Scottish royalists Lauderdale, from his prison
cell, and Elizabeth Murray, daughter of the exiled William
Murray. Earl of Dysart. Elizabeth exploited her f'riendship
with Cromwell's wife to prevent the execution of' Lauderdale
and to arrange his transfer to a less onerous prison in
Windsor Castle. (17)
Now granted considerable freedom,
Lauderdale added to his great library and continued his
investigations of alchemical, architectural, and
mathematical lore. Like Moray, Lauderdale studied Druslus,
Scaliger, Amama, Kircher, and Alsted, and he acquired
Rosicrucian and Fluddian works. (18)
Considered a "master of Hebrew,"
he gathered rare works on the Jewish traditions, and he
apparently developed his "extraordinary memory" through
study of his Lullist trcatiscs." In line with Charles II’s
policy of bringing together royalists of different religious
faiths, Lauderdale established communications with the
Puritan Richard Baxter and other advocates of religious
The king's ecumenical agenda was
not shared by his English advisor Edward Hyde, who was
distrusted by Scottish Presbyterians and British Catholics.
Contemptuous of Balcarres and Dysart and suspicious of
Moray, Hyde instigated "false accusations" and "unjust
persecution" of their Scottish party.
In 1655 the Scots and Catholics
protested to Charles II that Hyde subverted their
restorationist efforts. Dr. Alexander Fraser, the king's
Scottish physician, joined with Balcarres and "other Scots
at court" to draw up a petition to the king that the
Scottish Presbyterians could provide valuable advice and
services but "were discouraged and hindered" by Hyde, who
was "an old known and declared enemy to their party; in whom
they could repose no trust." (20)
They urged that Hyde be removed
from the council or "at least not be suffered to be privy to
anything that should be proposed by them." Fraser had
accompanied Charles 11 to Scotland, where he carried out
important intelligence and military operations, and he
enjoyed the full confidence of the king and the Scottish
"Masonic" party. His distrust of Hyde was shared by Dr.
Massonet, who accused Hyde of disloyalty and collusion with
Cromwell. From now on, the separation of Scottish from
English plotting would be reflected in the activities of
Scottish Masons and English "Knotters."
Despite the Anglo-Scottish
rivalries, the energetic Elizabeth Murray tried to provide a
link between the two factions. When William Murray died in
December 1655, Elizabeth assumed his title and became the
Countess of Dysart. Gilbert Burnet, a later protege of
Moray, noted that the beautiful Lady Dysart had "a wonderful
quickness of apprehension" and had studied divinity,
history, philosophy, and mathematics.
Using the cover of arranging her
family's business affairs in Belgium, she often travelled to
the Continent with messages from Lauderdale to Moray, her
late father's cousin and confidante. Earlier, Dysart had
hoped his daughter would marry Moray, but now the two
maintained a "true friendship." Learned in the occult
sciences and gifted with second sight, she collaborated with
Moray on the production of invisible inks and other chemical
services to the king's cause Jane Clark argues that the
Dysarts were undoubtedly Masons and that Elizabeth utilized
Masonic symbols and techniques of communication to transmit
her messages to royalists abroad. (22)
With considerable courage and
defiant insouciance, she also carried out dangerous missions
for the Sealed Knot, while she cultivated friendships with
Cromwell's wife and intimates.
In March 1657 Cromwell received
reports that Balcarres, from his base in Holland, was
holding "a secret intelligence" with Monk; even worse,
Balcarres was spreading rumors that Generall Monk is
revolted" in order to build support for the royalists'
"intended insurrection." (23)
Though Monk defended himself to
Cromwell and continued to enforce the military occupation in
Scotland, his letters suggest some ambivalence in his
position. In September he reported from Dalkeith that the
Scottish ministers "begin to pray again for Charles Stuart,
so there may be a new project." He then added offhandedly
that he had arrested "some straggling fellows come over
lately, the most of them from the King of Sweden's army." In
May Cromwell's spies reported that Colonel Alexander
Hamilton, kinsman of Moray's late comrade, "brought 64
Scottish soldiers from the Swedish army to Ostend.
these recruits members of the lodge at Gothenburg and ready
to Join their brethren in Holland and
A rare surviving masonic document,
composed at Perth in December 1658, suggests that there was
a renewal of royalist commitment among local masons. John
Mylne, who had cooperated with Monk in the building of
fortifications and served with the Scottish commissioners to
Cromwell, subsequently resigned all share in the conduct of
public affairs. However, he retained the mastership of the
"Ancient Lodge of Scone and Perth" until shortly before his
death in late 1657. Though it is unknown whether Mylne was
the inspiration for the proud assertions made in the 1658
document, it is clear that the Perth masons were determined
to reclaim their ancient independence and royal patronage.
Thus, on 24 December they issued a new "Contract by the
Master Masons and fellow-craftsmen ... on the decease of
John Mylne, Master Mason and Master of the said
"That as formerly we and
predecessors have and had from the temple of temples
building on this earth one uniform community and union
throughout the whole world from which temple proceeded one
in Kilwinning in this our nation of Scotland and from that
of Kilwinning many more within this kingdom of which there
proceeded the Abbey and Lodge of Scone, built by men of art
and architecture where they placed that lodge as the second
lodge within this nation, which is now past memory of many
generations, and was upheld by the Kings of Scotland ... the
said Masters, Freemen, and Fellow Crafts, inhabitants within
the said Burgh of Perth, were always able within themselves
to maintain their first liberties, and are yet willing to do
the same as the Masters, Freemen, or Fellow Crafts did
formerly (whose names we know not)-But to our record and
knowledge of our predecessors there came one from the North
country named John Mylne, a mason, a man well experted in
his calling, who entered himself both Freeman and Burgess of
this Burgh, who in process of time by reason of his skill
and art was preferred to be the King's Majesty's Master
Mason and Master of the said Lodge at Scone, and his son
John Mylne being after his father's decease preferred to the
said office, and Master of the, said Lodge, in the, reign of
His Majesty James the Sixth of blessed memmy, who by the
said second-John Mylne was by the King's own desire entered
Freeman, Alason, and Fellow Craft, and during all his
lifetime he maintained the same as one member of the Lodge
of Scone--so that this Lodge is the most famous Lodge (if
well ordered) within this kingdom-of which name of Mylne
there had continued several generations of Master Masons to
his Majesties the Kings of Scotland ."
The rest of the document dealt
with the choosing of a new master and warden for the lodge
and instructions about the traditional duties (including the
gift of gloves) incumbent upon the members. That John Mylne
fils was not elected to fill his father's role was probably
due to his residence in Edinburgh, where he was employed on
various architectural projects (such as erecting a great
vertical sundial). Importantly, the younger Mylne also
represented the City at the Convention of' Royal Burghs in
1655-59, when he gained the acquaintance of' General
All the royalist plans were thrown
into full gear when news arrived on the Continent of the
death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658. When the inept
Richard Cromwell assumed the Protectorship, the royalists
increased their overtures to Monk in Scotland. On 30
September a Cromwellian officer in Leith wrote to Thurloe
that Scottish preachers were now using mystical language,
while they pray for the deliverance of' the exiles and
captives to be delivered from the yoke of Pharaoh and out of
Egypt: "Thus they speake, but so ambiguously that they can
evade, if questioned; yet see plainly that the whole people
knowes their meaning." (26)
The use of mystical Hebraic
terminology harked back to the days of the first Covenantand
its underlying Masonic organization. Moreover, many Scottish
masons were currently employed on the fortifications at
Leith, which were directed by the Swedish architect Tessin
and his commander Monk. Tessin had earlier been initiated in
the Edinburgh Lodge, which was directed by John
Monk had no respect for Richard
Cromwell, and he sensed that the political situation would
become increasingly volatile. Thus, he began the systematic
reversal of the late Protector's policies in Scotland. While
he replaced Englishmen with Scots on the courts of justice
and Exchequer, he consolidated his own power and made his
rule more acceptable to the subjects of the northern
Unlike Oliver Cromwell, who
despised the Scots, Monk enjoyed the company of local
nobles, soldiers, and craftsmen. During his travels to all
parts of' the kingdom, he had developed an intelligence
network that kept him abreast of the growing royalist
sentiments of all segments of the population. More
significantly, he allegedly became a Freemason and thus
privy to the communication networks, oaths of secrecy, and
bonds of' loyalty between the brethren. According to a
report made in 1741 by the exiled Jacobite Mason Andrew
-Michael Ramsay, certain royalist Masons knew of Monk's
affiliation and sought to attract him to their
A.F. von Busching in “ Beitraege”
VI, 329, Busching noted that when Ramsay lectured in
the lodges, he did not mention Monk's Masonic strategy for
the Restoration because he did not want to arouse suspicions
that the Masons in France where active in affairs of state.
See also Andre Kervella, La Maconnerie Ecossaise dans la
France de l’Ancient Regime Paris, 1999, 208.
That Ramsay revealed this
political secret to Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, a Swedish
kinsman of Monk's architect, gives it a certain
Though Ramsay's account has been
ignored by English historians of' the Restoration, there is
enough evidence for Monk's Masonic contacts to give it
credibility. Shortly after Cromwell's death, a young
Scottish architect-William Bruce of Kinross -approached Monk
to solicit his support for a Stuart restoration. Fenwick
suggests that Bruce participated in the construction of
Monk's citadels at Aire and Leith, which provided him
contact with Tessin and Mylne, who directed the masons at
those projects. (28)
Bruce would later become Charles
II's Surveyor of Works in Edinburgh and, according to
Anderson, the Grand Master of Scottish Freemasonry.
During the Interregnum, he
reportedly pursued his architectural studies in France and
Holland. A friend of Moray and cousin of Alexander Bruce, he
provided a link between their Masonic networks in Europe and
Moray later collaborated with Sir
William Bruce on architectural projects; see Henry M.Paton,
"Letters from John, Second Earl of Lauderdale, to John,
Second Earl of Tweeddale, and Others," in Miscellany of the
Scottish Historical Society, VI 1939, 233.
Another cousin of William Bruce,
the Countess of Dysart, provided communication between the
exiled Masons and the Sealed Knot, and William visited her
in London. From his later friendship with Lauderdale, it
seems that William also contacted the latter during his
imprisonment at Windsor. Through her contacts with
Cromwell's inner circle, Lady Dysart may have learned that
parliamentary spies had penetrated the "Sealed Knot" and had
suborned its chief, Sir Richard Willis, who continued to
correspond with Hyde and Nicholas while receiving
According to Burnet, who probably
received the information from Moray or the Bruces, "Thus
Cromwell had all the king's party in a net. He let them
dance in it at his pleasure; and upon occasion clapt them up
for a short while." (30)
"There is no department of knowledge that gives us more
certainty of Christ‘s divinity than magic and cabala," wrote
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the translator of the so
called writings of "Hermes" in 1486.
The ritualized unification of the Masters Word drew on Christian Cabalistic
lore, in which the unification of the letters of the Tetragrammaton was
"predicated on and facilitated by some form of visualization of these letters
within the imagination.
Though the seventeenth-century Masons externalized the internal process into
ritual gestures and Postures, they still re-enacted the Christian Cabalistic
belief that "Whoever has knowledge it as if' the Temple were built in his life,"
because "such a person knows how to unify the unique name and it is as if he
built the palace above.
But during the re-creation of Scottish Masonry at the courts of the exiled
Stuart King in France, the search for "the lost word" signified "the royal word"
given by Charles II that he would reclaim the throne; the "son of the widow"
pointed to Charles II as son of Henrietta Maria. To increase security, these
royalist symbols were changed to the "signs of the Rose-Cross Masons."
Initiates of the eighteenth-century Clermont Rite preserved a tradition that
David Ramsay was succeeded as head of the order in 1659 by Charles II, with "Eduard
Frazer" serving as his "Vikar." (31) Baron
von Starck, the German source for these early Scottish-Templar Masons, was often
inaccurate or confused about their forenames and spellings, and "Eduard" was
probably Dr. Alexander Fraser, who had earlier distanced Scottish Presbyterian
plotting from Hyde's English agenda. Since 1655 Fraser had worked as a
confidential agent for Lauderdale and Moray. Starck claimed that Fraser's
successors included William Bruce (1679-86) and Andrew Michael Ramsav (1708-14).
Whether these Rosicrucian-Templar Restoration traditions were developed in the
1650's or after the 1688 fall of the Stuart dynasty remains an historical
puzzle. But some pieces of that puzzle can be verified by historical documents.
Sir Robert Moray's letters provide a unique insight into the intellectual and
spiritual world of an active Freemason in the 1650's. They also make clear that
many "modern" trends of speculative Masonry were already emerging among the
royalist exiles on the Continent. Moreover, Moray may have shared his Masonic
interests with his "comrade" and fellow-lodger, the French physician Massonet,
and the French military officers, with whom he regularly dined and socialized. (Kincardine
Peter Massenet was created an M.D. by Charles I in 1646, served as writing
instructor to the princes Charles and James, and then fought for Charles II in
While in exile, he became the confidential friend of Balcarrcs and Moray. (E.
Nicholas, Nicholas Paper, III, p.168.)
French historians refer to a murky tradition of Stuart-French Masonic
interchange during the Interregnum, and Massonet may have been privy to Moray's
Masonic strategies as well as his Hermetic experiments.
Though Moray claimed to live as a hermit in Maastricht, he continued to serve
as a political intelligencer and contact person for the international royalist
network. Thus, by examining that network in the context of possible Masonic
associations, we can evaluate the plausibility of eighteenth-century claims
about Masonic contributions to the Stuart restoration.
Unfortunately, there is a dearth of information on Freemasonry in England
during the Interregnum, despite speculation about the possible Masonic
activities of Ashmole and Thomas Vaughan. Fragments of evidence do suggest,
however, that Moray and Lauderdale could have called upon a few royalist Masons
in London. Though Ashmole did not record any further Masonic participation until
1682, he became friendly with John Evelyn who was currently investigating
operative masonry. Both men travelled through England to inspect the condition
of religious and royal architecture. (32)
They also helped William Dugdale's research for his royalist architectural
treatise, The History of St. Paul's Cathedral (1658). Evelyn began a manuscript
account of "Trades: Secrets and Receipts Mechanical as they come casually to
hand," for which he tried to investigate the craft of masonry.
Planning to fill over six hundred pages, Evelyn listed alphabetically the
technical subjects he would cover. Among the few he actually recorded was
section M on the duties and techniques of "the Free-Mason," which revealed his
contact with operative masons who shared a few of their secrets. Evelyn noted
the intellectual and manual challenges required in their work, and he included
the architectengineer under L for "Liberal Arts," thus giving him gentleman
status. However, these were not propitious years for the masons, for their trade
suffered from Cromwellian iconoclasm. Evelyn's friend Christopher Wren later
recalled that "there were no masons in London when he was a young man" (i.e.,
during the Interregnum). (34) Though it is
unclear whether Wren meant operative masons or speculative Freemasons, Evelyn
found the former disappointingly uncooperative. He ultimately confessed that the
necessity "of conversing with mechanical capricious persons" proved too
unpleasant to him.
After Cromwell's death, his successors were worried by rumors of new link-ups
between royalists in Scotland, England, and Holland. Having penetrated the
"Knot," they may have suspected a Masonic element in the plotting. A rare
surviving Masonic manuscript, dated 1659, suggests that parliamentary
intelligencers were investigating Masonry in Britain. The manuscript "Narrative
of the Free Masons Word and Signs" was a "copia vera" drafted by Thomas Martin,
whose identity is otherwise unknown. (35)
It provided an account, hostile in tone and apparently made by a spy, of
contemporary lodge practices. In passages that would have interested suspicious
government agents, Martin described in detail the recognition signs used by
Masons-i.e., the signs, postures, movement of hat, square paper, crooked pin,
etc., used to identify the "free" worker to other operative masons, who were
bound by similar oaths. He pointed out that these techniques allowed them to
secretly exchange money. Other more amusing signs were blowing the nose in a
handkerchief, which is then held straight out and shaken; knocking at any door
with two little knocks and then a big one; saying "Star the Guile" when the
glass goes around too slowly, etc.
Martin expressed his scorn for the Masons' claim to international
To Discourse a Mason in France, Spain, or Turkey (say they) the sign is to
kneel down on his left knee and hold up his right hand to the Sun and the
Outlandish Brother will presently take him up, but believe me if' they go on
their knees on that account they may remain there or any persons observe their
Signs as long as the Jews will remain on their Beliefs, to receive their wish'd
for Messiah from the East.
With Charles II currently trying to forge a unified front out of French,
Spanish, and Jewish (Jews from Turkish territories?) supporters, Martin's
criticism was perhaps relevant to rumors of international Masonic cooperation.
Martin then announced, "Here followeth their private Discourse by Way of
Question and Answer," in which the esoteric and essentially Jewish traditions
were obliquely expressed. To the catechistical questioner, the initiate answers
that a "Just and perfect Lodge is ... two prentices, two fellow-crafts, and one
Master on the highest hill or lowest Valley in the World without the crow of a
Cock or the bark of a Dog." To the question, "from whence do you derive your
principles," the initiate answers "From a greater than you." "Who is he on Earth
that is greater than a free Mason" provokes the response, "He that carried to
the highest pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem." Martin noted that "In some
places they Discourse as followeth": "Where did they first call their Lodge? As
the Holy Chappel of St. John." This allusion to the Knights of St. John of the
Hospital suggests a chivalric theme in certain lodges-a point later reinforced
by Swift's reference to "Lodges" of the "Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
Universal Brotherhood or Tyranny
From the time of Charles II's oral commitments to the Jews at the
Restoration, his philo-Semitic policies over the next twenty-five years fueled a
secretive tradition of Jewish-Masonic collaboration that emerged dramatically in
the next century. Moreover, this tradition would be strongest in the Rosicrucian
degrees of Ecossais rites developed by exiled supporters of the Stuart dynasty.
Because this linkage of Jews and Freemasons would prove so controversial and
volatile, it is important to examine the Stuart context that fueled the rumors
and the reality. Though the question of Stuart sympathy for Catholicism was the
burning public issue of the latter part of Charles II's reign, it was
intrinsically linked with less known but broader issues of tolerancc that would
eventually define the "modern" Masonic theme of universal brotherhood. In the
Stuart Temple of Wisdom, not only Protestants and Catholics but Jews and Moslems
would be welcomed as comrades in chivalric fraternity.
In Tangier, the projected gateway to the Levant, the governors' cooperation
with Jewish interpreters was crucial to completion of the great Mole and stone
forts, projects of continuing interest to Moray and Wren. To facilitate the
Barbados trade in which Davidson, Lauderdale, and other Scots were heavily
invested, the king granted full privileges to their Jewish agents.
In january 1663 Charles and his foreign secretary Arlington established a new
precedent by allowing a naturalized Jew from Barbados, the diamond merchant Da
Vega, to become a Freeman of a Company in London. (37)
Though Charles still could not count on parliamentary support, he
communicated to various Portuguese Jews in April that "he was resolved to grant"
permission to a large number of Marranos to immigrate to England.
When Jacob Abendana dedicated Halevi's Kuzari to Davidson, the royalist
panegyric smoothed the way for his brother Isaac Abendana to bring copies of the
work to England and to establish himself as a Hebrew teacher at Cambridge in
The king's policy also opened the doors for renewed Hebrew studies in
Scotland, where it was well-known that Lauderdale was an expert in the language.
One Jew travelled to Scotland, where he instructed Patrick Gordon, who became
Professor of Hebrew at King's College, Aberdeen. (40)
At St. Andrews the king donated Pound 50 for a Professor of Hebrew, while at
Edinburgh a converted Jew was invited to teach Jewish language and history.
Rabbi Jacob Sasportas wrote from London to a friend in Rotterdam:
We live at a time in which God has seen fit greatly to ameliorate the
condition of his people, bringing them forth from the general conchnon of
serfdom into freedom ... specifically, in that we are free to practise our own
true religion ... a written statement was issued from him [Charles II], duly
signed affirming that no untoward measures had been or would be initiated
against us., and that they should not look towards any protector other than his
Majesty; during the continuance of whose lifetime they need feel no trepidation
because of any sect that might oppose them, inasmuch as he himself would be
their advocate and assist them with all his power. (42)
Shane observes that it was the king's answer "which established the right of
the Jews to re-settle in England rather than the non-committal reply which
Cromwell had earlier given to the petition of Menasseh ben Israel."
Arlington, whom Anderson identified as a Freemason, would later be involved
with Rabbi Leon's visit to London.
Encouraged by the king's policy, the London Jews began raising funds for the
enlargement of their synagogue. They probably learned from their Dutch brothers
that Leon's architectural theories received international exposure and critical
praise, when Johan Saubert published an expanded Latin version of the rabbi's
treatise, De Templo Hierosolymitano (1665).
The translation was printed at the request of Duke Augustus of Brunswick, and
Saubert included Leon's Hebrew song of praise for Augustus. When the book first
appeared, the latter's brother Duke Frederick of Brunswick visited the Royal
Society on 25 February 1665. (44)
Thus, Wren and the Fellows could have learned about the architectural
explications and designs that Leon contributed to the edition. Moray,
especially, would have been interested in Kircher's letter to Saubert, in which
his "epistolar correspondent" praised Leon's treatise. On 31 October 1664
Kircher sent Saubert his critical evaluation, which the latter published in the
I also read with utmost enthusiasm your book about the Temple of Solomon,
which your zeal for the public good and your concern for illumination ensured
the publication at your own personal expense. It is a quite exceptional work and
one which the literary world could not but value for its exposition of the
Saubert included a portrait of Leon, placed above his models of the
Tabernacle and Temple, and an admiring biography, which recognized his
importance as a Jewish savant. He also noted Leon's disagreement with
Villalpando's explications of Jewish architecture, which the large fold-out
engravings of Leon's designs demonstrated. Drawing purely on Jewish sources,
including the "Kabbalistas," Leon made clear that he hoped for an actual
rebuilding of the Temple and thus included practical advice relevant to
operative masons involved in synagogue and church construction. He described the
columns of Jachin and Boaz, the sculptured Cherubim, and the lapis fondationis-all
subjects of interest to Jewish and Christian builders in London.
With Jews in Britain and its colonies, as well as their co-religionists on
the Continent, now perceiving Charles II as their protector, the earlier Stuart
support for Leon's architectural endeavors possibly provoked a Hebraic Masonic
In a manuscript entitled "The History of Masonry," written by Thomas Treloar
in 1665, there is a striking merger of Scottish Masonic tradition and Hebrew
royalist panegyric. An inscription on the manuscript reads: "History and Charges
of Masonry, Copied by me Jon Raymond MDCCV." (46)
In the surviving fragment, there are inscriptions in Hebrew lettering which
reinforce the stress of Jewish and Solomonic traditions in the restored
fraternity. The text begins with the Hebrew inscription, "in the beginning God
created the heaven and earth," and then recounts the story of' Hiram the
The text then relates a highly Judaised version of the Old Charges, adding
peculiar details and claiming Jewish sources for the discoveries of Euclid and
Pythagoras. McLeod observes that in standard English texts of the Old Charges,
Solomon's Temple is simply one episode of many and not the most important at
Euclid and Edwin both claim considerably more space. But for Jon Raymond [and
Treloar] Solomon is at centre stage right from the preliminary verses. He
includes an attestation, "All may witness my seal and hand," with the
"signature" of "Solomon the King" (in Hebrew letters and in transliterated
Hebrew) and "Solomon's Seal," the hexalpha within a circle. He adduces the
Tabernacle of Moses as a prototype of the Temple. He describes the artificer of
the Temple in these terms: "And Hiram the Tyrian widow's son was sent to King
Solomon by Hiram the King of Tyre. And he was a cunning workman in brass and
purple and all medals." (47)
McLeod expresses puzzlement at this "remarkable I early- naming of the
architect as Hiram, but Stevenson suggests that the Hiramic legend in Scottish
Freemasonry was already present in William Schaw's time. Thus, "the mental
lodge" or "memory temple" described in late seventeenth-century catechisms
contained the grave of Hiram, "the greatest of all architects." Through certain
Cabalistic and necromantic rituals, the initiate could discover and rejuvenate
Hiram. The emphasis on his role as the "widow's son" pointed to Charles II's
role as Henrietta Maria's son----a Stuart reference that would take on more
poignant significance for Jacobite exiles in the next century.
Even more striking in the Treloar MS. were the unique references to certain
sixteenth- and sevcnteenth-century monarchs claimed as rulers of "the whole
And yet another Henry did rule over ye whole Craft even ye seventh of' that
And after many days Charles did reign in ye land and lo his blood was
spilled upon ye earth even by ye traitor Cromwell.
Behold now ye return of pleasant for doth riot ye Son of ye blessed Martyr
rule over ye whole land.
Long may he reign in ye land and govern ye Craft.
Is it riot written ye shall riot hurt ye Lords anointed.
The elimination of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I from Masonic history should not
surprise, for they were considered enemies of ecclesiastical and royalist
building projects. But the omission of James VI and I possibly indicates that
James was not recognised as "governor" over English Masons, despite his
initiation in Scotland. Or perhaps Treloar did not believe that true "Hiramic"
Freemasonry really existed in England until the restoration of Charles II.
The Treloar MS. concludes its powerful royalist statement with an inscription
in Hebrew, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" This
quotation from Psalm 2 was often applied to the radical Protestants of the
Interregnum, and the rebellious heathen were subsequently admonished to serve
the Lord's anointed king. In the year when the manuscript was written, the
Jewish community in London must have worried that religious sectarians in
Britain were linking their cause to Jewish millenarian developments in the
Middle Last. Reports of the messianic claims of Sabbatai Zevi, a Cabalistic
prophet in Smyrna, stimulated waves of enthusiasm among many Jews on the
Queen Christina became so fascinated by Sabbatai's claims that she almost
became a disciple. In Hamburg she danced in the streets with her Jewish friends
in anticipation of the apocalyptic moment. (49)
In London Oldenburg eagerly sought news about the movement from the alchemist
Borri, the chiliast Serrarius, and the philosopher Spinoza, which revived his
millenarial hopes-and made him vulnerable to royalist suspicions of sedition.
In November 1665 Robert Boulter published in London a Sabbatian message to
serve the agenda of radical dissidents, who opposed Charles II's policy of
toleration. He claimed that he received a letter from Aberdeen which dcscribed
the arrival on the Scottish coast of a mysterious ship, loaded with
Hebrew-speaking Jews who were gathering their brethren from all over the world
to return to Jerusalem. (51)
The Sabbatians boldly proclaimed on their satin sails, "THESE ARE THE TEN
TRIBES OF ISRAEL," who would give liberty of' conscience to all (except the
Turks). It is unclear whether Boulter believed there were actual Jews living
in Scotland, or whether he hoped to insult the Scots and their Stuart king by
implying that they where Jewish.
Meanwhile in Amsterdam, some Jewish admirers of Sabbatai Zevi hoped that the
English king would assist them, despite the current state of war between England
and Holland which had spread to the Mediterranean.
But when Sabbatal Zevi -under threat of death-apostasized to Islam, the
royalists in Britain were relieved that the potentially incendiary movement
fizzled out. There is little evidence that Jews in London supported the
campaign, which threatened to undermine their delicate position under the king's
Oldenburg, however, continued to correspond about the millenarian
implications of the affair, and his indiscrete comments to friends in Holland
during the Anglo Dutch war placed him under government suspicion. Letters from
the radical Serrarius were impounded, and an order for Oldenburg's arrest was
issued in summer 1667. (53)
Evelyn noted that Oldenburg was held a close prisoner in the Tower "for
having been suspected to write Intelligence, etc." (54)
Because Evelyn appreciated the secretary's work for the Royal Society, he got
permission from Arlington to visit Oldenburg in the Tower, and he came away
confident that he was innocent of seditious intent. However, Oldenburg's
interest in Sabbatian millenarianism was still considered risky, and he was not
released until a month after the signing of the Treaty of Breda.
The perceived linkage between Sabbatians and Protestant subversives possibly
spurred Solomon Franco to publish a royalist panegyric, Truth Springing Out of
the Earth, which he dedicated to Charles II on 2 July 1668.
As Hebrew instructor of Ashmole, Franco may have learned that Ashmole's
friend Evelyn was now undertaking a study of Sabbatai Zevi and similar radical
enthusiasts. In his pamphlet, Franco announced his conversion to the Church of
England, which he credited to the miraculous nature of Charles II's restoration
and to the arguments of Christian friends that the Cabala proved that Jesus was
the Messiah. He stressed that the ancient Jews were devoted to monarchy and that
rebels against the king were punished with death. Franco was also determined to
defend Cabalistic traditions against critics like Samuel Parker, who two years
earlier had ridiculed Rosicrucian exponents of Cabala.
Perhaps Franco also hoped to forestall Evelyn's potential criticism of
Sabbatai Zevi's Cabalistic pretensions. Thus, he gave detailed expositions of
Cabalistic traditions of the male and female Cherubim, the role of the Shekinah
in reception of divine influx, the architecture of the Temple, etc. In a passage
with Masonic resonance, Franco affirmed: "The Temple, which is the Heart of the
World, whose Influence is communicated to all parts of the Body, which now is of
Stone, after the coming of the Messias shall be of flesh.
With Cabalistic study reclaimed by Franco as permissable for royalist
Christians, Evelyn's expose of the Sabbatian movement was rendered less
threatening to Jews (and Marranos) who enjoyed the protection of the king.
Yo Arlington, Evelyn linked Christian partisans of the Sabbatians with
Cromwellian radicals, who still posed a threat to the Stuart regime:
But whil'st the Time is not vet accomplish'd, I could wish our modern
Enthusiasts, and other prodigious sects amongst us, who Dreame of the like
Carnal Expectations, and a Temporal Monarchy, might seriously weigh how nearly
their Characters approach the Style and Design of these Deluded Wretchcs
[Jewish Sabbatians], least they fall into the same Condemnation, and the Snare
of the Devil. (57)
Despite the attacks by militant Protestants, Charles II continued to welcome
pacific Rosicrucians and Cabalists to his court. In October 1670, while
attending the Newmarket races, he was joined by F.M. van Helmont, who was a
longtime friend of Prince Rupert, the king's cousin and partner in chemical and
artistic studies. (58)
Moray was familiar with Van Helmont's Alphabetum Naturae, which Oldenburg had
reviewed for the Royal Society in January 1668, noting that Van Helmont learned
Hebrew so well that he understood the whole Hebrew Bible. The "Judaizing
Rosicrucian" then visited Henry More and Anne Conwav, who were currently
studying the works of Hendrik Niklaus. founder of the "Family of Iove." Though
Conway defended Familist doctrines, More criticized them as similar to Quaker
beliefs. Van Helmont's Hebrew studies would soon stimulate Cabalistic interest
and controversy in the mystical circles of Conway. More, and George Keith, the
Scottish Quaker. (59)
With the Sabbatian movement and its millenarian supporters now discredited,
Charles II expressed his appreciation for the loyalty of the Jews by appointing
many of them as "sworn brokers."(61)
In The History of the Three Late Famous Impostors (1669), dedicated Queen
Catherine, was also known as a friend and protector of Jews. Orrery worked with
Webb to design an elaborate production by the King's Company to be held in
January 1672, but a fire destroyed the Theatre Royal. From the script, it is
clear that Orrery intended stunning views of the Temple, which would appear
mysteriously while singing priests in white robes praise Herod on his sumptuous
throne. Amidst the corruption, sensuality, and violence of' the Hebrew court,
certain noble Jews were willing to die in order to save a friend. Thus, the
themes of elevated conjugal love and mystical friendship were linked with the
good Jews who tried to regenerate Jerusalem and the Temple.
In The Tragedy of King Saul, composed circa 1671 but published posthumously,
Orrery further elaborated the theme of fraternal bonding. As David and Jonathan
make vows of eternal friendship ("one Soul in both our Bodies be"), they stand
in contrast to oath-breakers who lift their hands against the Lord's anointed.
The royalist panegyrics occur amidst scenes of a mystically-shrouded Temple,
magician's cave, flying spirits, and prophetic visions.
As Eveline Cruickshanks describes in her book "The Glorious Revolution"
(2000) Charles’s secretary of state Williamson was sent to the Tower because of
his effort to employ Irish regiments released from French service. Charles
believed that the Duke of Buckingham and Shaftesbury, now allied with the
opposition Whigs in Parliament, instigated the actions of Tonge and Oates.
James Butler, who was privy to Buckingham's intrigues, added to the political
complications with his charges of Franco-Scottish-Jewish sedition in Hudibras
III, which was reprinted in 1679.
Because Francophilia makes marriage unfashionable (a dig at promiscuous
courtiers and the profusion of royal bastards), Hudibras and the Scots now serve
the cause of Papist agents: "your Presbyterian wits/Jump punctual with the
Jesuits.” (Hubridas, p. 210, 214)
While Hooke and the Rosicrucianized virtuosos work with Napier's Bones, they
implicitly support the Scots and Catholics. (p.250)
While they study Kircher's works, they not only support the Jesuits but the
"But Jesuites have deeper Reaches In all their Politick Far-fetches: And
from their Coptick Priest, Kirkerus, Found out this Mystick way to jear us.
They thought, all Governments were best,
By Hieroglyphick Rumps, exprest.
The Learned Rabbins of the Jews
Write, there's a Bone, which they call Luez,
I’ th' Rump of man, of such a Vertue,
No force in Nature can do hurt to:
And therefore, at the last Great Day,
All th' other Members shall, they say,
Spring out of this, as from a Seed,
All sorts of Vegetals proceed:
From whence, the Learned Sons of Art,
Os Sacrum, Justly stile that part. (p.280-81)
The Cabalistic theory of the mystical bone Luz was explained in the
Kabbalah Denudata, which was currently being discussed by vanious Fellows of
the Royal Society. In a letter of 6 June 1679 John Locke, FRS, who had earlier
studied under the Rosicrucian Sthael, noted that Robert Boyle informed him of
the publication of the Zohar, newly translated into Latin by "un tres habil
homme avec des notes qui expliquent Fancien Cabala des Juifs."
Locke was interested in Helmontian theories of medicine, and he subsequently
learned of F.M. Van Helmont's contribution to the Kabbalah Denudata, which he
then acquired. Rosenroth later sent to Locke interesting Cabalistic commentaries
on the philosopher's essays. In his letter to Boyle, Locke also revealed that
Isaac Abendana "s'est brouille" with the authorities at Cambridge and thus took
his Alishna project to Oxford. Rosenroth later complained of the harsh treatment
he received from many clerics in Germany because of his publication of Kabbalah
Denudata, and Helmont found the climate in England becoming increasingly
With the country reeling from the sensational revelations of the phony
"Popish Plot," the Whigs rummaged through Tonge's chaotic papers for more
evidence of the Catholic conspiracy. For decades Tonge had collected occultist
prophecies which he applied to imagined Jesuitical intrigues and which he now
resolved to publish. Writing furiously in late 1679, Tonge prepared ”The
Northern Star: The British Monarchy”, dedicated to Charles II and published
early in 1680. Drawing on Abbot Joachim, Paracelsus, Agripa, Reuchlin, Postel,
Nostradarnus, Napier, Sendivogius, and Maxwell, Tonge assured Charles II of his
prophetic role as the northern king who would settle God's Temple in the North
Country. In Chapter IV, entitled "The Confession of the Rosie-Cross," he linked
Charles with the mythic God-Son C.R. who founded the R.C. society.
He further assured him of scientific support, for the secretary of the Royal
Society (Oldenburg) had received similar prophecies in 1668. Ocular proof was
currently provided by the German visionary Martin Eyler, who was in London with
his agate shew-stone in which spiritual figures revealed political prophecies.
According to Ezerel Tonge, the only obstacle to Charles's role as
Rosicrucian savior of international Protestantism was the nefarious plot of the
Jesuits, who had learned from the "Assassins of Phoenecia" how to train adepts
for their campaign. Because Tonge's bizarre linkage of Jesuits and Assassins
would re-emerge in anti-Masonic propaganda in the eighteenth century, it is
worth a brief look at his fevered argument.
In "Jesuits Assassins: or the Popish Plot Further Declared" (1680), he made
oblique Masonic-sounding comments. The sect of Assassins lived in the mountains
near Tyre, where their Master was, not hereditary but elected." (p.4-6) Called
the "Old Man of the Mountain," this prophet was a great builder, who designed
wonderful palaces adorned with pictures.
By intoxicating his disciples with a certain drink (hashish), he gave them a
glimpse of paradise which inspired them to swear obedience to the Master,
loyalty to their brothers, and death to their enemies. Having studied the
Assassins, the Jesuits then adopted their methods in order to destroy
Rather than giving their agents hashish, the Jesuits used charms and
exorcisms, performed in "Chambers of Meditation and other Recesses of Darkness":
they "conjured up gradually to that prodigious fury, as to think that in bloody
assassinations of Kings and Princes, and merciless blowing up of Kingdoms, they
do acceptable service to God, and merit everlasting Life." Through their magical
meditation techniques, the Jesuit agents become angelized and divinized to
prepare for their deadly work.
Quoting the Spanish Jesuit Vaninus, Tonge interpreted his description of a
brother who was sent to London, where he labored forty-nine days "in cutting
stones," as an allusion to the Gun Powder Plot to blow up "the Walls under the
Parliament House." Such false stone-cutters then arranged the murder of Charles
I and the Great Fire of London.
Through his earlier work on church construction and his collaboration with
Moray, Hooke, Harley, and various master masons, Tonge was familiar with
operative masonry. Oates too had observed the masons at work in Tangier.
However, it is unclear whether their paranoid polemics were consciously aimed at
royalist Freemasonry. Nevertheless, the scare engendered by their revelations
placed not only Masons but Rosicrucians and Cabalists in a hazardous position.
That Buckingham, whom the king believed to be the inventor of the Popish Plot,
allegedly served as an "indolent" Grand Master in 1679 gave an ironic twist to
Tonge's revelations." (65) Probably pressured
by an angry Charles II, Buckingham "demitted" from the office. He was replaced
by his rival, the ever loyal Arlington, who however "was too deeply engaged in
affairs of State to mind the Lodges."
Nevertheless, Arlington continued to represent the tolerant traditions of
Stuart Freemasonry, for he was sympathetic to Catholics and Jews, as well as
being a great admirer of Spanish and French architecture--subjects which filled
Tonge with iconoclastic disgust. Evelyn considered Arlington a learned and pious
man, who devoted his architectural skills to God's service. Two years earlier,
Evelyn praised Arlington for rebuilding the church at Euston, making it "for
elegance and cheerfulnes ... one of the prettiest country churches in England,"
and he was moved by Arlington's motives in the project:
My Lord told me his heart smote him that, after he had bestowed so much on
his magnificent palace there, he should see God's House in the ruin it lay in.
He has also re-built the parsonage- house, all of stone, very neat and ample.
Though Anderson claimed that during Arlington's Grand Mastership, "the
Fraternity was considerable still, and many Gentlemen requested to be admitted,"
there is no surviving evidence of developments in "speculative" Freemasonry in
England over the next two decades. Stevenson observes that "English gentlemen
non-operatives were not organised into lodges with set memberships of a Scottish
or modern kind, but met in fluid occasional lodges" connected with building
However, when Charles sent his embattled brother James to Scotland in
November 1679, the duke's intermittent presence over the next thirty months
encouraged a revival of royalist Masonry in the north. In this political context
lay the roots of the later dcvelopment of Jacobite Freemasonry, when Scottish
and Irish Masons loyal to James VII and 11 took their "ancient" traditions into
exile with their banished king.
Ouston argues that the king sent the Duke of York to Scotland to keep him out
of the way of an English Commons inflamed by the Popish Plot and to enable him
to develop an alternative political power base. (68)
During his previous "exile" to the Continent from May to August 1679, James
appreciated the generous support of Kincardine, whom he in turn consoled when
the earl had problems with Lauderdale. (69)
Kincardine now served as an Extraordinary Lord of Session, and he was
instrumental in bringing factions together to welcome James to Edinburgh. From
London Lauderdale helped to organize the loyal reception, and the heir apparent
was greeted warmly by the aristocratic and professional classes. The latter had
become fearful of civil war after the murder of Archbishop Sharp by radical
Presbyterians in May, followed by an armed rising of Coverranters in June.
Despite James's Catholicism, the ruling establishment viewed him as a beneficent
presence, compared to the sadirons opponents of royal government. There was also
popular enthusiasm for the first Stuart prince to establish a royal court in
Edinburgh since 1603.
James cultivated an image of himself as the heir of his grandfather's
Solomonic tradition, for James VI was still a revered figure in Scotland. Though
he encouraged the architectural work of William Bruce, Robert Mylne, and James
Smith (a Catholic-educated designer), Masonic historians have long assumed that
he was the first Stuart king in three reigns who did not become a Freemason.
However, that claim was made by Anderson who, though a native Scot, was a
staunch supporter of the Protestant revolution which overthrew James 11 in 1688.
According to the eighteenth-century Clermont Rite, Sir William Bruce served as
chief of the secret Templar-Masonic order from 1679 until 1686, at the time when
he was closely associated with James. (70)
Moreover, until the death of Kincardine in July 1680, James was the intimate
friend of that loyal and idealistic Mason. As we shall see, James would receive
important Masonic support in Scotland when he succeeded to the throne in 1685.
Moreover, in 1777 his grandson, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," would reveal to an
initiatic of a German Templar lodge that "the secret Grand Mastership of the
Masons was hereditary in the house of Stuart." (71)
James was probably introduced to military masonry during the Interregnum,
when he frequently worked with Scottish and Irish engineers serving with him in
the French army. 172 During his residence in Edinburgh, he took a keen interest
in architectural projects, which were often minutely supervised from Whitehall
by Lauderdale. In fact, Cruickshanks argues that James "led an artistic
renaissance with the rebuilding of Holyrood Palace."
Many private as well as public buildings now included heraldic devices and
deliberate reminders of Scotland's historic independence and links with a Wider
European scientific and artistic world. (73)
Determined to extend Charles's intellectual and virtuoso culture to Scotland,
James made Edinburgh an extension of the Stuart court. During his cultural
campaign, he received strong support from Sir George Mackenzie, Lord Advocate,
who was an old friend of Lauderdale and Moray and who shared the latter's
devotion to bonded friendship, stoic philosophy, and scientific heraldry.
Like Moray, Mackenzie hoped that the New Philosophy could overcome religious
fanaticism, and he published "Religio Stoici: the Virtuoso or Stoick with a
Friendy, Address to the Fanatics of all Sects and Sorts." (1663).
Sharing James's interest in chivalric revival, Mackenzie now prepared a
treatise on "The Science of Heraldry" (1680), which paid tribute to the "auld
alliance" with France and defined many themes that would later emerge in the
knightly degrees of Ecossais Freemasonry. Dedicating the work "to my
country-men," Mackenzie lamented that .."We only of all nations have never
published anything, to let the world know what marks of honour our predecessors
had gained." (75)
He became fascinated by heraldry while studying in France, and he
subsequently explored a vast literature on the subject. Drawing on Aldrovandus
and Favyn, he cited a Biblical "Jacobite" origin for heraldry: "some think that
the giving of arms arose from the example of Jacob blessing his children, in
which he gave them marks of distinction." He then traced the contributions made
by Godfrey of Bouillon and other crusaders at Jerusalem, as well as the French
king who made the Scottish archers his personal bodyguard ("an honour they
retain to this day"). Now encouraged by James, Mackenzie's friends revived the
Royal Company of Archers, which had traditional links with the Garde Ecossais
and which stressed fraternal loyalty, militaristic royalism, and patriotic
Provoked by Ashmole's claims for the Garter, Mackenzie argued the priority of
the Order of the Thistle, which was created in 787 A.D. to honor the alliance
between the French king Charlemagne and the Scottish king Achalus, who defeated
the English king Athelstan. Robert the Bruce subsequently revived the Thistle
and contributed new arms for the citizens of Aberdeen to honor their Victory
over the English. After the Reformation the order was suppressed as "a Dreg of
Popery," but many Scottish nobles kept its symbols alive in their heraldic arms,
architectural decorations, and emblematic coins. (76)
Despite Mackenzie's nationalist fervor, he was careful to praise the current
union of Scotland and England under their Stuart king. Determined to build a
secure power base in Scotland, James was impressed by Mackenzie's claims, and he
would later revive the Thistle as a royalist chivalric order.
In January 1679 Mackenzic was admitted freeman of a craftsman's corporation
(which Gould reports in a Masonic context), and he had many Masonic associates.
(77) His arguments about heraldry, the
Thistle, and the Garter would later influence the development of chivalric high
degrees in Scots-Irish and Ecossais Masonry.
Another strong supporter of James's virtuoso campaign was Sir Robert Sibbald,
royal geographer, who had earlier been a protege of Moray. Like Gilbert Burnet
earlier, Sibbald had visited the Jews' synagogue in Amsterdam and Catholic
chapels in Paris, experiences that "disposed me to affect charity for all good
men of any persuasion." (78)
Sibbald collected rare works on Cabalism, Lullism, Hermeticism, and
Rosicrucianism, and his library became a valuable resource for students of
"speculative Freemasonry." (79)
For the Catholic James, the support of the Episcopal Sibbald for toleration
was invaluable during his stay in Scotland. In fact, the two men virtually
revived Moray's earlier successful policy of religious and political moderation.
James introduced his English physician Sir Charles Scarborough to Sibbald,
and the three men developed a plan to construct a Royal College of Physicians in
Edinburgh in 1681.
Scarborough had been the protege and successor of' Dr. William Harvey, the
old friend of Robert Fludd, and he participated in their Hermetic and Cabalistic
studies. While in Scotland, he solicited the support of James Drummond, Fourth
Earl of Perth for the medical college, and the earl would later play a leading
role in Jacobite Freemasonry.
Like Sibbald, Scarborough amassed a great occultist library, which included
works by Rabbi Abraham, Trithemius, Postel, Dee, Bruno, Scaliger, Fludd, Kircher,
John Falconer, a Scottish expert in cryptography, who was entrusted with
James’s private cipher. Falconer argued that cryptography derived from Hebrew
roots. Analyzing the methods of Trithemius, Baptista Porta, Bacon, Wilkins, and
Kircher, he made important breakthroughs in code-making, which would later be
used in Jacobite and French military intelligence. Like Robert Hooke, who argued
that John Dee's angelic conversations contained an ingenious diplomatic code,
Falconer argued that Trithermus's mystical expressions were "all cryptography."
Because Falconer knew many of the royalist Masons in Scotland, his
instructions on "Saemaelogia" and "Dactylogy" (secret communication by signs,
gestures, and fingers), as well as "Arthrologia" (discovering by "the joynts or
remarkable parts of a Man's Body") may have influenced the complex and often
indecipherable codes and body-language used by later Jacobite Masons.
John Falconer. Rules for Explaining and Deciphering All Manner of Secret
Writing” London: Dan Brown, 1692), 6, 101-12-160 73. Falconer later deciphered
the Duke of' Argyll's correspondence, which led to the exposure of his plot
against James’s succession.
In 1679 when Alexander Dickson, professor of Hebrew at Edinburgh University,
was removed for refusing to sign the oath of allegiance, James approved the
appointment of Alexander Amedeus, a Florentine Jew, to the post.
The royal brother's actions did not go unnoticed south of the border, where
radical opponents linked toleration for Jews to Rosicrucian intrigue and
Francophilia. In 1680 an English translation of ne Count of Cabalis appeared in
London, claiming to be published by "the Cabalistical Society of the Sages, at
the Sign of the Rosicrucian." The author worried that many of his friends "do
seriously study" these "Mysteries of Cabalism," and therefore he must refute
them "by the strength of solid arguments." (81)
The latter consisted of railing against the Frenchified nature of the
eroticized spirituality of "the Cabalistic sciences." The Cabalist, both Jewish
and Christian, is "a great hater of women; yet much addicted to Venery, in a
philosophical way"; thus, "only a Frenchman would give credit to Cabalistic
In the northern kingdom, James may have learned of Quaker interest in the
Cabalistic system of Van Helmont, who was widely believed to be a 'Judaized"
Rosicrucian. The duke was a close friend of William Penn, the Quaker leader and
a supporter of the Stuarts' toleration policy. Van Helmont had won over Penn's
Scottish friend George Keith to his Cabalistic beliefs, and Keith in turn
recruited Helmont to Quakerism. Keith was convinced of similarities between the
Quaker doctrine of inner light and the Christian-Cabalistic notion of the
"Christ within." (82)
He and Helmont further believed that a synthesis of Cabala and Christianity
could provide a "a nucleus for Thomas Bruce, Memoirs of Thomas, Farl, of Aiksbug.
A religious movement uniting Catholics, Protestants, Pagans, and Jews.
Encouraged by James's sympathy for Quakers, Penn's movement attracted many new
followers in Scotland. Given this eclectic and tolerant environment, it is not
surprising that lodge records in Aberdeen, written circa 1679-80, indicate the
presence of Quakers, as well as "landowners, merchants and craftsmen," among the
One royalist Mason who supported the Quakers was the Earl of Perth, who was
Penn's partner in the settlement of East New Jersey in 1681.
In the portraits of two members of the Aberdeen lodge there appear in the
background the pillars of Jachim and Boaz, suggesting their Masonic initiation
into Solomon's Temple. (85)
James's revival of his grandfather's Solomonic policies was effective and
popular in Scotland, and his support of religious toleration was widely believed
to be sincere. When he returned to London in March 1682, he left behind in
Edinburgh a reservoir of good will and patriotic support, especially among the
royalist Masons who would later defend his threatened throne.
In 1680 Christopher Wren was persuaded to accept the presidency of the Royal
Society in what was an urgently needed salvage operation. At the same time, he
continued his role as Surveyor of the King's Works, while he and Hooke carried
on the massive task of rebuilding more than fifty churches in London. However,
the Whigs' campaign to exclude James from the succession polarized England,
while increasingly radical attacks were made on the royalist institutions which
supported Stuart claims. Wren was dismayed when parliament withdrew its support
and cut off the funds for many of his projects. (86)
Fighting back against the Exclusionists, the poet laureate Dryden published
Absalom and Achitophel (1681) to counter critics who threatened to destroy
hereditary monarchy. Portraying Buckingham as "Zimri," Dryden mocked the
inconstancy and opportunism of the duke and his Whig opposition party. Zimri's
enthusiasms shifted from
Despite James's political and architectural success in Scotland, Charles II
found his policies under increasing attack by his religious opponents in
England. The radicals' iconoclastic fury soon ramified to Tangier, where the
fate of the greatest engineering project of the century was now in the hands of
the parliamentary Whigs. What alarmed them most were reports of the successful
progress of the fortification and military enterprises. In 1669 the king had
sent the First Earl of Middleton, Moray's former colleague, to govern Tangier,
where he drew on his experience as liaison with the Dutch Jews to continue the
policy of toleration. (87) Because the stone
for constructing the Mole and fortifications had to be quarried from outside the
existing lines, it was crucial that he maintain good relations with the Jewish
and Moslem inhabitants. Given his Scottish background and duties in Tangier, it
seems likely that Middleton was a Mason; his grandson, the Third Earl, would
later participate in the Jacobite lodge in Paris. (88)
Despite the heavy drinking that earlier led to his dismissal from Scottish
office, Middleton was an effective governor until his death in 1674.
His successor, the Irish governor Inchiquin, continued to rely on Simon
Pariente, their trusted Jewish interpreter, and positive reports on Hebrew
beliefs and customs were sent to London. Lancelot Addison, who spent several
years in Tangier, drew on his conversations with local Jews to write The Present
State of the Jews, Particularly Relating to Rose in Barbag (1675), a respectful
and straightforward account. Addison dedicated the work to Joseph Williamson,
secretary of state, who recommended it to his friend Hooke, who subsequently
read and discussed it. In 1675, during a food shortage, Inchiquin utilized
crypto-Sabbatians willing to break Jewish ritual law to import salted pork for
the British garrison. (90)
Their heretical actions provoked the Beth Din of Tetuan to excommunicate the
European Jews of Tangier, but Inchiquin insisted that the herein be lifted. When
Morrocan authorities expelled all Jews as "suspected nationals" in 1677, he
helped win their readmission as valuable traders in 1680.
During the 1670's, increasing numbers of masons and soldiers were shipped out
from Scotland and Ireland, and they soon won popular fame for their courageous
stands against Moorish attacks. However, in 1679 when the Whigs tried to force
Charles II to accept the "Exclusion Bill," they linked his willingness to deny
the succession to his Catholic brother with their willingness to provide funds
for Tangier. Lurid charges of Papist conspiracy among the colony's governors,
troops, and masons were flung during parliamentary debates.
But Charles would not sacrifice his brother to save Tangier; instead, lie
prorogued Parliament in March 1681 and governed without it until the end of his
Despite Parliament's hostility, there was support for the colony ill the
Royal Society, which had long followed the masonic work. Henry Sheeres, FRS, was
chief engineer of construction, and he sent optimistic reports to the Fellows.
In 1682 the Moroccan ambassador Hamet travelled to London to urge the king to
preserve the colony, and he was welcomed by Evelyn, Ashmole, and interested
virtuosos to the society, where he was elected a Fellow.
Pressure also came from the Knights of Malta, who counted on the colonists'
assistance in their struggle to liberate Christian slaves from their Moorish
captors. In June 1683 the Grand Master of Malta arrived in London, where he
pleaded the colony's cause and was entertained with Evelyn and Dryden.
Though Charles had proclaimed that Tangier was "the brightest jewel of his
Crown," he succumbed to Parliament in 1683 and announced his decision to level
the fortifications, destroy the Mole, ruin the harbour, and recall the garrison
and colonists to England. It was a sad day in masonic history when the
commission met in Tangier to plan the destruction of' the great Mole which, as
Riley notes, was an engineering feat "comparable with the construction of the
Channel tunnel today. (93) The Swedish
architects Tessin and Beckman, as well as Sheeres, reluctantly agreed to undo
their labor of two decades. (94) It would
take two thousand men working round the-clock for three months to finally
destroy the massive stone-works. When the evacuated "Tangerines" arrived in
England in April 1684, they were welcomed by the royalists as returning heroes.
The question of' placing the returning troops greatly agitated Parliament,
who feared that they formed a ready army to defend the Stuart cause. A Royal
Warrant suggested the stationing of Lord Dumbarton's Scots regiment-which
included veterans of the Garde Ecossaise at the strategic port of Portsmouth.
Perhaps with an eye to that Franco-Scottish tradition, the king proposed to make
the Scotch-Irish Grenadiers his personal bodygard. The Whigs protested these
measures, and the troops were eventually dispersed throughout the country, where
they were considered "eyesores." Colonel John Fitzgerald, who earlier served as
Lieutenant Governor of Tangier, had labored to abolish "that national
distinction between English, Irish, and Scotch" and to maintain the "remarkable"
policy of toleration. (95)
Blocked from promotion by anti-Irish M.P.s, Fitzgerald was falsely accused of
complicity in the Popish Plot. He and his Tangerine regiment would loyally serve
the Stuarts through revolution and exile.
For many royalists, the destruction of Tangier was a betrayal of the great
architectural and masonic traditions of the Stuart dynasty. An anti-Whig ballad,
"Tangiers Lamentation on the Demolishing and Blowing up of the Town, Castle, and
Citadel," lambasted the politicians whose political factionalism, xenophobic
provincialism, and technological ignorance led to the destruction of
architectural work worthy of Solomon, Hiram, and the ancient Jewish masons.
The seeds of future Masonic rivalries were planted on 6 February 1685 when
Charles II, a "Mason King," died after a four-day illness. On his deathbed, he
secretly converted to Catholicism and received the last rites of the Roman
As far as the public knew, Charles had died as a tolerant Anglican, who hoped
that Englishmen would now accept his brother, a tolerant Catholic, as King James
II. However, the radical exclusionists now stepped up their campaign against the
legitimacy of his brother's succession. In order to remind Britons of the
earlier storms of civil war which disrupted the natural order and to bolster the
claims of James, Thomas Otway composed "Windsor Castle" in March 1685.
In his poetic "monument" to the late king, Otway strolled through Windsor
Castle, seeing in its massive stone architecture a revelation of the mind and
heritage of Charles II. (97) He further
praised the "wonders of Fraternal love," as exemplified by James's behavior at
Charles's deathbed. That scene reminded him of the chivalric ideals of the
Knights of' the Garter, so brilliantly expressed in the intricate stone carvings
of the Gothic chapel at Windsor. As James II's cause came under fire from "The
meeting of a numerous Senate," who provoked "bold Tumults and Disorders"
throughout England, Otway's poem provided potent royalist propaganda.
With Britain headed into another revolution and possible civil war, the
question of what "toleration" really meant took on urgent significance. Did it
consist of liberty of conscience and universal brotherhood or protection of
Protestantism and suppression of Catholicism? The contradictory answers would
shatter the Stuarts' attempt to build a Temple of Concord. While one man's
tolerance was defined as another's tyranny, the struggle would ramify into the
emerging "modernist" development of Freemasonry.
The European Diaspora of Scottish-Esoteric Masonry
The fate of Stuart Freemasonry during the early Williamite regime is
difficult to piece together, because of destruction of documents and increasing
secrecy maintained by Jacobite resisters and exiles. Anderson noted that "many
of the Fraternity's records" from Charles II's reign were lost during James II's
reign and "at the Revolution." (98)
William Bruce continued to secretly work for James's cause, and he was
indirectly instrumental in the Jacobite outreach to Sweden-where many Scots fled
after William's victories. Despite government surveillance, Bruce and his
Jacobite-Masonic allies sought contacts with sympathizers in northern England,
such as the steel-manufacturer Ambrose Crowley, who maintained important trade
with Sweden and Scotland. Around 1688 -90 Crowley established a masonic lodge at
Sunderland, close to Newcastle, which served the operative masons involved in
constructing the large stone buildings for the steel works.
The lodge probably also served as a means of bonding his religiously and
ethnically diverse workforce. As a Quaker, Crowley was grateful to James II for
his policy of' religious toleration and for the royal protection given to the
steel-maker's foreign workmen, who included Catholics and Lutherans.
Several Quakers had joined lodges in Scotland during James's residence in the
north and, following their leader William Penn, they retained their sympathy for
the Jacobite cause. Like Crowley's employees, they agreed with James that
"liberty of conscience" would benefit industry and trade.
Crowley provides an early preview of Jacobite-Masonic links between
Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Gothenburg that would endure for the next seven
decades. By 1691 Sir James Montgomerie, radical Covenanter turned Jacobite
plotter, gained Swedish support for James II's cause, and two years later the
Swedish ambassador in London would hide Jacobite agents."
The Swedish king Carl XI allowed a Scottish-affiliated lodge to continue
meeting in Gothenburg. His son Carl XII would become a staunch supporter of
James II's son, the "Old Pretender," and allegedly a protector of Ecossais
Freemasonry in Sweden. (102)
The Tessin family would provide important support for Jacobite exiles and
Masons in Sweden and on the Continent. By 1788 the Swedish king Gustaf III would
inherit the Grand Mastership of the Masonic Knights Templar directly from James
II's grandson, the "Young Pretender," Charles Edward Stuart.
In the meantime in England, William III was preoccupied with European war
plans and paid little attention to architecture in his new kingdom. After a
hiatus in 1689, Wren managed to resume his position as Surveyor of Works, and he
attempted to complete his rebuilding projects. However, as Summerson notes,
during the next decade--"this vacant interval"---few churches were built in
French and Continental historians argue that Wren maintained his private
Jacobite sympathies, while he worked discretely and cautiously under the new
regime." (105) Jeffery suggests that the
lack of written documents about Wren's work during these years was deliberate:
... his tracks are usually well-hidden. His early brushes with authority
had taught him to be wary of committing himself to paper and of exposing his
ideas to public criticism and debate ... he may just have carried on,
unwilling to record decisions on paper." (106)
Wren still maintained contact with Freemasons in Scotland, and the Hamiltons
often consulted him and Bruce about the progress of their grandiose palace.
After the Williamite repressions of December 1691, the exiled Scots were
joined by thousands of Irish refugees, who fled to France, Italy, and Spain.
These "Wild Geese" included nobles and soldiers who carried their "Masonic
traditions into the armies of friendly Catholic sovereigns, who still maintained
chivalric orders of military and religious knights."
The Irish Masonic historian Lepper observes that the army "was a great
disseminator of the true light," for "our militant forefathers" found that "the
secrets of a mason were very useful pieces of equipment to carry with them to a
He further argues that "masonic degrees were in full vogue long prior to the
creation of the [modern English] Grand Lodge in 1717" and that "the lodges of
St. John maintained their association with the operative lodges." He implies
that the Jacobite lodges developed degrees beyond the basic operative ones.
The many French, German, Italian, Swedish, and Russian publications, issued
from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries, which reveal oral traditions
about the export of Jacobite Masonry to the Continent will be discussed in my
projected books on eighteenth century, high-degree Freemasonry. However, it is
worth mentioning now the version of that history learned by a Scottish Mason,
Professor John Robison, in the 1770's, when he participated in lodges
established by Jacobite exiles and their supporters in France, Belgium, Germany,
and Russia. Robison lamented "the heap of rubbish with which Anderson disgraced
his Constitutions of Free Masony," which had unfortunately become "the basis of
Recounting the different historical instruction he received in Ecossais
lodges, John Robison asserted:
"We also know that Charles II was made a Mason, and frequented the Lodges
... His brother and successor James II was of a more serious and manly cast of
mind, and had little pleasure in the frivolous ceremonies of Masonry. He did
not frequent the Lodges.”
Rather than repeating Anderson's claim that James was not a "Brother Mason,"
Robison implied that he did not attend often or enjoy lodge meetings. Moreover,
Robison added that the lodges had become the rendezvous of "accepted" Masons who
had no association with actual building projects--which suggests that James "did
not frequent" English lodges. In Scotland and Ireland, the lodges continued to
be closely associated with practical architecture. After the Williamite
revolution, James and "his most zealous adherents" took refuge in France:
“They took Free Masonry with them to the continent, where it was
immediately received by the French, and was cultivated with great zeal in a
manner suited to the taste and habits of that highly cultivated people. The
Lodges in France naturally became the rendezvous of the adherents to their
banished King, and the means of a carrying on a correspondence with their
friends in England." (p.27)
From France the exiles scattered across Europe and established clandestine
Masonic networks. Robison notes that "All the Brethren on the Continent agree in
saying, that Freemasonry was imported from Great Britain about the beginning of
this century [ca. 1690-1700] and this in the form of a mystical society."
Robison then described a special chivalric degree created by the Jacobitcs:
It was in the Lodges held at St. Germain's that the degree of Chevalier
Alafon Ecossais was added to the three SYMBOLICAL degrees of English Masonry . .
. this rank of Scotch Knight was called the first degree of the Maton Parfait.
There is a device belonging to this Lodge which deserves notice. A lion, wounded
by an arrow, and escaped from the stake to which he had been bound, with the
broken rope still about his neck, is represented lying at the mouth of a cave,
and occupied with mathematical instruments which are lying near him. A broken
crown lies at the foot of the stake. There can be little doubt but that this
emblem alludes to the dethronement, the captivity, the escape and asylum of
James II and his hopes of re-establishment by the help of the loyal Brethren.
This emblem is worn as the gorget of the Scotch Knight. It is not very certain,
however, when this degree was added, whether immediately after King James's
Abdication, or about the time of the attempt to set his son on the British
Throne. But it is certain, that in 1716, this and still higher degrees of
Masonry were much in vogue in the court of France." (p.28)
These claims of chivalric developments within Jacobite Masonry continue to
provoke arguments among historians, because of the dearth of contemporary
documentation until the 1720's. However, an oblique reinforcement comes from
Swift, who drew upon his experiences in Dublin in 1688 and Ulster in 1695 to
later describe the chivalric (as well as Cabalistic, Lullist, and Rosicrucian)
associations of Scots-Irish Freemasonry. Swift's comical summary of "Celtic"
traditions in "a Lodge of Free-Masons at 0 ---- h in U ---- r" (Omagh in Ulster)
throws a retrospective light on developments in the fraternity in the 1690's.
In 1689 Swift fled the political turmoil in Dublin and moved to England,
where he became amanuensis to the retired diplomat Sir William Temple at Moor
Park. Temple shared Swift's sceptical curiosity about Rosicrucianism, which he
had encountered in its radical form in Ireland during the 1650's.
He also dealt with operative masons there, who drew on Scots-Irish
traditions. After the Restoration, Temple was employed on delicate secret
missions by Charles II and Lord Arlington, both Masons, and he was kept abreast
of Scottish affairs while serving at The Hague. In 1668 Arlington sent Temple a
paper written by Moray and praised the Scot's expertise in chemistry.
Two years later Temple met Moray, who sought his assistance for the export to
Holland of Kincardine's building stone, an enterprise which involved William
Bruce and William Davidson. (113)
Thus, when Temple discussed with Swift the secret diplomacy of Charles II, he
may have revealed the role of Freemasonry in Stuart politics.
In "Prose" vol. V, p. 328-29 we see J. Swift writing:
"The Branch of the Lodge of Solomon's Temple, afterwards call'd the Lodge
of St John of Jerusalem ... is ... the Antientest and Purest now on Earth. The
famous old Scottish Lodge of Kilwinning of which all the Kings of Scotland
have been from Time to Time Grand Masters without Interruption down from the
days of Fergus, who Reign'd there more than 2000 Years ago, long before the
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem or the Knights of Maltha, to which two Lodges
I must nevertheless allow the Honour of having adorn'd the Anticin Jewish and
Pagan Masonry with many Religious and Christian Rules.
Fergus being eldest Son to the chief King of Ireland, was carefully
instructed in all the Arts and Sciences, especially the natural Magick, and the
Caballistical Philosophy (afterwards called the Rosecrution) by the pagan Druids
of i'vlona, the only true Cabalists then Extant in the Western World ...
Fergus before his Descent upon the Picts in Scotland rais'd that famous
Structure, call'd to this Day Carrick-Fergus, the most misterious Piece of
Architecture now on Earth, (not excepting the Pyramids of the Egyptian Masons,
and their Hieroglyphicks or Free Masons signs) ... he built it as a Lodge for a
College of Free Masons in those days call'd Druids."
An exiled Scot and convert to "universalist" Catholicism, Ramsay wrote Swift
to thank him for supporting The Travels of Cyrus (17 2 7), Ramsay's allegorical
novel, which was suffused with Jacobite and Masonic themes.
A decade later, Ramsay revealed to the Ecossais lodge in Paris a Jacobite
version of Masonic history that echoed and colaborated many of Swift's
revelations in A Letter from the Crand Mistress.
Swift stressed the Jewish roots of Masonry, noting that it was originally
called Cabala, and he revealed the initiates' preoccupation with Cabalistic
gematria and notarikon. (115)
For their Masonic relationship, see M.K. Schuchard, "Ramsay, Swift, and the
Jacobite-Masonic Version of the Stuart Restoration," in Esoterisme, Gnosis et
Imaginaire Symbolique (2001), 491-50.
Ramsay similarly stressed the Jewish origins and Cabalistic descent, noting
that "The secret Science can be preserved pure only amongst God's people," the
Jews, because the Masons' traditions... are founded on the annals of the most
ancient race in the, world, the only one, still in existence with the same name
as of old and not intermingled with other nations although so widely dispersed
and also the only one that has preserved its ancient books, whereas those of
almost all other races are lost." (116)
While Swift referred to the preservation of Jewish secrets in lodges of "the
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem or the Knights of Maltha," Ramsay described the
concealment of Solomon's hieroglyphic writing ("the original Code of our Order")
in the foundations of the Second Temple and its subsequent discovery by the
crusading knights who liberated Jerusalem.
According to Swift and Ramsay, when the crusaders returned to Europe, they
infused the Solomonic secrets of Cabalism and Temple building into their lodges.
More explicitly than Swift, Ramsay named "James, Lord Steward of Scotland" as
"Grand Master of a Lodge established at Kilwinning" in 1286, when he also
initiated the English Earl of Gloucester and the Irish Earl of Ulster. Obliquely
identifying early Masonry with the Templars, Ramsay noted that "an intimate
union" was formed with the Knights of St. John of jerusalerd (the Hospitallers').
Unlike Swift, he did not mention the Knights of Malta, who subsequently absorbed
Templar and Hospitaller traditions and who underwent a short-lived revival in
Ireland during James II's residence there in 1690. Since the merging of the
chivalric orders into Masonry, the brothers continued to imitate their Jewish
forefathers: "The union was made after the manner of the Israelites when they
built the Second Temple, whilst some handled the trowel and the compasses,
others defended them with sword and buckler."
Though little documentation survives concerning Freemasonry at the turn of
the seventeenth century, the seeds were already planted for the almost startling
growth of the fraternity in the eighteenth century. After the accession of the
Elector of Hanover to the British throne in 1714, the suppression of the
Jacobite rebellion of 1715, and the exposure of the Jacobite- Swedish plot of
1716, a rival system of "modern" Hanoverian Freemasonry was established in 1717,
and it struggled in bitter competition with the "ancient" Stuart system until
Outside of Britain, the "ancients" recruited many more followers and became
associated with nationalist movements in Eastern Europe and North and South
America. For these liberationists, the Scottish traditions of resistance to
foreign domination and mystical elevation of ordinary men to brotherhood with
kings seemed fraught with contemporary relevance.
Throughout the eighteenth century, the "ancient" Stuart traditions were
maintained in clandestine Jacobite lodges in Britain and in the lodges of the
Stuart diaspora. The Jewish associations were carried on by Francis Francia (the
'Jacobite Jew"), Dr. Samuel Jacob Falk (the "Baal Shem of London"), Martines de
Pasqually (the "Elu Cohen"); the Swedish-Stuart loyalties were preserved by Carl
XIL Carl Gustaf Tessin, Carl Gyllenborg, Emanuel Swedenborg, and Gustaf III.
1 David Stevenson, The Origins of
Freemasong: Scotland's Century (1590 -1710) Cambridge,
1988), and The First Freemasons: Scotland's Early Lodges and
Their Members Aberdeen, 1988).
2 Lisa Kahler, "Freemasonry in
Edinburgh, 1721-1746: Institutions and Context" Ph.D.
Thesis, St. Andrews University, 1998).
3 Stevenson draws on Frances
Yates's Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition London,
1964), and The Art of Alemog (London, 1966).
4 Salo Baron, A Social and
Religious History of the Yews, 2nd rev. ed. (1937; New York,
1966); Erwin Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman
Period (New York, 1953'~,; George Sarton, A Histog of
Science (Cambridge, 1959); Mark Wischnitzer, A Histog oJ
Jewish Crafts and Guilds (New York, 1965)
5 Elliot Wolfson, Through a
Speculum that Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval
Jewish Mysticism (Princeton, 1994).
6 Arthur Williamson, "A Pil for
Pork-Eaters': Ethnic Identity, Apocalyptic Premises, and the
Strange Creation of the Judeo-Scots," in The Expulsion of
the Jews: 1492 and After, ed. R.B. Waddington and A.H.
Williamson (New York, 1994), 237 58.
7 D. Stevenson, First Freemasons,
8 For clear summaries of the
revisionists' works, see Maurice Lce, Great Britain's
Solomon: James III and I in His Three Kingdoms (Urbana,
1990); Roger Lockyer, James VI and I (1998); Julian Goodare
and -Michael Lynch, eds., The Reign of James VI (Phantassie,
2000) ; Eveline Cruickshanks, The Glorious Revolution (New
9 For the architectural-masque
culture, see especially Vaughan Hart, Art and Magic in
the Court of the Stuarts (London, 1994). For
illustrations of its revival in eighteenth-century Swedish Ecossais lodges, see Cold and Himmelblau. Die Zeitloses
Ideal (Abo, 1993). An attempted revival of this Culture
occurred in Britain in the clandestine Jacobite "Rite of
Heredom of Kilwinning" (1741 -1800)
10 C. Lance Brockman, ed.,
Theatre of the Fraternity: Staging the Ritual Space of the
Scottish Rite of Freemasons, 1896-1929 (Minneapolis,
11 Hartlib Papers: 28/2/81A.
Ephermerides: part IV.
12 C. Josten, Ashmole, 11,
13 Kincardine MS.5050.f.28 (18
April 1658). Amhmole spent much time at Windsor, while he
worked on his history of the Order of' the Garter, and
Lauderdale spent man), years in prison there. The two men
14 Kincardine MS.5050.ff.44; see
also Goran Behre, "Gothenburg in Stuart War Strategy,
1649-1760," in G. Simpson, Scotland and Scandinavia,
15 L. Nicholas, Nicholas Papers,
16 D. Crips, Elizabeth.
17 Lauderdale, Bibliolheca 168T.
G. Burnet, History, 1, 184.
18 G. Burnet, History 1,
19 F Routtedge, Calendar ...
Clarendon, 111, 35, 259, 279.
20 Clarendon, Henry Hyde, Earl
of, The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England,
ed. W.D. Macray (Oxford: Clarendon, 1888), V, 170-71, 316,
21 G. Burnet, History, 1,
22 J. Clark, "Lord Burlington,"
23 T Thurloe, Collection, IV, 50,
24 F. Routledge, Calendar ...
Clarendon, 111, 283. General Alexander Hamilton, the
Newcastle initiate, died in December 1649.
25 R. Xlylne, Master Masons,
128-29. Spelling modernized.
26 J. Thurloc, Collection, VII,
27 Ted Jamieson, General Monck
and the Revolution (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University
Press, 1975 , 11-12.
28 Hubert Fenwick,
Architect Royal: The Life and Works of Sir William Bruce,
100 1710 (Kineton: Roundwood. 1970), xiii, xvi,
29 J, Anderson, Constitutions
30 G. Burnet, Hisloil', 1,
31 W. Zimmerman,Von den alten
zur Neuen Freimaurerei.
32 C.H. Josten, Elias Ashmole, p.11 (1966)
33 British Library: Evelyn MS.65.
34 Wren's comment in August 1716; see Thomas Hearne, Reliquiae Heamianae, 2nd ed., ed. Philip Bliss (London, 1869), 11, 39.
35 Manuscript presently in Royal Society, London: TNIS.
Register Book (C), IX, F.240 52. It was copied into the Register Book circa
36 W. Sanniel, "Reviex% of'... Barbados." 25-27, -14.
37 N. Roth. "Social and Intellectual Currents," 182-83.
38 L. Wolf', 'Jewry," 157.
39 D. Katz, "Abendana Brothers," 37-38.
40 G. Black, "Beginnings," 473.
41 A. Levy, "The Origins of Scottish Jewry. TJHSE, 20
42 D. Katz Jews in History, 143.
43 A. Sharie, "Leon," 158.
44 T. Birch. History, 11, 9.
45 Jacobi Jehuda Leonis de Templo Hierosolymitano(
Helmstadt: Jacob Mullerus,1665), Libri IV, (d.2)
46 Reproduced by John Thorpe in "Old Masonic Manuscript. A
Fragment," Lodge of Research, N. 2429 Leicester Transactions for the Year
47 Wallace McLeod, "Additions to the List of' Old
Charges," AQC. 96 1983. M 99.
48 D. Stevenson, Origins, 163.
49 S. Akerman, Christina, 188-91.
50 H. Oldenburg, Correspondence, 11, 481, 637-111, 447.
51 Reprinted in R.B. [Nathaniel Cronch], Memorable Remark)
Upon the Ancient and Modern State of the Jewish Nation (Bolton: B. Jackson,
1786), 48, 125-63
52 Zvi Loker, “Juan de Yllan, Merchant Adventurer and
Colonial Promoter. Studia Rosenthaliana. 17 (1983), 23.
53 H. Oldenburg, Correspondence, 111, xxvi-vii, 447,
54 J. Evelyn. Diary, 11, 278; 111, 491.
55 Charles Webster, From Paracelsus to Newton (Cambridge
56 S. Franco. Truth, 58.
57 John Evelyn Imposters (1669) p.131 (ClarkMemorial
58 John Evelyn. The History of the 'Three Late Famouss
Impostors (1669), Augustan Reprint Society, 131. (Los Angeles: Clark Memorial
59 A. Coudert, Impact, 155-56, 180- 8 1.
60 Philosophical Transactions, 11, no. 31, pp. 602-04.
61 Dudley Abrahams, “Jew Brokers of the City of London," MJHSE, III (1937) 87-88.
62 R. Loeber, Bioq Dict., 25-27.
63 Roger Boyle, 'The Dramatic Works o Roger Boyle, Earl Orreg, ed. W.S. Clark Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1937'1, 1. W 11, 601-13.
64 Correspondence of John Locke, ed. E.S. dc Beer (Oxford:
Clarendon, 1976), 11, 30: 11, 399-404.
65 J. Anderson, Constitutions (1738), 105.
66 J. Evelyn, Diag, IV. 114.
67 D. Stevcnson, Orpns, 226 230.
68 H. Ouston, "York in Edinburgh," 133.
69 Paul Monod, Jacobitism and the English People, 1688
1788 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989). 303.
70 F.M.G. Higham, King James the Second. (London: Hamish
Hamilton, 1934), 44.
71 E. Cruickshanks, Glorious Revolution, 47.
72 M. Glendinning, Histog, 71-84.
73 Kincardine NIS-5050 f. 95; Stevenson, Origins.
74 Sir George Mackenzie, The Science of Heraldry
(Edinburgh: printed by the heir of' Andrew Anderson, 1680), preface, 2.
75 Alexander Nisbet, A System of Heraldry, Speculative and
Practical (Edinburgh: J. Mackuen, 1722),. 114; he utilized Mackenzie's
manuscript collections on heraldry.
76 R. Gould, History, If, 60.
77 Robert Sibbald, 'The Rernains of Sir Robert Sibbald,
Knight, ALD. (Edinburg 1833), 15 17, 30.
78 See Catalogus Bibliothecae Sibbaldiane ( Edinburgh,
1707), and Bibliotheca Sibbaldiana (Edinburgh, 1722).
79 W.S. Craig, History of the Royal College of Physicians,
80 A. Levy, "Origins," 134-35. Amedeus may have converted
to Christianity by this time.
81 The Count of Gabalis: trans. P. Ayres (London, 1680),
82 Allison Coudert, "A Quaker-Kabbalist Controversy:
George Fox's Reaction to Francis Mercury van Helmont," JWCI, 39 (1976), 170-89.
83 D. Stevenson, First Freermasons, 136 39, 142.
84 James Drummond, Fourth Earl and First Duke of Perth," DVB. For his Masonic affiliation, see John Yarker, "Drummond-Earls of Perth,"
AQC, 14 1901" 138.
85 Stevenson, Origins, 147.
86 B. Little, Wren, 109.
87 George Hilton Jones, Charles Aliddleton: 'The Iife and
Times of a Restoration Politician. (Chicago UP, 1967), 10 -17.
88 Edward Corp, Lord Burlington “The Man and His Politics
"Lewiston: Edwin Nellen, 1998, 20.
89 The Diary of Samuel Pepys: 1662 by Samuel Pepys, Robert
Latham, William Matthews.
90 T. Benady, "Role of Jews," 47.
91 J.C. Riley. "Catholicism and the Late Stuart Army: the
Tangier Episode." Royal Stuart Papers XIIII Huntingdon: Royal Stuart Society
(1993), 1 28.
92 J. Evelyn Diarry III, 75, 77, 84.
93 J. Riley, "Catholicism," 67.
94 Ensign Bernard Tessin, member of The Tangier Regiment
in 1683, was probably Hans Ewald's son. Martin Beckman evidently, became a
Freemason in Scotland: see Howard Tomlinson, "The Ordnance Office and the King's
Forts (1610) 1711- 1716 (1973), 17.
95 J. Riley, "Catholicism," 11 12.
96 For a critical examination of the false accounts given
of' Charles's conversion, see R. Hutton, Charles 11, 443 45.
97 T. Otway, Works, 11, 457-65.
98 J. Anderson, Constilutiom (1738). 105-06.
99 Leo Gooch, The Desperate Faction? The Jacobites of
North-East England (Hull UP, 1995), 202n.14; also 39, 111.
100 M.W. Flinn, Alen ()f Iron: 'The Crowlg,s in the Eadv
Iron Indusiq (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1962), 16, 39-40.
101 P.A. Hopkins, "Sir Jarnes Montgomeric of Skelmorlie,"
in E. Corp, Stuart Court, 51 56; Mark Goldie, "The Roots of True Whiggism,"
History of Political Thought, (1980), 228-29.
102 M.Schusshard "Swedenborg, Jacobitisin, and
Freemasonry." in Erland Brock, ed., Swedenborg and His Influence (1988), 359 -
103 Claude Nordmann, Gustave III.- un democrate couronne
(Lille: Presses Universitaire, 1986), 214 M Frank 1\1cLynn, Charles Edward
Stuart "1988; Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991 ~, 532- 36.5)
104 J. Summerson, Architecture in Britain, 1530 1830
(London: Pelican, 19351), 184.
105 G. Bord, Franc-Alafonnerie, 55-5 7 -, Margaret Jacob,
Liring the Enlightenment: Freemasong and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe
(Oxford: Oxford UP. 1991), 92.
106 Paul Jefferv, 'The Cio Churche,s of Christopher Wren
( 1996), 28-29.
107 Charles Trench, Gace's Card.- Irish Catholic
Landlords, 1690 1800 (Dublin: Mercier, 1997), 34; S. Murphy, "Irish Jacobitism,"
108 John Heron Lepper, The Pifferences Between English
and Irish Alasonic Rituals Treated Historicall, (Dublin: George Healy. 1920),
17, 23, 39.
109 John Robison, Proofs of a Conspiracy, (1798), 17.
Though most historians rightfully scoff at Robison's charges of a Masonic
conspiracy in the 1790's, they have not examined his accounts of his personal
experiences in Ecossais lodges in the 1770's. The latter material is important
for its insight into the Scottish-Jacobite traditions that were preserved in
various European Masonic rites. These latter descriptions are corroborated by
the Continental Masonic documents published in Charles Porset , Les Philadelphes
el les Convent de Paris (1998).
110 J. Swift, Prase, V, 324.
111 William Temple, Five Miscellaneous Essays, ed. Samuel
Holt (Ann Arbor: Michigan UP. 1963), 200-01; "Sir William Temple," DNB.
112 Arlington, letters, 450.
113 H. Paton. "Letters from ... Lauderdale," 173, 181,
114 See The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift. ed. Harold
Williams (1963), 111, 223, 331: Albert Cherel, In Advenurier Religieux an XVII e
Siecle, A.M. Rainvil (1926)
115 J.Swift, Prose. V. 325 30.
116 C. Bathain, "Ramsay," 301-02.
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