ANCIENT or ANTIENT or ATHOLL FREEMASONS.
In 1751 some Irish Freemasons in London established a body which they called the "Grand Lodge of England according to the Old Institutions," and they styled themselves Antients and the members of the regular Grand Lodge, established in 1717, Moderns. Thus Dermott, in his Ahiman Rezon, divides the Freemasons of England into two classes, as follows:
"The Antients, under the name of Free and Accepted Masons, according to the old Institutions ; the Moderns, under the name of Freemasons of England.
And though a similarity of names, yet they differ exceedingly in makings, ceremonies, knowledge, Masonic language, and installations; so much, that they always have been, and still continue to be, two distinct societies, totally independent of each other" (see the seventh edition, page xxx).
The Antients maintained that they alone preserved the ancient tenets and practises of Freemasonry, and that the regular Lodges had altered the Landmarks and made innovations, as they undoubtedly had done about the year 1730, when Prichard's book entitled Masonry Dissected appeared.
For a long time it was supposed that the Antients were a schismatic body of seceders from the Premier Grand Lodge of England, but Brother Heary Sadler, in his Masonic Facts and Fictions, has proved that this view is erroneous, and that they were really Irish Freemasons who settled in London.
In the year 1756, Laurence Dermott, then Grand Secretary, and subsequently the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Antients, published a Book of Constitutions for the use of the Antient Freemasons, under the title of Ahiman Rezon, which work went through several editions. This became the code of Masonic law for all who adhered, either in England or America, to the Grand Lodge of the Antients, while the Grand Lodge of the Moderns, or the regular Grand Lodge of England, and its adherents, were governed by the regulations contained in Anderson's Constitutions, the first edition of which had been published in 1723.
The dissensions between the two Grand Lodges of England lasted until the year 1813, when, as will be hereafter seen, the two Bodies became consolidated under the name and title of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of England. Four years afterward a similar and final reconciliation took place in America, by the union of the two Grand Lodges in South Carolina. At this day all distinction between the Antients and Moderns has ceased, and it lives only in the memory of the Masonic student.
What were the precise differences in the rituals of the Antients and the Moderns, it is now perhaps impossible to discover, as from their esoteric nature they were only orally communicated. But some shrewd and near approximations to their real nature may be drawn by inference from the casual expressions which have fallen from the advocates of each body in the course of their long and generally bitter controversies.
Already has it been said that the regular Grand Lodge is stated to have made certain changes in the modes of recognition, in consequence of the publication of Samuel Prichard's spurious revelation. These changes were, as we traditionally learn, a simple transposition of certain words, by which that which had originally been the first became the second, and that which had been the second became the first. Hence Doctor Dalcho, the compiler of the original Ahiman Rezon of South Carolina, who was himself made in an Antient Lodge, but was acquainted with both systems, says, in the edition of 1822 (page193), "The real difference in point of importance was no greater than it would be to dispute whether the glove should be placed first upon the right or on the left. "
A similar testimony as to the character of these changes is furnished by an address to the Duke of Atholl, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Antients, in which it is said: "I would beg leave to ask, whether two persons standing in the Guildhall of London, the one facing the statues of Gog and Magog, and the other with his back turned on them, could, with any degree of propriety, quarrel about their stations ; as Gog must be on the right of one, and Magog on the right of the other. Such then, and far more insignificant, is the disputatious temper of the seceding Brethren, that on no better grounds than the above they choose to usurp a power and to aid in open and direct violation of the regulations they had solemnly engaged to maintain, and by every artifice possible to be devised endeavored to increase their numbers."
It was undoubtedly to the relative situation of the pillars of the porch, and the appropriation of their names in the ritual, that these innuendoes referred. As we have them now, they were made by the change effected by the Grand Lodge of Moderns, which transposed the original order in which they existed before the change, and in wbich order they are still preserved by the continental Lodges of Europe. Admitted as it is that the Modems did make innovations in the ritual; and although Preston asserts that the changes were made by the regular Grand Lodge to distinguish its members from those made by the Antient Lodges, it is evident, from the language of the address just quoted, that the innovations were the cause and not the effect of the schism.
The inferential evidence is that the changes were made in consequence of, and as a safeguard against, spurious publications, and were intended, as has already been stated, to distinguish impostors from true Freemasons, and not schismatic or irregular Brethren frorn those who were orthodox and regular.
But outside of and beyond this transposition of words, there was another difference existing between the Antients and the Moderns. Dalcho, who was acquainted with both systems, says that the Antient Freemasons were in possession of marks of recognition known only to themselves. His language on this subject is positive.
"The Antient York Masons," he says, "were certainly in possession of the original, universal marks, as they were known and given in the Lodges they had left, and which had descended through the Lodge of York, and that of England, down to their day. Besides these, we find they had peculiar marks of their own, which were unknown to the Body from which they had separated, and were unknown to the rest of the Masonic world. We have then, the evidence that they had two sets of marks; namely: those which they had brought with them from the original Body, and those which they had, we must suppose, themselves devised" (see page 192 of Doctor Dalcho's Ahiman Rezon).
Dermott, in his Ahiman Rezon, confirms this statement of Dalcho, if, indeed, it needs confirmation. He says that "a modern Mason may with safety communicate all bis secrets to an Antient Mason, but that an Antient Mason cannot, with like safety, communicate all his secrets to a Modem Mason without further ceremony." He assigns as a reason for this, that "as a science comprehends an art (though an art cannot comprehend a science), even so Antient Masonry contains everything valuable among the Moderns, as well as many other things that cannot be revealed without additional ceremonies."
Now, what were these "other things" known by the Antients, and not known by the Moderns? What were these distinctive marks, which precluded the latter from visiting the Lodges of the former? Writen history is of course silent as to these esoteric matters. But tradition, confirmed by, and at the same time explaining, the hints and casual intimations of contemporary writers, leads us to the almost irresistible inference that they were to be found in the different constructions of the Third, or Master's Degree, and the introduction into it of the Royal Arch element. For, as Doctor Oliver, in his History of the English Royal Arch ( page 21), says, ''The division of the Third Degree and the fabrication of the English Royal Arch appear, on their own showing, to have been the work of the Antients." Hence the Grand Secretary' of the regular Grand Lodge, or that of the Moderns, replying to the application of an Antient Freemason from Ireland for relief, says: "Our society (that is, the Moderns) is neither ,Arch, Royal Arch, nor Antient, so that you have no right to partake of our charity."
This, then, is the solution of the difficulty. The Antients, besides preserving the regular order of the words in the First and Second Degrees, which the Moderns had transposed (a transposition which has been retained in the Lodges of Brittain and America, but which has never been observed by the continental Lodges of Europe, who continue the usage of the Antients), also finished the otherwise imperfect Third Degree with its natural complement, the Royal Arch, a complement with which the Moderns were unacquainted, or which they, if they knew it once, had lost.
The following is a list of the Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Antients from its organization to its dissoluttion: 1753, Robert Turner; 1754-5, Edward Voughan; 1756-9, Earl of Blessington; 1760-5, Earl of Kelly; 1766-70, The Hon. Thomas Matthew; 1771-4, third Duke of Atholl; 1775-81, fourth Duke of Atholl; 1782-90, Earl of Antrim; 1791-1813, fourth Duke of Atholl; 1813, Duke of Kent, under whom the two Grand Lodges were united.
The Grand Lodge of Antient Freemasons was, shortly after its organization, recognized by the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland. Through the ability and energy of its officers, but especially Laurence Dermott, at one time its Grand Secretary, and afterward its Deputy Grand Master, and the author of its Ahiman Rezon, or Book of Constitutions, it extended its influence and authority into foreign countries and into the Brittish Colonies of America, where it became exceedingly popular. Here it organized several Provincial Grand Lodges, as, for instance, in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, where the Lodges working under this authority were generally known as Antient York Lodges.
In consequence of this, dissensions existed, not only in the mother country, but also in America, for many years, between the Lodges which derived their warrants from the Grand Lodge of Antients and those which derived theirs from the regular or so-called Grand Lodge of Modems. But the Duke of Kent having been elected, in 1813, the Grand Master of the Antients, while his brother, the Duke of Sussex, was Grand Master of the Moderns, a permanent reconciliation was effected between the rival Bodies, and by mutual compromises the present United Grand Lodge of Antient Freemasons of England was established.
Similar unions were consummated in America, the last being that of the two Grand Lodges of South Carolina, in 1817, and the distinction between the Antients and the Modems was forever abollished, or remains only as a melancholy page in the history of Masonic controversies. From their connection with the Dukes of Atholl, the Antient Freemasons are sometimes known as Atholl Freemasons. The word is also spelled Athol and Athole
ANCIENT OF DAYS.
A title supplied, in the visions of Daniel, to Jehovah, to signifay that His days are beyond reckoning. Used by Webb in the Most Excellent Master's song.
Fulfilled is the promise
By the ANCIENT OF DAYS,
To bring forth the capstone
With shouting and praise.
ANCIENT REFORMED RITE.
A Rite differing very s1ightly from the French Rite, or Rite Moderne, of which, indeed, it is said to be only a modification.
It is practised by the Grand Lodge of Holland and the Grand Orient of Belgium.
This Rite was established in 1783 as one of the results of the Congress of Wilhelmsbad.
see Antient Freemasons.
The Third Degree of the German Union of Twenty-two.
ANCIENT YORK FREEMASONS.
One of the names of Lodges of Antient Freemasons, which see.
The Rev. James Anderson, D.D., a well known to all Freemasons as the compiler of the celebrated Book of Constitutions.
The date and place of his birth have not yet been discovered with certainty, but the date was probably 1680, and the place, Aberdeen in Scotland, where he was educated and where he probably took the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Divinity.
At some unacertained period he migrated to London, and our first precise knowledge of him, derived from a document in the State Records, is that on February 15, 1709-10, he, as a Presbyterian minister, took over the lease of a chapel in Swallow Street, Piccadilly, from a congregation of French Protestants which desired to dispose of it because of their decreasing prosperity. During the following decade he published several sermons, and is said to have lost a considerable sum of money dabbling in the South Sea scheme.
Where and when his connection with Freemasonry commenced has not yet been discovered, but he must have been a fairly prorninent member of the Craft, because, on September 29, 1721, he was ordered by the Grand Lodge, which had been established in London in 1717, to "digest the old Gothic Constitutions in a new and better method." On the 27th of December following, his work was finished, and the Grand Lodge appointed a committee of fourteen learned Brethren to examine and report upon it.
Their report was made on the 25th of March, 1722; and, after a few amendments, Anderson's work was formally approved, and ordered to be printed for the benefit of the Lodges, which was done in 1723.
This is now the well-known Book of Constitutions, which contains the history of Freemascnry or, more correctly, architecture, the Ancient Charges, and the General Regulatione, as the same were in use in many old Lodges. In 1738 a second edition was pub1ished.
Both editions have become exceedingly rare, and copies of them bring fancy prices among the collectors of old Mascnic books. Its intrinsic value is derived only from the fact that it contains the first printed copy of the Old Charges and also the General Regulations. The history of Freemasonry which precedes these, and constitutes the body of the work, is fanciful, unreliable, and pretentious to a degre'e that often leads to absurdity.
The Craft is greatly indebted to Anderson for his labors in reorganizing the Institution, but doubtless it would have been better if he had contented himself with giving the records of the Grand Lodge from 1717 to 1738, which are contained in his second edition, and with preserving for"us the Charges and Regulations, which, without his industry, might have been lost.
No Mascnic writer would now venture to quote Anderson as authority for the history of the Order anterior to the eighteenth century. It must also be added that in the republication of the Old Charges in the edition of 1738, he made several important alterations and interpolations, which justly gave some offense to the Grand Lodge, and which render the second edition of no authority in this respect.
In the year 1723, when his first edition of the Constitutions appeared, he was Master of Lodge No. 17, and he was appointed Grand Warden, and also became Chaplain to the Earl of Buchan ; in 1732 he published a voluminous work entitled Royal Genealogies, or the Genealogical Tables of Emperors, Kings and Princes, from Adam to these times; in 1733 he issued a theological pamphlet on Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity ; in 1734 he removed with a part of his congregation from his chapel in Swallow Street to one in Lisle Street, Leicester Fields, in consequence af some difference with his people, the nature of which is unknown ; in 1735 he represented to Grand Lodge that a new edition of the Book of Constitutions had become necessary and he was ordered to lay his materials before the present and former Grand officers; in 1738 the new Book of Constitutions was approved of by Grand Lodge and ordered to be printed.
Anderson died on May 28, 1739, and was buried in Bunhill Fields with a Masonic funeral, which is thus reported in The Daily Post of June 2d: "Last night was interr'd the corpse of Dr. Anderscn, a Dissenting Teacher, in a very remarkable deep Grave. His Pall was supported by five Dissenting Teachers, and the Rev. Dr. Desaguliers: It was followed by about a Dozen of Freamasons, who encireled the Grave ; and after Dr. Earle had harangued on the Uncertainty of Life, &c., without one word of the Deceased, the Brethren, in a most solemn dismal Posture, lifted up their Hands, sigh'd, and struck their aprons three times in Honour of the Deceased."
Soon after his death another of his works, entitled News from Elysium or Dialogues of the Dead, was issued, and in 1742 there appeared the first volume of a Genealogical History of the House of Yvery, also from his pen.
The preceding article, written by Brother Edward L. Hawkins, may be supplemented by the following paragraph by Brother John T. Thorp which appeared in the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (xviii, page 9 ) :
"Of this distinguished Brother we know very little. He is believed to have been born, educated and made a Freemason in Scotland, subsequently settling in London as a Presbyterian Minister.
He is mentioned for the first time in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of England on September 29, 1721, when he was appointed to revise the old Gothic Constitutions-this revision was approved by the Grand Lodge of England on September 29th in 1723, in which year Anderson was Junior Grand Warden under the Duke of Wharton-he published a second edition of the Book of Constitutions in 1738 and died in 1739. This is a.bout all that is known of him.''
Brother William J. Hughan, in his Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry (Leicester, 1909 edition, page 31), devotes some attention to the Gild theory, as it has been called, which dates Masonie degrees in connection with Doctor Anderson farther back than what we term the Grand Lodge era. Brother Clement E. Stretton has discussed this question in his pamphlet, Tectonic Art, published at Melton Mowbray, England, 1909, and he says that "In 1710 the Rev. James Anderson was the Chaplain of the St. Pauls Gild Masons, who at that time had their head-quarters at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in Saint Paul's Churchyard, and in September, 1717, the books of the Gild show that Anderson had made a very remarkable innovation in the rules which was to admit persons as members of the Masonic Gild without their serving the seven years apprenticeship.
This caused a split in the ranks." But the books in question were not produced and as Brother Hughan advises we must patiently wait for the production of documents in support of the claims thus made.
Miscellanea Latomorum, May, 1923, records that Sir Alfred Robbins announced at the March meeting of Quatuor Coronati Lodge that he had found the following item in the London Daily Courant of May 17, 1731: "We hear from Aberdeen that the University has lately conferred a Doctor's Degree in Divinity on Mr. James Anderson, Swallow street, a gentleman well known for his extensive learning."
This fixes more definitely the date and place when and where he received the degree of which title he soon made use.
In the first edition of the Constitutions of the Freemasons, published by Doctor Anderson in 1723, the author quoms on pages 32-3 from "a certain record of Freemascns, written in the reign of King Edward IV." Preston also cites it in his Illustrations (see page 182, 1788 edition), but states that it is said to have been in the possession of Elias Ashmole, but was unfortunately destroyed, with other papers on the subject of Freemasonry, at the Revolution. Anderson makes no reference to Ashmole as the owner of the manuscript, nor to the fact of its destruction.
If the statement of Preston were confirmed by other evidence, its title would properly be the Ashmole Manuscript, but as it was first mentioned by Anderson, Brother Hughan has very properly called it the Anderson Manuscript. It contains the Prince Edwin legend.