On September 29, 1721, the Motber Grand Lodge, then only four years old, left it on record that, "His Grace's Worship [Duke of Montague, Grand Master] and the [Grand] Lodge finding Fault with all the Copies of the old Gothic Constitutions, order'd Brotber James Anderson, A.M., to digest the same in a new and better Metbod."
December 27, 1721, "The Duke of Montague appointied 14 learned [in Masonic ritual and customs] Brothers to examine Brother Anderson's Manuscript, and to make report." March 25, 1722, "The Committee of 14 reported that they had perused Brother Anderson's Manuscript, viz., the History, Charges, Regulations, and Masters' Song, and after some Amendments had approv'd of it; upon which the Lodge desir'd the Grand Master to order it to be printed." Dr. Desaguliers wrote the Preface, George Payne drafted the Regulations.
On May 17, 1731, the London Daily Courant reported : "We bear 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."
Ever since R. F. Gould published his History of Freemasonry his successors and colleagues have followed his lead in describing Anderson as fanciful, a romancer, and in every way an unreliable "historian.''
The time has come to rescue the name of a man who ought never to have been described in such terms; and the publication of the histories and records of some sixty of the oldest Lodges in England has supplied the means to do it. The truth about Anderson (see page 77 of this Encyclopedia) can best be set forth in a number of separate statements of fact :
1. The word "history," which he himself employed, and as he well knew, did not denote history as a college Proffesor uses it, but rather meant the legends and traditions long circulated by the old Lodges. Each of the Old Manuscripts began with such a legend; Anderson transcribed a version of it, and as he had been commanded to do.
2. He was not the author but only the compiler of the book ; Grand Lodge ordered it, Payne revised the Regulations, the legendary part (''history") was compiled from Old Manuscripts Desaguliers had supplied, fourteen of the old Brethren approved, and it was the Grand Lodge, not Anderson, who ordered it printed. If Gould had a quarrel with the Book it was with the Grand Lodge that he should have quarrelled, not with Anderson.
3. Nobody in Grand Lodge took the legend to be actual history. Desaguliers was one of the most learned men in England ; Payne was a scholar ; Anderson himself, " one of the above quotations showed, was signally honored for his learning by Aberdeen, a University hard to please. Other Grand Lodge leaders, such as the Duke of Montague and Martin Clare, were also of great intelligence. None of them could have dreamed of foisting off on their friends the old legend as a treatise of veridic history.
4. Later, Dr. Desaguliers asked Anderson "to hunt out as many old Grand Masters as he could find." Anderson did so, and in the 1738 Edition gives a list which goes back to Adam. What did this mean? Only that these were not historical Grand Masters, but ritualistic or legendary Grand Masters. If some old Lodge, jealous of its age, had the name of a Grand Master in its legend, Noah, Euclid, or whoever, it demanded to see that name in the version of the legend being used by Grand Lodge.
When Desaguliers asked Anderson to hunt out Grand Masters he did not mean to hunt them out from history, but from among the versions of the Old Charges in use among the earliest Lodges ; and neither Desaguliers nor Anderson could have believed that in sober history and fact Noah, or Charles Martel, or Euclid had ever been Grand Masters, because they knew too much, were too intelligent. The first entry quoted above proves that Anderson was not the author of the "history" portion, but merely arranged the old MSS. legend ''in a new and better Method." The whole Hughan-Gould body of Masonic historical writing needs radical revision on the subjects of Anderson and his Constitutions !
On page 46 of his The Lodge Aberdeen l terr, Bro.A. L. Miller states that Anderson was a member of tbat Lodge, which naturally was the place in which he would seek admittance to Masonry since he was a student in Marischal College in the University of Aberdeen, where he received the degree of M.A., and to which be made a personal present of his The Royal Genealogies, a book he had written, inscribed in his own hand, when the form of words in the Book of Constitutions is compared with the written records of the Lodge of Aberdeen dated 1670 it will be seen tbat Anderson must have had the records before him, or else had learned them by heart, because a number of terms, and arrangements of words, are the same in one as in the other. When in the Constitutions he wrote "James Anderson, A.M., the Author of this Book" be very probably used the word ''Author'' in the sense of "compiler, scribe, maker" as had been its meaning in the Aberdeen records, where another and previous James Anderson (his father?) had signed the Work Book as "the Writer of tbis Book."
In sum: Anderson received the best college education to be had in his period; earned two scholastic Degrees; was trained in Masonry in one of the oldest and most conservative of Lodges ; was author of three books not including the Constitutions; was on his merits called to a church in London ; while there made friends among the most eminent and substantial men, such as Desaguliers, Payne, Duke of Montague, William Preston, Straban the publisher, etc. It was impossible for a man with such a career and position and with such solid achievements, attained before be was forty, to have been the gullible, flighty, fablemaking man which Gould pictured him to have been.
Note. On nothing in the legendary portion of the first Book of Constitution have latter-day historians piled more ridicule than on the list of Grand Masters prior to 1717, and since Anderson was blamed for the list the ridicule was extended to him by implication. In this list are many eminent personages, kings and so on, stretching back to Adam, and including Euclid and Solomon ; it has no historicity; there were no Grand Masters before Anthony Sayer. However, there are some things to be said in its favor, and in addition to the fact, given above that they were ritualistic Grand Masters.
For one thing, the word "Grand Master" was employed loosely, and if this be accepted it was not unreasonable to incorporate in the list men known to have been Royal Supervisors of architecture. For another thing, the Iist, even if Anderson's own, was seen and approved by his Committee, ''the fourteen old Brethren," and the officers and members of the Grand Lodge. Finally, it was not as absurd as it may now seem to include kings, emperors, princes, ete., in the list because as a matter of known fact the majority of the kings and queens of England belonged to one or more gilds or City Companies. Edward III was a member of the Merchant Tailors Company ; so also was Richard II ; Queen Elizabeth was a member of a Company. Queen Victoria proclaimed herself Royal Protectress of the Fraternity of Freemasons. When Richard II was in the Tailors Company it also had in its membership ''four royal dukes, ten earls, ten barons, and five bishops."
The history of Medieval Masonry (Operative Masonry) can be written in the form of sweeping generalizations, particularly about the use and the extraordinarily rapid spread of the Gothic Style. Or it can be written in the form of histories of particular cathedrals, abbeys, priories, castles, mansions, such as St. Michele, York, Wells, King's College, Cologne, etc. Or it can be written as an engineer would write it, in terms of machines, tools, quarrying, transportation, scaffolding, etc. Or as an economist would write it (vide Knoop & Jones), in the terms of wages, hours of labor, contracts, etc. Or in the form of treatises on the customs and organization of the Freemasons, their Lodges, their Old Charges their apprentices.
Lastly it could be written in the form of an endeavor to describe the Masons themselves. Who were they? What were they as men? What was in their minds? How did they discover a number of truths which nobody else in the Middle Ages ever saw, or could see? How did they live? Where did they find their education? A history in this last form has yet to be written, and until it is written it is as if no other history of Freemasonry had ever been written, because it was not the structure, or the money, or the Fabric Rolls, or the hours, or the wages, or the contracts which discovered and perpetiuated that set of truths which is Speculative Freemasonry; it was the men themselves; and it is those men, not a set of buildings, of whom we are the descendants.
Until a number of Masonic scholars have accumulated a large body of facts to make such a history possible, a 'Masonic student can only feel his way along by-paths, and guess out many things from traces here and there in the buildings which , like a thumb print, still bear the impress of the personality of the builders.
It is when viewed as contributing to that purpose that a study of such a comparatively unimportant detail as the sculptures, carvings, mosaics, and pictures of animals, including birds and insects (botany is too large to include here--it also is a field awaiting research) begins to take on a large significance, because in an indirect way it tells us a number of things about the Freemasons as men, it being remembered meanwhile that until a late period the Masons had a free hand in these ornamental details.
Among the carvings in the cathedrals are a zoology of actual and mythical animals, lions, foxes, goats, horses, donkeys, birds, snakes, bees, unicorns, griffins, etc., and often they are placed or fashioned with a sly but very open humor. If these are contrasted to the carvings in the Romanesque buildings which preceded Gothic, or the Classical which succeeded it, or either Byzantine or Arabic which were its contemporaries, animal figures in Gothic buildings become strikingly significant. They show that the Freemasons were independent and free, and flouted the old church censorship rules governing ornaments in religious buildings; that they looked at nature with fresh, new eyes, and observed it at first hand; that they were familiar with the old Bestiaries, the once popular tales and fables about animal heroes and villains, along with the mythology of animals; that they had many interests beyond the rigidly theological or ecclesiastical, and were not priest-ridden; and show a sense of humor seldom elsewhere in evidence in Medieval books, pictures, or tales, for their gargoyles and foxes and goats often are cartoons in stone.
See page 554 fl. in Art and the Refomation, by G. G. Coulton. Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture, by E. P. Evans; Henry Holt & Co. ; 1896 ; perhaps the best introduction for American readers, and an excellent point of departure for special studies.
Symbolism of Birds and Animals in English Arcfiitecture, by Artbur H. Collins; Mach ride; New York; 1913.
ANTHROPOLOGIC SCHOOL, THE.
The name given to a comparatively small number of Masonic writers and researchers who have not agreed with the largest number of Masonic scholars that Freemasonry originated in Medieval architecture and was formed and constituted and manned by builders, but believe that it bas existed througbout the world for many centuries, or even for thousands of years.
Their answer to questions about rites, ceremonies, and symboIs in the Lodge is to refer to rites and symbols of more or less primitive peoples, and especially to primitive tribes such as still are found in Africa. In order to maintain this theory they have broken with the established conclusions of Masonic historians of the type that is found in Quatuor Coronati and similar Lodges of Masonic research ; they also disagree with the established authorities on anthropology of whom none has ever found any Freemasonry in primitive rites and symbols; but who would have reported such findings if there had been any because among the thousands of professional anthropologists in America and Europe a large number have been Masons.
The terms used in duly-constituted and regular Freemasonry, Operative or Speculative, do not support the anthropologic theory. But from another point of view, and having in mind that ritualism and symbolism in Freemasonry are but one instance of ritualism and symbolism in general, anthropology gives a Masonic student a larger and richer background of thought and helps him better to understand Masonry's own rites and symbols. For that purpose there may be added to the books of Masonic anthropologists the non-Masonic works of such professional antbropologists as Lord Avebury, Rivers, Levy-Bruhl, Frazer, Goldenweiser, Boas, Mead,Webster, etc.
See Arcana of Freemasonry, by Albert Ch urch ward ; Macoy Publisbing Co. ; New York; 1915. Signs and Symbols of Prilnordial Man, by Albert Ch urchward; Geo. Allen & Co. ; London ; 1913. The Arcane Schools, by Jobn Yarker; William Tait; Belfast; 1909. Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods, by J. S. M. Ward; Simpkins, Marshall; London; 1921. Freemmonry; Its Aims and Ideals, by J. S. M Ward; Wm. Rider & sons; London; 1923.