Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!
ARCHITECTURE, FIRST & CHIEF GROUNDES OF.
ARS QUATUOR CORONATORUM.
Ars Quatuor Coronatorum are the volumes of Transactions published each year since its constitution in 1886 by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, No. 2076, London, England.
They contain the treatises read before the Lodge, discussions, Minutes of the Lodge,
miscellaneous short articles, many illustrations as informative as the text, book reviews, obituaries, lists of members, etc. The typical treatise is a one-part essay (though some are of two or more parts) prepared with much care and labor by a specialist in some chosen field of Masonic study or research; it usually contains a bibliography, and is followed by discussions, written out with care and oftentimes in advance, which have in many instances been as weighty and as instructive as the treatise they have criticized.
Treatises and discussions both are independent, responsible, uncolored by personal feelings ; are critical of each other. With their more than fifty volumes the Ars are now a larger set of books than the Encyclopoedia Britannica, and perforrn the function for Masonic knowledge that is performed by the Britannica and similar works for general knowledge; since almost every contributor to the Ars has been a trained scholar, at least has been a specialist in some field of scholarship, the academic standards are higher than those of popular encyclopedias.
Book dealers' catalogs for 1945 (to give one year for purposes of comparison) list complete sets at from $500 to $ 1200. Masonic students however need not wholly deny themselves ownership of Ars because the lack of early volumes has created a scarcity value for the whole set ; there is no continuity from one volume to another, therefore withotit reader's loss he can start with whatever earliest voltime he can find.
In its Masonic Papers, Vol. l, page 263, Research Lodge, No. 281, Seattle, Washington, publishes a complete Index of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum; Part I, an index of titles; Part II, an index of authors. The last item in Part I is numbered 770 ; this is somewhat in excess of the total number of treatises in A.C. because of cross-indexing and because inaugural Addresses, etc., are incltided. The treatises on Freemasonry in the United States (which is 200 years old and in which are some 90% of the Masons of the world) are: "Freemasonry in America," by C. P. Maccalla (very brief) ; III, p. 123. "The Carmick MS." (of Philadelphia), by WV. J. Hughan; XXII, pg5.
"Distribution in the U. S. of Anderson's Constitutions" (brief and incomplete), by Charles S. Plumb; XLIII, p. 227. "Josiah H. Drummond" (a short biographical sketch), by R. F. Gould ; X, p. 165. "Benjamin Franklin" (brief), by H. C. de Lafontaine ; XLI, p. 3. "Masonry in Wvest Florida and the 31st Foot" (brief), by R. F. Gould; XIII, p. 69. "Morgan Incident of 1826," by J. Hugo Tatsch; XXXIV, p. 196. "Theodore Sutton Parvin" (brief biographical sketch), by R. F. Gould; XV, p. 29. "Albert Pike" (brief biographical sketch), by R. F. Gould ; lV, p. 116.
ARTILLERY COMPANY, ANCIENT.
Like the Worshipful Company of Musicians (which see) the history of the Ancient and Honorary Artillery Company of England runs a cotirse singularly parallel with the course of Masonic history, so that each throws light on the other.
The parent Company received its charter in England, in 1537. Because artillery was a modern invention (first used by the Turks when they captured constantinople) this gild, "art," or society was not as ancient as others, but it claimed to be an integral part of the art of war, and on that ground had traditions and legends as old as any and older than most. A branch company was set up in Boston, Mass with a charter from the parent company dated january 13, 1638; the relation between the two was similar to the relations between an American Provincial Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge at London. (see The Historic Book, by Justin H. Smith ; printed privately, by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co. .in Town of Boston ; 1903. )
The publication of a number of Alinute Books of old Lodges since it was written calls for a revision of the paragraph on ASHLAR, on page 107. In one of his memoranda on the building of St. Paul s, Sir Christopher Wren shows by the context that as the word was there and then used an ashlar was a stone, ready-dressed from the quarries (costing about $5.00 in our money), for use in walls ; and that a "perpend asheler" was one with polished ends each of which would lie in a surface of the wall ; in that case a "rough" ashlar was not a formless mass of rock, but was a stone ready for use, no surface of which would appear in the building walls; it was unfinished in the sense of unpolished. In other records, of which only a few have been found, a "perpend" ashlar was of stone cut with a key in it so as to interlock with a second stone cut correspondingly.
It is doubtful if the Symbolic Ashlars were widely used among the earliest Lodges; on the other hand they are mentioned in Lodge inventories often enough to make it certain that at least a few of the old Lodges used them ; and since records were so meagerly kept it is possible that their use may have been more common than has been believed. On April 11, 1754, Old Dundee Lodge in Wapping, London, "Resolved that A New Perpend Ashlar Inlaid with Devices of Masonry Valued at £2 12s. 6d. be purchased. " The word ''new'' proves that the Lodge had used an Ashlar before 1754, perhaps for many years before; the word "devices" duggests long years of symbolic use.
It is obvious that the Ashlars as referred to in the above were not like our own Perfect and Imperfect Ashlars. It is certain that our use of them did not originate in Ameriea ; there are no known data to show when or where they originated, but it is reasonable to suppose that Webb received them from Preston, or else from English Brethren in person who knew the Work in Preston's period. Operative Masons doubtless used the word in more than one sense, depending on time and place ; and no rule can be based on their Practice.
The Speculative Masons after 1717, as shown above, must have used "Perfect Ashlar" in the sense of "Perpend Ashlar" ; nevertheless the general purpose of the symbolism has been the same throughout - a reminder to the Candidate that he is to think of himself as if he were a building stone and that he will be expected to polish himself in manners and character in order to find a place in the finished Work of Masonry. The contrast between the Rough Ashlar and the Perfect Ashlar is not as between one man and another man, thereby generating a snobbish sense of superiority; but as between what a man is at one stage of his own self-development and what he is at another stage.
In Sir Christopher Wren's use of "asheler" (he was member of Lodge of Antiquity) the stone had a dimension of 1 x 1 x 2 feet; and many building records, some of them very old, mention similar dimensions; certainly, the "perpend" or "perfect" ashlar almost never was a cube, because there are few places in a wall where a cube will serve. Because in our own symbolism the Perfect Ashlar is a cube, a number of commentators on symbolism have drawn out of it pages of speculation on the properties of the cube, and on esoteric meanings they believe those properties to possess; the weight possessed by those theorizings is proportionate to the knowledge and intelligence of the commentator; but in any event these cubic interpretations do not have the authority of Masonic history behind them.
NOTE. During the many years of building and re-building at Westminster Abbey the clerk of the works kept a detailed account of money expended, money received, wages, etc. These records, still in existence, are called Fabric Rolls. In the Fabric Roll for 1253 the word "asselers" occurs many times, and means dressed stones, or ashlars. A "perpens" or "parpens," or "perpent-stone" was "a through stone," presumably because it was so cut that each end was flush with a face of the wall. It proves that "perpend ashlar" was not a "perfect ashlar" in the present sense of being a cube.
Elias Ashmole was made a Mason in the Lodge at Warrington, in Lancashire, England, October 16, 1646. This event was for some decades given prominent space in Masonic histories, partly because of the great eminence of Ashmole himself (see page 107), more largely because in records then known Ashmole was the first of non-Operatives to be admitted to a Masonic Lodge.
It is odd that those who attributed this seniority to Ashmole did not see that the very document which proved Ashmole's acceptance proved also, and in the act, that others had been accepted before Ashmole! For in his Diary he writes that Col. Henry Mainwaring was accepted at the same time (thereby making him coeval) and also that other non-operatives already were in the Lodge and had been so from the beginning of it, among them Sankey, Littler, Ellam, etc., each one "a gentleman."
Ashmole's Diary therefore did not prove him to be the first, but proved the latter men to have been before him. (Richard Ellam described himself in his will as "Freemason.")
Whence came this Lodge? A reasonable answer is given on page 10 of The Time Immemorial Lodge at Chester, by John Armstrong (Chester; 1900) : "From the magnitude of the buildings in Chester we may safely assume that the Old Chester Lodge was of such strength, that like the Old Scotch Lodges, it threw off branches, and in this way the Old Warrington Lodge of Elias Ashmole would originate about the time the old church was built in that town. A number of Masons proceeding from Chester to Warrington, and as was the custom in those days would meet as a Lodge, looking up to Chester as the mother Lodge; here also when building operations ceased, non- Operatives were admitted and ultimately in 1646 we find it purely speculative and presided over by the gentry of the district.
The Warrington Lodge with its 7 members in 1646 as against 26 in the Chester Lodge points to Chester as being then the great seat of Masonry, as it had been from Roman times, the chief town and only borough in the North Western Provinces of England." The 26 members of the Lodge at Chester struck Bro. Armstrong as a show of "great strength" ; at the present remove in time it strikes a Mason by its smallness; for either there were few Masons in the county, or else only a small number belonged to the Lodge. If the latter was the case, perhaps the Lodge at Chester was itself "Speculative,'' or at least partly so? Of one fact it is reasorlable to feel certain : the old Lodge at Chester would have neither approved nor countenanced a Speculative daughter Lodge at Warrington had it been an innovation ; which would mean that (a reasonable guess) at least as early as 1625 Speculative Freemasonry was nothing new in that area.
Why did Ashmole join the Lodge? It is known that he was interested in Rosicrucianism; Bro. Arthur Edward Waite argued from this that the Lodge itself must therefore have been a Rosicrucian center, and sought thereby to bolster his thesis that it had been an infiltration of Rosicrucianism and other forms of mysticism and occultism which had transformed the Craft from within from an Operative into a Speculative Fraternity. But why should he thus arbitrarily select Ashmole's interest in Rosicrucianism? Ashmole was also an encyclopedist, a natural museum maker, who had a long chain of interests ; any one of them as dear to him as what was the then (miscalled) Rosicrucianism, such as heraldry, rare books, Medieval manuscripts, alchemy;. astrology, Kabbalism, medals, ruins, folk-lore, old sciences, botany, old customs, architecture, and so on through half a hundred.
Perhaps, and remembering that he was both an intelligent and a sincere man, he joined the Lodge solely because he believed in Freemasonry itself as it already was; the fact would be consonant with his known plan to write a history of the Fraternity. Ashmole neither made nor changed the Lodge at Warrington ; and there were other members there and at Chester who were not Rosicrucians. It can be argued that Ashmole's own interest in Rosicrucianism was academic, and not for practice, like his interest in other subjects, and purstied in the spirit of the aritiquarian, the lover of erudition, the seeker for curiosa,'moreover he was a Christian, and was not likely to take up with heresies.
Against the notion that he was credulous, occultistic, superstitious in praictice is a description of him when a student in Oxford: he "applied himself vigorously to the sciences, but more particularly to natural philosophy [physics and chemistry], mathematics and astronomy." The entry in the Diary begins: "1646. Oct. 16, 4 :30 P.M." (In his brochure, Elias Ashmole, Bro. Dudley Wright twice makes the error of giving the year as 1645.) The practices found in Lodges a half century later suggest that the ceremonies were followed by a dinner, or feast ; that the Brethren remained at table until late at night; and that portions of the ceremonies were given while seated. In their books and treatises Bros. Knoop and Jones have advanced the theory that in the Seventeenth Century the Ritual was a brief and bare ceremony, consisting of an oath and the giving of the Mason Word ; if that had been true it is difficult to understand why, as at Warrington, the "making" took so much time (that is but one of many difficulties in their theory). It is not likely that a group of seven men would meet together for six or seven hours as a Lodge merely to eat, drink, and talk together, because "gentlemen" of the times had large houses staffed with servants and were much given to entertainment where a mere social gathering would have been more convenient. It is more reasonable to believe that there were more ceremonies in 1646 than in 1746, not fewer ; the old Lodges kept no minutes or other records or else made them so brief that they are almost cryptic, but it does not follow that because the records were brief and bare, therefore the ceremonies had been brief and bare.
The entry also shows that Ashmole "was made a Free Mason" during this one meeting, and there is nothing to indicate that the ceremonies were shortened especially for him ; in the language of a later period he was Entered, Passed, and Raised at one time.
From this record, and from others like it, Hughan argued that the pre-1717 Lodges had only one Degree; Gould argued that there had been two Degrees but that they had been conferred one after the other at the same Communication, and that the names Fellowcraft and Master Mason were used interchangeably for the second step; and they both repeated at different places in their books the since-familiar phrases about how the pre-1717 ceremonies must have been bure, simple, brief, etc. It is a curious quirk of the historical fancy to assume that what came first always must have been rudimentary. In history it is often the other way about-the first Gothic building was extraordinarily large and rich and complex; the first printed books were better works of printing than any since, etc., etc. ; and it is certain that in the sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries men were much more given to elaborateness of ceremony than they ever have been since. (Read a detailed description of the ceremonies of receiving the spanish Ambassador in which Shakespeare had a part ; it lasted four days. ) It is more reasonable to believe that the Warrington Lodge met for five or six hours because the Masonic ceremonies were so full and rich than to believe that they consisted of nothing more than a password and an oath. When the post-1717 Lodges divided their ceremonies into three Degrees, the last was of itself so long that it contained what later was separated off into the Royal Arch Degree ; any student who is familiar with the workings of the Masonic mind in the earliest Lodges.knows that Masons did not manufacture hours of new ceremonies within eight or ten years of time, for one of their most powerful instincts was to preserve and to perpetuate the old.
The Hughan-Gould debate as between the ''one Degree " theory and the " two Degree " theory continues to be argued. As against both of those theories may be presented a third which shifts the argument to another ground, and for which (in these pages) the writer is solely responsible ; it is more reasonable to think that until the approach of the 1717 period the Lodges did not have any Degrees-that is, separately organized and complete units of ceremonies, each with its own name; but that they had a large and indeterminate number of ceremonies, rites, symbols, among them being an oath for Apprentices, an oath for Fellowcrafts, etc. . that these ceremonies were used very flexibly so that a Lodge might use twice as many in one meeting as at another; and that they differed from one Lodge to another in many details, so that one Lodge might employ a ceremony (such as Installation of the Master) which another would not. This last named supposition would explain why there were side degrees and intimations of "higher" degrees (vide Dr. Stukeley; early records in Ireland, etc. ) before or at 1717. This theory would explain why it was that, soon after 1717, so many Lodges made Prentices and Fellows in one sitting, conducted Lodge business with Prentices present, had separate Masters' Lodges, and in the very early years of Speculative Lodges gave an immediate welcome to the formation of a separate Royal Arch Degree, to the Scotch Mason rites, etc. The probabilities are that on the day after his making Ashmole lid not think of himself as having passed through one Degree, or two Degrees, or even three, but as having been ''made a Free Mason " by the total (whatever it was) of the ceremonies used; it is also reasonable to believe that by " acceptance into Masonry " he would have thought not of architectural ceremonies but of his acceptance into a new circle of friends and associates.
(It is not to be supposed that even in the earliest Operative periods, and when a Lodge was still a mere adjunct to a building enterprise, such ceremonies, etc., as were used therefore were solely utilitarian; every skilled Craft was organized as a gild, fraternity, company, and each had a rich array of ceremonies, symbols, rites, etc., even the blacksmiths; and it was a common practice for them to admit Honorary Members from outside their own " operative " ranks. Symbolical ceremonies and ''accepted'' members in Seventeenth Century Lodges were not innovations. )
ASSASSINS, CULT OF.
At the time he wrote the article about the Assassins on page 108 Dr. Albert G. Mackey was endeavoring to enlarge the scope of Masonic studies, to open up new paths in many directions. The article has been taken by some critics of the Craft in too narrow a sense; perhaps because Mackey used the word "Freemasonry " in a sense too broad. One of the legends about a so-called Cult of Assassins stems from a story about Omar Khayyam, author of The Rubaiyat, and tells how a boyhood friend of his, a certain Hassan, became a sort of Persian Robin Hood. Another legend is that Crusaders were harassed by an organized band of land pirates, who were a species of dacoits; in one version of this story the leader was named Hassan, hence his followers were Called Hassanites, or Assassins; also he was called the Old Man of the Mountains, fabled never to die.
Another version is that the Assassins were so called from their use of hashish, or Indian hemp (indicans cabanis), an opiate. But there is the fourth possibility that no such man as Hassan ever lived, but was created, like our Paul Bunyan, out of those tall tales which Near Eastern peoples have vastly prefered to history; countenance is given to this theory by the fact that a tale about The Old Man of the Mountains was one of the stock-in trade of minestels before the Crusades went into the HolyLand. In a Thirteenth Century Romance in verse by a pupil of Chrestien of Troyes entitled Flamenica one of the sections is little more than an inventory of that stock; one title is listed as "The Old Man of the Mountains and his Assassins," wedged in among such other fabulous tales as the Fisher King, the Fall of Lucifer, and how Icarus was drowned. Of only one thing can any Masonic student be certain : whether he was legend or was history the Fraternity never had any connection, not even a remote one, or any similarity, with the Old Man of the Mountains.
Note. Anacalypsis, by Godfrey Higgins, quoted by Mackey on page 108, is a monster of a book, ''With a million of quotations in it," somewhat on the order of Burton's Anotomy of Melancholy; of it a cynical critic has said : "a Mason should read all of it and believe none of it"-which is perhaps too harsh, though Higgins'philology is one long verbal insanity.
[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership
Development] [Education] [Masonic
This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United
States or elsewhere.
Last modified: March 22, 2014