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REGIUS MS. ON GOOD MANNERS.
Since it is the oldest of known manuscript versions of the Old Charges (or Old MSS., or Old Constitutions), written about 1390 A.D., or possibly 1400 A.D., the Regius MS. would be everywhere known among Freemasons were it not written in an English so nearly obsolete that it may almost as well be a foreign tongue. Bro. Roderiek H. Baxter, a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, has put Masons in his debt, and American Masons especially so—for they are farther from the Middle Ages than are their Brethren in England—by making a careful transliteration of it into modern English, beautifully done, and as close to the original as any transliteration ean be. It is in a brochure entitled The Masonic Poem of l.q90, Circa (a poem because the original is in rhymed verse; Wallasey; Wallasey Printers Ltd.; 1927.)
But to American Masons a further difficulty in understanding the Regius MS. is the last section of it, because the contents of that section, or any mention of it, are never heard in a Masonic Lodge, and appear to have only a remote connection with Speculative Freernasonry. It is a disquisition on the theme, "Good manners make the man." In Bro. Baxter's transliteration it begins with line 694: "When thou comest before a lord," etc. This section was lifted bodily from an anonymous poem written about 1460 which usually is entitled Urbanitatis, but which Professor F. J. Furnivall edited for the Early English Text Society as Reprint: The Babees Book. The whole section is a set of instructions issued to a young man on how to behave with manners and grace when at table, when in a fine house, when meeting persons of quality, ete.
According to tables and statistics included here and there in a number of works on Medieval population, on population in country, villages, towns, etc., and as applied to the Mason Craft, the supposition is that some ninety per cent of the boys of twelve to fourteen who came as Masonic apprentices were from the country, many of them from peasants' homes.
Such boys had never been in fine houses, had never associated with persons of quality, possessed no etiquette or table manners, had handled no silver, or ever sat in hall or bower. But the Freemasons who worked for years on cathedrals, abbeys, priories, etc. were associated with persons of the highest rank, with barons and prelates and clerics, and at the same time had to work in a brotherhood with other workmen of education, often of eminence, and perhaps famous, and who would not tolerate uncouthness, vulgarity, gaucheries, and profanity from those about them. Therefore along with being taught his art the boy had to be taught and polished in speech, clothing, manners, and etiquette. In effect, the last section of the Regius was a stern injunction to such apprentices and a warning to them that the severe rules of the Craft which governed the etiquette of Masons would be enforced upon them.
NOTE. As bearing on a question concerning Degrees and ceremonies in Operative Lodges the inclusion of these admonitions would suggest that the Old Charles in part were read, or at least addressed. to nesv apprentices. On the other hand, other Rules, Regulations, Points are evidently addressed to Master Masons. If the oath or pledge svas taken "on" the Old Charges perhaps the Lodge's copy svas used twice over, once for Apprenticed once at the end of apprenticeship, seven, or so, years afterwards.
The Remus .MS. and the Cooke M S. are printed together, compared, and annotated in The Two Eartiest Masonic MSS., by Douglas Knoop, G. P. Jones, and Douglas Hamer, Manchester University Press; 1938; cloth; index; glossary; 216 pages.
The Old Charges contain a set of regulations by which Freemasons were governed when at work, and when outside the Lodge. Although the oldest existing copy was written about 1390 A.D. to 1400 A.D. it is certain that the regulations had been in force long before; at least regulations of a similar kind. It is also certain that though these regulations belonged to the Craft, they were accepted by non-Masonic, civil authorities as having a legal status.
Thus, in a Fabric Roll of St. Peter's at York, dated 1355, a written contract between the Freemasons and the building administration agrees that the latter shall respect "the ancient customs [regulations] which the Masons use," ete.; a similar entry is found in a Roll dated in 1370. The regulations as now in use by the Speeulative Fraternity are altered out of recognition, many of them, in form and language; but in substance and principle are the same as those in use according to the ancient "customs." (On York regulations see: History of the Metropolitan Church of St. Peter, Yor.tc, by John Browne; Longuans & Co.; London; 1847.)
RELIGION AND FREEMASONRY.
During its earliest period Christianity devoted itself to establishing its centers in southern Europe. There it found itself among a large number of religions, some of which had spread northward from Egypt, or had worked down out of Mesopotamian countries through Greece into Italy, or were powerful nature cults which had infiltrated from the mountain and forest lands of the north—there was nowhere a single organized religion called paganism. One of these religions, Mithraism, w as especially powerful because it u as the cult of the Imperial army, and for generations m-as virtually the state religion.
The religions which came out of Greece were even more difficult to oppose because like everything else of Greek origin they were highly intelligent, were saturated with the Greek feeling for culture, especially of the plastic arts, and were supported by the philosophers and scientists who for centuries were the acknowledged teachers of the Romans. Beyond the frontier, in Russia and the far north and among powerful Teutonic tribes, were other religions which would be encountered afterwards. Throughout the period as a u hole, the religion of Judaism also was in southern Europe, and like Christianity possessed within itself a powerful missionary enthusiasm.
For a period, each small Christian settlement had a leader. This leader came in due course to give his full time to his office, and was called a pastor (he was not transformed into a priest for centuries afterwards).
To give the movement unity, the pastors of a region were brought under the leadership of an over-pastor, or, as later called, bishop (episcopos). Just as the religion grew more rapidly in some areas than in others, so did a few bishops come to be more powerful than others; the paramount bishoprics were at Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Athens and Rome.
After the Christian religion had become the official state religion it reorganized itself on the pattern of the Roman political government (into parishes, etc.); and because Rome was the Capital of the Empire, the Bishop of Rome grew to be the most influential bishop; but he did not become a Pope, or bishop of bishops, until about the time of Charlemagne, did not become the chief authority in all matters until after the Tenth Century, and was not declared infallible until 1870. It had always been held that a General Council had in matters of doctrine and discipline authority superior to a Pope; in 1870 this was reversed, and the Pope usurped the final authority which for centuries had belonged to the Councils.
By the beginning of the Fourth Century the Roman Empire developed two great lines of expansion; one eastward through Greece, up through the Balkans, and into Russia; one westward, toward Paris, and northward toward Germany, which was then a generic name for the northern half of Europe. Under this centrifugal pressure the Empire divided into two empires, the Western with its capital at Rome (though often the real capital was Paris, for Rome at one time was but a small village); the Eastern with its capital at Constantinople. The word "catholic" meant nothing more than the general religion; it was a synonym for Christianity, and "Roman Catholicism was Christianity in the Western Empire. Greek (or Eastern, or Orthodox) Catholicism, headed by the Patriarch (or chief bishop, or pope) of Constantinople, w as the Christianity of the Eastern Empire.
If the division of the one Empire into two Empires broke Christianity's territorial jurisdiction into two jurisdictions, the Barbarian invasions from the north and from the east, cut its history in two. The religion u hich emerged from the Dark Ages was scarcely recognizable as the religion it had been before. Early Christianity had been spiritual, full of moral passion, humane, apostolic, a New Testament faith; the religion which took its place after the Dark Ages was a system of sacerdotalism, with a liturgy in place of a pulpit, and professionalized, celibate priests in place of pastors; saint worshipping, relic worshipping, full of superstitions, an advocate of poverty and illiteracy, and openly in league w ith political powers. But though this new sacerdotal Roman Catholicism was one side of the shield of the Carlovingian political system, and therefore had a formal, external unity protected by law, inwardly, in men's genuine religious faith or lack of it, it was divided into as many denominations and seets as it is now. There never was "an age of faith" or an era of unity.
Any religion, even a religion as monopolistic, unchallenged, absolutistic, possessive as Thibetan Lamaism, can control the world up to a certain point only. No religion can control the weather, the seasons, the 80il, the ocean or the streams, rock or sand, animals, or plants; nor can it alter the skilled crafts and trades, or the Arts and Sciences. Under a Medici Pope in the Vatican these were the same as when Aristotle had taught zoology more than 2000 years before. Blacksmithing, pottery, carpentry, stone-masonry, war, the art of medicine, navigation, astronomy, mathematics, agriculture, engineering, painting, sculpture, physics, chemistry, these are the same in Boston as in Peking, and are not subject to theological jurisdictions. So it was under the Roman Catholic Church from Charlemagne to the Reformation. Its General Councils could not alter the theorems of Euclid; they could destroy a geometrician, they could not destroy geometry. They had no authority over the Arts and Sciences.
Architecture, out of the midst of which Freemasonry arose, mas one of these non-theological arts which everlastingly lie beyond religious control. It had nothing to say about theology, for it, or against it; nor did theology have anything to say to it, because the principles and skills of building are nonresponsible to theology, and theology is irrelevant to them—as well talk about a Roman Catholic or a Protestant mathematics ! Freemasons themselves could believe personally in what religion they chose, Orthodox Catholicism in Athens, Mohammedanism in Belgrade; could be Waldensians, or Huguenots, or Anabaptists, or Gallicans, or Anglicans, or Copts; but the Craft's art, its customs and leans of organization, its skills and sciences, its formulas and principles, its standards and Landmarks and purposes, were neither for nor against, nor in nor out, of any one of these creeds, because it stood apart from them, and has done so ever since.
The Medieval Freemasons in Engiand from whom modern Freemasonry descended were, as men, in the English Catholic Church, but as Masons it mattered nothing to them whether they were building a cathedral or a castle, a monastery or a fortress, a chapel or a wall, or a bridge.
After England severed itself from the Papacy under Henry VIII, Masons, as men, becarne English Catholics; after the denominations began to multiply in the Eighteenth Century they might be Methodists, Prestyberians, Puritans, Quakers, or Anglicans. Today Masons carry on the work of their Lodges with men belonging to almost every religion or denomination in the world—taking it that atheism is not a religion. Belief in God, the future life, the brotherhood of man, and morality belong to no one religion; but to man at large. The historical changes never involved a break of continuity in Freemasonry, no 'change of faith" and no compromise; the Fraternity has never been a religion or an arm of a church, but like medicine, engineering, and mathematics has always been an art; and like them, and like the soil, seasons, plants, animals, and the oceans, has been universal, and for the same reasons.
NOTE. See page 846 ff. The ancient Landmarks and the Ritual are on this subject both the first authority and the final court of appeal. See also the section under "- Old Charges " in the 1723 Book of Constitutions. The Obligations which are the sanction for private discipline and law in Mssonry, contain no theological commitments or tests.
RENAUD, THE TALE OF.
In his Inaugural Address as Worshipful Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, on November 8, 1941, W.. Bro. Lewis Edwards led Masonic research a step forward by incorporating in an illuminating account of early Operative Freemasonry in France 3 summary of two of the old Masonic romances which in that period (Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries) were circulated orally among Craftsmen everywhere. Those romances, of which there may have been a hundred, have never been searched out and collected; they ought to be, because the first form of the story of HA.-. is more likely to have been among them than elsewhere.
The materials are present, and to a large extent are indexed, in the Iowa and other large Masonic Libraries; it only requires that some student shall collect them into a book, along with their settings in the history and customs of the Fraternity—who does so (as who can tell!) may win for himself that chiefest crown of research which still awaits the clearing up of the origin of the central rite in the Third Degree. (Bro. Dudley Wright collected some of these old romances, but only a few. The story of the 'Prentice Column and of Solomon and the Blacksmith are two of them.)
One of the old tales to which Bro. Edwards adverts is the romance of Renaud, one of the Four Sons of Aymon. (Was Aymon the same as Aynon? possibly; see page 113. Or the word may originally have meant "a man"; or the tale may be a remote form, or echo, of the legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs.) Rens;id went to the church building of St. Peter at Colognes and found work. Because he was holy, and therefore possessed miraculous powers, he did the work of ten men; and at the end of the day after the Master had given each Craftsman five pence, he offered to pay Renaud any sum he asked, but that hero refused to accept more than a penny.
His fellow laborers were so filled with envy of this workman's great power and honors that (in characteristically Medieval fashion) they conspired against him, and while Renaud lay asleep in a crypt, they took "a great Mason's hammer," or maul, and drove it "deep into his brain." They put his body in a sack and threw it into the Rhine, but by another miracle of the fishes, the carp and the trout bore up his body until it was found, and placed in a cart, whereupon the cart moved of itself out to the tomb the archbishop had prepared for the body.
RESEARCH, SOURCES FOR MASONIC.
Professional, full-time Masonic Research on an adequate and permanent basis has not thus far been undertaken by American Grand Lodges, individually or collectively. Out of professional research Grand Lodges can find clear directives for their future policies, solid grounds for their Jurisprudence which at some points is now in confusion, and a means to protect the Craft against the pressure of Anti-Masonic activity, covert or overt, which pressure is sure to be increased during the latter half of the century; and Masons can obtain a reliable, unambiguous knowledge of Freemasonry and an understanding of the Craft's activities and purposes. Grand Lodges thus far have kept their attentions focussed within and upon themselves, neglecting the Ancient Landmark whereby they are the Stewards of the whole Fraternity and propagators and guardians of it throughout the world; in consequence of World War II a new, and farther-seeing statesmanship is likely to be developed, not looking toward international Masonic organizations, which are never desirable, but rather looking toward the planting and care of Lodges over the earth, for the doing of which it is as much their duty and function as is the administration of a home Jurisdiction.
English-speaking Masons, with many thousands of American Masons among them, will live permanently in scores of remote outposts; they will ask for Charters, as they have an inherent right to do, and from their Lodges will come local Provincial or District Bodies, out of which may in turn develop, in some countries (as in great China), a vigorous native Freemasonry. To carry on that farflung statesmanship Grand Lodges will require far more data, knowledge, information, and literature than a few amateur students, each one at his own time and expense, can ever give them, and it needs to be of a professional reliability and completeness.
Any Grand Lodge ean establish such a foundation for itself for less money than it costs to build one new temple. The means to do so already are in use abroad, and are therefore not visionary or experimental. For funds, a Grand Lodge itself may set up an endowment, or a foundation may be financed by wealthy Brethren so many of whom would respond if Grand Lodges led the way, or endowments may be established jointly by both Grand Lodges and private Brothers—after the manner by which the Washington Memorial was financed.
A separate, endowed Foundation may be set up, e.xpressly for ffie purpose; or a Grand Lodge may endow a full-time Lodge of Research, with a salaried staff; or a Grand Lodge Department within itself. Universities are graduating hundreds of men specially trained in historical, legal, and literary research: from the many Masons among these posts graduate scholars it would not be difficult to draw a salaried staff of two or three professional specialists. Such a Foundation could publish its own findings; or could print them in Grand Lodge publications; and it could work according to directives laid down by the Grand Lodge or by the governing Board of the Foundation. Such specialists, with their professional standards, would not fritter away their time loafing in the by-ways of Masonic curiosa, as so many amateurs do, but would serve the Grand Lodge in a capacity similar to that of the Civil Service in a government.
All Masonic research must be grounded in the history of the Craft or it ends in guesswork. Even now, the sources of knowledge of American Masonie history have not been tapped, even those which lie closest at hand. In general these sources are in America, to a lesser extent in Canada, to a large extent, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and for the High Grades are in France. Professional men in research would do work abroad.
In America are many such sources: Genealogical Societies, with their archives. Special libraries of genealogy. Genealogical departments of the large Public Libraries (enough data on early New York Masonry lies buried in the Nsew York Public Library to fill a large volume). Transactions and archives of the oldest Patriotic societies such as G. A. R. and D. A. R. Libraries of Universities specializing in early Americana. Files of the earliest newspapers. Historical Societies, State by State, such as the Massachusetts Historical Society, founded in 1781; and the New York Historical Society which began publications of its CoUection5 in 1811. Many State Societies are financed from general taxes. The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec has been publishing its Transactions since 1829. Many military Lodges came into America and Canada in the French-Indian War; with genealogical clues to gtude him a researcher could uncover many Masonic facts in the Jesuit Relations.
More valuable still are the archives of civil documents kept by each of the States, and the extraordinarily huge (five and one-half million cubic feet) Federal Archives building at Washington—Bro. MacGregor made his Coxe discoveries among civil archives in New Jersey. The Congressional Library, destined to rival Moscow and Paris in size, is in part an inexhaustible collection of archives. In England are unrivalled Imperial Archives, the British Museum, scores of very old private Societies, and special archives in the Universities in which lie unstudied no man can guess how many documents about Colonial America. If a genealogist working there, and assisted by a skilled archivist, were to track down only a few of the old Masonic families, the Oglethorpes, Wesleys, etc., he would find their trails leading to America.
It is known that private collectors here in America have rare Masonic material (oftentimes without their recognizing it) which thus far remains unexamined, as in the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif., and the Morgan Library in New York City. Even the Masonic Libraries in America, the larger of them, have never been run through the researchers' sieve; it is safe to estimate that in the Iowa Grand Lodge Library alone lie a hundred or more "discoveries (For a survey, guide, and hand-book on historical research see (with its bibliographies) The Gateway to History, by Allan Nevins; D. Appleton; New York 1938; Chapter 3 in especial.)
Nothing in this disparages amateur research, or is to discourage amateur researchers, they w ho "for the love a Mason have to ye Crafte" spend themselves and their money at Masonic study, for the place reserved for them in the Grand Lodge Above is inalien able and will ever shine with a more than professional brightness.
If by chance such an amateur is looking for a specialty ideally suited for amateur erudition one not already threshed to death, sufficiently remote to possess the necessary lure, and yet loaded with enough of the authentic ore, he is recommended to spend his next ten years of avocation on one of these books: Polychronycon (eight books), by Ranulf Higden (See under HIGDEN elsewhere in this Supplement.j Anacalypsis (that extraordinary book!), by Godfrey Higgins (a member of Prince of Wales Lodge). Gierke's History of Medieual Law, translated and edited by Maitland. Better still: the canon of writings written and published in Alexandria, Egypt, published as a book entitled Hertnes Trtsmegistus (on which see Literary Remains of Emanuel Deutsch). To architects are recommended the writings of Palladio, Inigo Jones and Bro. Christopher Wren.
Contributors to Ars Qustuor Coronotarum have for more than half a century specialized in minute examinations of old texts, manuscripts, documents, records, archives, belonging in one way or another to architecture, of which there are so many in England and so few in America. In their Harulbook of Masonu Documents, Brothers Knoop & Jones (56 pages) give a descriptive list of such sources:
1. Masons' Contracts.
2. Orders and Commissions to Impress Masons.
3. Fabric Rolls and Building Accounts.
4. State Regulations of Labor.
5. Masonic Regulations Imposed by the Craft.
6. Masons' Companies Records.
8. Lodge Records.
9. The MS. Constitutions.
10. The MS. Catechisms.
13. Lists of Lodges.
RESEARCH LODGES AND ASSOCIATIONS
Among Lodges and Associations for Masonic re search are:
Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Researeh, No. 2076, London, England.
Dorset Masters Lodge, No. 3366, Poole, England
Manchester Association for Masonic Reaearch, Bury England
Merseyside Aasociation for Masonic Research, Birkenhead, England.
The Lodge of Reaearch, Leiceater, North Leiceater, England.
Somerset Masters Lodge, No. 3746, Shenstone, England
Installed Masters' Association, Leeds, England.
Lodge of Research, No. 200, Dublin, Ireland.
Norfolk Installed Mastery Lodge, No. 3905, Norwich England.
Installed Masters Lodge, No. 2494 Hull England
Authors' Lodge, No. 3456, London Engiand. (Confined to members of Authors' Club.)
The North Carolina Lodge of Research, No. 666, Monroe N. Carolina. Constituted in February. 1931.
American Lodge of Researeh, Masonie Hall, New York N. Y. Constituted May 7, 1931
Oregon I,odge of Researeh, Portland, Oregon. Constituted in 1931.
Toronto Society for Masonic Study and Research, Toronto, Canada.
Missouri Lodge of Research, Masonic Temple, St. Louis,
Mo. It received its Dispensation on May 1, 1941 from Harry S. Truman, Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Missouri.
Research Lodge, No. 281, F.& A. M. of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
(Corrigenda—In Masonic Papers, published by Research Lodge, No. 281, the late Bro. Jacob Hugo Tatsch writes on page 69 of Vol. I that this Encyclopedia "is sadly in need of augmentation, revision, and corrections in places."
It is, it ever has been, it ever will be. Before the first book of the first edition of 1844 was off the presses, Dr. Albert G. Mackey began augmenting and correcting and revising it, and continued to do so until his death, after which Robert Macon, William James Hughan, Edward L. Eawkins, and Robert I. Clegg continued to augment and revise it; it is here and now being augmented and revised, and in another twenty-five years another encyclopedist will be augmenting and revising it again. On page 70 the same writer says that The Builder in its years of existence from 1915 to 1930+ "aided in promoting educational work in the Masonic Service Association of the United States"; there was no connection "between the M.S.A. and the National Masonic Research Society, publisher of The Builder, at any time; the M.S.A. published for a few years a magazine of its own called The Master Mason, edited by Joseph Fort Newton.
(The geography of the State of Washington being what it is, the facilities for state-wide Grand Lodge work, including educational work, have never been easy. In one of his Foreign Correspondence Reports of about 1927 or 1928 Bro. J. Edward Allen, of North Carolina, reviewing Washington, made a disparaging statement about the Educational Committee of that Grand Lodge, which was in error; in the same paragraph he stated that the editor of this Supplement had been employed by that Committee, which was not true. Complete credit for the pioneering of the Masonic educational work in Washington early in the 1920's, of which one of the fruits or end-results is the Research Lodge, goes to Bro. Colonel Howard A. Hanson,.M.-.W.-.Walter F. Meier, andt heir colleagues.)
The wardrobe, or the place for keeping sacred vestments. Distinctive costumes in public worship formed a part not only of the Jewish, but of almost all the ancient religions. The revestiary was common to them all. The Master of the Wardrobe became a necessity.
The occurrences which took place in the City of London, in the year 1717, when that important Body, which has since been known as the Grand Lodge of England, was organized, have been always known in Masonuc history as the Revival of Freeenasonroy. AndersoD, in the first edition of the Constitutions, published in 1723 (page 47), speaks of the freeborn Blitish nations having revived the drooping Lodges of London; but he makes no other reference to the transaction. In his second edition, published in 1738, he is more diffuse, and the account there given is the only authority we possess of the organuzation made in 1717: Preston and all subsequent writers have of course derived their authority from Anderson. The transactions are thus detailed by Preston (Illustrations, 1792, page 246), whose amount is preferred, as contain ng in a more sueeinet form all that Anderson has more profusely detailed.
On the accession of George I, the Masons in London and its environs, finding themselves deprived of Sir Christopher Wren and their annual meetings discontinued, resolved to cement themselves under a new Grand Master, and to revive the eommunications and annual festivals of the Soeiety.
With this view, the Lodges at the Goose and Gridiron, in Saint Paul's Church-Yard; the Crown, in Parker's Lane, near Drury Lane; the Apple-Tree Tavern, in Charles Street, Covent Garden; and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern, in Channel Row, Westminster, the only four Lodges in being in the South of England at that time, with some other old brethren met at the AppleTree Tavern, above mentioned, in Februar" 1717; and, having voted the oldest Master Mason then present into the chair, constituted themselves a Grand Lodge, pro tempore, in due form. At this meeting it was resolved to revive the Quarterly Communications of the Fraternity, and to hold the next annual assembly and feast on the 24th of June at the Goose and Gridiron, in Saint Paul's Chureh-Yard, in compliment to the oldest Lodge, which then met there, for the purpose of electing a Grand Master among themselves, till they should have the honor of a noble brother at their head.
Accordingly on Saint John the Baptist's day, 1717, in the third year of the reign of King George I, the Assembly and Feast were held at the said house- when the oldest Master Mason and the Master of a Lodge having taken the chair, a list of proper candidates for the office of Grand Master svas produced; and the names being separately proposed, the Brethren, by a great majority of hands, elected Mr. Anthony Sayer Grand Master of Masons for the ensuing year- who was forthwith invested by the said oldest Master, installed by the Master of the oldest Lodge, and duly congratulated by the assembly, who paid him homage. The Grand Master then entered on the duties of his office, appointed his Wardens, and commanded the Brethren of the four Lodges to meet him and his Wardens quarterly in Communication; enjoining them at the sasne time to recommend to all the Fraternity a punctual attendance on the next annual Assembly and Feact.
This claim, that P'reemasonry was not for the first time orgariized, but only revived in 1717, has been attacked by some of those modern iconoclasts who refuse credence to anything traditional, or even to any record which is not supported hy other eontemporary authority. Chief among these is Brother W. P. Buchan, of England, who, in his numerous articles in the London Freemason (1871-2), has attacked the antiquity of Freemasonry, and refuses to give it an existence anterior to the year 1717.
His exact theory is that "our system of degrees, words, grips, signs, ete., was not in existence until about 1717 A.D." He admits, however, that certain of the "elements or groundwork" of the Degrees existed before that year, but not confined to the Freemasons being common to all the Gilds. He thinks that the present system was indebted to the inventive genius of Anderson and Desaguliers. And he supposes that it was simply "a reconstruction of an ancient society, namely, of some form of old Pagan philosophy. " Henee, he contends that it was not a revival, but only a renaissance, and he explains his meaning in the following language:
before the eighteenth century we had a renaissance of Pagan architecture; then, to follow suit, in the eighteenthcentury we had a renaissance in a new dress of Pagan mysticism, but for neither are we indebted to the Operative Masons, although the Operative Masons were made use of in both cases (London Freemason, September 23, 1871).
Buchan's theory has been attacked by Brothers William J. Hughan and Chalmers I. Paton. That he is right in his theory, that the three Degrees of Master, Fellow Craft, and Apprentice were unknown to the Freemasons of the seventeenth century, and that these classes existed only as gradations of rank, will be very generally admitted.
But there is unquestionable evidence that the modes of recognition, the method of government, the legends, and much of our ceremonial of initiation, were in existence among the Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, and were transmitted to the Speculative Freemasons of the eighteenth century. The work of Anderson, of Desaguliers, and their contemporaries, was to improve and to enlarge, but not to invent. The Masonic system of the present day has been the result of a slow but steady growth. Just as the lectures of Anderson, known to us from their publication in 172.S were probably modified and enlarged by the suecessive labors of Clare, of Dunekerley. of Preston and of Hemming, did he and Desaguliers submit the simple ceremonial, which they found at the reorganization of the Grand Lodge in 1717, to a similar modifieation and enlargement.
When a Dispensation is issued by a Grand Master for the organization of a Lodge, it is granted "to continue of force until the Grand Lodge shall grant a Warrant, or until the Dispensation is revoked by the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge." A Dispensation may therefore be revoked at any time by the authority which issued it, or by a higher authority. Charters are arrested, forfeited, or declared null and void; Dispensations are revoked.
The art of embellishing language with the ornaments of construction, so as to enable the speaker to persuade or affect his hearers. It supposes and requires a proper acquaintance with the rest of the liberal arts; for the first step toward adorning a discourse is for the speaker to become thoroughly acquainted with its subject. and hence the ancient rule that the orator should be acquainted with all the arts and seiences. Its importance as a branch of liberal education is recommended to the Free mason in the Fellow Craft's Degree. It is one of the seven liberal arts and sciences, the second in order (see Liberal Arts and Sciences), and is described in the ancient Constitutions as "retorieke that teacheth a man to speake faire and in subtill terms" (see Harleian Manuscript, Number 1942).
Tradition states that Freemasonry in Rhode Island began as early as the Seventeenth Century but the first Lodge known to exist was Saint John's at Newport, warranted December 27, 1749, by Saint John's Provincial Grand Lodge of Boston, Mass. A second Warrant was issued May 14, 1753, because for some reason Caleb Phillips, the Master, witheld its Charter from the Lodge. Authorized only to confer the First and Second Degrees the new Lodge took no account of the restriction and on being questioned made out so strong a case that a Charter conferring the additional powers was granted to it.
On June 27, 1791, the day of the celebration of the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, representatives of Saint John's Lodge, Newport, and King David's Lodge of the same place, met in the State House and organized a Grand Lodge. Moses Seixas presided and installed the officers who had been elected. A service as afterwards held at Trinity Chureh and a collection of eleven pounds, nine shillings and four pence was given to purchase wood for the poor in the coming winter.
Washington Chapter of New York chartered Providence Royal Arch Chapter on September 3, 1793. this Body was among the Chapters which on March 12, 1798, met and organized a Grand Chapter of Rhode Island, which later helped to organize the General Grand Chapter and continued a member of it antil the Civil War of 1861-5. After some years ' interval it again sent representatives in 1897.
Companion Jeremy L. Cross chartered a Council in 1819 at Providence which had been established by a meeting of Royal Masters on March 28, 1818. During the Morgan excitement meetings were not held and the Council lay dormant until 1841. On October 30, 1860, a Grand Council was organized.
The first Knights Templar Body in Rhode Island was Saint John's Encampment at Providence, formed on August 23, 1802, at Masons Hall in the Board of Trade Building. It was founded by Sir Thomas Smith Webb who remained in office from 1802 until 1815. A Convention held on May 6, 1805, opened a Grand Encampment for Massschusetts and Rhode Island, which is claimed by the Massachusetts authorities to have been the first Grand Encampment in the United States. Pennsylvania, however, ataches this distinction to the Grand Encampment opened in Philadelphia in 1797, but it is thought probable that the ritual used by that Body was different from that in use in the Massachusetts Encampment.
The Charters of Solomon's Lodge of Perfection and Rhode Island Consistory, both issued in 1849, were destroyed by fire and new ones were issued on September 17, 1896, by the Supreme Council, Northrn Masonic Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. On December 14, 1849, were estabished, also at Providence, Rhode Island Council of princes of Jerusalem and Rhode Island Chapter of Rose Croix. On the same day the Van Rensselaer lodge of Perfection was chartered at Newport.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014