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SAINT CLAIR CHARTERS.
In the Advocates' Library, of Edinburgh, is a manuscript entitled Hay's Memoirs, which is, says Lawrie, "a collection of several things relating to the historical account of the most famed families of Scotland. Done by Richard Augustine Hay, Canon Regular of Sainte Genevefs of Paris, Prior of Sainte Pierremont, etc., Anno Domini 1700." Among this collection are two manuscripts, supposed to have been copied from the originals by Canon Hay, and which are known to Masonic scholars as the Saint Clair Charters. These copies, which it seems were alone known in the eighteenthcentury, were first published by Lawrie, in his History of Freemasonry, where they constitute Appendices I and II. But it appears that the originals have since been discovered, and they have been printed by Brother W. J. Hughan, in his Unpublished Records of the Craft, with the following introductory account of them by Brother D. Murray Lyon:
These manuscripts were several years ago accidentally discovered by David Lang, Esq., of the Signet Library, who gave them to the late Brother Aytoun Professor of Belles-Lettres in the University of Edinburgh, in exehange for some antique documents he had. The Professor presented them to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, in whose repositories they now are. There can be no doubt of their identity as originals. We have compared ses eral of the signatures with autographs in other manuscripts of the time.
The Charters are in scrolls of paper— the one 15 by 1l½ inches the other 26 by 11½ inches,— and for their better preservation have been affixed to cloth. The caligraphy is beautiful; and though the edges of the paper haste been frayed, and holes worn in one or two places where the sheets had been folded, there is no difficulty in supplying the few words that have been obliterated and making out the whole of the text. About three inches in depth at the bottom of No. 1, in the righthand corner, is entirely wanting, which may have contained some signatures in addition to those given. The left hand bottom Corner of No. 2 has been similarly torn away, and the same remark with regard to signatures may apply to it. The first document is a letter of jurisdiction, granted by the Freemen Masons of Scotland to William Saint Clair of Roslin. The second purports to have been granted by the Freemen Masons and Hammermen of Scotland to Sir William Saint Clair of Roslin.
Facsimiles and transcripts of these manuscripts are given by D. M. Lyon in his History of the Lodge of Edinburgh. The letter of jurisdiction is probably of a date 1600-1, and the seeund document, probably May 1, 1628.
However difficult it may be to decide as to the precise date of these Charters, there are no Masonic manuscripts whose claim to authenticity is more indisputable; for the statements which they contain tally not only with the uniformly accepted traditions of Scotch Freemasonry, but with the written records of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, both of which show the intimate connection that existed between the Freemasonry of that kingdom and the once powerful but now extinct family of Saint Clair.
SAINT CLAIR, WILLIAM.
The Saint Clairs of Roslin, or, as it is often spelled, of Rosslyn, held for more than three hundred years an intimate connection with the history of Freemasonry in Scotland. William Saint Clair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, was, in 1441, appointed by King James II the Patron anal Protector of the Freemasons of Scotland, and the office was made hereditary in his family. Charles Mackie says of him (Preernasen, May, 1851, page 166) that "he was considered one of the best and greatest Masons of the age."
He planned the construction of a most magnificent collegiate church at his palace of Roslin, of which, however, only the chancel and part of the transept were completed. To take part in this design, he invited the most skilful Freemasons from foreign countries; and in order that they might be conveniently lodged and carry on the work with ease and despatch, he ordered them to erect the neighboring town of Roslin, and gave to each of the most worthy a house and lands. After his death, whieh occurred about 1480, the office of hereditary Patron was transmitted to his descendants, who, says Lawrie (History of Freemasonry, page 100), "held their principal annual meetings at Kilwinning."
The prerogative of nominating the office-bearers of the Craft, which had always been exercised by the kings of Scotland, appears to have been neglected by James VI after his accession to the throne of England.
Hence the Freemasons, finding themselves embarrassed for want of a Protector, about the year 1600, if that be the real date of the first of the Saint Clair Manuscripts, appointed William Saint Clair of Roslin, for himself and his heirs, their "Patrons and Judges." After presiding over the Order for many years, says Lawrie, William Saint Clair went to Ireland, and in 1630 a second Charter was issued, granting to his son, Sir William Saint Clair, the same power with which his father had been invested. This Charter having been signed by the Masters and Wardens of the principal Lodges of Seotland, Sir William Saint Clair assumed the active administration of the affairs of the Craft, and appointed his Deputies and Wardens, as had been customary with his ancestors. For more than a century after this renewal of the compact between the Laird of Roslin and the Freemasons of Scotland, the Craft continued to flourishh under the successive heads of the family.
But in the year 1736, William Saint Clair, to whom the Hereditary Protectorship had descended in due course of succession, having no children of his onvn, became anxious that the office of Grand Master should not become vacant at his death. Accordingly, he assembled the members of the Lodges of Edinhurgh and its vicinity, and represented to them the good effects that would accrue to them if they should in future have at their head a Grand Master of their own choice, and declared his intention to resign into the hands of the Craft his hereditary right to the office. It was agreed by the assembly that all the Lodges of Scotland should be summoned to appear by themselves, or proxies, on the approaching Saint Andrew's Day, at Edinburgh, to take the necessary steps for the election of a Grand Master.
In compliance with the call, the representatives of thirty-two Lodges met at Edinburgh on the 30th of Novembers 1736, when William Saint Clair tendered the following resignation of his hereditary office:
I, William Saint Clair, of Roslin, Esq., taking into my consideration that the Masons in Scotland did, by several deeds, constitute and appoint trillium and Sir William Saint Clairs of Roslin, my ancestors and their heirs, to be their patrons, protectors judges, or masters, and that my holding or claiming any such jurisdiction, right, or privilege might be prejudicial to the Craft and creation of Masonry, whereof I am a member; and I, being desirous to advance and promote the good and utility of the said Craft of Masonry to the utmost of my power, do therefore hereby, for me and my heirs, renounce quit claim. overgive, and discharge all right, claim, or pretense that I, or my heirs, had, have, or any ways may have, pretend to, or claim to be, patron, protector, judge, or master of the Masons in Scotland, in virtue of any deed or deeds made and granted by the said Masons, or of any grant or charter made by any of the kings of Scotland to and in favor of the said William and sir William saint Clairs of Roslin, my predecessors, or any other manner or way whatsoever, for now and ever; and I bind and oblige me and my heirs to warrand this present renunciation and discharge at all hands. And I consent to the registration hereof in the books of council and session, or any other judges' books competent, therein to remain for preservation.
Then follows the usual formal and technical termination of a deed (Lawrie's History of Freemasonry, page 148).
The deed of resignation having been accepted, the Grand Lodge proceeded to the election of its officebearers, when William Saint Clair, as was to be expected, was unanimously chosen as Grand Master; an office which, however, he held but for one year, being succeeded in 1737 by the Earl of Cromarty. He lived, however, for more than half a eentury afterward, and died in January, 1778, in the seventyeighth year of his age.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland was not unmindful of his services to the Craft, and on the announcement of his death a funeral Lodge was convened, when four hundred Brethren, dressed in deep mourning, being present, Sir William Forbes, who was then the Grand Master, delivered an impressive address, in the course of which he paid the following tribute to the character of Saint Clair. After alluding to his voluntary resignation of his high office for the good of the Order, he ad fled:
"His zeal, however, to promote the welfore of our Society was not confined to this single instance; for he continued almost to the very close of life, on all occasions where his influence or his example could prevail, to extend the spirit of Masonry and to increase the number of the Brethren.... To these more conspicuous and public parts of his character I am happy to be able to add, that he possessed in an eminent degree the virtues of a benevolent and good heart—virtues which ought ever to be the distinguishing marks of a true brother" (Lawrie's History of Freemasonry page 224).
Brother Charles Mackie, in the London Freemasons Quarterly Retried (1831, page 167), thus deseribes the last dayg of this venerable patron of the Order:
"William Saint Clair of Roslin, the last of that noble family, was one of the most remarkable personages of his time; although stripped of his paternal title an(l possessions, he walked abroad respected and reverenced. He moved in the first society; and if he did not carry the purse, he was stamped with the impress of nobility. He did not require a cubit to be adsled to his stature, for he was considered the stateliest man of his age."
The preceding account by Doctor Mackey of the connection of the Saint Clairs with Seoteh Freemasonry is based almost entirely on Lawrie's History of Freemasonry, 1804, but a later anal more critical writer—D. Murray Lyon (History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, 1873, page 3)—considers the statement that James II invested the Earl of Orkney and Caithness with the dignity of Grand Master and subsequently made the office hereditary to be "altogether apocryphal." The real fact appears to be, continues Brother Hawkins, that the Operative Masons of Scotland by the Saint Clair Charters did confer upon the Saint Clair family the office of Patron and Protector of the Craft, and that William Saint Clair was made a Freemason in 1735 in order to resign this office, and in return for such apparent magnanimity to be elected in 1736 the first Grand Master of Scotland.
SAINT CLAIR, WILLIAM OF ROSLIN.
First Grand Master Mason of Scotland, elected, in 1736 when the Grand Lodge of Scotland was formed, an office he held for one year only. A good deal of discussion has been had pro and con as to the validity of two old documents known as the Saint Clair Charters, one dated about 1601 and one 1628, in which documents the statement is made that the Operative Masons of Scotland had conferred upon the family of Saint Clair of Roslin the honor of being recognized as Patron and Protector of the Craft. In 1736 when a first Grand Master was to be chosen for the Scottish Grand Lodge, William Saint Clair was made a Freemason in the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning and he also formally resigned all claim to be Patron and Protector of the Freemasons in Scotland on November 30 of the same year at a meeting held at Edinburgh. William Saint Clair died in 1778.
SAINT CONSTANTINE, ORDER OF.
Presumed to have been founded by the Emperor Isaac Angelus Comnenus, in 1190).
Sañto Domingo. One of the principal islands of the West Indies. Freemasonry was taken there at an early period in the eighteenth century.
Rebold ( History of Three Grants Lodgers, page 687) said in 1746. It must certainly have been in active condition there at a time not long after, for in 1761 Stephen Morin, who had been deputed by the Council of Emperors of the East and West to propagate the advanced Degrees, selected St. Domingo for the seat of his Grand East, and thence disseminated the system, which resulted in the establishment of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Aecepted Seottish Rite at Charleston, South Carolina. The French Revolution, and the insurrection of the slaves at about the same period, was for a time fatal to the progress of Freemasonry in St. Domingo. Subsequently, the island was divided into two independent governments—that of Dominica, inhabited by whites, and that of Hayti, inhabited by blacks. In each of these a Masonie obedience was organized. The Grand Lodge of Hayti was charged with irregularity in its bformation, and was not recognized by the Grand Lodges of the United States. It has been, however, by those of Europe generally, and a representative from it was accredited at the Congress of Paris, held in 1855.
Freemasonry was revived in Dominica, Rebold says, in the above mentioned work, in 1822; other authorities say in 1855. A Grand Lodge was organized at the City of St. Domingo, December 11, 1858. Dominican Freemasonry has been established under the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the National Grand Orient of the Dominican Republic divided into four sections, namely, a Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter General, Grand Consistory General, and Supreme Council. The last Body was not recognized by the Mother Council at Charleston, since its establishment is in violation of the Scottish Constitutions, which prescribe one Supreme Council only for all the West India Islands.
SAINTE CROIX, EMANUEL JOSEPH GUIL HEM DE CLERMONT-LODEVE DE.
A French antiquary, and member of the Institute, who was born at Mormoiron, in 1746, and died in 1809. His work, published in two volumes in 1784, and entitled Recherches Historiques et Critiques sur les Mysteres du Paganisme, or Historical and Critical Studies on the Mysteries of Paganism, is one of the most valuable and instructive essays that we have in any language on the ancient mysteries—those religious associations whose history and design so closely connect them with Freemasonry. The later editions were enriched by the valuable notes of Silvestre de Tracy.
SAINT GEORGE'S DAY.
The twenty-third of April. Being the Patron Saint of England, his festival is celebrated by the Grand Lodge. The Constitution requires that "there shall be a Grand Masonic festi val annually on the Wednesday next following Saint George's Day."
A town in France, about ten miles from Paris, where James II established his Court after his expulsion from England, and where he died. Doctor Oliver says (Historical Landmarks ii, page 28), and the statement has been repeatedly made by others, that the followers of the dethroned monarch who accompanied him in his exile, carried Freemasonry into France, and laid the foundation of that system of innovation which subsequently threw the Order into confusion by the establishment of a new Degree, which they called the Chevalter Maçon Ecossais, and which they worked in the Lodge of Saint Germain.
But Doctor Oliver has here antedated history. James II died in 1701, and Freemasonry was not introduced into France from England until 1725. The exiled House of Stuart undoubtedly made use of Freemasonry as an instrument to aid in their attempted restoration; but their connection with the Institution must have been after the time of James II, and most probably under the auspices of his grandson, the Young Pretender, Charles Edward.
SAINT GERMAIN, THE COUNT OF.
Also known as Count de Bellamura in Venice; as the Chevalier de Schöning at Pisa; as Chevalier Well done at Milan; and at Genoa as Count Soltikow. authentic record of his origin. First heard of in Europe as the Count de Saint Germain, in 1750 Introduced into French society and became Popular in Paris. Handsome, able musician, especially upon the violin, expert magician, inveterate gambler accomplished linguist, and the most reasonable account is that he was the natural son of an Italian princess, born about 1710, at San Germano, Savoy This account gives his father as a local tax-collector Rotondo. Some accounts give his birthplace at Letmeritz, in Bohemia; he was pronounced an Alsatian Jew named Simon Wolff by the Marquis de Crequy. Some place him as the Marquis de Betmar, born in Portugal, others state he was a Spanish Jesuit, named Aymar. Frederick II of Prussia named him "a man no one has ever been able to make out."
He laid claim to the highest rank of Freemasonry, the Order being at that time strong in France, claiming also that he was over five hundred years of age, had been born in Chaldaea, possessed the secrets of the Egyptian sages, master of the art of transmutation of metals, which he said he had learnt in Hindustan, that he could produce pure diamonds by the artificial crystallization of pure carbon.
His familiarity with modern history and the polities of the time were startling and he made a remarkable prophecy in the case of Kinv Louis XV Ellis advertised attainments were of a character to win him renown and he became an intimate of Frederick the Great, remaining long at his Court. He was concerned in the conspiracies at St. Petersburg in 1762. He went to Germany, 1774, later traveled in Italy and Denmark, founded the Society of Saint Jackin which was afterwards known as the Saint Joachim. In 1783 he declared that he was weary of immortality and resigned it at Eckernfiorde, in Schleswig.
An island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Lodges have been chartered from time to time by English authority at James Town, St. Helena. Several-early ones became extinct and the first to be successful was St. Helena Lodge, warranted on April 6, 1843. Itsoriginal papers were lost or destroyedwithin two years and a duplicate Charter was granted on May 3, 1845.
SAINT JOHN, FAVORITE BROTHER OF.
The Eighth Degree of the Swedish Rite.
SAINT JOHN, LODGE OF.
See Lodge of Saint John.
SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM, KNIGHT OF.
See Knight of Saint John of Jerusalem.
ST. JOHNS' AND YORK MASONS.
In England, Scotland, and Ireland at the beginning of the first Grand Lodge in 1717 there was an unknown but comparatively large number of Lodges and Masons called generally St. Johns'. St. Johns' Lodges prwor to 1717 may have been Lodges without any copy of the Old Charges, were therefore seli-constituted as the meaning of that term would have obtained in that time; also, there were a number of Masons not in any Lodge, and apparently in some instances "one Mason Snot in any Lodge] would make another.
" After the new Grand Lodge system was established a number of the St. Johns' Lodges (one may believe a larger number than existing records account for) continued to work (and not as Operative Lodges) but never joined the Grand Lodge. Yet during the first half of the Eighteenth Century these were accepted as genuine Lodges, and their members often Visited regular (on the Roll of Grand Lodge) Lodges. The Rev. George Oliver had a muddled theory that Free masonry had been revived and reformed by St. John the Evangelist and for that reason he called Craft Masonry "St. John's Masonry." Owing to the large circulation of his books in America this term came into general use (it is obsolete now); Oliver's St. John~s Masons had no connection in thought or theory with the St. Johns' Masons familiar to Eighteenth Century Lodges.
One of the many proofs of the numerousness of St. Johns' Masons is given by the records of Old Dundee Lodge, No. 18 (probably older than Grand Lodge). On page 168 of his history of that Lodge Arthur Heiron writes: "In olden days there were certain Lodges who were never regularly constituted, [by Grand Lodge] but merely recognized St. John as their leader. They were looked upon as 'Unattaehed' or 'Independent Lodges,' but their members w ere allowed to visit the regular [on Grand Lodge Rolls] Lodges on terms of equality, signing themselves as 'St. Johns' Men'; paying generally an extra fee.
'Old Dundee' received many such Brethren as visitors, and from 1748 to 177O at least 162 [six per year] signed our Minute Book ...."
When the Antient Grand Lodge was formed in 1751 it described itself as founded according to the Aneient Institutions of York. Its members often called themselves, and were called by others, York Masons. When the Antient Provineial Grand Lodge of Canada was formed in 1792 at Montreal (and Canadian Masonry influenced New England and New York Masonry in many ways) it became known AS the York Body and its members called themselves York Masons. The many Antient chartered Lodges which were warranted during or prior to the Revolution in the Colonies also called themselves York Masons. The term "York" was therefore introduced into America by Canadian and British Lodges and Brethren, and hence did not originate here.
In his introduction to Memorials of the Mason* Union, William James Hughan animadverts on the American use of "York," which he took to be an American-made myth. (This Introduction, famous in 1874, is now obsolete.)
Elsewhere he accuses American Masons of "boasting" of being "York Masons." Bro. Hughan was in his own generation second to none as a cautious, aeeurate, historical scholar, but he had the misfortune to be in some degree in error, and oftentimes w holly in error, in his statements of fact about American Masonry. His attribution of the York myth and boasting to us is one of his mistakes. We ereated no myth about York, for as said above the term came straight from Britain and Canada; we never boasted about it. Today the word "Yorl;" has lost any meaning it was ever supposed to have, and when used, if ever it still is used, functions as a mere label to distinguish the Craft and Chapter Rites from Templarism and the Scottish Rite.
SAINT JOHN'S MASONRY.
The Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (184e,, chapter ii) declare that that Body "practises and recognizes no degrees of Masonry but those of Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason denominated Saint John's Masonry."
SAINT JOHN'S ORDER.
In a system of Freemasonry which Doctor Oliver says (Mirror for the Johannites, pa(re 58) was "used, as it is confidently affirmed, in the fourteenth century" (but it is doubtful if it could be traced farther back than the early part of the seventeenth), this appellation occurs in the obligation:
That you will always keep, guard, and conceal,
And from this time you never will reveal
Either to M. M., F. C., or Apprentice
Of Saint John's Order, what our grand intent is.
The same title of Joannis Ordo is given in the document of uncertain date known as the Charter of Cologne.
SAINT JOHN THE ALMONER.
The son of the King of Cyprus, and born in that island in the sixth century He was fleeted Patriarch of Alexandria, and has been canonized by both the Greek and Roman churches, his festival among the former occurring on the 11th of November, and among the latter on the 23d of January. Bazot (Manuel du Franc-Mason, page 144) thinks that it is this saint, and not Saint John the Evangelist or Saint John the Baptist, who is meant as the true patron of our Order. "'He quit his country and the hope of a throne," says this author, into go to Jerusalem, that he might generously aid and assist the knights and pilgrims.
He founded a hospital and organized a fraternity to attend upon sick and wounded Christians, and to bestow pecuniary aid upon the pilgrims who visited the Holy Sepulcher. Saint John, who was worthy to become the patron of a society whose only object is charity, exposed his life a thousand times in the cause of virtue. Neither war, nor pestilence, nor the fury of the infidels, could deter him from pursuits of benevolence. But death, at length, arrested him in the midst of his labors. Yet he left the example of his virtues to the Brethren, who have made it their duty to endeavor to imitate them. Rome canonized him under the name of Saint John the Almoner, or Saint John of Jerusalem; and the Freemasons—whose temples, overthrown by the barbarians, he had caused to be rebuilt—selected him with one accord as their patron."
Doctor Oliver, however (Mirror for the Johannite Masons, page 39), very properly shows the error of appropriating the patronage of Freemasonry to this saint, since the festivals of the Order are June 24th and Deeember 27th, while those of Saint John the Almoner are January 23d and November 11th. He has, however, been selected as the patron of the Masonic Order of the Templars, and their Commanderies are dedicated to his honor on amount of his charity to the poor, whom he called his Masters, because he owed them all service, and on account of - his establishment of hospitals for the succor of pilgrims in the East.
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST.
One of the Patron Saints of Freemasonry, and at one time, indeed, the only one, the name of Saint John the Evangelist having been introduced subsequent to the sixteenth century.
His festival occurs on the 24th of June, and is very generally celebrated by the Masonie Fraternity. Dalcho (Ahiman Rezon, page 150) says that "the stern integrity of Saint John the Baptist, which induced him to forego every minor consideration in discharging the obligations he owed to God; the unshaken firmness with sA>hieh he met martyrdom rather than betray his duty to his Master; his steady reproval of vice, and continued preaching of repentance and virtue. make him a fit patron of the Masonic institution." The Charter of Cologne says: "We celebrate, annually, the memory of Saint John, the Forerunner of Christ and the Patron of our Community." The Knights Hospitaler also dedicated their Order to him; and the ancient expression of our instrucw tions, which speaks of a "Lodge of the Holy Saint John of Jerusalem," probably refers to the same saint.
Krause, in his Kunsturkunden (pages 295 to 305), gives abundant historical proofs that the earliest Freemasons adopted Saint John the Baptist, and not Saint John the Evangelist as their patron. It is worthy of note that the Grand Lodge of England was revived on Saint John the Baptist's Day, in 1717 (Constitutions, 1738, page 109), and that the Annual Feast was kept on that day until 1725, when it was held for the first time on the Festival of the Evangelist (see page 119 of the above edition). Lawrie says (history of Freemasonry, page 152) that the Seottish Freemasons always kept the festival of the Baptist until 1737, when the Grand Lodge changed the time of the annual election to Saint Andrew's Day.
SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST.
One of the Patron Saints of Freemasonry, whose festival is celebrated on the 27th of December. His constant admonition, in his Epistles, to the cultivation of brotherly love, and the mystical nature of his Apocalyptic visions, have been, perhaps, the principal reasons for the veneration paid to him by the Craft. Notwithstanding a well-known tradition, all documentary evidence shows that the eonneetion of the name of the Evangelist with the Masonie Order is to be dated long after the sixteenth century, before which time Saint John the Baptist was exclusively the patron saint of Freemasonry. The two are, however, now always united, for reasons set forth in the article on the Dedication of Lodges, which see.
See Aldworth, Mrs.
SAINT MARTIN, LOUIS CLAUDE.
A mystical writer and Masonic leader of considerable reputation in the eighteenth century, and the founder of the Rite of Martinism. He w as born at Amboise, in France, on January 18, 1743, being descended from a family distinguished in the military service of the kingdom. Saint Martin when a youth made great progress in his studies, and became the master of several aneient and modern languages.
After leaving school, he entered the army, in aeeordanee with the custom of his family, becoming a member of the regiment of Foix. But after six years of service, he retired from a profession which he found uncongenial with his fondness for metaphysical pursuits. He then traveled in Switzerland, Germany, England, and Italy, and finally retired to Lyons, where he remained for three years in a state of almost absolute seclusion, known to but few persons, and pursuing his philosophie studies.
He then repaired to Paris, where, notwithstanding the tumultuous scenes of the revolution which was working around, he remained unmoved by the terrible events of the day, and intent only on the prosecution of his thcosophie studies. Attracted by the mystical systems of Boehme and Swedenborg, he became himself a mystic of no mean pretensions, and attracted around him a crowd of disciples, who were content, as they saids to hear, without understanding the teachings of their leader.
In 1775 appeared his first and most important work, entitled Des Erreurs et de la Vérité, ail les Hommes rappelés au principe universel de la Science, or Some Errors and Truth, where Men recall the Universal Principle of Knowledge.
This work, which contained an exposition of the ideology of Saint Martin, acquired for its author, by its unintelligible transcendentalism, the title of the Kant of Germany. Saint Martin had published this work under the pseudonym of the l Unknown Philoso pher, We Philoso pie inconnu; whence he was subsequently known by this name, which was also assumed by solre of his Masonic adherents; and even a Degree bearing that title was invented and inserted in the Rite of Philalethes. The treatise Des Erreurs et de la Vérité was in fact made a sort of text- w book by the Philalethans, and highly recommended by the Order of the Initiated Knights and Brothers of Asia, whose system was in fact a compound of theosophy and mysticism. It was so popular, that between 1775 and 1784 it had been through five editions.
Saint Martin, in the commencement of his Masonic career, attached himself to Martinez Paschalis, of whom he was one of the most prominent disciples. But he subsequently attempted a reform of the system of Paschalis, and established what he called a Rectified Rite, but which is better known as the Rite or system of Martinism, which consisted of ten Degrees. It was itself subsequently reformed, and, being reduced to seven Degrees, was introduced into some of the Lodges of Germany under the name of the Reformed Ecossism of Saint Martin.
The theosophic doctrines of Saint Martin were introduced into the Masonic Lodges of Russia by Count Gabrianko and Admiral Pleshcheyeff, and soon became popular.
Under them the Martinist Lodges of Russia became distinguished not only for their Masonic and religious spirit—although too much tinged with the mysticism of Jacob Boehme and their founder—but for an active zeal in practical works of charity of both a private and public character. The character of Saint Martin has been much mistaken, especially by Masonic writers. Those who, like Voltaire, have derided his metaphysical theories, seem to have forgotten the excellence of his private character, his kindness of heart, his amiable manners, and his varied and extensive erudition. Nor should it be forgotten that the true object of all his Masonic labors was to introduce into the Lodges of France a spirit of pure religion. His theory of the origin of Freemasonry was not, however, based on any historical research, and is of no value, for he believed that it was an emanation of the Divinity, and was to be traced to the very beginning of the world.
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