Brother Frederick Dalcho
Intro By: Illustrious McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33º
(Portrait to be added)
Portrait By: Ill. Bro. John D. Melius, 33º
Much has been written about Brother Frederick Dalcho who did much to promote Freemasonry in Charleston, South Carolina and around the world.
On September 23, 1801, Brother Dalcho delivered his first "Oration" to the "Sublime Grand Lodge," then located in Charleston, South Carolina. In his opening statement, he stated, "The duty of this evening, to which, I am called by the honor of your appointment, is a task infinitely more important, and arduous, than my feeble abilities are equal to: And nothing but the high respect I have for the Society.
A few years later Brother John Fowler of Ireland wrote to Brother Dalcho about obtaining his permission to reprint all of his “Orations.” To this Brother Dalcho gave his permission.
In researching Brother Frederick Dalcho I was always finding references to his “Orations” but never being able to locate them till later on the my research. It was not until 1999 that a friend of mine from England by the name of Brother Kai Huhes sent me a copy of the “Orations” as printed in Ireland by Brother John Fowler.
It is with great pleasure that in cooperation with the Grand Lodge of South Carolina along with the permission of our Grand Master Kent Elkins that we present in its entirety Dalcho’s Orations.
Of the Illustrious Brother
Frederick Dalcho, Esq., M. D.
By Permission of the Author under the Sanction of
Ill. The College of Knights of K.H.
Printed By John King Westmoreland
Ilustrious College of Knights of K.H.
And of the
ORIGINAL CHAPTER OF
Ill. Brother John Fowler……………...….…….Grand Com. & K. of K.H.
Ill. Bro. John Rigby…….……………….……. Dep. G. Com. & K. of K.H.
Ill. Bro. John Boyce, Sen………….…….……………….……..…..K. of K.H.
Ill. Bro. Joshua Holmes…………..…….……..………….………….K. of K.H.
Ill. Bro. John Norman…………………….……………….…..………K. of K.H.
Ill. Bro. William Grace………………………………………………….K. of K.H.
I. Prince John Rigby……………………….………. M.W. Sovereign G.R.C.
I. Prince Nicholas Kildahl……………………..…………….…………….G.R.C.
I. Prince Mathew Nesbitt………………………..……..………………...G.R.C.
I.Prince Lloyd Henry Thomas……………………….……………………G.R.C.
I. Prince Hugh McMahon……………………….……………………….…G.R.C.
I. Prince Lt. Col. I. Wray Ackinson…………………………………….G.R.C.
I. Prince Thomas Henry Greaves…………………………………….…G.R.C.
I. Prince John Bott……………………………...…..…………………..….G.R.C.
I. Prince Michael Fullam……………………….………….……………….G.R.C.
I. Prince William Freeman…………………….……………………….….G.R.C.
I. Prince William Piers McAlpin……………….………..…………….…G.R.C.
I. Prince William Barrett………………………………..………………….G.R.C.
I. Prince Professor Von Finaigle……………………….……………….G.R.C.
I. Prince Henry Townsend………………………..….Grand Treas. G.R.C.
I. Prince Michael Murphy Collier……………………….……………...G.R.C.
I. Prince Valentine Bennett…………………………..………………….G.R.C.
I. Prince Christopher Burke………………………..……………………G.R.C.
I. Prince Noblett Harnett………………………………………………….G.R.C.
I. Prince Archibald Hamilton Rowan………….………..………….…G.R.C.
SUBLIME GRAND LODGE
March 21st, A. L. 5807.
On Motion, Resolved, That the Grand Secretary do wait on Brother Frederick Dalcho, Sublime Grand Master, and request a Copy of his Oration for Publication.
Extract from the Minutes.
JOHN P. PROYS,
S. Grand Secretary.
FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS.
March 28, 5807.
The Grand Officers and Members of the Incorporated Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, in South-Carolina, who were present at the delivery of the Oration, by Brother Doctor Frederick Dalcho, in the sublime Grand Lodge of South-Carolina, joined in the request to have the said Oration published.
By Order of
Dr. JAMES LINAH,
Right Worshipful Grand Master.
WHEN the following Sheets were written, it was not supposed that they would be given to the press, as they contained many passages, relating to the Masonic system, which could not, consistently with the rules of our Order, be laid before the Public. In consequence, however, of the request of the bodies before whom it was delivered, and also of a number of respectable visiting Brethren, to have it published, it has been arranged in such a way, as to admit of it. The blanks, which occur in many places, contained, passages which none but the initiated should ever know. In the Appendix, Note D. these passages are given in hieroglyphics, for the use of the Sublime Masons. This is not done in all copies, as they would be of no use, to any, below the 18th degree.
The history of the difference between the Ancient and Modern Masons, usually so called, I confess to have been unacquainted with until very lately; And the more I inquired about the subject, the more I was surprised, that the knowledge of it had not been before, obtained by the Masons of this country. But when I became Grand Master of the Lodge of perfection, I considered it as my duty to ascertain the origin of the different Symbolic bodies; and the result of my inquiries is given in the appendix, Note B.
In the Circular Report of the Inspectors, which is re-printed in the Appendix, some errors are corrected which escaped observation at the time it was published.
Many errors, I doubt not, will be found in the following Oration. But as the subject is important and yet but little trodden; my aim truth, and the time allotted me to compose it, and prepare it for the press, was short, I hope they will be excused. I have placed my spes et solatium in the candor and indulgence of my Brethren.
DELIVERED IN THE
SUBLIME GRAND LODGE,
IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH-CAROLINA
23d OF SEPTEMBER, 5801,
BEFORE THE MEMBERS OF THAT LODGE,
THE SYMBOLIC GRAND LODGE OF ANCIENT YORK MASONS,
THE OFFICERS OF THE SEVERAL LODGES IN THE CITY,
AND PUBLISHED AT THEIR REQUEST.
BROTHER FREDERICK DALCHO,
MEMBER OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE XXXIII DEGREE,
AND THE GRAND ORATOR OF THE SUBLIME LODGE OF
Causa lattet, vis est notissima Ovid. M.
Charleston, South Carolina:
PRINTED BY T. B. BOWEN, NO. 3, BROAD-STREET
COLONEL JOHN MITCHELL, Sublime Grand Master, and President of the Supreme Council of Masons in the United States.
To BENJAMIN CUDWORTH, ESQ. Deputy Grand Master; and the other Officers and Members of the Ineffable Lodge, and Councils;
AND HIS EXCELLENCY
JOHN DRAYTON, Governor of the State of South-Carolina, and Right Worshipful Grand Master of Ancient York-Masons; and the other Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge.
THIS ORATION is respectfully inscribed, as a small testimony of respect,
BY THEIR AFFECTIONATE BROTHER,
SEPTEMBER 23, 59801.
On Motion, Resolved that the Grand Secretary does wait on the Grand Orator request a Copy of his Oration for Publication.
Extract from the Minutes.
ISAAC AULD, S. G. Secretary.
The Grand Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York-Masons in South-Carolina, who were present at the delivery of the Oration by Brother Dr. Frederick Dalcho, in the Sublime Lodge, joined in the request to have the said Oration published.
Charleston, September 23, 5801.
By order of the Deputy Grand Master,
JOHN H. MITCHELL,
The duty of this evening, to which I am called by the honor of your appointment, is a task infinitely more important, and arduous, than feeble abilities are equal to: And nothing but the high respect I have for the Society, which have honored me with the appointment could have induced me to have accepted of it.
The subject, on which, I am to address you, is capacious, than the utmost powers of the human mind can embrace. Every sphere, in the immense regions of space, feels the benign influence of the institution. I must, therefore, call on your fraternal indulgence to pass over in silence, the many great imperfections which you will discover in this performance, and accept my zeal, for better abilities. The time, which I could appropriate to it, from the more imperious demands of my profession, has been short and interrupted, and which, I ardently hope, will also, plead with you, as an apology for my deficiencies.
Then beginning this Oration, it was my intention to have given an historical dissertation on the origin and progress of Masonry, until the present period. And to have pointed out the effects produced on Society, by the extensive promulgation of the principles of the order; but I have since determined to reserve it for a future occasion. I shall, therefore, briefly mention some leading points of its history, and dwell, more fully, on the moral principles of the institution, as they affect the general condition of mankind.
Masonry is the most perfect and sublime institution, ever formed, for promoting the happiness of individuals, or for increasing the general good of the community. Its fundamental principles are those grand bulwarks of Society, universal benevolence and brotherly love. It holds out, in its precepts, those captivating pictures of virtue, which stimulate the brotherhood to deeds of greatness; and offers to its professors, dignity and respect. It expands the ideas, enlarges the benevolent feelings of the heart, and renders man the friend of his species. It teaches us those great and awful truths, on which futurity is founded, and points to those happy means, by which we may obtain the rewards of virtue. “It also instructs us in the duty we owe to our neighbor, and teaches us not to injure him in any of his connections, and, in all our dealings with him, to act with justice and impartiality. It discourages defamation; it bids us not to circulate any whisper of infamy, improve any hint of suspicion, or publish any failure of conduct. It orders us to be faithful to our trusts, not to deceive him who relieth upon us; to be above the meanness of dissimulation; to let the words of our mouths express the thoughts of our hearts; and whatsoever we promise, religiously to perform.”
When the rude blast of war assails an unhappy country with its ravages, and embattles legions of kindred men are opposed in direful conflict; when all around perish by the victor’s sword, and humanity stands appalled at the sight-the Mason’s extended arms preserves him from destruction. He meets with friendship and protection from his enemy, and, instead of receiving the fatal weapon in his bosom, his heart is gladdened by hearing the endearing appellation of Brother. When the Corsairs of Algiers, with unprincipled fury, attack the defenseless vessels of unoffending nations, and load their unhappy crews with the bond of servitude, to drag a miserable existence under the lash of tyranny, the Mason’s well known sign preserves him from chains, and the kindly offices of a brother, are extended to him.
Such being the principles and the advantages of Masonry, it ceases to be a matter of surprise, that in every country, the art has been professed, and encouraged, by the most enlightened and virtuous of their inhabitants. The rulers of mighty Empires and the chieftains of great nations have, oftentimes, joined our fraternal Society, and immortalized their names by practicing the virtuous principles of the order.
The manner, in which the mysteries of the Craft are revealed to us, none but Masons can ever know. The ceremonies used, on those occasions, are calculated to impress, upon the mind of the candidate, religious awe, and a high veneration for the cause of virtue. Notwithstanding the depravity of mankind, and the many vicious characters who have, unfortunately, been received into the Society, yet the mysteries of the Order have never been disclosed to the world.
The origin of Masonry may be dated from the creation of the world. The symmetry and harmony displayed by the divine Architect in the formation of the planetary system gave rise to many of our mysteries.
“Let there be Light proclaimed the Almighty Lord,
Astonished Chaos heard potent word.
Through all this his realms the kindling Ether runs.
And the mass starts into a million suns;
Earth, round each sun, with quick explosions, burst,
And second planets issue from the first.
Bend as they journey with projectile force,
In bright ellipses their reluctant course;
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centers, centers roll,
And form, self-balanced, one revolving whole;
Onward they move amid their bright abode,
Space without bounds, the bosom of their God!”
In the earliest age of man, when the human mind was untainted by the vices and prejudices of later times, unshackled by terrors and anathema’s of contending sectaries, and the machinations of bigoted Priests, the God of Nature received the homage of the world, and the worship of his adorable name constituted the principle employment of him, to whom the mysteries of Nature were first revealed. After the deluge, the worship of the Most high was obscured by clouds of imagery, and defiled by idolatry. Mankind were conscious of some great and incomprehensible cause of the uniformity and wonderful progression of the works of Nature and bewildered, in conjecture, they represented the great unknown cause by such objects as appeared to produce the most powerful effects on the face of the world, from whence the Sun and Moon became the symbols of the deity. As the manners of the people became more depraved, their knowledge of truth was lost in their apostasy, and their ignorance and superstition increased with their debasement, they, at length, forgot the emblematically allusion, and adored the Symbols instead of the Divinity.
I am afraid that the same charge may be made against the Masons of the present day; and that many are satisfied with the outward trappings of the Order, and neglect to study those grand principles, of which, the decorations are but emblematically signification’s. The splendid parade on a Masonic festival, the gorgeous apparel to attract attention and make the vulgar stare, are, I am afraid, objects of more real concern to many, than the exercise of those acts of benevolence which are strongly inculcated by the order.
In many of the ancient nations of the East, their religious rites were enveloped by the priest in allegories, emblems, hieroglyphics and mystic devices, which none could understand, but those of their own order. From these ancient examples, the mysteries of the Craft have been wisely concealed from the vulgar and under cover of various, well adapted symbols is conveyed to the enlightened Mason an uniformed and well connected system of morality.
I am of opinion that the ancient society of Free and Accepted Masons was never a body of architects, that is, they were not originally embodied for the purposes of building, but were associated for moral and religious purposes. It must be evident to every Mason, particularly to those brethren who have received the Sublime Degrees, that the situation of the Lodge and its several parts are copied after the Tabernacle and Temple, and represent the Universe as the Temple in which the Deity is every where present. Our manner of teaching the principles of our mystic profession, is derived from the Druids, who worshipped one supreme God, immense and infinite, our maxims of morality from Pythagoras, who taught the duties we owe to God as our creator, and to man as our fellow creature, many of our emblems are originally from Egypt, the science of Abrax, and the characters of those emanations of the Deity, which have adopted are derived from Basilides.
The word Mason is derived from the Greek, and, literally means a member of a religious sect, or one who is professedly devoted to the worship of the Deity. The reason of the term Free being prefixed is probably derived from the Crusades, in which, every man engaged in the expedition must have been born free and under no vassalage or subjection. The term Accepted is derived from the indulgences granted by the Pope, to all those who would confess their sins and join in the enterprise for the recovery of the Holy Land. It is well known that immense numbers of Free-Masons were engaged in the Holy wars, and that their gallant and enterprising conduct gained them the esteem of the leaders of the army, who solicited initiation into the mysteries of their order. This subject is well understood by those brethren who have received the 20th degree.
That Free Masons were considered as a set of architects most probably took its rise from this circumstance when Moses ordained the erection of the Sanctuary, and afterwards when Solomon was about to build a Temple at Jerusalem, for the worship of the only true and living God, they chose from among the people those, whose wisdom and zeal for the true faith, attached them to the worship of the Most High, and committed to them the erection of those works of piety. It was on those great occasions that our predecessors appeared to the world as architects.
To cultivate peace and good will towards men, to improve the general condition of mankind, and to worship the only true and living God in fervency and truth, are among the indispensable obligations of Free Masons. A firm belief and acknowledgement of the Supreme Being, the Grand Architect and Ruler of nature, forms the first essential of a Mason; who ought cheerfully to submit to HIS divine commands, and to rely on his Almighty protection, whose wisdom cannot mistake his happiness, whose goodness cannot contradict it.
As humanity ever springs from true religion, every religious sect, which acknowledge the Supreme Being, is equally respected by the order. Religious disputes are banished from our societies, as tending to sap the foundations of friendship, and to undermine the basis of the best institutions. The great book of nature is revealed to our eyes and the universal religion of her God is what we profess as Free Masons.
“Religion’s all! Descending from the skies
To wretched man, the goddess in her left,
Holds out this world, and in her right, the next:
Religion! The sole voucher, man is man:
Supporter, sole, of man above himself;
Ev’n in the night of frailty, change, and death,
She gives a soul, a soul that acts a God,
Religion! Providence! An after state!
Here is firm footing; here is solid rock;
This can support us; all is sea besides;
Sinks under us; bestorms, and then devours.”
The duty we owe to our country, is another important obligation on a Mason. To pay due obedience to the laws, and to respect the government of the country in which we live, is a debt of gratitude we owe for the protection of our lives, our liberty and our property.
The faithful discharge of the duties, which we owe to each other and to the great family of mankind in general, will enhance the brethren in the eyes of the world and support the reputation and utility of the Craft against the caviling of ignorant or malicious men. It is not sufficient that we know these obligations, but it is our indispensable duty, both as gentlemen and as Masons to practice them.
The behavior of a Mason is of considerable importance, both in private societies and in his intercourse with mankind generally, not merely as it affects his own character, but as it oftentimes brings on the Order unfavorable reflections. From these considerations my brethren, I hope you will indulge me with a few minutes attention, while I point out to you those failings which sink us in the estimation of the world, and render us less acceptable to the society of our friends.
The first thing in all societies is to render ourselves agreeable to those, with whom we associate. As urbanity of manners is indicative of a polished mind, so is a rough harsh demeanor the natural attendant on ignorance and brutality. The greatest mark of incivility is to pay no attention to what is agreeable or unpleasant to the feelings of those whom we converse with. To give unbounded sway to our own humors without reflecting how much it may interfere with the ease and social rights of others, is a breach of good breeding, of which none would be guilty but those who place no value on their own character, or on that of the company they are in.
Treat no person with contempt it is repugnant to good manners, and militates against the principles of our institution. Pity the weakness of human nature and cover the failings of a brother with the mantle of fraternal love. Turn no one into ridicule, through under the specious pretext of innocent amusement, and decorated with the flashes of a mistaken wit. The subject of your raillery will feel the keen wound, you will embitter those hours with pain, which he had dedicated to festive gaiety, and social recreation and you will make an enemy where you before had a good friend. Although the rest of the company may smile at your efforts to please them, yet it will not be the smile of satisfaction they will feel an irksome restraint in your presence, least they should inadvertently give you some trifling cause to turn them into ridicule, in the next company you go into. In this manner you will lose your friends, your acquaintances will shun you, and you will feel yourself alone in the midst of society. To conceal from the world the failings of our friend, is charitable, to speak of his virtues, noble, but to flatter him to his face, to revile him behind his back, and point him out as an object of ridicule, befits, only the character of an assassin.
The sweetest consolation and pleasure we receive from society, is the enjoyment of friendship, it smoothes the rugged paths of life, and dissipates corroding care from our brow. When our bodies are writhing with pain, and our minds tortured with anguished, friendship, sacred friendship, pours into the wounds the sweet balm of sympathy, alleviates pain and makes sorrow smile. Friendship extends through every branch of the great family of mankind, its influences is as unbounded as the horizon, it unites man of different religions and countries, and of opposite political sentiments, in the firm bound of fraternal affection. The wandering Arab, the civilized Chinese, and the native American, the rigid observers of the Mosaic Law, the followers of Mahomet and the professors of Christianity, are all cemented by the mystic union. How valuable is an institution founded on sentiments like these, how infinitely pleasing must it be to him, who is seated on a throne of everlasting mercy! To that God who is no respecter of persons?
Be not elated with the pride of birth, as merit alone can give value to distinction. Intrinsic worth lifts a man above the genealogy of ancestors, and the pageantry of sounding titles. Value not yourselves upon your honors they may for a time be objects of envy and jealously, but will crumble with the dust, and “leave not a wreck behind.” Least of all pride not yourselves upon your riches, they are insufficient to gratify the numerous wants they create, they may be treasured up by the Miser, but the man of Benevolence cannot esteem them, but as they afford him the means of doing good to his fellow-creatures. Rational Equality, as it is the most natural state, so is it the most pleasing and desirable.
Love the whole human species, but particularly those, who are united to you by the Mystic Union. When the deep sighs of poverty assail your ear, stretch forth the hand of relief, and chase necessity and want from a brother’s door. If afflicted by misfortune, comfort their souls and soothe them to tranquillity. And if they are exposed to danger, give them your assistance. It is this sympathy with the pleasures and pains, with the happiness and misfortunes of our fellow men, which distinguishes us from other animals and is the source of all our virtues.
The Keystone of our Mystical fabric is CHARITY. This amiable virtue, glorious as the beams of morning, in whose beauty thousands rejoice, is the vital principle of our Society. It should form the basis of all of our dealings with each other, and be as a square to regulate our actions with all mankind. The wants of a brother, particularly, interest us, but merit and virtue in distress, whenever they meet us, will always claim the pointed attention of every true Mason. Our own circumstances are to be the criterion of our beneficence. The rich bestow with liberal hands the gifts of fortune, the poor their consolation, advice and protection. This is, oftentimes, a source of relief, they frequently stand in want of a friend to make known their distress, and to interest, in their favor, those, whose benevolent hearts rejoice in the opportunity of relieving the wants of a fellow creature.
Honest industrious men, borne down in the world by the pressure of misfortune, not attributable to any misconduct on their part, but, by the acts of an overruling providence, engulfed in ruin, the lonely and disconsolate Widow, the sad relict of a faithful friend, an affectionate husband, whose cheerful labors had yielded her the comforts of life, now thrown for protection and support on the bosom of benevolence. The Orphan in tender years, cast naked helpless on the world and the Aged whose spirits were exhausted in the toils of youth, whose sinews, now embraced by time, are unable to procure a scanty pittance for his subsistence. These, my brethren, are the true objects of Charity to relieve such, will be showing your gratitude to that ‘Beneficent Being” who is the “husband of the Widow, and the Father of the Orphan.”
The subject of Charity has been so pathetically described, by an elegant writer, in language so superior to mine, that I cannot do better than transcribe it.
He whose bosom is locked up against compassion is a Barbarian, his manners are brutal, his mind gloomy and morose, and his passions as savage as the beasts of the forest.
What kind of man is he, who full of opulence, and in whose hand abundance overflows, can look on virtue in distress, and merit in misery, without pity. Who can behold without tears, the desolate and forlorn estate of the Widow, who in early life, brought up in the bosom of a tender mother, without knowing care, and without tasting of necessity, was not befitted for adversity, whose soul is pure as innocence, and full of honor, whose mind had been brighten by erudition, under an indulgent father, whose youth, untutored in the schools of sorrow, had been flattered with the prospect of days of prosperity and plenty. One, who at length, by the cruel adversity of winds and seas, with her dying husband is wrecked in total destruction and beggary, driven by ill fortune, from peace and plenty, and from the bed of ease, changes her lot to the damp dunghill for relief of her weariness and pains, grown meager with necessity, and sick with woe, at her bosom hanging her famished infant, draining off the dregs of parental life, for sustenance, bestowed from maternal love, yielding existence to support the babe? Hard-hearted covetousness and proud titles, can ye behold the mite which should sustain such virtue? Can high life lift its supercilious brow above such scenes in human life? Above miseries sustained by a fellow creature? Perhaps the fatal hour is at hand, when consolation is required to close the lst moments of this unfortunate one’s life. Can the man absorbed in pleasure roll his chariot wheels past the scene of sorrow without compassion, and without pity paint misery upon the features of an expiring saint! If angels weep in heaven, they weep for such. If they can know contempt, they feel it for the wealthy, who bestow not of their superfluities, and snatch not from their vices what would gladden souls sunk in the woes of the worldly adversity. The eyes of cherubim’s view with delight the exercise of such benevolence as forms the character of the good Samaritan and saints touch their lyres, to hymn humanity’s fair history in the realms of bliss.
What should that human wretch be called, who, with premeditated cruelty and avarice, devises mischief while he is conscious of his neighbor’s honesty on whose exerted labour an affectionate and virtuous wife and healthy children, crowding his narrow hearth with naked feet, depend for sustenance, whilst he sees him with fatigued sinews, lengthen out the toil of industry, from morn to night, with unremitting ardor, singing to elude repining, and smoothing his anxieties and pain with hope, that shall reward his weariness by the over flowing of his wife’s cheerful heart, and with the smiles of his feeding infants? What must he be, who knows such a man, and by his craft or avarice extorts unjust demands, and brings him into beggary? What must he be, who sees such a man deprived by fire or water of all his substance, the habitation of is infants lost, and nothing left but nakedness no relief? Surely in nature few such wretches do exist! But if such be, it is not vain presumption to proclaim, that like accursed Cain, they are distinguished as the outcasts of God’s mercies and are left on earth to live a life of punishment.
Contrast this picture, with the man of benevolence, who views the sufferings of humanity with an eye of pity, whose heart sympathies with the distress of his fellow-creature, who seeks for them in the deep recesses of misery, and in the retired hovels of poverty and woe.
From realm to realm, with cross or crescent crown’d,
Where’er Mankind and Misery are found,
O’er burning sands, deep waves, or wilds of snow,
Thy HOWARD, journeying, seeks the house of woe,
Down many a winding step to dungeons dank,
Where anguished wails aloud, and fetters clank;
To caves bestrews with many a moldering bone,
And cells, where echoes only learn to groan;
Where no kind bars a whispering friend disclose,
No sun-beam enters, and no zephyr blows,
He treads, innumerous of fame, or wealth,
Profuse of toil and prodigal of health;
With soft assuasive eloquence expands
Power’s rigid heart, and opes his clenching hands;
Leads stern-eyed Justice to the dark, domains,
If not to sever, to relax the chains;
Or guides awaken’d MERCY through the gloom,
And shews the prison, sister to the tomb!
Gives to her babes the self-devoted wife;
To her fond husband liberty and life!
The Spirits of the Good, who bend on high
Wide o’er these earthly scenes their partial eye,
When first, array’d in Virtue’s purest robe,
They saw her Howard traversing the globe;
Saw round his brows her sun-like Glory blaze
In arrowy circles of unwearied rays;
Mistook a Mortal for an Angel-Guest,
And ask’d what seraph-foot the earth imperest.
Onward he moves! Disease and Death retire,
And murmuring Demons hate him, and admire.
As the various tools and instruments which we use in the Lodge, are all emblematically of the conduct which Masons should pursue in their intercourse with Society, I shall, therefore, endeavor to explain to you, such of them as belong to the Symbolic degrees. Those of the Sublime and Ineffable Lodge, and of the higher councils, cannot be touched upon, here, for reasons, which must be evident to all.
In a Symbolic Lodge of the Blue Masons, the first object which deserves attention, is the Mosaic-floor, on which we read. It is intended to convey to our minds, the vicissitudes if human affairs checkered with a strange contrariety of events. Today elated with the smiles of prosperity, tomorrow depressed by the frowns of misfortune. The precariousness of our situation, in this world, should teach us humility, to walk uprightly and firmly upon the broad basis of virtue and religion, and to give assistance to our unfortunate fellow-creatures, who are in distress; lest on some capricious turn of fortune’s wheel, we may become dependants on those, who, before, looked up to us as their benefactors.
The two emblematically pillars erected in front of the Porch of the Temple, independent of the beauty which they added to the building, conveyed to the minds of those, who entered, a knowledge of the attributes of that Being to whom it was dedicated. The literal translation of the name of the left pillar, is, “in thee is strength,” and that of the right, “it shall be established,” which as a learned author observes, may very naturally be transposed in this manner, “O Lord thou art mighty, and thy power is established from everlasting.” The name of one of the pillars, as relating to a person, may give a different translation, which I shall point out to you on some other occasion.
The next object, which, demands attention, is the Holy Bible, with the Square and Compasses thereon. As these instruments remind us to keep our actions within the bounds of propriety, and to square them with all mankind, the sacred volume on which they lay, contains the unerring guide for our conduct through life, as it relates to our worship of the Supreme Master of the World and our conduct to each other. For these reasons, this Book of the Divine Law, is never closed in our Lodges; “it is open to every eye, and comprehensible to every mind.”
The Letter G. which ornaments the Master’s Lodge, is not only expressive of the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe, but, also, denotes the Science of Geometry, so necessary to Artists. But the adoption of it, by Masons, implies no more than their respect for those inventions, which demonstrate to the world, the power, the wisdom and beneficence of the Almighty builder in the works of the Creation.
The Blazing Star is emblem of the Prudence, which is one of the emanations of the Deity, agreeable to the system of Basilides*. It points out to the Masons the path, which leads to happiness, and is the sure source of self-approbation. It enlightens us through the dark and rugged paths of life, and enables us to shun many obstacles, which would impede our progress and embitter our journey with pain.**
(*This system, he called Abrax, which is a mystical term given by him to the Supreme Being, from whom emanated 365 powers, and intelligence’s: constituting Virtue, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, truth, Charity, Honesty, Meekness, &c. &c.
**Robinson in his proofs of a conspiracy says G. is Grace, the Flaming Star, is the Torch of Reason. Those who possess this knowledge are indeed Illuminati. When prejudice warps the mind and reason is sacrificed to establish a favorite theory, we need not be surprised to find truth prostrated to fiction, and the production offered to the world as the result of sound reflection, and the combination of just principles.)
The Three Great Luminaries, allude to the three Mosaic degrees, in the Symbolic Lodge, and at the same time, are emblematically of that effulgence, which should illumine the mind of a Mason, and which he can alone receive from a perfect understanding of the principles of the order. The White Apron and Gloves are also emblematically. They are worn, not merely, as insignia of the order, but as badges of the innate innocence and purity of Soul which Masons should always posses and in this point of view they are more honorable distinctions than any order of Knighthood which can be conferred. On being invested with these badges of innocence and humility a Mason should firmly resolve to support that purity and integrity of heart, of which he, outwardly, wears the emblems.
The Rule, the Line, the Plumb Line, the Square, Compasses, &c. are all emblematically of the conduct we should pursue in the Society. To observe punctuality in all our engagements, faithfully and religiously to discharge those important obligations, which we owe to God, and our neighbor, to be upright in all our dealings, to hold the scale of Justice, in equal poise, to square our actions by the unerring rule of God’s sacred word; to keep within compass and bounds, with all mankind, particularly with a brother, to govern our expenses by our incomes, to curb our sensual appetites, to keep within bounds those unruly passions, which, oftentimes, interfere with the enjoyments of the Society, and degrade both the man and the Mason, to recall to our minds, that, in the great scale of existence, the whole family of mankind are upon a level with each other, and that the only question of preference, among Masons, should be, WHO IS MOST WISE, WHO IS MOST GOOD. For the time will come, and none of know how soon, when death, the great leveller of all human greatness, will rob us of our distinctions and bring us to a level with the dust. That we know not the time when, has been, unfortunately, exemplified, in the late dispensation of the Divine Providence, whereby an officer, high in rank in the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons,* has been torn from the enjoyments of life, and from the society of his friends, at a period, when the rich prospect of independence bloomed full upon him, and when he was about to receive the pleasing reward of his industry and talents.
(*Seth Paine, Esq. R. W. Senior Grand-Warden.)
Those among you who posses his confidence, and shared his friendship, will long bear evidence of his sincere attachment to his country, his love of his fellow men, and his exercising those benevolent principles, on which our Order is founded. It is not human nature to be perfect, and if our deceased brother shared in the failings of his species, let us cover them with the mantle of oblivion, and only remember those goods deeds, which shone in his intercourse with society. Let us offer our petitions to the Supreme Master of Nature, to receive him into the Sublime Grand Lodge above, where happiness is enjoyed, without alloy, and pleasure springs from eternal bliss
Agreeable to the tenets of our order, the Fair-sex are excluded from associating with us in our mystic profession, not because they are deemed unworthy of the secret, “nor because the mechanical tools of the craft are too ponderous for them to wield, but from a consciousness of our own weakness. Should they permitted to enter the Lodge, Love would oftentimes enter with them, jealousy would probably rankle in the hearts of the brethren, and fraternal affection be prevented into rivalship. Although, the most amiable and lovely part of Nature’s works are excluded from our meetings,* yet our order protects them from the attacks of vicious and unprincipled men. It forbids us to sacrifices the ease and peace of families for a momentary gratification, and it forbids us to undermine and take away that transcendent happiness from those, whose hearts are united by the bond of sincere affection.
*Although in the Symbolic Lodge, no woman is admitted into a knowledge of their mysteries, yet in the superior degrees, there is a Female Lodge, handsomely calculated to interest the delicacy of a female mind. In this Lodge none but females are admitted, and their officers are selected from among themselves.
The feelings of women are more exquisitely fine, and their generous sympathy is more easily awakened, by the misfortunes of their fellow-creatures, than the stronger sex. The soft tear of pity bedews their checks at the tale of woe, and their gentle bosoms heave with tender emotions, at the sight of human wretchedness. They require not the adventitious aid of mystic institutions to urge them to acts of Charity and Benevolence, nor the use of symbols to lead them to Virtue. Their own hearts are the Lodges in which virtue presides, and the dictates of her will is their only incentive to action.
Although, the Society of Free Masons is venerable for its antiquity, and in all ages has been respectable for its good conduct, yet it has, through falsehood and gross misrepresentation, groundlessly awakened the jealousy of some of the European States, and the obloquy of malicious tongues. Have they not been accused of being leagued together for the destruction of religion and government? Have they not been called Atheists and blasphemers, and ridiculed as the dupes of nonsense? But while we discharge the duties and principles of our profession with integrity and truth, the envenomed shafts of malice will fall harmless at our feet, and our minds will feel that ease and safety which alone results from conscious virtue.
An institution, which recommends submission to the laws of our country, adoration to the Supreme God of nature, universal benevolence, and every virtue which can endear us to each other, which conveys instruction to the mind and expels rancor, hatred, envy, and every unruly passion, and binds all its followers in the bond of good will, is certainly worthy of praise and encouragement.
SUCH IS THE SOCIETY OF
FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS.
ANOTHER year has revolved since I had the honor of addressing you, agreeable to our Constitution, it again becomes my duty to impress upon your minds the great truths of the mystic union, the high advantages attending our fraternal compact, and the ineffable delight from societies, founded on the exercise of virtue and benevolence.
When the sun enters into the signs of Aries and Libra, the days and nights are equally divided throughout the two hemispheres. Upon this circumstances is founded the immemorial custom, in the Sublime Grand Lodges, of delivering Orations, on the principals of the mystic union, on the days of the equinoxes. This season is emblematically of the equality, which should reign among Masons. Without distinction of country or nation, without prejudice to religion or sect, without regard to riches or poverty, a Mason should view the great mystic family, as united to him by the bonds of affection. He should feel an interest in all their wants, should sympathize with them in all their distresses, and offer to their necessities such relief, as the bounteous hand of providence has enabled him to bestow. The honest peasant, nursed in the lowly cot, and by hard labour procuring his scanty meal, should be viewed with as much interest as he who proudly boasts a long line of illustrious predecessors, and who, pampered in the lap of fortune, has all his wants and all his wishes anticipated by a crowd of flattering minions.
What sight can be more acceptable in the eyes of the God whom we adore? What object more gratifying to the feelings of humanity than an extensive society of benevolent men, established for the great purpose of relieving the distresses of their fellow-creatures, of softening the sorrows of the widowed heart, and of offering protection and support to the helpless orphan, rocking in the cradle of poverty and woe, of breaking asunder the iron bands of the prisoner, and cheering his sight with the blaze of the noon-tide sun, of exchanging the cell of his loath some dungeon for the possesion of liberty, that choicest blessing in heaven’s gift, and, in short, established for the purpose of confirming man in his worship of the Deity, and of offering, to the ripening youth of our country, a living example of virtue, science, and benevolence.
Such, my respectable Brethren, are the purposes for which the societies of FreeMasons were formed, and such are the principles, which should govern the professors of the mystic science.
It is highly flattering to our order, to see the avidity with which the youth of our country seek for initiation into our mysteries. The names of FreeMason engage the attention of all, but the mysteries with which our actions are enveloped, procure for us, from the invidious and ignorant, ridicule and calumny.
It is the conduct and character of the members of our society, which stamp impressions on the public mind, but from our intercourse with society they judge of the advantages, which we derive from our association. If they see the boisterous passions of the human heart, quelled into tranquillity, if they see the rude austerity of an headstrong man, softened into urbanity, if they see the votaries of vice and debauchery reclaimed to the paths of virtue, if they see heart of the miser melt at the tale of woe, and the liberties shocked at the recital of the distresses which he has heaped on his victims, and the coxcomb forsake the adornment of his person to improve the faculties of his mind, they will rejoice in the establishment, and the name of Free-Mason will be hallowed among men, it will then be viewed as the school of virtue, and those who are unacquainted with the mysteries of our profession, will be viewed as deficient in an important branch of education.
Where is the Mason whose heart is not alive to that exquisite satisfaction, which may be derived from our institution? No societies that ever did, or ever will exit, can be of such unbounded advantage to the community as those of FreeMasons. Spread over the surface of both hemispheres, they could diffuse virtue and science through all the world, like the glorious orb of day, whose benign influence enlivens every part of animated nature.
Flattering, my respectable Brethren, as this picture is, it nevertheless combines a just view of the principles of our Society. That our associations are not attended with happy advantages I have here described, is attributable, not to the profession, but to the professors. A listless indifference about principles is as criminal as depravity. We have it in our power to become every thing that is great and good, but, unfortunately, many, I fear, when their curiosity is gratified by initiation think every thing is attained, and give themselves no further concern, than that of procuring the decorations of the Order. Pleased with the sound title of Free and Accepted Mason, they neglect to study those sublime and important truths, which form its basis, and remain as ignorant of the principles of the order, and the derivation of the symbols, as if they had never been initiated.
Too many of the Masons of the present day, I fear, are the subject to this remark, for no one can with more truth, be called a Free-Mason, merely by passing through a few, unimportant, ceremonies, than he can be called a Mathematician who is ignorant of the science of numbers and magnitude, or than that man, who is unacquainted with Tactics can be termed a General, merely because he wears the uniform of the army. Unremitted study and application to the arts and sciences must qualify a man to become a good Mason. The great truths of nature are open to all, but the ignorant pass them by without improvement or satisfaction!
I have no doubt but that our Society was originally formed by the votaries of religion and science, for the purpose of concentrating the wisdom of the times, and securing and perpetuating to future ages, the fruits of their ingenuity and labour. In the rude age in which they lived, the rays of science were few and imperfect, and the gloom of barbarism overspread most of the nations of the earth. The few emanations of science, were viewed by the ignorant multitude, with an eye of jealously and distrust, and, who, conferred on them, the epithets of Magicians and Conjurors, and ascribed those works to witchcraft, which were the natural results of just reasoning, deduced from the operation of the laws of nature.
The ignorant multitude, in every age and clime, are always ready to ascribe to supernatural agency, every phenomenon of nature and art, which is placed beyond the reach of their understanding. In the thunder they hear the voices of God, and bow their heads with terror and dismay. In the lightning they see the glittering of his spears, and shrink from the electric flame. When the troubled earth shakes with convulsive action from central fires, or the sun is eclipsed by the intervention of the resplendent orb of night, they fall on their faces with belief, that the organization of nature is about to be dissolved. But the Philosopher, accustomed to the trace effects it their causes, stands firm and collected amidst the crash of contending elements, * and view the angry storm which bursts over his head and in warps, as it were, the world in flames, but as the effect of the approximation of electric and non-electric clouds, restoring equilibrium to the atmosphere. When the trembling earth shakes beneath his feet, his mind recurs to the sciences of Chemistry, and finds in the expansion of gases an explanation of the phenomenon. When the mid-day sun is enshrouded in darkness, and the earth is plunged into the depth and gloom of the night, the science of Astronomy has prepared him for the event, and the revolutions of the planetary system explain the appearance.
*Si fractus llabatur orbis Impavidum erient runae.
Hor. Od. 3, 1 3, v7
There are, my Brethren, a multitude of other occurrences in the physical world, which admit of easy and just explanation by the lights of science, and which have, for ages, been viewed by the illiterate, as the effects of a supernatural cause.
To secure their labour from interruption and themselves from calumny and reproach, the primitive philosophers associated together for the cultivation of the arts and sciences. Enveloped with the veil of mystery, and secure from vulgar eyes, they were occupied with reasoning on the wonderful operations of nature, and the divine attributes of nature’s God. Experiments were instituted to establish data, and as operations and effects were multiplied, causes were developed, and the sciences and fine arts were established on unpreishable principles. Emerging from the ignorance and blindness in which they had been overwhelmed, they traced the divinity through the walks of his power, and his mighty deeds. Contemplation, at first, went forth admiring, but yet without comprehension from whence all things had their existence, Contemplation returned, glowing with conviction, that one, great, original, of infinite power, of infinite intelligence, and of benevolence without bounds, was the master of all. They beheld him in his works, they read his majesty in the heavens, and discovered his miracles in the deep, every plant that painted the face of nature, and every thing having the breath of life, described his presence and his power.
The opposition which was given by idolatrous nations to the religion of the most high God, and the persecutions and barbarous sufferings which his worshippers received from the hands of the infidels, were, most probably, other powerful reasons for the establishment of secret societies, wherein they could profess themselves, to be worshippers in that temple, whose bounds were from the distant quarters of the universe, whose height was no otherwise limited than by the heavens, and whose depth was founded on that axis, on which the revolutions of the starry zodiac were performed, and where they could adore, the author of the or being, without fear and without danger.
It has been generally reported and as generally believed that our society was instituted, for architectural purpose, by handicraftsmen. What gave rise to this idea, I am at a loss to determine, as the blue degrees have no written records to explain the difficulty, and tradition is too lame to give satisfaction to a scientific mind.
It is evident to all, that, from the earliest ages, there have been builders of temples, cities, and towers, but there is not the smallest reason for believing that they were formed into a body of artificers, professing architectural mysteries which were hidden from the world, nor indeed does the utility of such a mystic fraternity appear reasonable, as their buildings were erected in open day, and the principles of the mechanic art of being plain and intelligible, they were comprehensible to every capacity. *
That our adorable Creator was the Grand Architect of heaven and earth, none but madmen can doubt, but that our primordial parent was a Free-Mason because he sewed two or three fig leaves together, is too insignificant a supposition to require a serious refutation. No, my respectable Brethren, we degrade ourselves and our illustrious society by advocating such untenable doctrines, and those voluminous plodders of Masonic history, who make Masons of every man of note, from Adam to Nimrod, and from Nimrod to Solomon, down to the present day, certainly deserve much credit for their industry, but none for their talents. Indeed we have incontestable proofs, that many of the number whom they enumerate, were perfectly ignorant of the mystic institution.
These proofs are contained in the archives of the sublime institutions. These archives are not founded on speculative opinions of ingenious or prejudiced individuals, nor on the doubtful evidence of oral tradition. They are records of very ancient date, and contain, besides the evidence of the origin of Masonry, many of the great and important principles of science. Here are data for the mind to rest upon, and here is subject matter fir for the contemplation of an enlightened genius. In these archives are contained the evidences of truth, and the unbiased mind of an enterprising inquirer, will view with unequalled satisfaction, the fair fabric of science and religion, which was erected by his forefathers to the name of the only true and living God.
Yes, my respectable Brethren, I speak from the evidence of my own judgement. I speak from the feelings of an heart warm with attachment to our illustrious society, that I shall ever hold in grateful recollection, the suffrages of my brethren which opened to me the rich treasures of the most sacred place in the earth, and gave me the knowledge as they before had done the name of a Mason. They dispelled many doubts from my mind, and elucidated, to my satisfaction, the origin and principles of that society, into which I had been admitted. My eager mind, thirsting for information, received with rapture the instructions, which were given me. It was then, indeed, I felt the force of the old age, “that a considerable degree of information is necessary before we become convinced that we know nothing.” I had before been pursuing an aerial form, which eluded my gasp, an ignis fatuus, which blazed, but to vanish, a vision which gave, “music to the ear but nothing to the heart.”
But here the subject was addressed to my judgement, in a form capable of being investigated; I could view the system as a philosopher, and acknowledge the importance of the institution with pride and with truth.
The circular report which has lately been transmitted to all the governing Lodges, throughout the two hemispheres, by the Supreme Council of Grand Inspectors General, explaining the origin of the Sublime degrees of Masonry, and their establishment in this State, renders it unnecessary, for me, to repeat it. It gives an elucidation of a variety of facts, which is of important, to every Mason, to be aquatinted with. One part of it, however, I deem worthy of notice in this place, it is as follows:
In the ***** degree we are informed that, in consequence of death of ** the Master’s word was lost, and that a new one, which was not known before the building of the temple, was substituted in its place. If Masonry, as is generally believed, an as many of our ancient records import, took its rise from the creation, and flourished in the first ages of man, they were in possession of a secret word, of word, of which the Masons under Solomon had no knowledge. Here then, was an innovation of one of the fundamental principles of the craft, and a removal of one of the ancient Land Marks; this however, we are unwilling to allow. It is well known to the Blue Master, that king Solomon and his royal visitor, were in possession of the real and pristine word, but of which he must remain ignorant, unless initiated into the Sublime degrees. The authenticity of this mystic word, as known to us, and for which our much-respected master died, is proven to the most septic mind, from the scared pages of Holy Writ, and the Jewish history from the earliest period of time. Doctor Priestly, in his letters to the Jews, has the following remarkable passage, when speaking of the miracles of Christ. “And it has since been said by your writers, that he performed his miracles by means of some ineffable name of God, which he stole out of the temple. * Notwithstanding the symbolic Masons profess their societies to have originated in the first ages of the world, and date from the creation, yet in their degrees, nothing is taught them but occurrences which took place at the building of the first Temple, (an inconsiderable period of about seven years,) 2992 years after the creation. The history of their order, previously to that period, and the extensive and important improvement in the art, both before and since, they are unacquainted with.
*Amer. Ed. P. 20.
In another part of the report it is declared that “much irregularity has unfortunately crept into the Blue degrees, in consequences of the want of Masonic knowledge in many of those who preside over their meetings, and it is particularly so with those, who are unacquainted with the Hebrew language, in which all the Words and Pass-Words are given. So essentially necessary is it for a man of science to preside over a Lodge, that much injury may arise from the smallest deviation in the ceremony of initiation, or in the Lectures of instruction. We read in the book of Judges, that the transposition of a single point over the Sheen, in consequence of a national defect among the Ephraimites, designated the Cowans, and led to the slaughter of forty-two thousand. The Sublime figure of the Divinity formed in the Fellow-Crafts degree, can be elegantly illustrated, only, by those who possess some knowledge of the Talmud.”
These observations, which have been reported by the Inspectors, I make no doubt, have occurred to the minds of many of my respectable Brethren in the Blue degrees. There are a number of contradictory circumstances, which cannot be brought as charges against those degrees, but which are the natural results of the mode of their delivery. The various translations which they have undergone, and the different arrangements which have been made in them, from a variety of causes, have altered them very materially from what they were originally. At their first formation I believe them to have been a perfect and a uniform system; but from the causes enumerated, they have suffered a very great debasement.
If you visit the symbolic Lodges in the different countries of Europe, or even in the different States of America, you will see, in all, some difference from each other. If the presiding Officer is a man of talents, he adds such embellishments as his genius points out to him. Should he, on the contrary, be a man, whose mental faculties do not rise above mediocrity, and who does not feel much enthusiasm in a system, whose beauty he does not comprehend; he reduces the subject to a level with his own genius; thus alternations are produced, which, being copied by their successors, ultimately establish a mode of working, differing widely, from that contemplated by the first institution. But it is not so with the Sublime Degrees. Neither the towering flights of unrivalled genius, nor the shallow intellects of ignorant and illiterate men, can alter or corrupt them. Throughout the continent of Europe, the West Indies, and those parts of America, where they are known, they are given without the smallest variation in the "ceremonies of initiation, or in the lectures of instruction.” One uniform system pervades the whole society, Governed by the same laws, connected by the same interests, united in the same compact, throughout the two hemispheres, they form a universal band of brotherhood.
How is it possible, my respectable brethren, that the Antediluvians could have been acquainted with our mystic system, when the Temple of Jerusalem was unthought of? In answer to this, it has been said, that there were no Master-Masons until the time of King Solomon and it is further advanced by others, that the third degree was not known until after the establishment of Christianity and that many of the arrangements and decorations of a Master Lodge, are emblematically of the Trinity. In support of this doctrine they appeal to the dedication of our Lodges to the holy St. John; while the Masons under Solomon, addressed their labour, only, to Almighty God, which is practiced in the Hebrew Lodges at this day.
If none were in possession of the secrets of the Master’s degree before the dedication of the Temple, but the three Grand Master’s, how came the assassin in the cave to make use of the penalty of the Master-mason’s obligation?
There is another circumstance, my brethren, which demands our attention. If Lodges of Free Masons existed in the early ages of the world, in the form in which we see them at this time, (and we are taught in our Lodges to believe, that no alteration of a Land-mark has taken place) a question naturally arises, from whence are derived the names of *
That fabric, because, that building was unthought of, until the time of King David. They must then have been derived from some other source than that we teach in our Lodges. In all the buildings, both sacred and profane, which were erected antecedent to the Temple, no mention is made of them.+
+ Vide Appendix, Note, D 1.
+ Vide Appendix, Note, D 2.
I believe, at the time of the Temple, which was 2992 years after the creation, from whence, it is usual with Masons to date the origin of their Society.
From the observations which have been made, it must either be conceded, that the present system of Free-Masonry, taught in the Blue degrees, was established at the building of the Temple, for the purpose of classing the workmen according to their talents, as all the ceremonies and words import, and consequently to date from the creation, to be wrong; or that the Society, before the time of Solomon, was supported on different principles and ceremonies than it is, at present, generally believed to be.
I candidly confess, my brethren, these are contrarieties, which I am unable to reconcile, and can only account for them by supposing with the Inspectors, that “much irregularity has unfortunately crept into the Blue degrees, in consequence of the want of Masonic knowledge, in many of those who preside over our meetings.”
[The paragraph which is omitted here, was a quotation from Josephus relating to a very important circumstance, and on which the difference of Free and Accepted, and Ancient Masons is said to be founded, which, wholly destroys those reasons which the latter give for their difference. *]
*Vide Appendix, D 3.
The authority of Josephus is unquestionable; he is always referred to by writers on the history of the Jews, as an author of integrity and learning. He published the work, from which the above is an extract, 75 years after the birth of Christ.
As this Oration is intended to communicate such information, as I am permitted, on the subject of our mysteries, you will therefore, my respectable brethren, bear with me patiently, while I point out to you, some other circumstances, which are of important to be known by a Symbolic Mason. They are all connected with that irregularity derived from the causes, which have, already, been expressed.
The present Master’s Word of the Ancient Mason, is to be found in no language that ever was used. It is, in fact, not a word, but merely a jumble of letters forming a sound without meaning. The manner in which the pristine Word was lost, and the particular situation in which another was substituted, is too well known to you for me to repeat. The first expressions of the Fellow-Craft’s, according to the system of the Ancient Masons, were two Hebrew words highly significant and appropriate, to the melancholy occasion. From the corruption of these, the present Word is formed, not from design, because its means nothing, but from ignorance and inattention.
The Word of the Free and Accepted Masons is nearly in the same situation. Like the Ancient Masons, it is a word without meaning. It is the initials, or acrostic, of a Hebrew sentence, which is elegantly illustrative of the discovery which, was made by the Fellow-Crafts.
In the _______ degree, there is another inconsistency. The Candidate is told that he represents **, a man of the greatest Masonic knowledge, and from whom no secret of the Craft was hid. Yet, a word is demanded of him, of which he has no knowledge. The person whom he represents had this mystic Word, but how can the candidate give what he never had? It certainly is an insult to his feelings, as it makes him appear ridiculous, for it sometimes happens, that he blunders upon one, which excites laughter, and the solemnity of the occasion, is thereby destroyed.
In the ________ degree, the ceremonies of initiation are designed to represent the circumstances, which took place in the temple when our much respected Master*
*Vide Appendix, Note, D 4
[The paragraph which is omitted here, related to a ridiculous and highly improper ceremony, universally observed at the initiation of a Blue Master, and for which the most trifling reasons are given.]
The first names of the three Fellow-Crafts, * are well known to you all. But this is only half the information, which is necessary to relate the occurrence correctly: for they had, beside these, surnames, which must be known to identify their persons.
The names, also, of the Brethren who + are unknown to the Blue Master.
What became of the Master’s jewel, which adorned ** at the time +? The Sublime Masons can give the answer.
We are also taught in the _______ degree, § in the S. S. of the Temple. This, my Brethren, could not be the case. It is well known, that a very rigid purification was enjoined, by the Almighty, to all those, whose duties led them into the courts of the tabernacle. None who were wounded, or were otherwise imperfect in their bodies, or had any blemish, could enter; even those persons who touched a dead body, and all in the house in which the person died, were unclean for seven days, and were obliged to absent themselves from the congregation, and purify themselves according to the manner which God had ordained. * †
S. S. a place, specially devoted to the service of the Almighty, and where he resided and delivered his oracles from the mercy seat of the ark, under the wings of the Cherubim?
In the historical part of the _________ degree, it is generally said, that they ‡ **placed
*At the time when * * went into the Holy of the Holies of the Temple, to offer up his orisons to his God, the Ark of the Covenant had not yet been removed thither. This took place at the dedication. When it was placed there, none were permitted to enter, but the High Priest, and he only once a year, on the great day of Atonement, at which time he had a string or belt around his waist, which extended into the Courts of the Tabernacle, whereby he might be drawn from out of the S. S. if death should arrest him while officiating there.
† Vide Appendix, Note D 9. +10.
* * placed themselves at the East, West, and South Gates of the Temple, and that, there was no door on the North for reasons which are given.
This, my Brethren is another error: There was a Gate on the North side of the Temple, but none on the West, because the S. S. was built there.
Another circumstance, my Brethren, I beg leave to recall to your recollection. It is the spring of Cassia, as it is generally termed in our Lodges, where we speak of its strong scent, &c. Cassia, my Brethren, did not grow about Jerusalem. It is an alteration of the word Acasia, the Mimosa Nilotica of Linnæus, belonging to the 23d class and 1sr order, Polygamia Monæcia, of his system. This shrub grew there in abundance, and from the habit arising from an indispensable custom among the Hebrews, a branch was broken off from a neighboring bush, and placed where the Fellow-Crafts fond it, who, perceiving it to be withered, when all around flourished in perfection, they were led to draw those conclusions which we teach in our Lodges. *
*These customs among the Hebrews arouse from this circumstance. Agreeably to their laws, no dead bodies were allowed to be interred within the walls of the City; and as the Cohens, or Priests, were prohibited from crossing a grave, it is necessary to place marks thereon, that they might avoid them. For this purpose the Acasia was used. This affords another reason why the
It is further mentioned in the report of the Inspectors, that some knowledge of the Talmud is necessary to enable us to understand some of our ceremonies. It is so, my respectable Brethren, and to which they might have added, some knowledge, also, of the mysteries of the Cabala. That expressive mystic figure, of the Divinity, formed in the Fellow-Craft’s degree, constitutes, in the Hebrew language, the word Shaday, Omnipotent. In the Sublime degrees, it is elegantly illustrated. *
From these, and many other, errors which have unfortunately crept into the Blue degrees, it must be evident, that it is necessary, that a man of science should preside over a Lodge, that the true ceremonies and principles of the mystic Craft, may be taught in language, which will bear the test of criticism.
† In the Holy of Holies.
* That some knowledge of the Talmud is necessary may be readily conceived from this circumstance, that there, only, is to be found the account of ‡
The Bible is silent on the subject, and as is forms an interesting and important part of the _______ degree, it is necessary we should be acquainted with its truth.
† Vide Appendix, Note D, 11. ‡ 12.
In such of the sublime degrees of Masonry, as relate to the first Temple, are recorded every circumstance connected to the death of our illustrious and much lamented Chief. A variety of occurrences are brought into view, which are, not only highly interesting to an inquisitive mind, but highly important to every Mason, who wishes to understand the origin and principles of his profession. The real words of the symbolic degrees are given, and the meaning and the cause of their adoption is explained. The place of the interment of * * is clearly ascertained, and the ceremonies adopted on that melancholy occasion, are handsomely related. A variety of arrangements are recorded, which necessarily took place at the Temple, after the death of the Master Builder. The important recovery of the lost Word, and the wise precautions adopted by Solomon for preventing a similar accident, is given in a solemn and impressive manner. In short, all the errors which have unfortunately crept into the Blue degrees, through ignorance of the Hebrew language and the Jewish ceremonies, are pointed out to the candidate, and the pristine purity and elegance of the system, demonstrated. A perfect knowledge of the origin and principles of the three first degrees must prepare the candidate for the reception of our more important mysteries.
The brethren of the first three degrees are called Blue Masons, From the color of their decorations; and Symbolic Masons, from the persuasion that their mysteries are, at this time, preparatory to the superior degrees. The Sublime Masons view the symbolic system with reverence, as forming a test of the character and capacity of the Initiated. They are bound by their laws to support and cherish the original principle of that institution; and they watch, with a jealous eye, all who appear disposed to profane it. It is the door of their sacred Temple, through which all must pass to arrive at perfection. They are equally interested in the splendid establishment of those degrees, and in the union and happiness of their members.
Both societies derive honor in the eyes of the world, and advantage to themselves, from the respectability of their members. “Let neither interest sway nor friendship blind you.” Let neither the pride of family nor the wealth, nor the dignity of rank, induce you to give your suffrage to a candidate, from his talents, be an ornament to our society, and from his virtue, be a strict observer of the excellent principles of our institution. The father of Solomon has declared, in the following Psalm, the principles which a candidate, for initiation, should possess.
“Lord, who shall abide in thy Tabernacle?
Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly and worketh right
eousness, and speaketh the truth in his hearth.
He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor
doeth evil to his neighbor, nor tasketh up a re-
proach against his neighbor.
In whose eyes a vile person is contemned;
But he honoureth them that fear the Lord; he
that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not.
He that putteth not out his money to usury,
Nor taketh reward against the innocent. He
That doeth these things shall never be moved.”*
Another circumstance of the highest importance to the whole fraternity, is that of secrecy. Too often do we hear disclosures made out of doors, which should have been carefully locked up in the bosoms of the members. The character of an applicant is to be held sacred by the Craft, and should he even be deemed to be unfit for admittance, the knowledge of his unfitness is to be hid from all Masons. You are to make a scrupulous investigation into his character, and to reject him without hesitation, if found unworthy of participation of our sacred mysteries. This is a solemn duty you owe to the Craft; but it is a solemn duty you owe to the Craft; but it is also a duty you owe to the applicant, to let the knowledge of it rest with yourself. Nothing can justify your injuring him in the opinion of the world, or in holding him up to society as a mark for suspicion to rest upon. There are many traits in a man’s character, which may render him unfit for our society, which do not detract from his conduct as a good citizen. He may be hasty and impetuous in his temper, and take offence here none was meant; yet he may possess an honest and upright heart; but as an irascible disposition would disturb the harmony of a society, where friendship and love should reign, he would be deemed an unwelcome companion. On the other hand, he may be a man of mild deportment, and yet want capacity to understand the beauties of the mystic profession. Application and perseverance in every art and science, and in every branch of literature and I can hardly think, that any man can be really pleased with the Masonic system, whose knowledge of it extends no farther than the ceremonies and symbols; and a man who is not pleased with the profession of which he is a member, will be bad society for those who are. Such a man had better not be initiated, although his rank and conduct in society are irreproachable.
It is to be lamented, that to the suggestions of some weak minds among our fraternity, the prejudices of the world against our invaluable institution, are in a great measure allegories of ancient wisdom, they assert that the rites of Masonry are futile, and doctrines in efficient. To this assertion, indeed, they give, by their own conduct, a semblance of truth, as we fail to discern that they are made wiser or better men, by their admission to our mysteries. Nature alone can implant the seeds of wisdom, but Masonry will teach and enable us to cultivate the soil, and to foster and strengthen the plant in its growth.
The utmost caution is also necessary to prevent a disclosure of our mysteries to the knowledge of the profane. The principles of our excellent institution should only be made known to the world by the works of charity and benevolence; for although the society was originally instituted for the purposes of religion and science, yet it is now practiced on the principles of brotherly love. As the great family of the mystic compact is spread over the surface of the two hemispheres, it would be impossible to distinguish the members of it, without some peculiar mark, by which they become known. The Signs, Words, and Tokens, form the medium of communication between Brethren of all nations and tongues, by which they become intelligible to each other, and by which they can communicate their wants and necessities in a manner not to be misunderstood.
To betray the watch-word, which should keep the enemy from the walls of our citadel, in order to open our strong-holds to robbers and deceivers, is as great a moral crime, as to shew the common thief the weakness and secret places of our neighbors dwelling houses, that he may pillage their goods. Nay, it is still greater, for it is like aiding the sacrilegious robber to ransack the holy places, and steal the sacred vessels and consecrated elements, devoted to the most sacred rites of religion. It is snatching from the divine hand of Charity, the balm which she holds forth to heal the distresses of her children; the cordial cup of consolation, which she offers to the lip of calamity, and the sustenance her fainting infants should receive from the bosom of her celestial love.
As this then is the importance of the Mason’s secrecy, wherefore should the world wonder that the utmost caution is used to prevent its disclosure? The sport would be too criminal to afford delight even to the wickedest of mankind; for it must be wantonness, only, which could induce any man to divulge it, as no profit could arise therefrom nor selfish views be gratified. What man is there of you, whom if his son ask for bread, will give him a stone; or if he ask a fish will you give him a serpent? Then can there be a man so iniquitous among Masons, as to guide the thief to steal from a sick brother the medicine, which should restore his health? The balsam which should close the wounds? The cloathing which should shield his trembling limbs from the severity of the winter? The drink which should moisten his fainting lip? The bread which should save his soul alive?
Such is the importance of our secrecy, were no other ties upon our affections or consciences, than merely the sense of the injury we should do to the poor and the wretched, by a transgression of this rule, we are persuaded it would be sufficient to lock up the tongue of every man who professeth himself to be a MASON.
Set a Watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep thou the door of my lips.
Although, by the Masonic Constitutions, we are prohibited from engaging in political discussions in the Lodge, yet it must not be inferred therefrom, that we are taught to be indifferent about those concerns. In the sublime degrees, we are solemnly bound by our obligations and our constitutions, to support the government of the nation in which we live, to give the constitutional code of our country an honest interpretation, and with all our talents and energies to preserve it from profanation.
The claims of Religion upon the Sublime Masons are also imperious. We are bound not to change our religion for the allurement of wealth or rank, but to worship the Almighty God, in the manner and firm, which we conscientiously believe, to be most acceptable in his sight.
In the Oration, the Attributes of Masonry were treated of at large; I shall, therefore, but briefly mention some of them here.
Morality denotes conformity in all things and actions to those unalterable obligations, which result from the nature of our existence, and the necessary relations of life, whether to God as our Creator, or to mankind as fellow-creatures.
Morality, in another word, is virtue and the perfection of virtue in the human mind is in proportion to its resemblance or participation of divine perfection, and consequently, in being filled with the same principles of benevolence which influence all the actions of the Deity.
Faith is one of the grand theological virtues. Faith in God denotes such a conviction of his being, perfection, character and government as produces love, truth, worship, obedience and resignation.
Hope is another grand theological virtue, it is expectation, trust, affiance in, and dependence on God and man, a kind of vital heat to the soul, that cheers and gladdens when we do not attend to it, and gives habitual serenity and good humor, it makes pain easy and labor pleasant.
Religious hope will always revive a dying man, and fill his mind not only with secret comfort and refreshment, but with rapture and transport.
Another grand theological virtue is Charity, and is that Brotherly affection which we ought to bear one another, the rule and standard by which we ought to examine and regulate this virtue, is that love we bear ourselves, and the general happiness of our Craft: to enlarge on this, to you my Brethren, would be unnecessary, particularly as it was so fully discussed on a former occasion.
Before I conclude, permit me, my respectable Brethren, to address, to those among you who preside over the Symbolic Lodges, a few words from an ancient charge. For a pattern of imitation consider the great luminary of nature, which, rising in the East, regularly diffuses light and luster to all within its circle. In like manner, it is your province to communicate and spread light and instruction to the Brethren of the Lodge. Forcibly impress upon them the dignity and high importance of Masonry; seriously admonish them never to disgrace it. Charge them to practice out of the Lodge those duties, which they have taught in it; and, by amiable discreet, and virtuous conduct, to convince mankind of the goodness of the institution. So that when any one is said to be a member of it, the world may know that he is one to whom the burthened heart may pour out its sorrow, and not be betrayed, to whom distress may prefer its suit and not be rejected, whom bigotry has never prevented from being the friend of virtuous men of all professions, whose hand is guided by justice, and heart expanded by benevolence, who listens to the admonitions of temperance, and the modest voice of humility in a word, one whose life demonstrates his love of God, and regard for men. Tell them, that whatever eloquence they may exert in speaking of the excellence of their order, it is their example only, which can recommend and do service to it.
I have now, my respectable Brethren, gone through the arrangement of my subject, according to the plan which I had purposed. Should it ever fall to my lot to have the honor of addressing you again on this floor, I should select, for that occasion, an historical inquiry into the origin and progress of the difference between the Ancient and Free and Accepted Masons. *
*Vide Appendix, Note B.
I have delivered to you, such reflections as have occurred to me on the principles of the Masonic degrees. I have called in question a number of circumstances, the validity of which I could not establish satisfactorily to my own mind, and in exposing them to your view, I have been governed by no other principle, than the wish, to point out the elegance of the system, when it was first established, and to deprecate the cause of its alteration. The road to truth, particularly to subjects connected with antiquity, is generally choaked with fable and error, which we must remove, by application and perseverance, before we can promise to ourselves any satisfaction in our progress. Because a story has been related, in one way, for an hundred years past, is not, alone, sufficient to stamp it with truth, it must carry, on the face of it, the appearance of probability, and of it is a subject, which can be tried by the evidence of authentic history, and by just reasoning from established data, it will never be received by an enlighten mind, on the ipse dixit of any one.
I candidly confess, my respectable Brethren, that I feel a very great degree of embarrassment, while I am relating, to a minister of God’s holy word, or to any other gentleman of science, a story, founded on the grossest errors of accumulated ages. Errors, which they can prove to me to be such, from the sacred pages of Holy Writ, and from profane history, written by men of integrity and talents, and that too, in a minute after I have solemnly pronounced them to be undeniable truths, even by that very Bible on which I have received their obligation. *
*The Author was Master of the Symbolic Lodge, No. 3, when this Oration was delivered.
Masonry is a subject for which I feel the highest veneration. I have bestowed on it much attention and time, and from the correct information, which I have obtained from the Sublime degrees, my labors have been amply rewarded. As well might we believe that the sun travels round the earth, instead of the earth round the sun, as to believe in all incongruities which have been taught to Masons in the Symbolic degrees. † No mind on which the beams of science ever glowed will rest contented on a subject when the demonstration of it is within its reach. No Brother who now politely honors me with his attention, would implicitly believe me, if I was to assert, that at the moment I am now addressing you, a blazing meteor is passing through the air above Ashley river. No, my Brethren, you would immediately go, and satisfy yourselves by the unerring test of observation and experiment, and you would appreciate my understanding by the issue. So it is in Masonry.
† Nil fuit unquam
Tam dispar sibi.
Hor. Sat. 3, 1. 1, v. 18
In this Sublime Grand Lodge, which bears the motto, :Deo Devotum,” in the place in which I have now the honor to stand, is delivered the laws of truth and science, of religion and of virtue. Can error be taught with impunity in a house consecrated to the Eternal God, the source of infinite truth and wisdom? Can the sanctuary of the most High be profaned by offering incense at the shrine of confusion” No my Brethren, we work under the threatened punishment denounced by God himself, “cursed be he that maketh the blind go out of their way, and cursed be he that perverteth the judgement of a stranger.”
I am well aware, my respectable Brethren, that it is not in our power to alter any part of the Blue Degrees, and to restore them to their pristine excellence. * But it is a source of infinite satisfaction to us, that we are enabled, in the Sublime degrees, to arrive at the knowledge of the original system, and there to view, with unceasing delight, the development of those circumstances on which Symbolic Masonry was established. They add dignity, strength, and beauty to those degrees, and prove them to have been, originally, elegantly contrived, and founded on facts worthy of our contemplation.
*This could be done by a General Convention, formed of deputies from the different Symbolic Grand Lodges throughout the world.
From this view of the principles of the sublime degrees, it will cease to be matter of astonishment, that we feel so sincere an attachment to our Illustrious Order, and that we view the possession of them, of the highest importance to every Mason, who is desirous of obtaining correct information on Masonic subjects. One of the most enlightened monarchs that ever reigned presided over our order. The most distinguished characters in Europe, men of the greatest power and dignity, the Ministers of God’s Holy Religion and the lovers of Science, have been enrolled in our Society, and have encouraged and protected it by their power and influences. * Founded on the principles of Religion and Science, and cultivating charity and brotherly Love, we view with contempt the important efforts of envy and ignorance, however sanctified the garb, or dignified the title they may assume.
*Frederick II, King of Prussia, Charles, Duke of Sudermania, &c. His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the Duc de Choisenl, the Cardinal Prince and Bishop de Rohan, &c.
The professors of the Sublime Mystic Union have been branded with Illuminatism, by a few, vicious individuals, without talents and without integrity. It argues the utmost depravity of the human heart, to call in question the propriety of doctrines, of which they are utterly ignorant. It is a villainous assassination of character, to brand with opprobrium a Society, which has stood the test of ages, as being founded on immutable laws and teaching the principles of religion and science. Hell has not friends more infamous than such characters, who attempt to destroy the reputation of a brotherhood, who they know, cannot by their laws, submit their degrees to the examination of the public. I have had the honor of receiving all the Masonic degrees which are known, and which are, in number, 33, and I pledge, to you, my honor as a Mason, that in none of them, are contained such diabolical principles, as have been insinuated. Many, who now hear me, have received the highest degrees in the world, and can bear evidence to the truth of my declaration. *
*A very handsome refutation of the charge of Illuminism, which has been brought against the Free-Masons, will be found in Professor Ebeling’s work on the subject, in Preston’s Illustrations, and in Jone’s Masonic Miscellanies.
I have before mentioned to you, that in the sublime degrees, we are bound to be true and faithful to the Government of the country in which we live. Nay, more, we are sworn to discover to the lawful authority any knowledge which we may possess of the establishment of a conspiracy against it.
In this country, as yet, neither insanity nor bigotry have charged us with designs unfriendly to Religion or Government. *
*Vide Appendix, Note C.
In referring to the most distinguished of those who have written against Free-Masonry, it will be found, that the intellects of the one were deranged, and the bigotry of the other rendered him a fit instrument, in the hands of intolerance, to attempt the destruction of a Society, against which the whole artillery of the Inquisition has been discharged, and discharged in vain. For, in proportion as the lights of science and truth beam upon the world, the minds of men became enlarged and liberal; and they burst asunder those shackles with which bigotry and Fanaticism had bound them. Each individual of our Society, follows the dictates of his own heart on religious subjects, and leaves to God the judgement of right and wrong.
You all know that an Atheist cannot be received into our Society; but we heed not the sect to which principles have attached him. A man of known immorality and libertinism will be excluded; for good order and government, are essentially necessary to our rites.
If, to acknowledge and adore that supreme and eternal God, to whom all nature bends. If, to obey with cheerfulness, the laws of our country. If, to stretch forth the hand of relief to the unfortunate. If, to enlighten the mind by the bright principles of science. If, to cultivate peace and good-will with all mankind are acts of criminality, then indeed are we deeply culpable, for these principles are the ground work of our edifice, and long, very long, may the superstructure raised upon this unperishable foundation, continue to proclaim to all the people of the Earth, that virtue, science and religion are the happy cements of the Mystic Institution. Then Hail, thou glorious Craft, bright transcript of all that is amiable! Hail, thou blest moral science, which so beautifully exemplifies virtue! Welcome ye delightful mansions, where all enjoy the pleasures of a serene and tranquil life! Welcome, ye blest retreats, where smiling friendship ever blooms, and from her throne dispenses pleasure with unbounded liberality! Welcome, sacred habitations, where peace and innocence dwell forever.
A P P E N D I X
A P P E N D I X
C I R C U L A R
THROUGHOUT THE TWO HEMISPHERES.
UNIVERSI TERRARUM ORBIS ARCHITECTONIS
PER GLORIAM INGENTIS
D E U S M E U M Q U E J U S.
ORDO AB CHAO
FROM THE East of the Grand and Supreme Council of the most Puissant Sovereigns, Grand Inspectors General, under the Celestial Canopy of the Zenith, which answers to the 32d deg. 45. Min. N. L.
To our illustrious, most valiant and Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, Knights of K. H. Illustrious Princes and Knights, Grand Ineffable and Sublime, Free and Accepted Masons of all degrees, Ancient and modern, over the surface of the two Hemispheres.
To all those to whom these Letters shall come,
HEALTH, STABILITY, AND POWER.
At a meeting of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General in Supreme Council, of the 33d degree, duly and lawfully established and congregated, held at the Grand Council Chamber, on the 14th day of the 7th Month, called Tisri 5563, Anno Lucis. 5806, and of the Christian Æra, the 10th day of October, 1802;
UNION, CONTENTMENT, AND WISDON.
The Grand Commander informed the Inspectors, that they were convened for the purpose of taking into consideration, the propriety of addressing circular Letters to the different Symbolic Grand Lodges, and Sublime Grand Lodges and Councils throughout the two Hemispheres, explanatory of the origin and nature of the Sublime degrees of Masonry, and their establishment in South Carolina:
When a resolution to that effect was immediately adopted, and a committee, consisting of the illustrious Brethren, Doctor Frederick Dalcho, Doctor Isaac Auld, Emmanuel De La Motta, Esquire, Grand Inspectors General, was appointed to draft and submit such a letter to the Council at their next meeting.
At a meeting of the Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, in Supreme Council of the 33d. &c. &c. &c. on the 10th day of the 8th Month called Chisleu, 5563, A. L. 5806, and of the Christian Æra, this 4th day of December, 1802.
The Committee to whom was referred the foregoing resolve, respectfully submitted to the Council the following,
R E P O R T
To trace the progress of Masonry from its earliest period, and to fix, precisely, the dates of the establishment of each of the degrees are attended with considerable difficulty. As Symbolic Masons, we date our origin from the creation of the world, when the Almighty Builder, the Grand Architect of the Universe, established those immutable laws, which gave rise to the Sciences. Mutual wants and necessities impelled our primordial brethren to seek mutual assistance. Diversity of talents, genius, and pursuits, rendered them, in some measure, dependent on each other, and thus, society was formed, and as a natural consequence, men of the same habits and dispositions associated more intimately together, which gave rise to institutions connected with their designs, and suited to their genius; these led to the exclusion of those whose talents, habits or circumstances, either disqualified them from participating in the knowledge of the others, or rendered them dangerous or unprofitable to the welfare of their general interests.
As civilization began to extend through the world, and the minds of men became enlarged from the contemplation of the works of nature, the arts and sciences were cultivated by the most ingenious of the people. The contemplation of the Planetary system, as the work of an Almighty Artist, and the attributes of their God, gave rise to Religion and the Science of Astronomy. The measurement of land and the division and marking of their property, gave rise to Geometry, and these, collectively, to the Mystic order, and watch Words, Signs, and Tokens were established to designate the initiated or admitted.
It is, perhaps impossible to fix precisely the time, when the first degrees were established in the form in which they are now given, as most of the ancient records of the Craft were lost or destroyed, in England, in the wars of the Danes and Saxons. Much of the History of Masonry, in the early ages, is so mixed with fable and enveloped with the rust of time, that little satisfaction can be obtained; but as we approach nearer to our own times, we have authentic records for our government.
The peculiar manner in which the three first or Blue Degrees are given, as well as the matter of them, clearly evince them to be merely symbols of the Superior or Sublime Degrees. They were formed as the test of the character and capacity of the initiated, before they should be admitted to the knowledge of the more important mysteries.
In the ______ Degree, we are informed that, in consequence of the death of * *, the Master’s word was lost, and that a new one, which was not known before the building of the Temple, was substituted in its place. IF Masonry, as is generally believed, and as many of our ancient records import, took its rise from the creation, and flourished in the first ages of man, they were in possession of a secret Word, of which, the Masons under Solomon had no knowledge. Here then was an innovation of one of the fundamental principles of the Craft, and a removal of one of the ancient Landmarks; this, however, we are unwilling to allow. It is well known to the Blue Master, that King Solomon and his Royal visitor were in possession of the real and pristine word, but of which, he must remain ignorant, unless into the Sublime Degrees. The authenticity of this Mystic Word, as known to us, and for which our much respected Master died, is proven to the most sceptic mind, from the sacred pages of the Holy Writ, and the Jewish history from the earliest period of time. Doctor Priestley, in his letters to the Jews, has the following remarkable passage, when speaking of the miracles of Christ. And it has since been said, by your writers, that he performed his miracles by means of some ineffable name of God which he stole out of the Temple. Notwithstanding the Symbolic Masons profess their societies to have originated in the first ages of the world, and date from the creation, yet in their degrees, nothing is taught them but occurrences which took place at the building of the first Temple, (an inconsiderable period of about seven years,) 2992 years after the creation. The history of their order previous to that period, and the extensive and important improvements in the art, both before and since, they are unacquainted with.
Many of the Lectures of the Sublime degrees contain an epitome of the arts and sciences, and in their history many valuable and important facts are recorded, obtained from authentic archives in the possession of our society, and which from the manner of their communication can never be mutilated or corrupted. This is an object of the first magnitude in a society whose principles and practices should be invariable. Much variety and irregularity has unfortunately crept into the Blue degrees, in consequence of the want of Masonic knowledge in many of those who preside over their meetings, and it is particularly so with those, who are unacquainted with the Hebrew language, in which all the Words and Pass-Words are given. So essentially necessary is it for a man of science to preside over a Lodge, that much injury may arise from the smallest deviation in the ceremony of initiation, or in the Lectures of instruction. We read in the book of Judges, that the transposition of a single point over the Sheen, in consequence of a national defect among the Ephraimites, designated the Cowans, and led to slaughter of forty-two thousand. The Sublime figure of the Divinity formed in the Fellow Crafts degree can be elegantly illustrated, only by those who possess some knowledge of the Talmud. Most of the Words in the sublime degrees are derived from the Chaldean, Hebrew, and Latin languages.
The various translations which the Symbolic degrees have undergone since their first establishment, from one language to another, and that, oftentimes, by men illiterate even in their mother tongue, is another cause of the variety which we lament. Not so the superior degrees, they appear in that Sublime dress which their founders gave them; originating in science and embellished by genius. Many of the Sublime degrees are founded on the polite arts, and unfold a mass of information of the first importance to Masons.
Although many of the Sublime degrees are, in fact, a contribution of the Blue degrees, yet there is no interference between the two bodies. Throughout the continent of Europe, and the West Indies, where they are very generally known, they are acknowledged and encouraged. The Sublime Masons never initiate any into the Blue degrees, without a legal warrant, obtained for that purpose, from a Symbolic Grand Lodge; but they communicate the secrets of their Chair to such applicants, who have not already received it, previous to their initiation into the Sublime Lodge, but they are, at the same time, informed, that it does not give them rank as Past Masters in the Grand Lodge.*
*Although the Sublime Masons, have not, in this country, initiated any into the Blue degrees, yet their Councils possess the indefeasible right, of granting Warrants for that purpose. It is common on the Continent of Europe, and may be the case here, should circumstances render the exercise of this power necessary. The legality of this right is derived from the highest Masonic authority in the world, and can be demonstrated to the perfect satisfaction of every Masonic, Judicial, or Legislative Body. Throughout the Continent of Europe, England, Ireland and the West Indies, every Sublime Mason is recognized as a lawful Past Master. In England and in many of the States of America, the Grand Officers must be Royal Arch Masons. The Inspectors, have not, as yet, insisted on it in this State, merely because they wished to have no interference with the Symbolic degrees; but hey are, at the same time, fully convinced that the Sublime Masons are as lawfully made Past Masters, under as regular and authentic Warrant and Constituted as his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who is the Grand Master of England.
The Sublime Grand Lodge, sometimes called the Ineffable Lodge or the Lodge of Perfection, extends from the 4th to the 14th degrees inclusive, which last, is the degree of Perfection. The 16th degree is the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, who hold jurisdiction over the 15th degree, called Knights of the East, and also over the Sublime Grand Lodge, and is to them, what a Symbolic Grand Lodge is to the subordinate Lodges. Without a Warrant and Constitution regularly issued by them, or by an higher Council or Inspector, they are deemed irregular and are punished accordingly. All the degrees above the 16th, are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council of Grand Inspectors General, who are Sovereigns of Masonry. When it is necessary to establish the Sublime degrees, in a country where they are unknown, a Brother of the 29th degree, which is called K-H. is appointed Deputy Inspector General over the District. He selects from among the Craft such Brethren as he believes will do honor to the society, and communicates the sublime degrees to as many as is necessary for the first organization of the Lodge, when they elect their own officers, and govern themselves by the Constitution and Warrant which is furnished them. The jurisdiction of a Lodge of Perfection, is twenty-five Leagues.
It is well known that about 27,000 Masons accompanied the Christian Princes in the Crusades, to recover the Holy Land from the Infidels. While in Palestine, they discovered several important Masonic manuscripts, among the descendents of the ancient Jews, which enriched our Archives with authentic written records, and on which, some of our degrees are founded.
In the years 5308,* and 5315,† some very extraordinary discoveries were made, and occurrences took place, which renders the Masonic History of that period, of the highest importance: a period dear to the Masons’ heart, who is zealous in the cause of his Order, his Country and his God.
* A. D. 1304. † A. D. 1311
Another very important discovery was made in the year 5557, ‡ of a record in Syriac Characters, relating to the most remote antiquity, and from which it would appear, that the world is many thousand years older than given by the Mosaic account; an opinion entertained by many of the learned. Few of these characters were translated until the reign of our Illustrious and most Enlightened Brother, Frederic II. King of Prussia, whose well-known zeal for the Craft, was the cause of much improvement in the Society, over which he condescended to preside.
‡ A. D. 1553.
As society improved, and as discoveries of old records were made, the number of our Degrees were increased, until, in process of time, the system became complete.
From such of our records as are authentic, we are informed of the establishment of the Sublime and Ineffable Degrees of Masonry in Scotland, France, and Prussia, immediately after the first Croisade. But from some circumstances, which to us are unknown, after the year 5662,* they fell into neglect until the year 5748,† when a Nobleman from Scotland, visited France, and reestablished the Lodge of Perfection in Bourdeaux.
*A. D. 1658. † A. D. 1744.
In 5765‡ the Lodges and Councils of the Supreme Degrees being extended throughout the continent of Europe, His Majesty the King of Prussia, as Grand Commander of the Order of Prince of the Royal Secret, was acknowledged by all the Craft as the head of the Sublime and Ineffable Degrees of Masonry, throughout the two Hemispheres. His Royal Highness Charles, Hereditary Prince of the Swedes, Goths, and Vandals, Duke of Subermania, Heir of Norway, &c. &c. &c. was, and still continues, the Grand Commander and Protector of the Sublime Masons in Sweden, and his Royal Highness Louis of Bourbon, Prince of the Blood, Duc de Chartres, &c. &c. &c. and the Cardinal, Prince de Rohan, Bishop of Strasburg, were at the head of those degrees, in France.
‡ A. D. 1761
On the 25th of October 5766,* the Grand Masonic Constitutions were finally ratified in Berlin, and proclaimed for the government of all the Lodges of the Sublime and Perfect Masons, Chapters, Councils, Colleges, and Consistories of the Royal and Military Art of Free-Masonry, over the surface of the two Hemispheres. There are secret Constitutions, which have existed from the time immemorial, and are alluded to, in these instruments.
* A. D. 1762
In the same year, the Constitutions were transmitted to our Illustrious Brother Stephen Morin, who had been appointed, on the 27th of August 5765,† Inspector General over all Lodges, &c. &c. &c. in the New World, by the Grand Consistory of Princes of the Royal Secret, convened in Paris, at which presided the King of Prussia’s deputy, Chaillon de Jonville, Substitute General of the Order, Right Worshipful Master of the first Lodge in France, called St. Anthony’s, Chief of the Eminent Degrees, Commander and Sublime Prince of the Royal Secrets, &c. &c. &c.
† A. D. 1761
The following Illustrious Brethren were also present:
The Brother Prince de Rohan, Master of the Grand Intelligence Lodge, and Sovereign Prince of Masonry, &c.
La Corne, substitute of the Grand Master, Right Worshipful Master of the Trinity Lodge, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Knight and Prince of Masons, &c.
Maximilian de St. Simon, Senior Grand Warden, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Knight and Prince of Masons, &c.
Savalette de Buchelay, Grand keeper of the Seals, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Knight and Prince Masons, &c.
Duc de Choiseuil, Right Worshipful Master of the Lodge of the Children of Glory, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Master, Knight and Prince of Masons, &c.
Topin, Grand Ambassador from his Serene Highness, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Master, Knight and Prince of Masons, &c.
Boucher de Lenoncour, Right Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Virtue, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Master, Knight and Prince of Masons, &c.
Brest de la Chausee, Right Worshipful Master, of the Exactitude Lodge, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Master, Knight and Prince of Masons, &c. The Seals of the Order were affixed and the Patent countersigned by;
Daubertain, Grand, Elect, Perfect, Master, Knight and Prince of Masons, Right Worshipful Master of the Lodge of St. Alphonso, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge and Sublime Council of Princes of Masons, &c.
When brother Morin arrived in St. Domingo, he, agreeably to his patent, appointed a Deputy Inspector General for North America. This high honor was conferred on Brother M. M. Hayes, with the power of appointing others, where necessary. Brother Morin also appointed Brother Frankin, Deputy Inspector General for Jamaica and the British Leeward Islands, and Brother Colonel Provost, for the Windward Islands and the British Army.
Brother Hayes appointed Brother Isaac Da Costa, Deputy Inspector General, for the State of South Carolina, who in the year 5737*, established the Sublime grand Lodge of Perfection in Charleston. After Brother Da Costa’s death, Brother Joseph Myers was appointed Deputy Inspector General for this State, by Brother Hayes, who also, had previously appointed Brother Colonel Solomon Bush, Deputy Inspector general for the State of Pennsylvania, and Brother Barend M. Spitzer, to the same rank for Georgia, which was confirmed by a convention of Inspectors when convened in Philadelphia, on the 15th of June, 5785.†
* A. D. 1783 † A. D. 1781
On the 1st of May, 5790, ‡ the Grand Constitution of the 33d degree, called the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General was finally ratified by his Majesty the King of Prussia, who, as Grand Commander of the Order of Prince of the Royal Secret, possessed the Sovereign Masonic power over all the Craft. In the new Constitution this High Power was conferred on a Supreme Council of nine Brethren in each Nation, who possess all the Masonic prerogatives, in their own district, that his Majesty individually possessed; and each Sovereigns of Masonry. §
On the 20th of February, 5792, the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem was opened in this City, at which were present Brother J. Myers, D. I. G. for South Carolina, Brother B. M. Spitzer, D. I. G. for Georgia, and Brother A. Forst, D. I. G. for Virginia. Soon after the opening of the Council, a letter was addressed to His Royal Highness the Duke of Orleans, on the subject, requesting certain records from the Archives of the Society in France, which in his answer through Colonel Shee, his Secretary, he very politely promised to transmit; but which, the commencement of the French Revolution, most unfortunately prevented. *
*Brother Myers now acts in Virginia, Brother Hayes in Massachusetts, and in Pennsylvania, Brothers Jonathan Bayard Smith, P. Le Barbier Du Plessis and J. P. Puglia. In New York, the highest degree, which is held there, at present, is the 18th.
§ As the knowledge of the following Articles of the Grand Constitution of the 33d degree, or Supreme Council of Grand Inspectors General, may be useful to the Sublime Masons, I have transcribed them.
Article 9th. No Deputy Inspector can use his patent, in any country, where a Supreme Council of Inspectors General, is established, unless it shall be signed by the said Council.
Art. 10th. No Deputy Inspector heretofore appointed, or, who may be appointed, by virtue of this Constitution, shall have power o grant patents, or to give the degree of K-H. or the higher degrees.
Art.11th. The degree of K-H. and the degrees of Prince of the Royal Secret, are never to be given, but in the presence of three Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.
Art. 12th. The Supreme Council shall exercise all the Sovereign Masonic power, of which his August Majesty, Frederick II. King of Prussia is now possessed, in recalling the patents of Deputy Inspectors for improper, unmasonic conduct. &c. &c.
The Patents of the Grand Inspectors General, contain the following Paragraph: “And we hereby authorize and empower our said Illustrious Brother_______ , to establish, congregate, superintend and inspect, all Lodges, Chapters, Councils, Colleges, and Consistories of the Royal and Military Order of Ancient and Modern Free-Masonry, over the surface of the two Hemispheres agreeably to the Grand Constitutions.” &c.
In this part of the report, the Inspectors omitted to insert, that on the 20th of February 5792 (A. D. 1788) the Royal Arch Chapter, in this city, working under a Warrant from Dublin, formed a junction with the Sublime Grand Lodge, and their members were received into our degrees, free of expense, and were acknowledged as high as the 13thinclusive.
On the 2d of August, 5799,† Brother Colonel John Mitchell, late Deputy Quarter Master General in the Armies of the United States, was made a Deputy Inspector General for this State, by Brother Spitzer, who acted in consequence of Brother Myers’ removal out of the country. Brother Mitchell was restricted from acting until after Brother Spitzers’ death, which took place in the succeeding year.
† A. D. 1795
On the 31th of May, 5805,‡ the Supreme Council of the 33d Degree for the United States of America, was opened with the high honors of Masonry, by Brothers John Mitchell and Frederick Dalcho, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, and in the course of the present year, the whole number of Grand Inspectors General was completed, agreeably to the Grand Constitutions.
‡ A. D. 1801.
On the 21st of January, 5806,* a warrant of Constitution passed the seal of the Grand council of Princes of Jerusalem, for the establishment of a Mark-Master Masons Lodge in this city.
* A. D. 1802.
On the 21st of February, 5806,* our Illustrious Brother, Count Alexandre Francois Auguste DeGrasse, Deputy Inspector General, was appointed, by the Supreme Council, a Grand Inspector General, and Grand Commander in the French West Indies; and our Illustrious Brother, Jean Baptiste Marie De La Houge, Deputy Inspector General, was also received as an Inspector General, and appointed Lieutenant Grand Commander in the same Islands.
· A. D. 1802.
On the 4th of December, 5806, † a Warrant of Constitution passed the seal of the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, for the establishment of a Sublime Grand Lodge in Savannah, Georgia.
† A. D. 1802.
The Names of the Masonic Degrees are as follow,
1st Degree called Entered Apprentice.
2 Fellow Craft.
3 Master Mason.
4 Secret Master.
5 Perfect Master.
6 Intimate Secretary.
7 Provost and Judge.
8 Intendant of the Building.
9 Elected Knights of 9.
10 Illustrious Elected of 15.
11 Sublime Knight Elected.
12 Grand Master Architect.
13 Royal Arch.
15 Knights of the East.
16 Prince of Jerusalem.
17 Knight of the East and West.
18 Sovereign Prince of Rose Croix de Heroden.
19 Grand Pontiff.
20 Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges.
21 Patriarch Noachite or Chevalier Prussien.
22 Prince of Libanus.
23 Chief of the Tabernacle.
24 Prince of the Tabernacle.
25 Prince of Mercy.
26 Knight of the Brazen Serpent.
27 Commander of the Temple.
28 Knight of the Sun.
30, 31,32 Prince of the Royal Secret, Prince of Masons.
33 Sovereign Grand Inspectors Generals.†
* His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, &c. is, at present, the presiding Officer of the Degree of K-H. in England.
† The 1st, 2d, and 3d degrees are given in the Symbolic Lodge. From the 4th to the 14th inclusive, in the Sublime Grand Lodge, and the Officers of both, are elected annually. The 15th and 16th are given by the Council of Princes of Jerusalem, the Officers of which are also elected annually. From the 17th to the 33d inclusive, are given by the Inspectors who are Sovereigns of Masonry. The Officers of the Supreme Council are appointed for life.
Besides those degrees which are in regular succession, most of the Inspectors are in possession of a number of detached degrees, given in different parts of the world, and which, they generally communicate, free of expense, to those Brethren who are high enough to understand them. Such as Select Masons of 27 and the Royal Arch, as given under the Constitution of Dublin. Six Degrees of Maconnerie d’Adoption, Companon Ecossais; le Maitre Ecossais, et le Grand Maitre Ecossais, &c. &c. making in the aggregate, 33 Degrees.
The committee respectfully submit to the consideration of the Council, the above report on the Principles and establishment of the Sublime Degrees of the Society. They cannot, however, conclude, without expressing their ardent wishes for the prosperity and dignity of the Institutions over which this Supreme Council presides; and they flatter themselves that if any unfavorable impressions have existed among their Brethren of the Blue degrees, from the want of a knowledge of the principles and practices, of Sublime Masonry, it will be done away, and that harmony and affection, will be the happy cements of the universal society of Free and Accepted Masons. That as all aim at the improvement of the general condition of mankind by the practice of virtue, and the exercise of benevolence, so they sincerely wish, that any little differences which may have arisen, in unimportant ceremonies of Ancient and Modern, may be reconciled, and given way to the original principles of the order, those great bulwarks of society, universal benevolence and brotherly love, and that the extensive fraternity of Free Masons, throughout the two Hemispheres, may form but one band of Brotherhood. “Behold how good, and how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity.”
They Respectfully Salute your Supreme Council, by the Sacred Numbers.
Charleston, South Carolina, the 10th day of the 8th Month called Chisleu, 5563, A. L. 5806, and of the Christian Ǽra, this day of December, 1802.
K-H: P. R. S. Sovereign
Grand Inspector General of
The 33d, and Lieutenant
Grand Commander in the
United States of America.
K-H: P. R. S. Sovereign
Grand Inspector General of
E. DE LA MOTTA,
K-H: P. R. S. Sovereign
Grand Inspector General of
the 33d, and Illustrious
Treasurer General of the
The above report was taken into consideration, and the Council was pleased to express the highest approbation of the same.
Whereupon Resolved, that the forgoing Report be printed and transmitted to all the Sublime and Symbolic Grand Lodges, throughout the two Hemispheres.
K-H: P. R. S. Sovereign
Grand Inspector General of
33d, and Grand Com-
mander in the United States
True Extract from the deliberations of the Council:
K-H: P. R. S. Sovereign
Grand Inspector General of
the 33d, and Illustrious Se-
cretary General of the H.
DEUS MEUMQUE JUS.
The Craft understand by the term regular Mason, every Brother who has been initiated into the mysteries of Masonry, in a Lodge held agreeably to the constitutions of the order. Previous to the year 1718, it was not deemed necessary to apply to the Grand Lodge for a warrant to establish a subordinate Lodge. The Brethren met, with the consent of the sheriff or chief Magistrate of the place, under the direction of a Brother well skilled in the profession, and worked without any further authority than the approbation of some other Lodge, convened in the same manner, in the same district. This being obtained they were declared constitutional, and capable of meeting and working as a lawful body. The Lodge of Antiquity, in London, and the Ancient Kilwinning Lodge, in Scotland, hold their authority from time immemorial, without warrants from any Grand Lodge, and their work is acknowledged, as legal, by all the fraternity. In the year 1779, the Duke of Manchester, being Grand Master, a resolve was passed in the Grand Lodge of England, that every subordinate Lodge held its authority from the Grand Lodge. This not being acceded to by the Lodge of Antiquity, they separated from that body, and continued so until the year 1790, his R. H. the Duke of Cumberland being the G. M. when their privileges and authority were acknowledged as constitutional, and harmony was restored.
In the year 926, Athelstane, King of England, granted a charter to his brother Prince Edwin, to hold an annual communication of Masons at the City of York. There was a record of the society, written in the time of Edward IV in the possession of Elias Ashmole, founder of the Museum at Oxford, which gave the following account of Masonry, at that period.
That though the ancient records of the Brotherhood in England were many of them destroyed, or lost, in the wars of the Saxons and Danes, yet King Athelstane, the grand son of King Alfrede the Great, a mighty Architect, the first anointed King of England, and who translated the Holy Bible into the Saxon tongue, (A. D. 930,) when he had brought the land into rest and peace, built many great works, and encouraged many Masons from France, who were appointed overseers thereof, and brought with them the charges and regulations of the Lodges, preserved since the Roman times, who also prevailed with the King to improve the constitution of the English Lodges, according to the foreign model.
That the said King’s brother, Prince Edwin, being taught Masonry, and taking upon him the charges of a Master Mason, for the love he had to the said Craft, and the honorable principles whereon it is grounded, purchased a free charter of King Athelstane, for the Masons, having a correction among themselves, (as it was anciently expressed) or a freedom and power to regulate themselves, to amend what might happen amiss, and to hold a yearly communication and general assembly.
That accordingly, Prince Edwin summoned all the Masons in the realm to meet in a congregation at York, in June, A. D. 926, who came and composed a general Lodge, of which he was appointed Grand Master; and having brought with them all the writings and records extant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and some languages, from the contents thereof that assembly did frame the constitution and charges of an English Lodge, made a law to preserve and observe the same in all time coming, &c.
From the above record I presume it to be established, that the Grand Lodge, which first assembled at York, was a lawful body. This city was chosen for that purpose, because it was near Auldby, the residence of Prince Edwin.
In the year 1567, the first Grand Master was appointed for the South of England. This high honor was conferred on Sir Thomas Gresham, who built the Royal Exchange, at his own expense, and gave it to the city of London, for the service of commerce, &c.
In the year 1604, Inigo Jones, being then Grand Master in the South of England, the Grand Lodge in London, was stilled the “Grand Lodge of England,” and the Grand Lodge in the city of York, at the same time, stilled themselves, the “Grand Lodge of ALL England.”
The utmost harmony prevailed among the Craft. The two Grand Lodges kept up a regular correspondence with each other; possessing the same principles, teaching the same doctrines, governed by the same constitutions and laws, they formed, as it were, but one body, through in two divisions, for the better government of the fraternity. The Grand Lodge of England, being located in the metropolis, soon acquired a degree of splendor, which exceeded the Grand Lodge in the North, in consequence of the initiations of great numbers of the nobility.
The universal name by which the great Mystic family was known, was that of Free and Accepted Masons. The Masons in France and over all the continent of Europe, are, at this time, known by no other appellation; and as some French Masons, were concerned in establishing the laws and constitutions at York, agreeably to the foreign model, copies of which they had brought over with them, it is presumable that there existed but one set of words, at the time of the establishment of the two Grand Lodges in England: for can we suppose, that so intimate a connection and correspondence would have subsisted between them, if their principles and ceremonies had been different! This receives further confirmation from the following circumstance. That when the Lodge of Antiquity in the year 1779, differed with the Grand Lodge of England, they withdrew their allegiance from the body, and united themselves to the Grand Lodge of All England at York. And in the year 1790, when their differences were adjusted, by an acknowledgement of their principles, they again united themselves to the Grand Lodge of England. This exchange of protection, could not have been given, if any difference had existed between the words or ceremonies of those Grand Lodges; nor would they have been encouraged, or permitted to have broken their obligations, and to resume them again at pleasure, when convenience suited them.
In the year 1725, Lord Paisley being Grand Master, some differences arose between the Grand Lodge in London and the Grand Lodge at York, in consequence of the former having granted warrants to some Masons, who had seceded from the York Lodge, to hold a Lodge in the city of York, within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of all England. This improper deviation from Masonic propriety, was reprobated by the York Lodge, and a coolness took place between them.
In the year 1738, when the Earl of Crawford was Grand Master, other Lodges were constituted within the district of the Grand Lodge of all England, and also, three deputations were granted, without their consent, for Durham, Lancashire, and Northumberland. The Grand Lodge at York, highly resented these encroachments and it widened the breach between them.
In the same year the Book of Constitutions was re-published, the first being printed in 1723, when the Earl of Dalkeith, was Grand Master, by Theophilus Desaguliers, L. L. D. & F. R. S. Deputy Grand Master, and James Anderson, A. M. Past Junior Grand Warden. The following extract is from 195th page. “All these foreign Lodges* are under the patronage of our Grand Master of England; but the old Lodge at York City, and the Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, France, and Italy, affecting independency, are under their own Grand Masters. Through they have the same constitutions, charges, regulations, &c. for substance, with their brethren of England, and are equally zealous for the Augustan stile, and the secrets of the ancient and honorable fraternity.”
* Provincial Grand Lodges.
In the year 1736, a provincial deputation was made by Lord Loudon, Grand Master of England, for South Carolina. †
† On looking over the list of Lodges, &c. as altered by order of the Grand Lodge of England, April 18th, 1792, the following appointments for South Carolina, are recorded, viz:
A.D. 1735-No. 45. Solomon’s Lodge, Charleston, S. C. Lord Viscount Montague being Grand Master.
1743-No. 75. Prince George’s Lodge, Winyaw, S. C. Lord Viscount Dudley and Ward, being Grand Master.
1755- No. 116. Union Lodge, Charleston, S. C. Marquis of Carnarvon being Grand Master.
1756- No. 125. A Master’s Lodge, Charleston, S. C. Marquis of Carnarvon being Grand Master.
1763-No. 173. St. Mark’s Lodge, S. C. Earl Ferrers, Grand Master.
Three years before the existence of that body in London calling themselves Ancient York Masons, the first Lodge was established, in this State, under the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
On the 15th August 1733, Frederick of Brunswick, afterwards King of Prussia, was initiated into the mysteries of the fraternity, whom he incorporated in 1774.
Some disagreeable altercations arose in the Society about this period. A number of dissatisfied brethren separated themselves from the regular Lodges, and held meetings in different places for the purpose of initiating persons into Masonry, contrary to the laws of the Grand Lodge. These seceding brethren, taking advantage of the breach which had been made in the friendly intercourse between the Grand Lodge of London and York, on being censured for their conduct, immediately assumed, without authority, the character of York Masons.
Measures were immediately taken to suppress them, which stopped their progress for some time, but in the year 1739, when Lord Raymond was Grand Master more secessions took place, and on their being publicly censured for their improper unmasonic conduct, they declared themselves independent, and called themselves Ancient Masons. They propagated an opinion, that the ancient tenets and practices of Masonry were preserved by them and that the regular Lodges, being composed of Modern Masons, had adopted new plans, and were not to be considered as acting under the old establishment. To counteract the regulations which were adopted against them by the Grand Lodge of England, they instituted a new Grand Lodge in London, professedly on the Ancient system, and under that assumed banner constituted several new Lodges. These irregular proceedings they pretended to justify under the feigned sanction of the Ancient York Constitution, and many gentlemen of reputation were introduced among them, so that their Lodges daily increased. Without authority from the Grand Lodge at York, or from any other established power in Masonry; they persevered in the measures they had adopted, formed Committees, held communications, and appointed annual feasts. Under the false appellation of the York banner, they gained the countenance of the Scotch and Irish Masons. The irregular Masons in London having acquired an establishment, noblemen of both kingdoms honored them with their patronage for some time, and many respectable names and Lodges were added to their list. Of late years the fallacy has been detected, and they have not been so successful, several of their best members have deserted them, and many Lodges have renounced their banner, and come under the patronage of the Grand Lodge of England.
In March 1754, the Marquis of Carnavon (afterwards Duke of Chandos) was elected Grand Master. Soon after which, the Grand Lodge took into consideration a complaint against certain brethren, for assembling, without any legal authority, under the denomination of Ancient Masons, who, as such, considered themselves independent of the Society, and not subject to the laws of the Grand Lodge, or to the control of the Grand Master. Dr. Manningham, the Deputy Grand Master, pointed out the necessity of discouraging their meetings, &c. On this representation the Grand Lodge resolved, that the meeting of any brethren under the denomination of Masons, other than as brethren of the Ancient and honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons established upon the universal system, is consistent with the honor and interest of the Craft, and an high insult on the Grand Master of the whole body of Masons. In consequence of this resolve, many were expelled and their Lodges declared to be illegal.
The Duke of Beaufort was installed Grand Master on April 27th, 1767. In 1768, two letters were received from the Grand Lodge of France, expressing a desire of opening a regular correspondence with the Grand Lodge of England. This was cheerfully acceded to, &c.
From this circumstance it will be seen that the Grand Lodge in France (from which many Masons attended in the city of York, and assisted in the establishment of the Grand Lodge there in 926, and from the constitutions of their nation, which they brought with them, was formed the Masonic Constitution for England, according to the foreign model, possessed the same principles, Constitutions, Ceremonies, Words, &c. as the Grand Lodge of All England, in the city of York, and as the Grand Lodge of England, in the city of London. The Masons in France, are known by no other appellation than that of Free and Accepted. On the model of the French Constitution was formed that of the Grand Lodge of All England, at York in 926, and is the same as the Grand Lodge of England in London, whose members are also called Free and Accepted and in their Book of Constitutions, which was published in 1723, they declare that they have the same Constitutions, Charges, Regulations, &c. as the Grand Lodge of All England established at York.
On the 25th April 1770, the Duke of Beaufort being the Grand Master, an alliance was formed with Charles, Baron-de-Boetzelar, Grand Master of the United Provinces of Holland, &c.
In 1776, Lord Petre being Grand Master, an alliance was formed with the Grand Lodge at Berlin, under the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt. *
*In the year 1778, the Duke of Manchester, being Grand Master, Brother John Leonhardi, was appointed by the Grand Lodge of Germany, their representative in the Grand Lodge of England.
On the 10th April, 1799, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, being the Grand Master, the Baron de Silverhejelm, who had received the highest degrees of Masonry, presented to the Grand Lodge of England his credentials, as the representative of the National Grand Lodge of Sweden.
These alliances prove that the Masons on the continent of Europe, are governed by the same principles as the Grand Lodges at London and York.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The passages of the original which follows, have been omitted in this Edition, not being conformable to the Masonic Constitution as established in Ireland.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I am not without hope that the period is not far distant, when all the Masonic bodies will be united by the same principles, ceremonies, &c. and that we shall hail every Mason as a Brother, whether he puts his glove first on the LEFT hand or on the RIGHT. This Union would not be difficult to effect. If we take into view those extensive principles of benevolence upon which our Societies are at this day established, and consider the great family of mankind as possessing equal claims upon our feelings. If we banish from our bosoms those rancarous emotions which have their foundation in prejudice and party spirit, obstacles which have hitherto appeared to be insurmountable will be readily overcome, and we shall wonder that the business had never been effected before. But if we continue to believe that no one can be right but ourselves, and that everyone who presumes to differ from us in opinion must inevitably be wrong, we shall never succeed. It is our duty as brethren, nay it is our interest as Masons, to unite all the little schisms which may have happened in our fraternity, particularly at this time, when so much subtlety and deception is employed, to prejudice our society in the eyes of the world. When bigotry and malevolence have unfurled their standards, and roused all the passions of man to appear in the opposition, it is our duty to unite as a band of brethren who are sincerely attached to each other, and to the noble principles of our excellent institution, and to combat our enemies with those powerful engines, unanimity, truth, and innonce.
I am extremely happy to find, from the authority of Brother Preston of London, that this subject is warmly taken up by a Royal Brother, whose feelings it is well known are always alive to every circumstance connected with the happiness of his fellow creatures.
I have been lately favored with the perusal of a Notarial Protest in print, made before John Troup, Esq. N. P. on the 9th of August 1787, by the Master, Wardens and six Past Masters, of Lodge No. 40, against the proceedings of the Grand Convention, held on the 5th of February, 1787, in which it was determined to establish a Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons in this State. Its length alone prevents me from republishing it, as its importance should render an acquaintance with it necessary to every Mason, working under the authority of that body. It is in the archives of the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons of this State.
When I delivered this Oration, I had not heard of Dr. Morse’s sermon and its Appendix, on the establishment of Societies of Illuminati in the United States. I have since met with extracts from it, in a work of Mr. Payson on this subject. The Lodges to which he alludes, I am unacquainted with, I did not even know that such were in existence until I met with the above work, but I hope, in answering the following paragraphs, to prove them guiltless, from the very evidence which the Doctor has brought against them.
Extract 1st. In an Appendix to his (Dr. Morse’s) Fast sermon of May 9th, 1789, he gives us a particular account of the Lodge of Wisdom, instituted at Portsmouth, in Virginia, as early as 1786, a branch of the Grand Orient of France, and numbered the 2660th descendant of that stock. From an original letter, for the authenticity of which he pledges himself to the public, he has furnished us with an official list of the numbers, names, ages, places of nativity and professions of the Officers and Members of his Lodge, together with their horrid seal, in which with some of the usual Masonic symbols are interwoven emblems of carnage and death. The Members of this Lodge, consisting of one hundred, were chiefly emigrants from France and Saint Domingo. This Lodge had a Deputy residing with the Mother Society in France, to communicate all needful instructions.
He says that he has in his possession an official list of numbers, names, &c. of the Members. With very little trouble he can procure such a list every year, of all the Free and Accepted, both French, English and American, and Sublime Lodges in the world.
It is the custom of these Lodges to publish annually, immediately after their elections, a Register which the French Masons call Tableau, of the names of their Officers, Members, places of birth, &c. Their reasons for doing this so are these, as these registers are transmitted throughout all the world, should a Mason while travelling, be unfortunately robbed of his certificate and other papers, or should he lose them by shipwreck or otherwise, he will find himself known in every country in which fortune may throw him. He applies to a Grand Lodge, who refers to the registers of the Lodge from which he hails, and if he answers the description, new certificates, &c. are immediately granted to him. It also prevents impositions, should a person by accident or villainy, become possessed of the means of passing for a Mason, he would find it impossible to procure his name and description to be inserted in the register, and should he be base enough to forge a certificate, the moment it was presented to a Lodge, the imposition would be detected and the imposter exposed.
What the figures on their seal are I know not, but every Master Mason, by whatever appellation he may be called, knows that they may use the figure of a coffin, scull, thigh bones, &c. without the smallest deviation from Masonic propriety, or the most distant allusion to religious or political subjects and also, without being the emblems of carnage, &c. Since the first establishment of the Master’s degree, these emblems have been used. They are common in many certificates, and on many aprons, upon medals and even upon water pitchers. Neither Ancient or Modern can be raised to this degree without them. It is not, however, usual for Lodges to have such emblems described on their seal.
It is also stated, as an evidence of their guilt, that they had a Deputy residing with their Mother Lodge in France, and that their Members were chiefly emigrants from France and St. Domingo. Men who had fled from the savage brutality of unprincipled usurpers, men who were deprived of their fortunes and their homes, for being unfriendly to those who had dethroned and murdered their sovereign, are here branded with infamy, and criminated for principles which their souls abhorred, and which obliged them to seek for safety and peace in the neutrality and protection of our excellent government. It is cruel to add insult to those severe injuries which they have already received from the revolution of their country. It is unchristian like, because it is uncharitable.
It is an unvariable custom with the Lodges of every description, to have Deputies in their Grand Lodge, if it is in a different or distant part of the country. The Free and Accepted Masons call them Deputies, the Ancients Proxies. They are the representatives of the body who send them, and through whom the correspondence is made, &c.
Extract 2d. By the same means he had evidence of the existence of a similar society at New York, called the Grand Orient of New York, derived in like manner, from the Lodge of the same name in France.*
* On inquiry I find, that the French Lodge in New York is called L’Union Francaise, and that they hold their warrant from the Grand Lodge of the State of New York.
This is another misconception. There is no Lodge in France called the “Grand East.” Wherever the Superior body of the Masonic institutions, is situated, that place is called the Grand East. London, York, Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris, Vienna, and Amsterdam, are Grand Easts in Masonic language. Every State in America has a Grand East, and every other place, where there is a governing Grand Lodge, is called by Masons, the Grand East. The East, with Masons, has a peculiar meaning. It is well known that the sciences first rose in the East, and that the resplendant orb of light, from that quarter proclaims the glory of the day. And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East and his voice was like the noise of many waters, the earth shined with his glory. *
* Ezekiel xliii. 2. xliv. 2
The East gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it, because the glory of the God of Israel hath entered by it.
Extract 3d. A Gentleman of high respectability, who says he belonged to a Lodge of the Ancient Order of Masons, and was in a situation to know perfectly the character and conduct of the Portsmouth Lodge, under date of March 23d, 1800, writes thus to Dr. Morse. The Lodge in Portsmouth, to which you allude, in your appendix called the French Lodge, was considered by me as under the Modern term of Masonry, &c.
It is hitherto been the custom in America for those Masons who call themselves Ancients to apply the term Modern to the Free and Accepted Masons, who most assuredly existed for some hundreds of years, before the others were thought of, as has already been proved in Note B.
Barruel and Robison assert, that the principles of the Illuminati were divided into the Anti-Christian conspiracy, the Anti-Monarchical conspiracy, and the Anti-Social conspiracy. In the course of their works, they also assert that the following characters were connected with that Society, viz. Frederick II. King of Prussia, Joseph II. Emperor of Germany, Catharine II, Empress of Russia, Cristiern VII. King of Denmark, Gustavus III. King of Sweden, Poniatowski, King of Poland, Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, the Duke of Brunswick, the Duke of Wirtemberg, the Prince of Wirtemberg, and a considerable number, more of the most distinguished on the Continent of Europe.
Can any person of common sense believe that so many crowned heads and reigning Princes, could be seriously engaged in a Society whose principles were destructive of order, and whose machinations were levelled at the overthrow of their thrones. The conspirators, if any did exist, would surely have used the utmost caution to have prevented the knowledge of their principles, from reaching the ears of the Monarchs of Europe. They would have excited the people to rebellion when the Prince was unconscious of the impending mischief. Their myrmidons would have rushed like a torrent on the government and overwhelmed it, before barriers could have been raised for its security. I believe it has been known that assassins and robbers have communicated their designs to the intended victims of their villainy. How then can we give credit, even for a single moment, to the assertion that such distinguished characters could have had the smallest connection with the Society of Illuminati, if their principles were such as they are said to be?
The writers above mentioned, assert that the Society of Illuminees was established about the year 1776 and Professor Ebeling declares, “ that their design undoubtedly was to prevent political and religious oppression.” If the friends of political and religious liberty are to be called conspirators, if those who are conscious of the dignity of humanity, and who feel for the rights of their fellow citizens are to be deemed the enemies of order and good Government, we may with equal truth reprobate the conduct of those planned and those who achieved the glorious independence of the United States. And the Immortal WASHINGTON, the savior of his country, the enemy of political and religious oppression, must be declared as the chief of a band of conspirators!
All the Sublime Degrees of Masonry were established before the year 1776, when the Society of Illuminees was said to have been formed. One only has been established since, on the 1st of May, 1786. The occasion of it was this. By the constitutions of the Order, which were ratified on the 25th of October, 1762, the King of Prussia was proclaimed as the Chief of the Eminent Degrees, with the rank of Sovereign Grand Inspector General, and Grand Commander. The higher Councils and Chapters could not be opened without his presence, or that of his substitute whom he must appoint. All the transactions of the consistory of the 32d Degree required his sanction, or that of his substitute to establish their legality and many other preogatives were attached to his Masonic rank. No provision however had been made in the Constitution for the appointment of his successor, and as it was an office of the highest importance, the utmost caution was necessary to prevent an improper person from obtaining it. The King being conscious of this, established the 33d degree. Nine brethren in each nation form the Supreme Council of Grand Inspectors General, who after his decease posses all his Masonic prerogatives and power over the Craft. They are the Exective body of the Masonic Fraternity, and their approval is now necessary to the acts of the Consistory, before they can become laws and from their decision there can be no appeal.
The 33d degree is the ne plus ultra of Masonry.
The Sublime Degrees are the same at this moment as they were at the time of their first formation. Not the smallest alteration or addition has been made to them. The same principles and the same ceremonies are every where observed and as we know from our archives, that they have existed for many hundreds of years, in their original state, the charge of Illuminism cannot with truth, be brought against them.
Usually delivered at the opening of the Sublime Grand Lodges.
O THOU great and eternal Lord God, source of light and of love; thou sovereign inspector and mighty architect of the wonders of Creation who from thy throne in the highest heaven, in mercy lookest down upon all the dwellers of the earth; lend, we beseech thee, thine ear to the prayers and petitions of thy unworthy servants, now assembled in thy presence, to teach the mysteries of that Sublime Edifice, which is erected and dedicated to thy Most Holy and Glorious Name. Pour upon us and all the members of the Mystic Craft throughout the two Hemispheres, the rich blessings of thy providence. Give us strength to over come temptations, to subdue our passions, and to practice virtue. Fill our hearts with fear without desolation; with confidence without presumption; with piety without illusion; and with joy without licentiousness. Fill our hearts with tender affection for thy divine goodness and love for our neighbors. Make us faithful to our friends and charitable to our enemies. Dispose our hearts, O thou God Eternal, to receive the splendid impressions of religion and humanity; our minds the great lights of science, and direct our footsteps in the bright paths of virtue.
Let all our actions prove to an admiring world, that our lives are sincerely dedicated to thee our God, and to the relief of our fellow-creatures; and finally, when we yield up our breath to thee the source of life, may we, bearing the rich harvest of good actions, be admitted into that Sublime and Eternal Lodge, where happiness reigns without alloy, and where, around the Throne of the Great JEHOVAH, we shall sing Hallelujahs to his name.
Now unto the King Eternal,
Immortal, Invisible, the only wise God, be the Kingdom, Power, and Glory, for
ever and ever! Amen.
Usually given before closing the Sublime Grand Lodges.
YOU are now about to quit the scared retreat of Friendship and Virtue, to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employments forget not the duties you have heard so frequently inculcated, and forcibly recommended in this Lodge. Be therefore, diligent, prudent, temperate, discreet; and remember also, that around this altar, you have solemnly and repeatedly promised to befriend and relieve with unhesitating, so far as shall be in your power, every Brother who shall need your assistance: that you have promised to remind him, in the most tender manner, of his failings and aid his reformation: to vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced, and to suggest in his behalf, the most candid, favorable and palliating circumstances, even when his conduct is justly reprehended, that the world may observe how Masons love one another.
And these generous principles are to extend farther. Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices; so that we rejoin it upon you to “ do good unto ALL,” while we recommend it more “especially to the household of the faithful.”
By diligence in the duties of your respective callings, by liberal benevolence and diffusive charity, by constancy and fidelity in your friendships, by uniformly just, amiable, and virtuous deportment, discover the beneficial and happy effects of this ancient and honorable institution. Let it not be supposed that you have “ labored in vain, and spent your strength for naught; for your work is with the Lord, and your recompense with your God.
Finally, Brethren, be ye all of one mind, live in peace, and may the God of love and peace delight to dwell with, and to bless you.
PERFORMED IN THE SUBLIME GRAND LODGE
ON THE FESTIVAL OF THE VERNAL EQUINOX,
A. L. 5807
By the late Brother Thomas Dunckerly, Acting
Grand Commander of the Knights of K-H.
ALMIGHTY Sire, our Heav’nly King,
Before whose sacred Name we bend,
Accept the praises which we sing,
And to our humble prayer attend.
All hail! Great Architect Divine,
This Universal Frame is thine,
Thou who did’st Persia’s King command,
A Proclamation to extend,
That Israel’s sons might quit his land,
Their Holy Temple to attend.
Thy watchful eye, a length of time
That wond’rous circle did attend:
The glory and the pow’r be thine,
Which shall from age to age descend.
On thy Omnipotence we rest;
Secure of thy protection here,
And hope hereafter to be blest,
When we have left this world of care.
Grant us, great God thy pow’rful aid;
That aid will banish every fear:
For, where thy goodness is display’d,
Pleasure, content, and bliss appear.
All hail! Great Architect Divine,
This Universal Frame is thine.
Inspire us with thy grace divine!
Thy sacred law our guide shall be,
To ev’ry good our hearts incline,
From ev’ry evil keep us free!
All hail! Great Architect Divine,
This Universal Frame is thine.
By Brother Isaac Auld, Grand Inspector General.
GOD spoke, from chaos, Order rose!
The Potent Word commanded light,
Which, bursting from the tomb of night,
Chas’d off Confusion and its woes!
Immortal love conceived the whole,
And gave it elemental soul!
To make the joy complete in heaven,
Again th’ Almighty mandate flew:
And Man, God’s likeness rose to view;
To whom were special honours given;
Imortal! Love conceiv’d the whole,
And bless’d the image with a soul!
Then let the Mystic Craft rejoice,
And raise to God the gladd’ning voice;
And praise the Architect above!
The God of Glory and of Love!
Immortal Love preserves the whole;
And lifts to God the living soul!
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