Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry


Cadet Gassicourt ⬩ Caduceus ⬩ Count Cagliostro ⬩ Carbonari ⬩ Cardinal Points ⬩ Casanova ⬩ Chief of the Tabernacle ⬩ China and Freemasonry ⬩ Christian Mysteries ⬩ Circumambulation ⬩ Martin Clare ⬩ Colours ⬩ Co-Masonry ⬩ Compagnonnage ⬩ Conduct ⬩ Consecration and Its Elements ⬩ Constitutions and Charges ⬩ Convivial Societies ⬩ Cowan ⬩ Craft System ⬩ Cromwell and Masonry ⬩ Cross Symbolism ⬩ Jeremy L. Cross ⬩ Cromwell and Masonry ⬩ R. T. CrucefixCuldees and Culdee Worship ⬩ Cybele

Cadet Gassicourt

In the wake of the French Revolution—that is to say, in the year 1796—there appeared Le Tombeau de Jacques Molay, which like its precursor, the Voile Levé of Lefranc and its successor, the Mémoires of Barruel, endeavoured to trace the hand of Freemasonry in the shaping of the great upheaval. The author was Cadet Gassicourt. But it so happened that he, and it was he only, in the middle place of the triad, came to see that he was mistaken on various counts of his indictment, and—being a man of honour—retracted. He confessed that he had drawn from Lefranc, reproducing and simplifying his charges. He did more even than confess, for he sought and obtained initiation in 1805. He was received into the Order at Paris by the Loge de l’Abeille and passed the Chair therein. It is said also that in 1809, when he was orateur-adjoint of the Loge Sainte-Josephine, he delivered an eulogistic discourse on the Chevalier Ramsay, whom he had attacked previously in his connection with the High Grades.

Templar Vengeance.—As its title indicates, the thesis of Cadet Gassicourt assumes a Templar origin of Freemasonry, the particular form being that of the Rite of the Strict Observance, with certain variations about the origin of which I am not certain. The last Grand Master of the Temple instituted an occult Masonry in his dungeon, not merely by word of mouth and not upon paper, but in such a manner that it had living members from the beginning. After the immolation of Molay these Masons organised and vowed themselves: (1) to exterminate all kings, and especially the House of Capet; (2) to destroy the Papal power; (3) to preach the doctrine of liberty; and (4) to found one universal republic. They proceeded subsequently to establish Masonic Lodges of the ordinary kind as a cloak of their designs, and to act as drag-nets. The external membership knew nothing of these propositions and supposed that their institution had human service and benevolence as its object. They were in the power of their secret chiefs, who drew to them from all quarters those who could serve their purpose and were fitted to enter within the secret circle. It was perpetuated in this manner from generation to generation, and its hand is traced in the chief royal assassinations, poisonings, as well as several notable political rebellions of history. At the period of the Revolution Mirabeau, Robespierre, Danton, the Due d’Orléans, and the English statesman Fox were members of the Templar Tribunal, at the instigation of which the Bastille was taken, to inaugurate the reign of blood and vengeance, for this had been the prison of Molay. The conspiracy by no means ended with the Revolution itself, and according to Gassicourt was active in several countries at the very time when he was writing his book, which reflects from many sources and reproduces many blunders on matters of fact. We shall hear more of the mythical conspiracy when I come to consider the Templars’ claim in Masonry and the work of Lefranc.

Biographical Note.—The preface to a second edition explains that Le Tombeau was first published when the author was in prison and under sentence of death. His condemnation is a matter of fact, but the imprisonment must be understood as a refuge of his own seeking to escape his persecutors. Charles Louis Cadet Gassicourt was a moderate republican who took arms for the repression of massacre and pillage. We are told that he sought and obtained a revision of the process against him. There is nothing of further interest as regards his career. I may say, however, he was born on January 23, 1769, and died on November 21, 1821. His profession was that of a pharmacist, like his father and uncle before him, and—also like them—he has left works on subjects connected with pharmacy. They are of course of no consequence now. For the rest he was a litterateur of his period who wrote occasional vaudevilles and at least one book of travels. His contribution to the question of Masonry is a curiosity and will continue to be read as such.


The Masonic connections of this symbol are of an arbitrary nature. Hermes or Mercury was the Messenger of the Gods, and the Caduceus was the winged wand of Hermes, entwined with serpents. The Deacons of a Craft Lodge are Messengers of the Master, and their wands are surmounted by doves. Doves signify peace, and the Caduceus commemorates the legend that Mercury in Arcadia separated two serpents engaged in deadly combat. In a manner therefore it is an emblem of peace imposed. Classically, however, the serpents are supposed to represent prudence, while the wings typify diligence. The deacons are guides, and the characteristic office of Hermes was the conduct of departed souls to their place in the other world, for which reason his wand is held to be a symbol of immortality. It was of olive wood, and this again connotes peace, as well as the continuity of life. A touch of the wand could put mortals to sleep, though it did not guarantee repose to disembodied spirits “after life’s fitful fever.” At need it raised the dead, but not after this manner or with this emblem is the Candidate raised in Masonry. In occult reveries the Caduceus is held to represent (1) the positive and negative currents, the fixed and volatile, the correspondence of things contrary, connoted by the serpents; (2) the harmony or balance between them, depicted by the wand itself, which spreads its wings over the contending forces. From this point of view the symbol as a whole would also signify continuity of life in fullness as an equipoise between growth and decay. In the wand of the Deacons there is nothing, however, which speaks of immortality, and nothing which speaks of death. It is rather a guarantee in symbolism that they come in peace to the Candidate and that they guide him in good-will. Hereof is the spirit of Masonry, and it is sufficient for our reasonable content. In Hermetic Masonry the winged dove and the winged Caduceus might have carried other and very curious meanings, because of the Doves of Diana and the place of that wand in Alchemy; but I do not remember that they have been pressed into the service of its peculiar Rites and Grades.

Count Cagliostro

We shall see that in Germany and France of the eighteenth century there were several claims put forward on behalf of several systems to exercise universal jurisdiction over Freemasonry. Among these was that of Cagliostro, who was invited to the Convention of Paris for the purpose of explaining his pretensions. It is doubtful whether he responded, but the records of his attendance exist at least in two forms, one of which is unquestionably spurious, being extracted from mythical memoirs of the archaeologist Court de Gebelin, and published without any credentials in France. There is otherwise no question as to the claims of the Sicilian magus, either in respect of himself or his Masonic system. He passed as the disciple of an alchemist named Althotas, whom some have identified with the theosophist Schröder of Germany—against all evidence as indeed against all likelihood—and he pretended to have received at the Pyramids of Egypt a full initiation into the “Mysteries of the veritable Grand Orient.” He could make gold and silver; he could renew youth; he could confer physical beauty on those who submitted to his processes of Hermetic Medicine; he could evoke the apparitions of the dead; he had lived for two thousand years; he knew all secrets, natural and divine; and he spoke with the inspiration of wisdom handed down from past ages.

The Egyptian Rite.—Such at least are the stories concerning him. His success was unlimited for a moment. He enchanted the most enlightened and philosophical society in the most philosophical and enlightened country of the world, just past its zenith of cultured unbelief. But it was precisely the scepticism of France which was necessary for the success of Cagliostro. He is said to have been made a Mason in London at an apparently mythical Lodge under completely mythical circumstances, and he appears to have been a visitor at various English Lodges, where he and his claims were flouted. The Egyptian Rite, which he had invented or acquired—if indeed it was already begotten—was unsuited to the frigid imaginations and meagre wit of the laidly Georgian epoch. In the principality of Courland, at Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lyons he attained, however, an immense if transient triumph. But his crowning ambition was “to inaugurate a Mother-Lodge at Paris, to which Masonry should be subordinated entirely,” and for this purpose he proclaimed himself the bearer of the Mysteries of Isis and Anubis from the Far East. He spared no pains: all his devices and inventions were shaped with some reference ultimately to this end. His career has been represented as one of untinctured imposture, but it is precisely one of those cases in which an unbiassed judgment was at all times difficult to give, and new considerations have arisen which deserve a serious hearing, as we shall see.

Science of the Pyramids.—Much of the testimony against him was made public by the Roman Inquisition, a source from which the sense of historical justice might demand an appeal with reason. In any case, he intoxicated Paris and Strasbourg; he had an illustrious cardinal of the period for his humble admirer; and—to serve only as an instance of things said and reported—there is the fabulous affirmation that Louis XVI once notified that any one who molested Cagliostro should be held guilty of treason. There were other rumours, and none of them can be taken seriously; but over his Egyptian Freemasonry even Cagliostro was serious, while as regards the mendacity of his claims they were not more glaring and were assuredly far more attractive than those which had been made previously in respect of every system and every bunch of Degrees, from the time when Anderson first forged credentials for the Craft itself in his Book of Constitutions. Cagliostro’s hostile biographers admit that from a small rogue it transformed him into a magnificent charlatan. At Paris, and in the Rue de la Soudière, he is said to have established a private Temple of Isis and constituted himself the High Priest. In 1785 he declared—on the precedent of the initiated priestesses of Egyptian Temples, after which he had modelled his own—that women might be admitted to the Mysteries of the Masonic Science of the Pyramids; and the reception of Madame de Lamballe, with many ladies of exalted rank, took place amidst Oriental luxury at the Vernal Equinox.

Philalethes.—The Lodges of Paris looked on in wonder, and his invitation to their general assembly, to testify concerning himself and his system, is no matter for surprise. Whether he attended or not, whether it is true or not that he made his presence contingent on the great Rite of the Philalethes passing under the obedience of his system, so far as Cagliostro was concerned the Conference came to nothing; and with all its pretensions to the possession of lost secrets, to the Stone of the Philosophers and the Great Elixir, Egyptian Masonry came also to nothing: it perished or was entombed with its founder in a prison of the Inquisition.

Guiseppe Balsamo.—Until a few years since it was accepted implicitly that Count Cagliostro was Guiseppe Balsamo, a Sicilian rogue born at Palermo, who perambulated Europe, and even visited London in the course of his career. However, in the year 1910 Mr. J. M. Trowbridge succeeded in casting a certain doubt on the identification by an elaborate and interesting study of the evidence at large. This is no place in which to attempt a criticism of his findings, and I register only at its value the personal conclusion that his argument against the identity is not altogether satisfactory, so that the question remains open, with nothing whatever attaching to it for the purpose of the present work. It will be sufficient to say that in place of antecedents that are known on the Balsamo hypothesis, Mr. Trowbridge produces Cagliostro in London, accompanied by his wife, in the summer of 1776, having liberal means for the moment, but with a cloud of darkness behind them in respect of their past, especially that of the Count. On the whole I consider that Mr. Trowbridge in the part of an intelligent and engaging apologist does much better service to his subject by the independent light which he casts upon his later history. It is not that he has discovered any new and unlooked-for facts, but he encourages us to regard the Magus under a fresh and more favourable aspect.

An Apologist’s Mistakes.—While the work mentioned is a real contribution to our knowledge, it is open in accessory matters to serious correction. The author is not a Freemason and—among many other points—he does not seem to realise the absurdity of a periodical called Courier de l’Europe, when it spoke—as stated—of the Count’s Initiation in London by an alleged Espérance Lodge together with his wife. Whether such a Lodge existed at the period I do not know; that, if so, it was affiliated with the Rite of the Strict Observance I do not believe; but there neither was then nor is now any warranted Lodge in England which would have received a woman, and the Strict Observance was about the last Masonic Obedience against which the accusation could be brought.

Saint-Martin and others.—From other sources Mr. Trowbridge derived errors of fact in respect of Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, and I question whether he consulted any authority posterior to Matter. He can have never seen Des Erreurs et de la Vérité, the first work of the French mystic, two volumes octavo—respectively pp. 230 and 236—or he could scarcely describe it as “a strange little book.” He can neither have read nor seen Saint-Martin’s later writings, or he could not have affirmed that Liberty, Equality and Fraternity were the sacred triad of the mystic. He could know nothing of his life and his attitude towards external secret societies, or he would not have reproduced the old fable that Saint-Martin established a Masonic Rite, above all a Rite of Swedenborg, about whom he has left a very definite statement of opinion. He would not in fine have called him the founder of the Martinists: this is another fiction, which has been exploded long ago. Similar exception must be taken to every Rosicrucian reference which occurs in the memoir. The members of this Fraternity did not revolutionise belief in the supernatural; their first manifesto did not claim to have been found in the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz; the so-called doctrine of Elementary Spirits was the least part of their concern, the Abbé de Villars being responsible in the Comte de Gabalis for its great popularity, he writing a century and a half later and deriving from Paracelsus; they did not regard the Philosopher’s Stone as signifying contentment; and their impostures—real or alleged in no sense led up to the Masonic Convention at Wilhelmsbad, which was called by the Grand Master of the Strict Observance. At that period they were working under a Masonic aegis and their Secret Rituals are in my possession. Lastly, in respect of Alchemy, if Mr. Trowbridge in his brief review and in his casual references had made a starting-point in the collections of Byzantine, Syrian and Arabian alchemists published by Berthelot, he would have given us a more informed account, and his allusion to Geber would have appeared in another form. The fact that there was a mystical as well as a physical school in Alchemy might still have escaped him, but this is an involved subject.

Balsamo and Cagliostro.—To go back, I do not regard it as determined once and for all that Cagliostro was not Joseph Balsamo, and even accepting the distinction he does not appear now in a better light than that of an impostor with a cast of seriousness, some elementary psychic powers and several good qualities with which he has not been accredited previously; but while I hold no brief except for the unconditional condemnation of all things included under the conventional name of Magic, it is satisfactory to learn that one of its celebrated masters was by no means so black as he has been painted.

George Cofton.—Egyptian Masonry has been vilified by people like Woodford, who have neither seen its Rituals nor sought information concerning them. It was neither worse nor better than some hundreds of contemporary systems which have perished out of memory with it; it was neither worse nor better than numbers which are still extant and even in activity among us. We know nothing concerning its origin, for the story that he found the Rite ready-made—so to speak—among the papers of a certain George Cofton, of whom no one has heard, is evidence only of a feeling that he is unlikely to have invented it himself. He may have met with materials somewhere, but it is certain that they were developed or emblazoned either under his instructions or on his own part. The available sources of information on the actual content of the Rituals are (1) a manuscript in the collection of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and (2) a printed version which was published some years ago in France under occult auspices. Both are unknown in England, and as one of them is very curious I shall speak of it at some length and more shortly concerning the other.

Egyptian Craft Grades.—The Ritual preserved in the Scottish Grand Lodge is of course in the French language and is entitled Egyptian Masonry. It contains, in the first place, certain Statutes and Regulations of the Venerable Lodge Wisdom Triumphant, being the Mother Lodge of Exalted Egyptian Masonry, for East and West: constituted as such and founded at the Orient of Lyons by the Grand Copht, Founder and Grand Master of the said Egyptian Masonry in all parts of the Globe, East and West. Secondly, it contains three Rituals corresponding hypothetically to those of the Craft and bearing the same titles; but it should be understood that the qualification of a Master Mason was required of every Candidate.

(I.) Grade of Apprentice.—The Lodge was draped in blue. The Throne of the Master was raised on a dais approached by three steps. The Sun and Moon were emblazoned right and left of the Throne and above the head of the Master was a triangle—apex upward—inscribed with the sacred Name Jehovah. A brazier and sponge soaked in spirit were placed on the altar immediately before the Throne. The Lodge was opened in the Name of God, and according to the Constitutions of the Rite, all present upstanding. The order was given for admission and a Grand Inspector of Apprentices—accompanied by his Brethren of the First Degree—retired to prepare the Candidate, who had been placed in a Chamber of Reflection, contemplating a picture of a great pyramid, having a cave at the base—guarded by an old man representing Time. The Grand Inspector removed some of the Candidate’s clothing, his money, metals and valuables. A discourse on the pyramid followed; he was told of the difficulties and dangers which encompass the philosophical path and was asked whether he would choose it before the ease and wealth of the world. His answer being affirmative, he was led to the door of the Lodge, which opened at a Battery of Seven knocks, and he was announced as a Brother who had passed the Degrees of ordinary Masonry and now applied for admission into that of Egypt. He was placed on his knees in front of the Throne; an oath of secrecy, fidelity and obedience was imposed; the Master assuming a symbolical white robe; and the Grade was conferred in full, with the Sign belonging thereto and the sacred word Elohim. A long allocution followed concerning (a) Natural Philosophy as the Marriage of the Sun and Moon; (b) Supernatural Philosophy as knowledge of the attributes of Deity; (c) The Pillars J∴ and B∴ as signifying respectively two seekers after Natural and Supernatural Philosophy; (d) The Foundation of Masonry by Solomon; (e) The Implements of Masonry; (f) The Knowledge of the Seven Metals; (g) The Knowledge of Spiritual Natures; (h) The Invocation of the Deity; (i) The Knowledge of Seven Angels, corresponding to the Seven Planets and the Influence of these; (k) Man as the Image of God; (l) Health and Disease in Man; (m) The Use of Occult Forces; (n) The Increase of Natural Heat and Radical Humidity; (o) The Fixation of that which is Volatile and the Volatilisation of that which is Fixed; and finally (p) The Way to do Good with the Utmost Secrecy.

(II.) Grade of Companion.—The time of probation between the First and Second Grades was three years, but these were probably symbolical. The Throne of the Master was raised on a dais approached by five steps. A seven-pointed star was emblazoned above the Throne, having the Name of God in the centre and the names or titles of Seven Angels in the seven radii of the symbol. A circle was drawn immediately beneath the dais, having a heart within it and in the heart a temple depicted, to indicate that the true Temple of God is built up within the Mason. Around the heart were exhibited a Trowel, Rough Ashlar, Cubical and Triangular Stones, a Dagger, the Sun and Moon. Beneath the heart a Mason was represented striving with Mercury, by allusion to the difficulties which beset the search after the First Matter of Alchemical Philosophy. There were twelve candles about the circle and twelve Masters were present. The Battery was five knocks. The Lodge was opened with prayer and the Veni, Creator Spiritus. The Candidate was admitted, clothed in white—a similar vestment being assumed—as previously—by the Master. He was purified with incense and another obligation was imposed. The Grade of Companion was conferred upon him but expressed in general terms—one of the keynotes being: Sic transit gloria mundi! The sign was to open the mouth—a reminiscence of Egyptian Ritual—and inspire strongly, looking up to heaven. The Master breathed upon the Candidate and created him a new man.

(III.) Grade of Master.—The alternative title was Master of the Interior, referring to the Sanctuary of the Temple. The time of probation between the Second and Third Grades was five years, and was again presumably symbolical. The Throne of the East was raised on a dais approached by three steps and was of sufficient capacity to hold two Celebrants or Officers-in-Chief, representing Solomon and the King of Tyre, qualified as the Beloved of God. One of them was clothed in white and the other in blue embroidered with gold. The names of Seven Angels were inscribed on the vestments. Twelve other Masters of the Interior—qualified as Elect of God—were supposed to be present at Receptions. The Battery was one knock. The Lodge was opened with the Te Deum, followed by prayer to Jehovah and invocation of the Seven Angels. After the Opening the Grand Inspector led forward the Dove of the Rite, who was a young boy or maiden, clothed in white and wearing white slippers. After reciting a prayer for absolution and taking a pledge of fidelity, the Dove was breathed upon three times by the Master—representing King Solomon—and was then placed in a Tabernacle and locked in. A state of lucidity in the Dove was supposed to be induced by these ceremonies, so that he or she could receive messages from the Seven Angels, whether as regards the fitness of the Candidate or on any matters which might be proposed at the will of the Masters. One of these proceeded to circumambulate the Lodge, making four circles with his sword in the air at the four cardinal points. He traced also with chalk a large circle in the centre, scattering incense at the North, myrrh at the South, ash of laurel at the East and ash of myrtle at the West. The Lodge was now prepared for the Reception of the Candidate, who was brought in by two Elect Brethren and placed within the circle. He was put on his knees and sworn; a prayer for absolution was recited over him, and he was sprinkled with hyssop and water. The representative of King Solomon breathed on him three times, a red cord was placed about his neck, and an oracle was obtained from the Dove to shew that he had been blessed by the Seven Angels, who had laid their hands upon him. The Candidate was then led to his place on the right side of the Sanctuary—that is to say, in the Southern quarter. All present were seated and a Discourse followed, together with Prayers for Sanctification, a general circumambulation of the Temple and solemn Benediction, some of the prayers and procedure following rather closely those of the Latin Rite. The Discourse had reference to the First Matter of the Alchemists and the symbolical meanings of the Rose and Phoenix.

An Alternative Codex.—I have so far summarised the MS. Rituals in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The alternative version appeared at long intervals between November, 1906, and June, 1909, in L’Initiation, being the official organ of French Martinism, issued under the editorship of the President of its Supreme Council. In addition to the fact that the two codices are substantially identical in so far as they cover the same ground, there are internal reasons which satisfy me that the extensions and additamenta in the printed copy may be accepted as genuine. It was preceded in March, 1906, by certain bibliographical particulars respecting the manuscript on which it was based. They appeared anonymously, or rather over the initial X, and I give the following heads of the notice under all necessary reserves, though I have no personal doubt that they are approximately correct: (1) The archives of the Egyptian Lodge called Wisdom Triumphant at Lyons passed into the possession of members belonging to its successor called Memphis, which met in the same building, from the year 1805 onward. The suggestion appears to be that it worked Egyptian Masonry, but this I regard as doubtful. In any case it was closed by the police in 1822, for political reasons, and in the year 1906 it was still in a state of suspension. (2) The archives included Cagliostro’s autograph manuscript of Egyptian Masonry—a large volume in quarto, unbound, and containing many diagrams. (3) In some unexplained manner, this autograph had come into the possession of a certain Dubreuil, of the Lodge Wisdom Triumphant, who bequeathed it to an unnamed person, by whom it was left to the Lodge Perfect Silence. The Secretary of this Lodge was its custodian in 1906. The fate of the other archives is not mentioned in the memorial.

Egyptian Tracing-Boards.—So far as there are variations in ceremonial procedure and liturgy of the three Grades, they are of no special importance, but it may be mentioned that there are full particulars of the Tracing-Boards belonging to each: (1) Entered Apprentice.—The diagram exhibited the door of a Temple approached by seven steps and covered by a curtain, on the right and left of which were the words Arcanum Magnum and Gemma Secretorum. (2) Companion.—As we have seen already, a Temple placed in a heart, with the Sun and Moon shining thereon. (3) Master.—A Phoenix on a flaming pyre, beneath which are a sword en sautoir and Caduceus. In the Apprentice Diagram a Master-Mason threatens a sleeping Mercury, who stands for the First Matter; in that of Companion, Saturn is added to these; while the Third Tracing-Board shews Time deprived of his scythe, which lies broken at the feet of the Mason.

Lectures of the Grades.—The Catechisms or Lectures attached to the Grades are purely and simply those of Hermetic Masonry; but in place of claiming to draw from the great masters of old it casts them summarily aside, not excepting Hermes himself, Basil Valentine, Arnold de Villanova, Raymond Lully, and Bernard Trévisan, electing to rest solely on the authority and inspiration of the sublime Copht and founder of Egyptian Masonry. In the Grade of Entered Apprentice it is said that the First Matter was created before man, whose immortality would have been ensured thereby, but man abused the Divine Goodness: the great gift was removed and placed in the custody of a few elect beings, among whom were Enoch, Elias, Moses, David, Solomon and the King of Tyre. It is said that a grain of this Matter “becomes a projection to infinity." It is symbolised especially by the Acacia, but the Rough Ashlar signifies its mercurial part, which is said to become cubical after complete purification. It must then be slain with a poniard—thus introducing a new form of imagery which stultifies the first kind. There follows a further purification in respect of the dead body, according to a regimen of seven stages, corresponding to and exhibiting seven colours, the last of which is like that of fresh blood. This brings about a marriage between the Sun and Moon. It is affirmed that the philosophical process is exhibited in the traditional history of the Craft, understood here as the murder of Adoniram. It is not worth while reciting the variants of the legend as presented by Egyptian Masonry, for it is in grave contradiction with itself and makes nonsense of Scripture history.

Second Grade Lecture.—The Catechism attached to the Second Degree represents the Rose as a symbol of the First Matter and then mentions a retreat of forty days, during which the hypothetical subject is administered as an elixir or medicine. This constitutes the physical regeneration of Cagliostro, which is well known in the story of his life. There is also a spiritual regeneration, which takes place during the course of another retreat: it renews the moral part of man. When man is regenerated physically and morally he recovers that great power which he forfeited when he lost his innocence at the Fall. This was Cagliostro’s second and greater magisterium; but it was the first which Cardinal de Rohan is reputed to have undergone, though history does not say that he profited in the result. Outside its alchemical aspects, the following points may be collected from this document: (1) The symbolical age of a Companion is thirty-three years, with the hope of regaining childhood and attaining in fine the spiritual status of 5557. (2) Perfection is not attained by bodily austerities or other external penances, but by casting forth vices from the soul and by fervid love of virtue. (3) The word of a Companion is Heloym; it was formulated by the Creator when He gave life and immortality to the First Matter: it signifies “I will, and do ordain that my will be done.”

Master Grade.—The procedure of this Grade is in part after the manner of Ceremonial Magic, for the Presiding Officer moves—as we have seen—around the Temple, describing circles with his sword and reciting occult formulae. The Catechism dwells further upon the Rose as representing the First Matter and upon the Pentagon as the fruit of the Great Work of moral regeneration by the retreat of forty days. The Phoenix on the Tracing-Board signifies that the True Mason rises from his ashes and death has no further power upon him, as shewn by the Scythe of Time lying broken at his feet. The labours of the Degree are said to be purely spiritual.

Women of the Rite.—The printed codex is by no means confined to the three super-Craft Rituals, The Laws and Constitutions of the Order are given at full length, with formulas of Patents and other official documents. There is further a mode of invoking the Seven Angels attributed by occult lore to the Seven Planets and also the Twelve Ancients, who are presumably those of the Apocalypse. Finally there are the Adoptive Grades of Egyptian Masonry, presumably as worked on that historical occasion when Princesse de Lamballe was initiated, passed and raised. Madame Cagliostro was Grand Mistress of this branch of the Rite.

General Conclusion.—There is no question that Egyptian Masonry is much ado about little or that it existed for the glorification of the sublime Copht and the furtherance of his particular schemes in occult medicine. So far as it is concerned with Magic it is a reflection of well-known ceremonial procedure in past centuries; on the alchemical side its thesis concerning the First Matter does not differ from that which obtains in the general course of the literature, with which in other respects it exhibits no acquaintance, nor does it offer anything to replace the authorities whom it rejects. I should think that the inventive mind of Cagliostro had dwelt upon things to follow his scheme of the Craft Grades, but the Revolution intervened in respect of France at large, while the Holy Office took charge of the pupil of Althotas. I have only to add that the work of Mr. J. M. Trowbridge, to which I have referred, is entitled Cagliostro: The Splendour and Misery of a Master of Magic.


The Charcoal-Burners, otherwise Carbonari, were a secret political society having the liberation of Italy for its object, and its chief analogy with Masonry resides in the fact that its members did not burn charcoal—unless indeed occasionally, as a veil of their real design—and that the Craftsmen of the Emblematic Order do not as such build temples—unless indeed in the heart—and then occasionally. It follows that the Carbonari have no part in our subject, but they have been named and cited frequently in connection with Masonry, because one Secret Society naturally suggests another; and I fear that many unwary people are still disposed to suspect that all such Fraternities have some obscure root of identity. Prior to the Carbonari there were the French Good Cousins—Le Bon Cousinage—and there were the Fendeurs, an Order of Hewers or Woodcutters. The Italian zealots appear to have drawn something from both and claimed to be descended from the first. They said also that they owed their better foundation to Francis I, who—according to a legend of the Cousins—even found harbourage among them, and they received his protection for their reward. It is thought that there were two Degrees—namely, Apprentice and Master—in the figurative mystery of charcoal-burning. There were also Grand Masters, Grand Treasurers, Grand Almoners et hoc genus omne, not excepting Grand Adepts—to connect them with more occult hierarchies. For historical purposes they do not seem to go back much earlier than the beginning of the nineteenth century. Their religion—according to claim—was Catholic, Apostolic and Roman.

Cardinal Points

The Cardinal Points are not unimportant in Masonry because of their relation to the chief Officers of the Lodge and their correspondents in the Higher Degrees. The East is the point of departure in all activities of the Temple, and it is the point also of return in the great quest of the Craft, recalling the soul’s travelling, as from God into things manifest, and again going back to God by a journey through the underworld. The North corresponds hereto and the northern light is shadowed: it stands in fact for darkness according to Masonic Symbolism. The permanent Officers of the Lodge are placed therein, but this is only because they do not share in Ceremonial procedure. Since the South is the place of the Sun at its meridian it might be thought that the Chair of the Master would be set therein, as the proper location of him who rules and leads, rather than that of a Warden. But the explanation is that the Master signifies the fontal source of light, while the Junior and Senior Wardens are only modes of its illumination: they hold from him and act under his direction. In other worlds of symbolism the Cardinal Points are in correspondence with the four Cardinal virtues—namely. Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance—which are obviously Masonic Virtues and are brought as such to the notice of every Candidate, with adequate counsels concerning them, very early in the Ceremonies of the Order. In Kabalistic Tradition the Cardinal Points are indicative of the universal dominion exercised by the Holy Shekinah: from Zenith to Nadir, from East to West, and she abiding at the centre of the cosmic cross formed by the intersection of their influences, from which centre she irradiates and sanctifies all. I have said that the North signifies Darkness in Masonry: the South corresponds to Beauty, the East to Wisdom, and the West to Strength. The implicits are (1) the Beauty of the Sun of Justice and Righteousness, (2) the Wisdom of the Most High, and (3) the Fortitude which is a gift thereof as it is said in one of the Grand Antiphons: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, otherwise ab Oriente usque ad Occasum, from the Rising to the Setting Sun.

In the Grade of Rose-Croix the Pillar of Wisdom is in the North, the Pillar of Beauty in the South, and the Pillar of Strength in the West; but the Tree of Life in transfigured Kabalism has the Pillar of Wisdom in the South, the Pillar of Strength in the North, while between them stands the Pillar of Beauty and Benignity.


I have mentioned this adventurer previously, and it would appear that the kind of scholarship which has been applied of recent years to the critical study of his Memoirs has reported more favourably on their historical claims than was tolerated by earlier findings. They have also a claim upon literature, as the term is understood in France, for they are brilliant after their own manner, though they belong to the life of the cesspools. Casanova was born at Venice in the year 1725 and died as a roué dies—but much beyond the normal age—in 1798. He appears to have been made a Mason at Lyons in 1758, and I conclude that it served his purpose, as—for example—when opportunity led him to pose as an adept of occult science. He was not unacquainted with Cagliostro and at least on one occasion his track crossed that of the Comte de St. Germain, whom he did not fail to understand, at least after his own manner; but a profligate in the mask of adeptship sees others in his own likeness. The question is not of our concern, nor is the mere fact that he was a Mason any title to a place for Casanova in these volumes. But it would look as if he thought about Masonry and had conceived a theory respecting it. The evidence is a single passage in his almost interminable Memoirs, and it calls to be quoted, not only because it happens to have been taken seriously, but because the quality of its suggestion does not stand alone.

The Masonic Secret.—He points out in the first place that a young man on his way through the world, and wishing to know the world—more especially if he proposed to travel—could not dispense with Masonry at that period; it might be called a door by which there was entrance into good society. He must understand the Emblematic Order, if only in a superficial manner and realise the connection which exists between it and society at large. After these preliminaries, which have nothing to do with his subject, he proceeds to indicate (1) that those who are made Masons for the purpose of learning its secrets may suffer deception; (2) that those even who have occupied the Chair of the Master for fifty years may yet be unacquainted with its Mysteries; (3) that the Masonic secret is inviolable in its nature; (4) that it is never communicated, and therefore one who possesses it has attained thereto by divining it; (5) that such a person has marked, learned and inwardly digested the procedure which takes place in the Lodge; (6) that when he arrives at the discovery he keeps it unfailingly to himself, the reason being (7) that those who are incapable of finding it on their own part would be wanting in the ability to use it, if they received it verbally. For these reasons the Chevalier Jacob Casanova de Seingalt affirms that the secret of Masonry will ever remain a secret.

Behind the Secret.—Had the celebrated Memoirs been available at their period I am certain that this thesis would have been appropriated with joy and gladness by the Robisons and Barruels who trod the thorny paths of anti-Masonic speculation in the wake of the French Revolution: it gives such a hint of the word Revolution as that secret of Masonry which no one reveals to another, but keeps to himself if he finds it, and has an eye henceforth on the headships, looking for strange workings, until the moment comes perchance when he is drawn within them, since he looks to be the right man for their purpose. Otherwise he remains a watcher and notes the signs of the times, as one who reads portents in heaven. Now I do not suggest for a moment that this is Casanova's meaning, but only that it would be so much material for Lefranc and his Voile Levé, and I suspect that it has been used in such interests by modern anti-Masons in France. For Casanova himself the secret of Masonry was most probably a casket of great price and no pearl within it, a great pretension which covers a great mockery. For those who discover the secret and have the sense to reserve it there may open the path of exploitation, at least within the ranks of the Brotherhood and perhaps beyond them. In the opinion of Casanova, as a practised knight of industry, this would be arcanum enough, and Masonry was a rich field with room enough for many adventurers. I should leave the debate at this point, were it not for the occultists. One knows their view beforehand, and it can be expressed quite shortly: Casanova was a libertine adventurer, but it is obvious from his Masonic thesis that he was a man of intuition; and coming within the ranks of Masonry he saw—unworthy as he was—that a secret which could not be told in the outer circles of initiation lay within the great Brotherhood, and this was the secret of its leading: it was and is in the hands of a Hidden Lodge of Adepts for the great ends of adeptship. If you come to see this for yourself do not tell it to another, for unless he can see also he will not believe you and can therefore put the discovery to no profitable use.

Chief of the Tabernacle

For the symbolism of the Tabernacle set up in the wilderness by Moses, according to Divine Command, we must have recourse to texts like the Zohar or to Mystics like Jacob Böhme and not to High Grade Masonry. The Twenty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite is called Chief of the Tabernacle: it has analogues in the Rite of Mizraim and in one at least of those French collections which are of grave importance on paper. It is one of the Levitical Grades, and I have tabulated elsewhere some elements of supreme unreason which entered into its composition.

Royal Arch Connection.—As it commemorates in particular the institution of the Levitical priesthood, in any other classification than that of the Scottish Rite it might be supposed to lead up in the ritual direction of the Royal Arch, in which there is a distinct though not predominant element of notions and procedure connected with the sacerdotal order in Israel, but the Rite in question knows nothing of the Arch of Zerubbabel and the Grade leads nowhere, except to the next stage in the particular sequence, namely, Prince of the Tabernacle, the question of values in which will be considered at a later point.

Revision of Albert Pike.—There is, however, a version of the Grade which belongs to another category and has eliminated the glaring fatuities. According to the revision of the Scottish Rite produced by Albert Pike, under the auspices of the Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., the Court or Lodge of the Twenty-third Degree represents an encampment of the Twelve Tribes in the desert, near Mount Sinai. The Tabernacle of Moses, as described in Exodus xxvi and xxxi, is represented in the centre of the room, in the form of an oblong tent, stretched upon a frame and having a ridge-pole in the centre. The other furniture of the Lodge corresponds to the Altar of Burnt Offerings, Laver of Brass, Table of the Presence or Shewbread, Seven-Branched Candlestick and Altar of Incense. The Ark of the Covenant stands within the tent and is covered by the Mercy-Seat. The Presiding Officer is robed like the Jewish High Priest and so are his two Wardens, except that they do not wear the breastplate and mitre. The hour of Opening is that of replenishing the fire which burnt continually on the Altar of Burnt Offerings and of preparation for the Morning Sacrifice. That of Closing is when the sacrifices are completed.

Procedure in Outline.—The Candidate represents Eliasaph, son of Lael and Chief of the House of Gershon, the son of Levi. He desires preparation to perform the service of the people of the Lord in the Tabernacle of the Congregation and to make atonement for the children of Israel. By an ill-starred confusion of chronology, the fate of Korah, Dathan and Abiram is recited, and he is warned not to do likewise. He must approach the Mysteries with a pure heart, desiring the glory of God and the weal of man. A lock of hair is then removed from his head, to indicate in some obscure manner that he must divest himself of every sordid and selfish feeling, and—by another confusion—he is shewn a cross as the symbol of that universe of which God is the soul. It is presumably a cosmic cross and not that of Calvary. He is purified and pledged, is instructed on the unity of God and on the false idols of the heathen pantheons. There is also a short lesson on the necessity of faith, after which the symbolism of the furniture is explained: (1) The Seven-Branched Candlestick represents the seven planets, and the names of their angels are enumerated, with the attributions of the mystical number and its correspondence to seven virtues. (2) The censer recalls the incense of good deeds and charitable actions. (3) The blended colours of the curtains about the Tabernacle are significant of the four elements in the following order: Scarlet=Fire; Blue=Air; Purple=Water; while the “Fine linen”=Earth, which is therefore apparently white. Elsewhere White is said to signify the Infinite Beneficence of God; Blue, His profound and perfect Wisdom; Purple, His power; and Crimson, His glory.

Work of Pike.—The revisions of Pike always made for reverence and at least for a certain increase of conventional meaning, but it remained within the normal conventions. In the present instance he has done nothing which gives life. There is an elaborate mise en scène, But—as we can see—it comes to nothing. As regards the alternative codex and certain points therein, see my Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, Vol. I, p. 188.

China and Freemasonry

Whether Masonry was founded in China under the obedience of the Grand Lodge of England at an undetermined date of the eighteenth century, or whether the Swedish Grand Lodge warranted a Lodge at Canton on September 20, 1788, are questions which must be left over for want of materials by which to decide between the two alternative claims. So far as I can ascertain, the first is a matter of vague report, but for the second we have at its value the authority of the German Handbook, though it cannot be termed final. It has been suggested that a Lodge of St. Elizabeth holding from Sweden was in existence prior to 1865 at Canton City, and was the oldest Lodge in China: it seems, however, more certain that it was not in existence at the date mentioned than in activity at an earlier period. No importance attaches to the debate: if a Swedish obedience existed at one time it has passed away long since. At the present day there are two District Grand Lodges under the Grand Lodge of England, one at Shanghai for Northern China and one for Southern China at Hong Kong. The district of Northern China had only five Lodges on its Roll in 1896, named and numbered as follows: Royal Sussex, No. 501, said to have been founded in 1841; Northern Lodge of China, No. 570, established in 1849;’ Tuscan Lodge, No. 1027, referred to 1854; Doric Lodge, No. 1433, believed to have been constituted in 1881; and Union Lodge, No. 1951, belonging to the same year. The first three were located at Shanghai, the others belonging respectively to Chinkiang and Tientsin. By the year 1917 these Lodges had increased to eleven. As regards the Southern Jurisdiction, in that year the District Grand Lodge of Hong Kong had seven Lodges under its obedience: there are now nine. It must not be supposed, however, that Masonry in China holds only from the Grand Lodge of England. In the year 1908 there were Scottish, American and German Lodges at work, while another—under the Dutch Constitution—was added in 1910. The Northern District Grand Lodge dates from 1877 and is slightly senior to the Southern.

Indigenous Chinese Masonry.—It is a matter of common knowledge that China is and has been long honeycombed by secret societies, for the most part—by repute and otherwise—of political character. It was impossible that they should escape comparison with Masonry in the West. I will put aside the Order of Swastika, denominated “Most Ancient” and claiming to have been founded by Fohi, B.C., 1027. It has been said to consist of three Degrees: (1) Brother Apprentices; {2) Doctors of Reason; (3) Grand Masters. No trustworthy particulars concerning it seem to be forthcoming. The Triad Society is, however, of world-wide fame, and its Masonic analogies have been unfolded by various writers. Gustave Schlegel need not detain us when he seeks to account for them provisionally, in his Thian-li-hui, or Heaven-Earth League, by supposing that when the human race began to spread from the plains of Middle Asia, Masonry may have “divided itself into two branches, one passing to the West and the other directing itself to the East, and finding a fertile soil for its development in China.” This kind of speculation belongs to the Anderson period. The alleged analogies are these: (1) A triangle is the grand symbol of the Triad Society, most obviously arising from its name and suggesting as much or as little Masonic connection as might be found in the theological doctrine of the Holy Trinity. (2) The altar-symbols are a foot-rule, scales and weights. (3) There is a system of signs and grips; members are brethren by name as well as the fact of their initiation; they are said to worship one God. (4) Lodges of instruction are held for the improvement of zealous brethren. These points are summarised by Gould, who seems rather curiously impressed, as if they were something more than coincidence. He drew in part from Schlegel and in part from other sources. Less responsible writers multiply analogies by force. The Triad has its meeting-places, and to call them Lodges may be legitimate for certain minds; it has presiding officers, and they are identified as the Worshipful Master, Wardens, Deacons and Inner and Outer Guard; but their actual names are Great Brother, Second Brother, First Point, Second Point, and so forth. The Degrees are said to be those of Affiliated Younger Brother, Obligated Elder Brother, and Obligated Uncle—which of course are identified at once with Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master. Finally, and at the value of such statements, in the absence of evidence thereon, we hear of (1) a Book of Constitutions, (2) Certificates and Badges, (3) a Preparation of Candidates which recalls Masonic procedure. In so far as these things are true they illustrate only the common fact that there is a necessary bond of likeness between all secret societies, being laws to govern them, modes of recognition, formal evidences of memberships, and so forth. The Triad, for the rest, has a Blood-Covenant, an animal sacrifice, and a pledge which certifies that the Candidate is dead henceforth to all humanity outside the bonds of the League. It would be distinguished sufficiently from Masonry by these facts, even if it were “a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”

Chinese Secret Religion.—Very curiously, however, there are certain Chinese scholars who have discovered correspondences between the figurative character of Craft Masonry and an alleged secret religion in China. Sir Chaloner Alabaster has told us (1) that he has found clear evidence of a mystic faith, expressed in allegorical terms and illustrated by symbols; (2) that it assumed a Masonic form in the earliest historical times; (3) that its secrets were recorded in symbolic buildings like the Tabernacle and Temple at Jerusalem; (4) that its Officers were distinguished by symbolical jewels and wore leather aprons; (5) that the compasses and square were their emblems of right conduct; (6) that their Deity was denominated the First Builder. These statements are confirmed less or more substantially by Professor Herbert R. Giles, who quotes Confucius on transgressing “the limits of the square” and a Chinese proverb as saying that Confucianism, “the Holy Doctrine,” uses the compasses and square in its education of mankind. Mencius is still more explicit on the analogy when he affirms that “a Master Mason in teaching his apprentice makes use of compasses and square,” and that it behoves those who are in pursuit of wisdom to do likewise. It is, I hope, clear that there is nothing to my own mind which follows from these facts, except that the human mind, in applying the law of symbolism, has a tendency to use recurring images, because certain things carry their place in symbolism openly written upon them. When the creation of the world is expressed in allegorical terms the most obvious are those of building, and the Creator is Builder or Architect. So also the precision of mathematical instruments carries with it its own moral and spiritual connotations, belonging to the gospel of rightness. That such imagery is found in ancient Chinese classics and Masonic Rituals proves only that the authors of both had a common source in symbolism.

Age of the Triad.—It may be added that considerable antiquity has been ascribed to the Triad Society, which is said to have been a benevolent association of a religious and mystical complexion during the Ming dynasty. To this as a result of the Tartar invasion there succeeded a Manchu or Ching dynasty, about A.D. 1644, when the Secret Order, being legitimist—so to speak—was converted into a cabal of patriots. It is possible, however, that the Triad came into existence only between 1664 and 1674 as a conspiracy to restore the Mings. There is indeed a legendary history along these lines extant in China, according to which it was incorporated originally as a Hung or Universal League, which adopted for its motto the eloquent counsel: Obey Heaven, and walk righteously. Its plan of restoration was not so much due to a rooted loyalty towards Ming claims as to an act of gross treachery on the part of a Manchu Emperor, named Kanghi, he having burned the priests of a monastery who had once helped him in his need. In this case the Triad Society is posterior to the initiation of Elias Ashmole at Warrington by some twenty or thirty years—a curious commentary on its alleged Masonic complexion and supposed priority in time.

Christian Mysteries

That New Birth which conferred—ex hypothesi or otherwise—upon the Eleusinian mystae the title of Regenerated Children of the Moon—so that each of them was henceforth symbolically a Son of the Queen of Heaven—born as a man originally and reborn in a divine manner—has its correspondence on a much higher plane of symbolism with the Divine Birth in Bethlehem, according to which a Child was “born” and a Son “given,” Who was saluted as Son of God and Son also of Mary, one of whose titles—according to Latin theology—is Queen of Heaven. The hidden life in Egypt and Nazareth corresponds with the life of seclusion led by the mystae during their period of probation between the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. The three years of ministry are in analogy with the Temple-functions of the mystagogues. But lastly, in Egypt and elsewhere, there is said to have been a mystical experience of the Pastos, in which the initiate is held to have died symbolically. There is no literal correspondence between this and the physical death on the Cross of the Divine Master in Palestine, but there is one on the mystical side. The Christian Symbolum says: Descendit ad inferos; and in the entranced condition of the Pastos the soul of the initiate was held or was caused to pass into spiritual realms—of course ex hypothesi. In fine, it is said of Christ: Tertia die resurrexit, and the adept of the Greater Mysteries rose from the Pastos in the imputed glory of an inward illumination.

Solar Mythology.—There was a period when these analogies were recognised and applied to place a fabulous construction upon the central doctrines of Christian religion, just as there was a period when solar mythology was adapted in the same direction. We have no call to consider these aberrations of a partially digested learning; but they had their excuses at their period. The point with which we are concerned is that in the symbolism of the old initiations and in the pageant of the Divine Mythos there is held to be the accurate delineation of a mystical experience, the heads and sections of which correspond to the notions of a spiritual birth, life, death and resurrection. Here is a particular formula which is illustrated frequently in the mystical literature of the Western world. Long before symbolical Masonry had emerged above the horizon of history several cryptic texts of alchemy—in my own understanding of these—were bearing witness to the same symbolism and something real in experience which lay behind it. In more formal Christian Mysticism it was not until the sixteenth century and later that it entered into the fullest expression.

Mystical Life.—That which is formulated in terms of Mystic Birth has been compared to a dawn of spiritual consciousness, but the essence of the event seems to escape in this description, though it is not far from the truth within its own measures. Such an event includes the turning of the whole life-motive in the divine direction, so that at a given time—which is actually the point turned—the personality stands symbolically between East and North, between the zone of greatest darkness and that zone which is the source of light, looking towards the light-source and realising that the whole nature has to be renewed therein. Mystical life is a quest of divine knowledge in a world that is within. It is the life led in this light, unfolding and progressing therein, as if a Brother should read the Mysteries of Nature and Science with new eyes cast upon the record, which record is everywhere, though more especially in his own mind and heart. It is the complete surrender to the working of the Divine, so that an hour comes when proprium meum et tuum dies in the mystical sense, because it is hidden in God. That which is hidden is self, and that which remains is He.

The End.—In this state—by the testimony of many literatures—there supervenes an experience, described in a thousand ways and yet ineffable. Some intimations concerning it have been enshrined in imperishable books of Plato and Plotinus. It glimmers forth at every turn and corner of remote roads and pathways of Eastern philosophies. It is in little books of unknown authorship, treasured in monasteries and most of which have not entered into knowledge, unless within recent times. The experience itself is of and within that place of darkness about which it has been said by another school of symbolism that the sun shines there at midnight. There is afterwards that further state in which the soul of man returns into the normal mode of material being, bringing the knowledge of another world, the quest having ended—for the time being at least. This is compared to resurrection, because the master of such an experience comes back in the power of the world within as well as the world without.

Death and Resurrection.—In several mythological legends the emblematic period between divine death and resurrection is triadic and is spoken of roughly as three days, though there is an exception in the case of Osiris, whose dismemberment necessitated a far longer quest before the most vital of his organs was left out as finally lost. The three days are foreshortened usually at both ends, for the first of them is an evening only, because of that which is implied spiritually by occasum solis; the second is a complete day, because the sun shines at the zenith on the other side of the world of life; while the third ends at sunrise, and this is the morning of Easter. There is also most probably an allusion to the temporal brevity ascribed in the annals of sanctity to the culminating mystical experience. It is to be observed in this connection that during the mystical death of the Candidate in the Master Grade the time of his interned condition is marked by three episodes, which are so many attempts to restore him, of which the last alone is successful.

Resurrection and Rebirth.—I shall return to this subject at a much later stage in dealing with certain confusions which have arisen between rebirth and resurrection. Meanwhile it must not be supposed that the old initiations communicated the mystical experiences delineated therein otherwise than by lessons delivered in ceremonial form or in discourse attached thereto. This also is treated elsewhere. It must still less be expected that modern Rites convey anything except in pageant. Those who are conscious of the call and have been, or are about to be, affiliated with any of the Secret Orders must be prepared to discover for themselves their intimations on the mystical side, and they will be met by many difficulties. The whole experiment is not comprised by any institution which is to be found in the open face of day, though it may be otherwise with rare exceptions subsisting in hidden places. From the sacramental standpoint they are not in themselves perfect and complete ceremonies, as their technical description is sometimes made to affirm. They are rather as they stand a story without an end and presuppose a further action elsewhere, as the Greater Mysteries of antiquity were to be inferred from the Lesser Mysteries, or as the novice postulates the Knight. Moreover, the action of most figurative and emblematic dramas must be said to move in a dream, while the proper sacramental description of the state produced in the Candidate is—in a sense—one of somnambulism, from which he comes forth carrying the simulacrum only of any desired object. It may happen that the keys placed in his hands are more like keys of death than those of life. He has participated at most in a light which is that of a Lamp of the Sanctuary shining behind the altar and not exposed in the Temple. The state of comparative inhibition thus induced continues in respect of the Mysteries until and unless the peculiar intentness of a contemplation based on love preoccupies the life of his heart. It is only the love of the Mysteries which takes off their trammels and veils and exposes their inward grace.

Points of Obscuration.—I will say nothing as to the mental atmosphere which, unfortunately, at the present day is to be met with sometimes in the external Sanctuaries, or the modern inconsequences which serve to obscure Rites that call for veneration in their spirit. They are further difficulties to the novice in proportion as he is the better prepared and on the search after real things. Yet these and other ineptitudes of the bourgeois mind are like the whitewash of Puritan zeal, concealing but not destroying the pictured saints on the walls of our old churches: the import of a particular Ritual can still be discerned behind them.

Christ Mystical.—In conclusion for the time being on these most Christian Mysteries I have dealt with them under this title because Christ Mystical is the apex and ne plus ultra of all the secret as of all the open Sanctuaries. The Christ-Life is the life of the Mysteries raised into a great transcendence. His story is the story of the soul on its way of attainment. He is the Spirit of the house and the house is she. The old Mysteries at their best put forth stories of the soul, which are shadows of the light which is in Him: within their own measures they spoke unawares of Him, of Whom and Whose workings we hear also at however far a distance in the Master Grade; under deep veils but not so all remote in Mark and Arch; nearer and yet nearer in one and another Grade of Christian Chivalry, till it is almost His own voice which speaks in that of Rose Croix. Beyond these things there are those more secret Orders to which I have once adverted, in which the voice is heard more clearly and the scheme of the Great Catholic Mystery is unfolded more fully. Though not without breaks and omissions, they are descendants of anterior societies which may in turn have derived from Imperatores of the Rosy Cross or other dispensers of initiation, even as these—also in their turn—may have drawn from groups of antiquity. They are Wardens of Gates opening to the heights of symbolism and direct those in their charge towards that great experience which is granted to man alone in the contemplation of the Highest Unity.


It is desirable to make a clear distinction between the processional observances—past and present—of non-Christian religious systems and certain Masonic ceremonies which are to some extent in their likeness. The word circumambulation applied to the Pagan Rite seems always to have involved a motion about some central object, for example, an altar, or about an assembly grouped together for the purpose of purification by consecrated water. In either case it followed the course of the sun, and all Masonic movements concur herein. The Consecrating Officers of Lodge and Chapter proceed in this manner; the Master and Wardens enter and leave their chairs as the sun returns to the East and goes forth therefrom; and there are other processional occasions which are governed by similar procedure. On this ground and on others of similar value imaginative people have supposed that Freemasonry is a relic of solar worship; the extent and limits of the analogy between the sun and officers of the Lodge, or between the Lodge itself and the world enlightened by the sun, are made perfectly clear in our Rituals and are not only artificial in character, but bear upon them the seals of their modern invention; they are good and satisfactory within their proper measures. It should be noted, moreover, that there are several Masonic circumambulations which are about the Lodge itself and not a centre therein: their purpose is literal and practical, not of a symbolic kind—those, for example,, in which the Candidate is concerned throughout the Craft Degrees. They are no more astronomical in character than are the travels of a Novice in the Order of Knights Templar when he is on his years of pilgrimage and warfare. One other observance deserves mention because of its mystical import: it is that circumambulation which is performed in a great allegoric darkness by the Candidate for spiritual perfection in the Grade of Rose-Croix Masonry. He again is illustrating no festival of astronomical mythology, no movements of sun or moon, but the harmonious evolution of time and its ages about the Eternal Centre, the activity of our human race about the repose in God. It is also and above all his own pilgrimage through the seven ages of manhood, from cradle to grave, but raised out of common categories of symbolism by the consecrations of eternity, so that it becomes a quest of God, performed by one who is looking ever towards that Divine Centre, from which the Christian Mason cannot err—meaning in so far as he cleaves thereto with the whole heart and mind. There is no need to add that our early Masonic literati—men of the eighteenth century—had conventional explanations to offer which are characteristic of their lights and their period—as, for example, that the Rites of Circumambulation represented the “toilsome progress of humanity”—from barbarism to civilisation, from ignorance to enlightenment. It is true enough in its way, if we can rest satisfied with such measures of meaning; but the labour of allegorising thereon does not seem justified therein, nor does it appear at what point a Neophyte enters into his reward when he moves amidst such images.

Martin Clare

A Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1741 a Deputy Grand Master, described otherwise as a zealous Freemason, Clare, delivered an Oration on the Order, with maxims and advice thereon, at a Meeting of the newly formed Stewards’ Lodge in 1735. He was invited to repeat it before Grand Lodge on December 11th of that year and was desired to print it. Prior to this, or in 1732, he had been appointed to revise the Lectures.

Writings.—The Oration in question is presumably that under the name of Martin Clare which is included by Oliver in his Golden Remains of the Early Masonic Writers and is entitled The Advantages enjoyed by the Fraternity. These are “good conversation” and the improvement consequent thereon. With a view to their promotion, Clare undertakes to point out “those things which are the most likely to discompose the harmony of conversation”—as, for example, natural roughness, contempt, censoriousness, contradiction and unseemly interruptions. In a word there is no question that it is an exceedingly polite production of a hortatory kind and is not much better or worse than other stuff included in the Golden Remains. It is, moreover, annotated by Oliver, chiefly by way of quotations from American Masonic writers. Clare is usually regarded as the author of A Defence of Masonry in reply to Masonry Dissected. We know that he was Junior Warden of Grand Lodge in 1735.


There is no recognised scheme or science of colours in Masonry, as there is in some other Secret Orders which work in Ritual. One of these, for example, unfolds a profound symbolism of the subject based on the scale of the rainbow, and yet it is only necessary in the great figurative mystery with which it is concerned. But the Rite to which I refer is an ordered sequence of Grades, having a beginning, middle and end, a system of development proceeding logically, as if from Aleph to Tau. Masonry unfortunately is inchoate in this respect, its veiled sequence being scattered over a number of Rites which do not belong to one another, while some exclude one another. It is only possible therefore to enumerate facts in connection with Masonic colours and to give such explanations of meanings—few and far between—as have been attached thereto.

Craft Colours.—The predominant colour of Craft Masonry is sky blue, and it is regarded as typifying durability, beneficence and charity. The Craft is sometimes denominated Blue Masonry, but more especially on the Continent and in America. The Masonic clothing of Grand Officers is garter-blue, usually described as purple. It is held to denote dignity and supreme or royal authority. The purple of kings is proverbial. Being a blend of red and blue, it is called an emblem of union in Masonry; but this would obtain logically in respect of all complementary blendings. Red or Crimson is characteristic in particular of the Royal Arch, as a sign of zeal and fervour, the fidelity attributed to the prototypical Candidates of the Supreme Degree according to its traditional story. The distinguishing colours of the Mark Degree, respectively for ordinary Members and Grand Officers, are identical with those of the Craft. The Degree of Royal Ark Mariner, which—for almost unsearchable reasons—is attached to the Mark, is represented by rainbow colouring, for the obvious reason that it is connected with the Legend of the Flood.

High Grade Colours.—It is neither possible nor necessary to offer a tabulation in full of colours in High Grade Masonry. There are Grades of Christian Chivalry which connect with black, and in particular the Order of the Temple, though it is now confined to the sash—a memorial of the extermination which befell the original Templars and sorrow for the murder of Molay. No such memorial and no symbolical reason justified the Early Grand Scottish Rite in grouping the Red Cross of Constantine, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and Knights of St. John in the same class as Templars and Knights of Malta, under the denomination of Black or Encampment Series. By a still more ridiculous arrangement its Green Series included Knight of the Black Cross, Knight of the White Cross, and Knight of the Black and White Eagle. In the Royal Order of Scotland the Heredom of Kilwinning Point is properly referred to crimson, on account of the Precious Blood poured out on Calvary, but the introduction of green upon red in the Point called Rosy Cross is neither explained in the Ritual nor justified by its symbolical content.

Colours in the Scottish Rite.—In the thirty Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite which are superposed on those of the Craft a grouping of Grades under colours may be tabulated thus: (1) Black: (a) Secret Master, commemorating the death of the Builder and grief for his loss; (b) Intimate Secretary, in which black is sprinkled with white, the reason of which is doubtful; (c) Master-Elect of Nine, but black is sprinkled with red because it is a Grade of Vengeance; (d) Elect of Fifteen, another Grade of the Dagger—sorrow, retribution and blood; (e) Chevalier-Elect, the end of those matters which are treated in the two preceding Degrees, but in this case the black is bedewed with tears; (f) Noachite, but the black is significant of night and the moon shines at the full when the Chapter meets; (g) Chevalier Kadosh, as originally planned, another Grade of Vengeance, the vindication of Knights Templar; (h) Prince of the Royal Secret. (2) White: (a) Grand Master Architect, in which the President’s Office is that of a High Priest in Israel and he is clothed in white, but the draperies of the Lodge are emblazoned with red flames; (b) Chief of the Tabernacle, the lesson of which is to avoid cowardice and envy, but it does not explain the use of white draperies, or the black and red collars which also appear in the Lodge. (3) Blue: (a) Grand Pontiff, the blue being sprinkled with golden stars, by allusion apparently to the vault of heaven; (b) Prince of the Tabernacle, meaning the Tabernacle in the wilderness, but the principle which actuates the choice of colour does not appear; (c) Prince of Libanus, in which two apartments are required, the first being hung with blue and the second with red. (4) Red: (a) Provost and Judge, the colour selected being indicative of severity, tempered presumably in this case by zeal for justice; (b) Superintendent of the Buildings, representing five chiefs presiding over the five orders of architecture, and these are Masters in Israel, qualified and commissioned to perfect the work of the Temple, so that these also are judges after their own manner; (c) Chevalier of the Holy Vault, or Scotch Knight of Perfection; (d) Prince of Jerusalem, in which there are two chambers, the first at Babylon, to which the colour red is attributed, and the second at Jerusalem, which is connected with that of orange; (e) Knight of the East and West, belonging to the time of the Crusades, and the red—for an unknown reason—being embroidered with golden stars—possibly alluding to hope and zeal, persistent in spite of failure; (f) Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix, in which the colour red has reference to the Blood of Christ, but there is black also, and this intimates quest in darkness; (g) Knight of the Brazen Serpent; (h) Grand Commander of the Temple; (i) Scotch Knight of St. Andrew of Scotland; (k) Grand Inspector; (l) Sovereign Grand Inspector-General, but several colours enter into this Grade, and the sash is white and gold. (5) Green: (a) Perfect Master, which is concerned with the erection of a mausoleum to the memory of the Master Builder and the green alludes to hope beyond the grave; (b) Knight of the East, which belongs to the period of Cyrus and the green has reference to those waters of Babylon by which Israel sat down and wept; (c) Scotch Trinitarian. (6) The colour yellow is attributed to the Royal Arch of Enoch, while (7) Blue and Yellow are combined in the Grade of Venerable Grand Master ad Vitam, and (8) Pink and Blue in that of Knight of the Sun.

An Involved Scheme.—It will be seen from this enumeration that the colours of the Scottish Rite are either to be explained on very simple considerations of symbolism or are left to account for themselves and would seem arbitrary, as in the case of Knight of the Sun. Those which I have tabulated are the scheme—such as it is—of the Scottish Supreme Council. It must be added that this scheme is motley, for the draperies of Lodges and Chapters may or may not correspond with the insignia of Officers and Members, In the Grade of Secret Master the black hangings are relieved by the blue ribbons of the Brethren, but the aprons are bordered by black; in that of Grand Pontiff the Lodge is draped in blue, but the Members are clothed in white and wear blue chaplets on their heads; while blue is contrasted with red in the Grade of St. Andrew. There is an occasional recognition, however, of the symbolical values attaching to complementary colours, though they are implied rather than expressed.


It is said that in or about 1879 several Chapters under the obedience of the Supreme Council of France, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, revolted from that authority, the tendency to disturbance being as usual fomented by the Grand Orient. Whether this Obedience approved what followed I have no means of knowing, but the Chapters in question reincorporated themselves under the title of La Grande Loge Symbolique de France, according to the particulars before me. This statement does not appear to mean that they passed under the authority of La Grande Loge de France. It is impossible, however, from the confused evidence to determine this point certainly or to decide what Degrees were conferred by the new body, but they were presumably those of Le Rit Francais and not of the Scottish Rite. The central jurisdiction appears to have governed Lodges and not Chapters. One of the separated Lodges—the nature of whose dissatisfaction is shewn by its title of Les Libres Penseurs—held its meetings at Pecq, a village in the Department of Seine et Oise. On November 25, 1881, this Lodge resolved that Mlle. Maria Desraimes, a writer on humanitarian subjects and the rights of women, should be admitted into Freemasonry. The proposers were M. Hubron, the W ∴ M ∴ and six other Master Masons. The initiation took place on January 14,1882, in the presence of Brethren drawn from all parts. From her subsequent history Mlle. Desraimes must have been also passed and raised, but there are no particulars in the sources to which I have had access. The Lodge was suspended, but whether by the Authority which it had helped to create or by some other Grand Obedience does not appear.

La Maçonnerie Mixte.—More than ten years passed away, during which I am unable to give any account of the lady’s Masonic history. It seems certain that there was no Lodge in which she could have held Office and much less have passed the Chair. This notwithstanding she was approached in the early part of 1893 by Dr. Georges Martin, a Mason holding the Thirty-third Degree of the A ∴ and A ∴ S ∴ R ∴, and described by himself as féministe en même temps que maçon. He had championed the rights of women on many occasions and in particular, being a physician himself, their capacity for admission to the medical profession. At the period in question he was coming forward once more on the same mission, but this time asserting their title to be made Masons. With this object he resolved on establishing La Maçonnerie Mixte and hence had recourse for assistance to the only Woman-Mason within his knowledge. The result was that on March 4, April 1 and April 4, 1893, Mlle. Desraimes, acting under his influence and presumably with his co-operation, successively initiated, passed and raised sixteen female Candidates, otherwise—in his view—a sufficient number for the constitution of a Lodge of Women. It appears to have been founded accordingly, whereupon Dr. Georges Martin demanded and acquired affiliation, in which manner the new foundation became literally a “mixed” Lodge, the location of which was Paris. A Constitution was framed under the title of Grande Loge Symbolique Écossaise Mixte de France, borrowed evidently in the main part from the schismatic body mentioned previously. Its one Lodge at the moment was called Le Droit Humain, and its original activities appear to have been restricted within the limits of Blue Masonry. But in 1900 the Thirty Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite were superposed on those of the Craft by Dr. Georges Martin in conjunction with other Inspectors-General. A Supreme Council was established to govern the Order, to preserve the Constitution and to issue Charters, Warrants and Certificates. The titular head, Maria Desraimes, died ten months after the foundation of the First Lodge and was succeeded by Maria Georges Martin as President and R ∴ W ∴ Mistress, or Vénérable. In 1901 she appears to have become Grand Mistress of the Order and President of the Supreme Council.

Religious Status.—In respect of religious status, after the prevailing mode of Latin Freemasonry, no recognition is extended to any religious dogma, no form of faith is rejected, all aspects of philosophical thought are tolerated and the Grand Architect of the Universe is invoked nowhere. The device at the head of Warrants and Diplomas is À la gloire de l’Humanité. The thesis of Dr. Martin on this subject was that Human Right or Duty precedes Divine Right, since the latter “can begin only at the Gates of Eternity, for those who believe in another life.” The distinction is useful, as it enables us to see that we are dealing with a fool in metaphysics and one who may be called self-crowned by the utterance—as if with cap and bells. He has told us otherwise how he had desired through all his life to witness the separation of Churches and States. He has told us also of his joy when he lived to see his dream accomplished under the auspices of President Carnot. He regarded the alleged reform as an indispensable condition of peace between divergent philosophical and religious conceptions; but we have not yet seen the concordat signed in France or even drafted.

La Maçonnerie Mixte proved a successful experiment, and at the end of 1912 it is on record that there were 12,000 members in all parts of the world, including one hundred Lodges in the United States. England, India, Africa, Holland, South America, Oceania were embraced by its map. As regards Masonic status in France, at the date in question, no recognition of its activities was extended by the Grand Orient and affiliation to Mixed Lodges was forbidden. On the other hand, the Grande Loge de France received men who had been initiated in Mixed Lodges by a process termed régularisation, while the Supreme Council went further, permitting its members to affiliate and receiving joining members from the Mixed Lodges, so only that they were males. It might apparently have exceeded this limit by establishing official relations and receiving Sisters, but it was hindered for the time being owing to “international treaties.” Such is the commentary of Latin Freemasonry on the knavish assertion that it is impossible for any woman to be made a Mason.

Universal Co-Freemasonry.—The story of La Maçonnerie Mixte in Great Britain and other English-speaking countries is merged in modern Theosophy. It migrated to India and came under the influence of Annie Besant at Benares, where the Dharma Lodge, No. 101, was founded, to be followed in due course by other Lodges at Bombay, Adyar and East Rangoon. La Maçonnerie Mixte was first translated into English as Joint Freemasonry and was introduced as such into Great Britain in 1902 by the “Grand Officers of the Supreme Council,” who—on September 26 of that year—consecrated the first Lodge under the name of Human Duty, No. 6, London. Whether the Supreme Council was that of France and how a Masonic Lodge can be “consecrated” without invoking the Grand Architect of the Universe must remain open questions, so far as my own knowledge is concerned. Whosoever were concerned in later proceedings took care to provide their personal commentary on the thesis of Dr. Martin by affirming in Art. 1 of their “Principles” that Joint Freemasonry “asserts, in accordance with the ancient declarations of Freemasonry, the existence of a creative principle, under the title of the Great Architect of the Universe.” About 1905 the English title was altered to that of Universal Co-Freemasonry in Great Britain and the British Dependencies. Maria Georges Martin was recognised presumably as

President and titular head, but V ∴ ∴ Ills ∴ ∴ Ssr ∴ ∴ Annie Besant, 33°, was not only Vice-President but “Grand Master of the Supreme Council”—possibly that of Adyar. Later on she became also “Protectress” of the Order, so arrogating to herself the Masonic status of King Edward VII. At the present day the sign of the sisterhood has been changed and Annie Besant together with the rank and file of women in Co-Freemasonry style themselves Brothers.

Dharma Working.—The Ritual of the first Three Degrees has been printed and reached a second edition in 1908. It is called the Dharma working of Craft Masonry. The variations from our own form are at once numerous and slight, but novelties are also introduced, a few of which may be tabulated: (1) The rubrics are much fuller and make for clearness in working. (2) The Entered Apprentice is taken three times round the Lodge and is brought back on each occasion to the centre. (3) The second circumambulation is opposite to the first, or against the sun, the third being the same as the first—otherwise following the sun. (4) In the Second Degree, after the circumambulations, the Candidate is placed in the centre and passes through five stages or experiences, corresponding (a) to work on the Rough Stone, (b) the Arts, (c) the Sciences, (d) the Humanities, and (e) apparently rest after work, with the idea of work to follow. (5) In the Third Degree the Obligation is shortened, more especially in respect of certain covenants on the virtue of chastity, while some of the wording differs in other clauses. (6) The language differs throughout in many places of the Rituals and some of the prayers are changed. All essential points, however, remain—it being understood that—subject to these variations—the text follows the Scottish working. . . . Recent rumours, however, speak of drastic changes.

Ancient Masonry.—In the year 1908 there was some kind of feud in London, which resulted in the foundation of an independent Society under the denomination of Ancient Masonry, one reason being that the Co-Masonry of Annie Besant involved an irresponsible headship, in opposition to Masonic principles. The new foundation abandoned Dharma workings and had recourse to those in use by the Emulation Lodge of Instruction. It works only the Three Craft Degrees, its Candidates being initiated, passed and raised whether male or female—precisely as those who enter Masonry under the obedience of the Grand Lodge of England. The Rev. Dr. W. F. Cobb, Rector of St. Ethelburga’s, in the City of London, who had been made a Mason under the obedience of Grand Lodge but was no longer attached, became the prime mover in this work of reformation and was presumably at the head of the concern. The present Grand Mistress—who is, however, termed Grand Master, following Mrs. Besant’s classification—is Mrs. Halsey, a kinswoman of the Rt. Hon. T. F. Halsey, Deputy Grand Master of England. Dr. Cobb has retired. The members, both male and female, are said to be enthusiasts, who maintain the character and spirit of the several Lodges at an exceedingly high grade, and the Ritual working is regarded as excellent. There was a time when Master Masons, not excepting Grand Officers, attended Meetings somewhat freely and are reported to have been much impressed, but an edict went forth from Grand Lodge in the usual belated fashion and has put a stop to this practice—at least, in part. The so-called Ancient Masonry is a small body in comparison with Universal Co-Masonry, but there is no question that, from everything ascertainable respecting modes of reception, its members—men and women—are to all intents and purposes as much Masons as if they had been admitted to membership in Freemasons’ Hall itself—the question of recognition and this only excepted. As regards La Maçonnerie Mixte, I have failed to obtain information about its welfare during the years of the Great War, except indeed that la Grande Maîtresse, Mme. Maria Georges Martin, passed away on November 4, 1915, Dr. Martin himself following her on October 1, 1916.

Diffusion.—The following particulars are drawn from a Directory of Lodges and Chapters under the Obedience of Annie Besant. (1) Human Duty, No. 6, London. (2) H. P. B. Lodge, No. 14, Bradford. (3) Christian Rosenkreuz, No. 18, Edinburgh. (4) Hermes, No. 20, London. (5) Golden Rule, No. 21, London. (6) Manchester Lodge, No. 22, Manchester. (7) Emulation Lodge, No. 24, London. (8) Harmony Lodge, No. 25, Southampton. (9) Plato Lodge, No. 31, Leeds. (10) Unity Lodge, No. 35, Bournemouth. (11) Verity Lodge, No. 38, Brighton. (12) Fidelity Lodge, No. 49, Bath. (13) Arbor Vitae Lodge, No. 50, Letchworth. (14) Dharma Lodge, No. 101, Benares. (15) Sangha Lodge, No. 102, Bombay. (16) Shanti Lodge, No. 105, Bombay. (17) Rising Sun of India, No. 107, Adyar. (18) Bodhi Lodge, No. 108, East Rangoon. (19) San Francisco Lodge, No. 358, California. (20) Helios Lodge, No. 360, Los Angeles. (21) Unity Lodge, No. 359, Oakland, Cal. (22) Melbourne Lodge, No. 401, Melbourne. (23) Victorian Lodge, No. 403, Melbourne. (24) Sydney Lodge, No. 404, Sydney, N.S.W. (25) Brisbane. Lodge, No. 405, Brisbane. (26) Adelaide Lodge, No. 406, Adelaide. I presume that the Lodge numbers are those of the Original Roll belonging to the French Obedience and the enormous gaps between represent in this case the issue of intervening charters which are not under Theosophical influence. It will be seen that La Maçonnerie Mixte, its derivations and developments are a power to be reckoned with and that the conventional titular description of “Clandestine Masonry” would be imbecile in reference thereto, or indeed to “Ancient” Masonry. I have seen also reports of an Amity Lodge, No. 220, Durban, South Africa, of a Star in the East Chapter of the Royal Arch, without number or location, of a Rose-Croix Chapter, Tolerance, No. 2, London, and another at Edinburgh, being St. Ann, No. 3. Whether the other Lodges enumerated above are confined to Craft workings I do not know.

Principles.—The principles of Co-Freemasonry are established in eight clauses or articles, of which the first has been given already. They may be summarised as follows: (1) In accordance with “ancient declarations of Freemasonry,” it asserts “the existence of a creative principle, under the title of the Great Architect of the Universe”; (2) the “open volumes of the Sacred Knowledge “ are maintained in every Lodge, differing therefore presumably with the religion of Candidates, but it is not said that the latter are pledged thereon; (3) the “ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry” are maintained; (4) irregular and clandestine Meetings and Lodges without a proper charter are not recognised, but no canon of criticism as to legality is laid down; (5) there are no restrictions on the free search after truth and tolerance is exacted from all members to secure that freedom; (6) the Order is open to all free men and women who are of good report and irreproachable life, “without distinction of race or religion”; (7) “obedience to the laws of the country, loyalty to the Sovereign, silence with regard to Masonic secrets, a high standard of honour, and ceaseless endeavour to promote the welfare of humanity” are exacted as pledges from members; (8) “every Freemason belonging to the Ancient and Accepted Rite is bound faithfully to observe the decision of the Supreme Council to which he owes allegiance.” What happens in the case of the Royal Arch does not appear. A Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite as such has no jurisdiction over this Grade, but we have seen that it is worked by at least one Co-Masonic Chapter, and I should add that it is not the Royal Arch of Enoch.

Authorities.—The authorities for this notice are (1) Conférence du F. Docteur Georges Martin, 33°, November 21, 1910, at La R ∴ L ∴ Les Amis Philanthropes, under the Grand Orient of Belgium; (2) The Rituals of the Craft Degrees, under the editorship of F. D. Harrison, 30°; (3) An official publication of the Supréme Conseil Universel Mixte, Puissance Génératrice et Régulatrice pour l’univers entier des Ateliers Mixtes du 1er au 33e et Dernier Degré, issued by the Christian Rosenkreuz Lodge, No. 43, in Dutch, French and English on May 25, 1912, by the Grand Chancelry, Zenith of Paris; (4) Old printed matter—miscellaneous—respecting Joint-Freemasonry; (5) A quarterly journal entitled The Co-Mason.


In the year 1841 an intelligent workman—craftsman, journeyman, what not—named Agricol Perdiguier, published a volume called Le Livre du Compagnonnage for the purpose of reconciling the murderous hostility which existed between the various branches of the Society bearing this name, or otherwise Compagnons du Tour de France, a guild of journeymen which may be termed of time immemorial. The members were men of all trades, and the three divisions under which the association was classified did not correspond to a grouping of industries. Outside its specific purpose, the work contained such information concerning the society itself as was possible on the part of a member who was bound by its pledges; for in addition to the public fact of its existence, its benefit aspects and its seasons of festival there was an inward part, as in Masonry, and the Compagnonnage was in fact secret. The book of Perdiguier proved a revelation to France; it attracted the attention of George Sand; in the same year—and as a consequence—she wrote her novel, entitled Le Compagnon du Tour de France; publication followed publication, the Companions themselves having a full share therein. In this manner the world came to know, somewhat late in the day, that France had an old indigenous Mystery Association which was comparable in several important respects to that other Mystery, the Masonic Fraternity, the origin of which was in England. As against all the imaginary connections, analogies and identities which have been instituted with Masonry, we have in the Compagnonnage an institution—close at our doors, as it were—which bears to it a most striking likeness.

Canon of Distinction.—It is one thing to register these points—which are bare questions of fact—and another to follow in the footsteps of uncritical writers by affirming that in some undemonstrable manner the Compagnons du Tour are branches of the Masonic Tree, evidence of its great antiquity, and that an adaptation of Masonic history is offered by their traditional tales, under circumstances which stipulate a considerable past for both. Apart from such speculations, I am dealing with a sufficiently involved subject, on which the last word has by no means been said, nor is it certain that the last discoveries have been made. In the brief space at my disposal it seems advisable to adopt a simple scheme of grouping under specific heads.

The Sodality at Large.—(1) In certain Réglements sur les Arts et Métiers de Paris belonging to the year 1258 it is laid down that the exercise of any craft or grade was limited to those who had “served as apprentices and had been received thereafter as masters.” (2) Between these classes or ranks there rose up, however, by degrees the rank of journeyman, who usually worked his way through various parts of the country, performing the Tour de France. (3) In this manner there is held to have arisen the Compagnons du Tour de France, but evidence for any date or even period of incorporation is wanting. (4) The existence of the sodality in 1651 is attested by the fact that some of its practices—or alternatively those of trades included by it—were condemned in that year by the Faculty of Theology at Paris—i.e., Doctors of the Sorbonne—and prohibited under pain of excommunication by the Archbishop of Toulouse. (5) The purpose of the sodality was to assist journeymen, who were provided with lodging, food, work and even credit at need, the income coming apparently from the subscriptions of members. (6) In connection with these benefits there were Inns or Houses of Call, termed devoirs, in various towns of France, but more especially in the South. The Brethren were hence sometimes called Compagnons du Devoir.

The Three Branches.—(1) The Compagnonnage comprised three groups of Fellowships, distinguished by the names of their traditional founders, but how far these divisions are traceable historically prior to the eighteenth century must remain an open question, for want of materials. (2) They were respectively Children of Solomon, Children of Maître Jacques and Children of Père Soubise. (3) This enumeration follows a presumed priority in time. (4) The obedience of Solomon comprised stonemasons only at the beginning, to which joiners and locksmiths were added as years went on. (5) Maître Jacques ruled over stonemasons also, afterwards over locksmiths and joiners, but finally admitted almost every kind of craftsman. (6) The Children of Soubise were carpenters, to which tylers and plasterers were added. (7) Ultimately the Society may be said to have incorporated the great majority of crafts, masons proper excepted.

Traditional Histories.—(1) According to universal acceptance within the ranks of the sodality, the stonemasons under the rule of King Solomon were the ancient and original companions. Of their legend we know only that they received a charge or warrant from the great son of David and that he incorporated them within the precincts of the Temple. (2) Maître Jacques was born in Southern Gaul, which he left on his travels at the age of fifteen. He learned sculpture and architecture in Greece, and hearing that Solomon had summoned all famous men he proceeded through Egypt to Jerusalem, which he reached at the age of twenty-six years. There he constructed the two Pillars of the Temple and did other master-work in connection with its building. When the Temple was finished he took leave of Solomon, by whom he was loaded with benefits, and returned to Gaul with Maître Soubise, who was a man of violent character and parted with his companion in jealousy at the influence exercised by Jacques over their pupils. Maître Jacques landed at Marseilles and Soubise at Bordeaux. The former collected companions and disciples, as did also his rival, and after some three years, there was an attempt to assassinate Jacques on the part of the followers of Soubise. It proved a failure, but he was afterwards betrayed by one of his own pupils, who led his enemies to a place where he was accustomed to pray and gave him the kiss of peace used among the Compagnons. This was the preconcerted death-signal: thereupon “five villains at once fell upon and killed him, with five dagger wounds.” This was in the forty-seventh year of Maître Jacques, four years and nine days after he left Jerusalem and nine hundred and eighty-nine years before the coming of Christ. His body was embalmed by the Companions of his own group and buried with solemn ceremonies, which lasted three days. Maître Soubise wept over his tomb and ordered the assassin to be found, but it remains an open question whether he instigated the crime. The chief murderer himself committed suicide in despair. (3) There is no legend of Soubise apart from that which I have recited: it must be supposed that he was exonerated in some manner which justified his particular Children in being enrolled under his banner.

Modes of Reception.—There were modes of reception, less or more ceremonial, belonging to the chief trades and—with a single exception—those which were practised in one were as much hidden for the others as for the external and “popular” world. That which was shared in common was the fact of admission thereby into one or other circle of the sodality and the freedom of the Compagnonnage at large. (1) A Candidate for the Joiners was prepared by a preliminary examination, in the course of which his freedom in choice was impressed on him, and he was required to certify his concurrence with the written Regulations. The steps or Degrees were those of (a) Affiliate, (b) Accepted Companion, (c) Finished Companion and (d) Initiated Companion—a classification which leaves something to be desired on the score of logic, as the first stage in any series of admissions is obviously that of initiation. The reception of locksmiths was identical with that of joiners, constituting the exception to which I have alluded above. (2) The stonemasons of Solomon became Young Men on their initiation, and whatever the proceedings may have been there was only one Degree, which admitted at once to the freedom of the Company. (3) Under the obedience of Maître Jacques there were two Grades, being those (a) of Aspirants and (b) of Superior Companions. (4) We find two also among the Children of Maître Soubise—namely, Companions and Foxes—the first and second presumably. (5) The divulgation of Compagnonnage proceedings which took place in the middle of the seventeenth century—in connection with an appeal to the Sorbonne—furnished ceremonial particulars practised in other trades, the heads of which are as follows: (a) At the admission of Saddlers and Shoemakers there was a mock baptism of Candidates, who chose Sponsors for the purpose and received a new name, or designation by way of soubriquet. In addition to Baptism there was a travesty of the Mass, followed by the communication of all present in the Bread and Wine, Catholics and Huguenots being received in like manner. Candidates were sworn upon the Gospels, within the leaves of which were placed coins to the amount of thirty pence, symbolising the recompense of Judas for betraying his Master, (b) The admission of a Tailor took place in front of a table on which was a white cloth, wrong side up. On the cloth were arranged a loaf, cellar of salt, cup on three feet—half filled—three silver coins and three needles. One sponsor was chosen by the Candidate, who was pledged upon the Gospels and heard the legend of “the three first Companions.” It is affirmed that the Mystery of the Trinity was profaned several times in the course of reception. (c) A Cutler was pledged before an altar and received from his sponsor bread mingled with salt and two or three glasses of wine. He was then admitted a Companion. On a subsequent occasion he was taken into the country, to be instructed in les droits du passé Compagnon. The account is confused and confusing. There was an arrangement of many articles connected with the Passion of Christ by a rough symbolical attribution, in addition to which there were types of the twelve apostles, the four evangelists, the tower of Babel, and so forth. The new Companion was instructed as to their meanings, but in what way they exhibited the rights of a “passed Companion” or what was their relation to the art and craft of cutlery must be left as beyond speculation, (d) In the reception of a Hatter there was an elaborate arrangement of a table for the same symbolical purpose, namely, the representation of the Passion, but the signifying objects differed. Other articles in the apartment used for the ceremony had other meanings, a chest representing Noah’s ark; a bed, the manger at Bethlehem; a chair, the baptismal font; and so forth. Pilate, Annas and Caiaphas were represented by the Provost, lieutenant and secretary. The Candidate advanced by three steps and was directed to kiss the Provost, saying: “God forbid that this kiss should resemble that of Judas.” He was instructed in the meaning of the symbolic objects, and in some of the procedure which followed he was caused to represent Christ taken from one judge to another, though directed to deny that he did. He was made to eat bread and salt, while water was thrown over his head, in seeming parody of the two sacraments, (e) The Charcoal-burners met in forests and so received their Candidates. A white cloth was laid upon the ground and a cross set up thereon, encompassed by a cellar of salt, a goblet containing water and a wax candle. The Pledge was administered with the Postulant prostrated on the cloth, one hand touching the vessel of salt and the other the goblet. Being raised, he received the Password and afterwards an explanation of the symbols, these being funerary in character and pre-commemorating his own and any companion’s obsequies. The cloth signified the shroud; the torches used at the burial of a charcoal-burner were represented by the taper; the water spoke of that which was sprinkled over graves; while the cross recalled the same sacred object which is laid upon the coffin. Salt signified the theological virtues—faith, hope and charity.

Feuds and Rivalries.—As the three main branches incorporated between them a great number of trades, it follows that there was Fellowship within Fellowship. There were also feuds and rivalries, innumerable individual quarrels and pitched battles in which it may almost be said that host was arrayed against host. As knight-errant of old meeting with knight-errant fought for the glory of battle, so it was with the journeymen of France, and the life of the Compagnonnage at large was a life of civil war. The stonemasons of Solomon were the natural enemies of those under the obedience of Jacques, and so of all trades congregated under rival banners, though all parties were ready at any moment to combine against a common enemy—as e.g. locksmiths of Solomon and Jacques against other locksmiths who did not belong to the devoir. The assaults and batteries in these cases were one method of soliciting recruits for the union. The most remarkable pitched battles were those of 1726 at Lyons, of 1730 in Provence and at Marseilles in 1808. It is obvious that the Brotherhood were a turbulent brood and one of the charges against them affirms that they ruined their masters—though pledged to preserve their welfare—“by emptying their shops of assistants whenever any one of their cabal complains of having received insult.” Assuming that the Compagnonnage had any considerable corporate existence in 1539, one cannot help feeling that the Statute of Francis I in that year which sought to abolish all fraternities had a certain justification, so far as the particular confraternity was concerned. At the same time there is full evidence that for its own journeymen it was a provident institution of great practical advantage.

Religious Aspects.—We are told that journeymen of all religious beliefs were admitted under the obedience of Solomon—which would mean simply that they were either Latin Catholics or Huguenots till the dawn of the nineteenth century—but that a profession of Catholicism was required from those who sought admission under the Jacques and Soubise banners. The Sorbonne and Toulouse condemnations were in reality directed, not against the Compagnonnage at large, but against certain trades grouped under the tutelage of Maître Jacques. The ceremonial practices if any—and there were some almost indubitably—of the other branches did not transpire in the seventeenth century and are still practically unknown. Those which I have summarised are described in the Sorbonne and similar judgments as superstitious, impious, sacrilegious, a profanation of the mysteries of religion, and as otherwise accursed and diabolical. The validity of these charges stands or falls accordingly as the intention of the ceremonies was one of ridicule or reverence. On the basis of the particulars furnished by the accusations themselves, I do not believe that the baptisms, masses and Eucharistic commemorations were performed as travesties of the most sacred offices of Catholic Religion. I believe that their purpose was to enhance the solemnity of the professions made by Candidates and to impress upon them the seal of a certain sanctity. They may have offended against taste: it would depend how they were performed, and about this we have no means of judgment. As to those ceremonies which commemorated the Passion of Christ I have no difficulty in concluding that they were characterised by sincerity of intention: it is not likely that they would have been otherwise, considering that a profession of orthodox faith was required of those who took part therein. In reality, however, the more reverent and devotional they were, the more they would lay themselves open to condemnation—perhaps also to misdescription—for in this case they would look perilously like encroachments on sacerdotal prerogatives. For the rest, there is no objection to supposing that there was substantial sincerity on the part of the Sorbonne but in this connection we must remember that the kind of people who called the Compagnonnage ceremonies blasphemous and the legend of the first three Companions “full of impurity” are of the same kith and kin as the Roman Catholic anti-Masons, who at this day would and do term the most Christian ceremonies of the Grade of Rose-Croix a derision of Christ and His mysteries.

Question of Antiquity.—I come now to the most important and controversial points of the subject, the antiquity of the Compagnonnage and its alleged Masonic elements, (1) The Statute of 1539 forbade masters, journeymen and apprentices in all trades to hold assemblies or congregations, and the inference is that each of these classes had held such meetings in the past; but as there is no evidence in the Statutes that Masters of the several trades were incorporated qua Masters or Apprentices qua Apprentices, so there is none of incorporation on the part of Journeymen, and much less under the style and form of the Compagnonnage. (2) Between the years 1645-55 theological and ecclesiastical edicts offer full evidence—as we have seen—that tne Compagnonnage was then in existence and had a legend concerning three Founders, at least so far as the Fellowship of Tailors was concerned. At the same time it must be confessed that one is prompted by faith rather than by sight in supposing that the three Founders were those honoured by the Company at large rather than mythical personalities peculiar to the Tailor’s craft. It deserves to be noted especially in this connection that the accusing particulars on which our knowledge depends, certify that the furniture on the table used in the ceremony of admission is explained by the history of the Founders. It included—as we have seen—three needles, three silver coins, a cup on three legs and other articles not one of which is to be found in the traditional histories of Jacques and Soubise. (3) There is of course no difficulty in supposing that the Compagnonnage anteceded the ecclesiastical fulminations against it by a considerable period—by a century or even more. (4) But if they were known at all to the outside world it is in connection only with their brawls and internecine feuds. (5) However, the records of these do not seem to be extant prior to the eighteenth century. (6) The depositions against them made in the seventeenth century say nothing of their family quarrels but that they “form everywhere an offensive league against the apprentices of their trade who are not of their cabal.” (7) I must add that it was the “apostasy” of the shoemakers which brought the secret practices before the Doctors of the Sorbonne, and this led to further revelations in respect of other trades. (8) The findings were issued against these and contained no reference to ceremonial procedure which was common to the order at large, though the term Compagnons du Devoir which was one of its titles occurs once at least in the reports. (9) It seems to me fairly clear from external evidence that the modes of reception practised by the journeymen of the trades previously enumerated are old practices, and I think that they were brought within the Compagnonnage, not devised therein: they were not its own procedure, except in virtue of affiliation. (10) If these are correct inferences and findings, the question of antiquity folds up and passes into clouds: its affirmation and denial are equally speculative. There is no reason why the Society of Journeymen should not have existed in the sixteenth century, and there is no evidence that it did. Agricol Perdiguier, our first authority at large on the whole subject, had the healing of disastrous feuds between the branches as his chief purpose in view, and his work otherwise is obviously a memorial on tradition rather than history. That he believed the Compagnonnage very old there is no doubt, but real evidence on the point was not in his hands. Mr. Gould is the only Masonic writer who has taken up the subject seriously and at considerable length in his larger history; but the account is utterly uncritical.

Masonic Correspondences.—As regards transparent analogies and alleged practical identities between the Compagnonnage and Masonry, it is obvious that the story of Maître Jacques is a variant of the Hiramic myth. On the genesis of this myth Masonry has no light to offer, and within the present measures of our records we have no certain trace of its existence prior to the eighteenth century. It looks possible therefore that Desaguliers or another may have met with the legend of Jacques and adapted it to a more definitely Masonic purpose. But it is regrettable for this hypothesis that the genesis of the Jacques myth is in precisely the same darkness as that of Hiram. A story of three Companions was extant among tailors before the middle of the seventeenth century, but no particulars are available. In the year 1841 Perdiguier, a French Conrpagnon du Tour de France, gives so much of their history as belongs to Jacques and Soubise. It is, however, the version current among the Children of Jacques, and Perdiguier failed to discover any documents extant among the Children of Soubise on the subject of their own founder. On the other hand, he maintains silence as to the legend of his own Master—he being a Child of Solomon. His information on the Masonic aspects of his subjects may be grouped as follows: (1) The Stonemasons, Joiners and Locksmiths under the obedience of Solomon claim a charter from that King and that the Temple was the work of their hands. (2) The same craftsmen under the obedience of Jacques affirm that their founder was an overseer under King Solomon. (3) The carpenters under the obedience of Soubise also claim connection with the Holy House of Israel through their Master. So far on the side of legend, and now upon that of history: (1) A general conference of Companions took place in 1803, to consider the reconstruction of the society. (2) It was proposed by one of the Members himself a Freemason—that there should be a superior or third order of initiates, and this was adopted. (3) It lasted for forty years and exercised considerable influence. (4) During this period a history of Adonhiram or Hiram obtained currency, and was in the opinion of Perdiguier a Masonic invention, on the part of persons belonging to both societies. (5) It was found more especially among stonemasons of Solomon, but the joiners of Maître Jacques wore white gloves, because “they did not steep their hands in the blood of Hiram.” (6) It is described by Perdiguier as a “fable” concerned with “crimes and punishments,” he adding that he leaves it “for what it is worth.” (7) He was not himself a Freemason, but he had an opinion of his own as to how the Compagnons originated and how they connected with Masonry. (8) For him their connection with Solomon’s Temple is not manifestly absurd or opposed to truth. (9) In the first place, all the itinerant hordes of building craftsmen who can be traced in past ages or can be supposed reasonably to have existed are for him the Companions of their period, moving from place to place, wherever great works of construction appeared to call them. (10) Luxor, Balbec, Palmyra, Jerusalem and Rome itself are so many epochs in their age-long pilgrimage, (11) Coming down a considerable distance through the Christian centuries, it is obvious that building companies followed the Crusaders—to make bridges, fortifications, military engines and so forth. (12) They included French craftsmen, who in course of their operations came upon Eastern artificers and learned from these. (13) In Jerusalem they made contact especially with the old Compagnonnage, which had apparently its headquarters in the Holy City, onward from the days of King Solomon. (14) It came ready-made into their hands, was adapted to their purpose and was by them reconciled to Christianity. (15) This is the way in which the stonemasons who were Children of Solomon connect with Palestine and with him. (16) They carried back that which they learned to France, and it was following the Crusaders that the really great cathedrals rose up at Paris, Chartres, Rouen, while apparently German Companions produced on their own part those great masteries of art and architecture which are connected with the names of Strasbourg and other cities of the Fatherland. (17) So far in respect of the Children of Solomon, and as to those of Maître Jacques the legend of this master veils the history and martyrdom of Jacques de Molay—le Grand Maître Jacques. (18) He founded two associations, namely (a) Tailleurs de pierre and (b) Compagnons Menuisiers et Serruriers. (19) It follows that Jacques really visited Palestine, but it was in the thirteenth century of the present era. (20) The German builders adopted the name of Freemasons and were divided into three grades Apprentices, Companions, Masters, answering—says Perdiguier—to those of the French Companions. (21) It is a statement which stands at its value, for I do not find evidence on the subject in his work at large. (22) The German Freemasons—understood in the operative sense—exist no longer, “but have given birth to the Freemasonry of symbols.”

Evidence of Perdiguier.—I have said that Agricol Perdiguier was not a Freemason in the speculative and emblematic sense: he was, moreover, a menuisier of Solomon, not a tailleur de pierre. He was acquainted with Emblematic Freemasonry and its traditions by means of books, and he wrote subsequently to the popular handbook of C. A. Thory called Acta Latomorum, which appeared in 1815 and must have been available generally in France. From this or from any similar source he would have learned the Templar hypothesis concerning the origin of Freemasonry, which is reflected into his own reverie. Though a self-educated man, he was a person of considerable natural ability, and his thesis is much more natural than the great bulk of Templar pseudo-legends manufactured in the Masonic interest. It is, moreover, put forward honestly as a personal explanation to account for the claims of the Compagnonnage without offering such outrage to the historical possibility of things as we find in the story of Maître Jacques. There is nothing else in its favour, and its serious examination at this day would be mere foolishness. Perdiguier has done excellent work otherwise by shewing that the Compagnonnage was remade in the likeness of Masonry by persons who were themselves Masons in the early nineteenth century. His own testimony on the subject was borne in the year 1839, he being a young man who had entered the Society at a time when the Masonic influence had done its work, had introduced among the Stonemasons of Solomon the Hiramic myth proper, or some approximate version thereof, and had in all probability tampered with the Legend of Jacques. He had no canon of criticism by which he could distinguish certainly between the new and old, but he was doubtless guided by a correct instinct as to the Masonic aspects of the association.

A Sole Masonic Vestige.—When the extrinsic elements are set aside those aspects are left which we might expect antecedently if we have taken all the vain pilgrimages offered to our industry in the extensive fields of false analogy which encompass the Masonic subject—we are left, I mean, with an inherent probability that the stonemasons under the obedience of Solomon and Jacques claimed to have originated in Jerusalem at the building of the First Temple. The suggestion that any of their legends are venerable on account of their age has no evidence to support it; the attempt to compare them with Masonry because—in the words of Mr. R. F. Gould—they “practised a veritable initiation” and “mystic reception” proves nothing, for it applies equally to the Order of the Temple, the Free Judges and several other associations round about the same period; while an argument of likeness based on the fact that the Compagnonnage was a benefit society to members after the manner of Masonry is a statement of fact which contributes nothing whatever to any side of the subject, because it could have happened fortuitously and because other corporations existed for the commonweal of members. Other correspondences are cited which rest solely on similarity of procedure in similar circumstances on the part of persons engaged in analogous activities.

Conclusion.—I have endeavoured to present an impartial though brief conspectus of the main facts and of arguments based thereon. I conclude (1) that there is nothing in favour of a common basis between the Compagnonnage and Emblematic Freemasonry; (2) that in respect of Operative Masonry proper it was never at any time connected with any branch of the French Society; (3) that the currency of a Hiramic myth in a certain section of the Compagnonnage at the beginning of the nineteenth century contributes nothing to our knowledge respecting the Hiramic myth in Masonry; (4) that we have therefore to look elsewhere to explain the traditional history belonging to the Craft Degrees.

Authorities.—(1) Prior to the year 1839 the Compagnonnage was known in France only or chiefly by its internecine feuds. In that year there was published Le Livre du Compagnonnage. Par Agricol Perdiguier, dit Avignonais le Vertu, Compagnon Menuisier. It was in two parts or volumes. A second edition appeared in 1841 and a third about 1860. Perdiguier had a mission réformatrice, which was to heal the ever-open wounds inflicted on the body-general of the Society by its feuds and rivalries. With this object in view he had written songs intended to replace those of a warlike kind previously in use. A first set was published in 1834 and a second in 1836. Aided by natural changes resulting from an improved tenor of the time, his mission was materially successful; the hostility and bloodshed reached their term and the fact was commemorated in Les Fêtes Patronales dans le Compagnonnage, 1862. (2) The work of Perdiguier attracted the attention of George Sand, who befriended its author and his cause and produced on her own part a novel dealing with the subject, entitled Le Compagnon du Tour de France, 1841. (3) C. A. Thory: Acta Latomorum, 1815. There is only a brief reference, affirming the antiquity of the Society and the fact that it had secret initiations. He knew evidently nothing of their nature and we are substantially in the same position, for they are not described by Perdiguier, who respected his pledges, while the revelations of the mid-seventeenth century and later are concerned, as we have seen, with certain trades which practised ceremonies of their own. Thory’s allusion is of importance only as indicating the limits of Masonic knowledge concerning the Compagnonnage at the time he was writing. (4) He was followed in 1829 by T. C. Besuchet: Précis Historique de l’Arbre de la Franc-Maçonnerie, in which the secret receptions are mentioned, their materials—it is said—being drawn from the New Testament. The point is curious because it suggests the antithesis of a Temple-legend. (5) T. B. Clavel: Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Maçonnerie, 1843. This is the second edition, and the original I have not seen. It contains a short notice which seems to depend from Perdiguier. (6) C. G. Simon: Étude Historique et Morale sur le Compagnonnage, 1853. (7) Le Livre of Perdiguier led to the publication of many pamphlets by other Companions and independent writers, but it would serve no useful purpose to particularise them in this place. (8) Coming down to recent times the argument for Masonic analogies is drawn out at great length by R. F. Gould: The History of Freemasonry, 1886, Vol. I, c. 5. It is exceedingly valuable for materials, but the critical conclusions are wanting in sound judgment. In his later Concise History, 1903, there is a better adaptation of the facts, but I fear that the same remark must be held to apply here. It should be added that both accounts are conspicuous for the fair and open mind which always characterised Gould when dealing with points of view opposed to his own. Whether the Compagnonnage continues to exist at the present day in any modified form I have not sought to ascertain as it is obviously outside our subject. The Tour de France is not performed by journeymen as it was in the old days, or even in 1839. Their sodality has no doubt been absorbed by the unions belonging to the various trades.


It may be taken for granted without challenge that there are numberless good men—and women for that matter in the world for whom the conception of an immortal life and whatsoever is implied by the idea of a resurrection to a future state, together with that of a Personal Deity, have ceased practically to provide any motive of conduct. As a working system of ethics independently of these doctrines seems entirely possible it would follow that if Masonry consisted as to its essence solely in aspiration towards peace on earth, in good-will towards all, and in the practice of benevolence, then a Fraternity without the Grand Architect of the Universe and without any horizon opened out by the idea of another life might correspond well enough to the lower notions of a Masonic Brotherhood. The fact that these doctrines are an essential condition of membership seems to constitute something more than a presumption that the essence of initiation is not contained within the measures of any principle of conduct, since ethics are not the summum bonum, nor the totality of all forces at work in the development of man, nor actually the perfect way, though they are the gate of the way of perfection. “That God is and that He recompenses those who seek Him out” is therefore the fundamental doctrine of orthodox Freemasonry, while as to the nature of such recompense the Craft Degrees tell us with sufficient plainness that it is the finding of God, and in the Rites beyond this notion merges into that of union. Masonic conduct in its living sense is a preparation for that state.

Consecration and Its Elements

When the Tabernacle had been built in the wilderness it was anointed with oil of unction, and so also were the vessels—Exodus xl. 9. The altar of holocaust was dedicated in like manner—ibid. 10—and the laver with its foot—ibid. 11. Moses anointed Aaron with the same oil—Leviticus viii. 12. Moreover, he anointed or touched Aaron and his sons with the blood of a ram—ibid. 23, 24—which was termed the ram of consecration—ibid. 29. The Temple of Solomon was dedicated and sanctified to the Lord by the slaughter of peace-offerings only—1 Kings viii. 63, 64—as it is said, “one hundred and twenty thousand sheep.” According to Esdras vi. 17, the Second Temple was dedicated by the sacrifice of calves, rams and lambs, understood as an offering for sin. The symbolical elements used in the consecration and dedication of Masonic Temples are corn and wine and oil, of which the first-fruits were set apart as “the priest’s due from the people,” according to Deuteronomy xviii. 3, 4. It is a curious fact that there is practically no figurative significance of corn in the Old Testament; but it connotes the idea of plenty by implication, and this is its meaning according to Masonic symbolism. On the contrary that wine “which cheereth God and man”—Judges ix- 13 is like a chalice full of images, as we see by the Song or Solomon and the scent of vineyards on Lebanon. We see also by Exodus xxix. 40, that “the fourth part of a hin of wine” was part of the daily sacrifice on the altar. From the Masonic standpoint it is of course a symbol of gladness, by way of transcript from Psalm civ. 15. Jacob was the first in Scripture who consecrated with oil when he poured it upon the stone which he had laid under his head at Haran, in the place of vision—Genesis xxviii. 18. For the first time also it was used as a kingly chrism in the anointing of Saul—1 Samuel x. 1. It is a symbol of election and sanctification and of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, according to Christian imagery. In the stately ceremony of Consecration according to the Latin Church the symbolical elements used in hallowing are (1) Salt, (2) Water, (3) Ash, (4) Wine, (5) Chrism, (6) Incense and (7) Oil—the Salt of Incorruption and of Wisdom, the Water of Regeneration, the Ash whence the New Earth springeth, the Wine of Divine Benediction, the Chrism of Supernatural Election, the Incense of Prayer, and the Oil of Holy Gladness. The Rite is a Rite of Consecration in the plenary sense.

Constitutions and Charges

The Old Constitutions or more accurately Old Charges of English and Scottish Masonry are contained in precious manuscripts of varying dates and—at least for the most part—are either in public libraries, such as the British Museum, in the custody of ancient Lodges, as those of Mother Kilwinning and York, No. 236, or among the archives of the Scottish and English Grand Lodges. The earliest is referable to the end of the fourteenth century and the latest to the year 1748. They are memorials of Operative Masonry, and my purpose in the present section is, firstly, to give such a representative account of them in summary form as may be held requisite in an encyclopaedic work on Masonry, and, secondly, to determine whether they exhibit generally, or in particular instances, any traces of a speculative or emblematic art. As regards the first, several documents are held on internal grounds to postulate the existence of a lost original belonging to a somewhat earlier date. Of necessity this question is ruled out of the present inquiry and—with a single exception—each document is taken as it stands, being adequately representative for its period, within its own measures. The grounds furthermore on which approximate periods or years have been assigned by Masonic scholarship to undated manuscripts are accepted with the respect due to such findings, but subject to later revision, if any. Finally, in presenting the barest outline of a very large subject there is no need to reproduce the grouping of documents into families, though it has served good purpose in critical research. As regards the second purpose I am content at the moment to point out that the practice—whensoever adopted—of receiving as Masons persons who were unconnected with the Craft does not of itself indicate the presence of a speculative and much less of an emblematic element in the Society at large. When Elias Ashmole was made a Mason at Warrington he became a member of the Lodge which elected to receive him, but not an emblematic or speculative Mason, unless that Lodge corresponded to those designations—for which there is no evidence. I proceed to enumerate the most important of the old documents in approximate chronological order, it being understood that the sum total approaches a hundred manuscripts, differing one from another—for the most part—as variants of certain prototypes. We are concerned, however, with general heads of agreement and chief points of difference.

Regius or Halliwell MS.—Preserved in the British Museum. Bib. Reg. 17a. 1, ff. 32. The exordium is in Latin as follows : Hie incipiunt constitutiones artis gemetriae (sic) secundum Euclydem. The text—which is in doggerel verse—sets out by affirming that Geometry received the name of Masonry and was accounted “the most honest Craft of all.” It was discovered by Euclid in Egypt and was brought into England after the lapse of many years or in the time of King Athelstan, “who well loved this Craft.” He decided to remedy the defects therein, and with this object summoned all Masons together. The Convention appears to have been attended by “divers lords,” including dukes, earls and barons, knights, squires and “many more,” together with great burgesses. As a result of their deliberations they drew up Fifteen Articles and Fifteen Points, which were to be binding respectively on Master Masons and on Craftsmen. These having been enumerated there follows alia ordinacio artis gemetriae, concerning an assembly to be holden annually or triennially, at such place as might be chosen, for the further “amendment of faults.” All attending should be sworn to keep these Statutes—namely, the Articles and Points—ordained by King Athelstan. In view of this ordinance there is a direction on the part of the unknown versifier to pray Almighty God and “His Mother, Mary bright” that such Articles and Points may be kept as well by those who are concerned as they were observed by four holy martyrs who were of great honour in this Craft. This introduces Ars quatuor coronatorum, as it is called quaintly, concerning the martyrs in question, who were “good Masons as on earth shall go,” being gravers, image-makers and workmen of the best. The scene is Rome and they were required by the Roman Emperor to make an image that might be worshipped for his sake and so “turn the people from Christ His law.” But those Masons were good Christians and refused, for which reason they were thrust into a deep prison and then put to death. The text breaks off abruptly at this point to go back upon the ages, even unto Noah’s Flood and the building of the tower of Babylon (sic), which is referred to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was actuated by fear and the hope of staving off such a calamity as the Flood in the event of its recurrence. The pains were lost, however, for “an angel smote them with divers speech.” The event is without consequence, so far as the story is concerned, which recurs again to Euclid, who added other crafts to his great invention—making up seven sciences, being Grammar, Dialect, Rhetoric, Music, Astronomy, Arithmetic and Geometry. It is said that those who use these sciences well “may win heaven.” There is no question that the Constitutiones Artis* and all belonging thereto have now reached their term—that is to say, with line 580. But—again without break or interruption—the text proceeds to an exhortation on leaving pride and covetousness, on going to church, on behaviour within the holy precincts, such as taking holy water, kneeling on both knees, lifting up the heart to Christ, praying for grace to keep the ten commandments and avoid the deadly sins. There are also particular instructions for hearing Mass and a prayer to be said at the sacring of the Blessed Elements, together with a remarkable promise given on the authority of St. Augustine:

“That day thou syst Goddus body,
Thou shalt have these, ful surely—
Mete and drynke at thy nede:
None that day schal thee gnede,” etc.

It recalls the food-giving properties allocated to the Holy Graal in some of the old romances, and would have been long since quoted in that connection, had folklore scholars been acquainted with this earliest Masonic text. Finally there are recommendations on manners in hall, at table and in chamber.

The Masters’ Articles.—Such is the document at large, and now in respect of those Fifteen Articles which comprise the whole duty of a Master Mason. They may be summarised as follows: (1) He should be steadfast, trusty, true and just as any judge. (2) He should attend the general congregation, to which end he must ascertain where it will be held. (3) He must take and bind his apprentices for seven years. (4) His apprentices must be free men and no bondsmen. (5) They must be of lawful blood and whole of limb. (6) He shall “take of the Lord” for his apprentices, “also much as his fellows.” (7) He shall by no means apprentice a thief, lest the Craft should be brought to shame. (8) He may change any craftsman who is wanting in perfect work. (9) He shall undertake no work that he is unable to carry through to its end. (10) He shall in no wise supplant another Master, but shall be unto him as sister and brother, (11) He shall be fair and free on his own part and competent to impose these virtues on others. (12) He shall not deprave his fellow’s work, but shall rather amend it. (13) He shall teach his apprentice in all requisite particulars. (14) That in such manner he may learn the points of his work during the term of his bond. (15) Lastly, he shall do nothing which might reflect shame on the Craft.

The Points for Craftsmen.—We have seen that these are also fifteen, and this is their essence or marrow: (1) The Craftsman must love God well and also Holy Church, his master and fellows. (2) He shall work truly for “huyres upon work and holy days”: I give this as it stands in the text, but it would appear that the scribe has blundered. (3) Apprentices shall keep their Masters’ counsel in chamber and in Lodge. (4) Let no man prove false to his Craft, and this rule shall bind apprentices in like manner. (5) Masons shall accept their wages from the Master with meekness, raising no contention. (6) They shall strive in all manners to stand well in the Law of God. (7) They shall respect the chastity of their master’s wife and their fellow’s “concubine” (sic). (8) They shall act, each of them, as “a true mediator” to master and fellows, as well as fairly to all. (9) They shall pay well and truly as stewards, whether to man or woman, whosoever they be: the ordinance is difficult to follow, but may be one of general probity in respect of the whole world. (10) Disobedient Masons are to be dealt with by the Assembly or the Law and shall “forswear the Craft”—presumably be expelled therefrom, (11) Masons are to help one another by instructing those who are wanting in knowledge and skill. (12) The decisions of the Assembly shall be respected, or imprisonment may follow. (13) Every fellow shall pledge himself never to turn thief, nor give succour to any of “false craft.” (14) He shall be sworn furthermore to keep all these points and be true to his liege lord the King. (15) He shall be sworn also to obey the Assembly, under penalty of having to forsake the Craft and be imprisoned: compare No. 10.

Alleged Symbolical Elements.—It was held by Mr. R. F. Gould in his Commentary on the Regius MS., and later on in an Essay on the Evolution of Freemasonry, that the text which I have examined and summarised offers evidence of a speculative and symbolical Masonry in England of the fourteenth century; that its inculcations are far removed from the mental range of Operative Masons at that period and later; and that they were addressed to members of a sodality which was composed of gentle classes, even nobility. I anticipate that those who make acquaintance with the Regius poem for the first time by means of the preceding paragraphs are likely to be puzzled at the suggestion, and it must be confessed that—having considered it sympathetically on all sides—I have failed to find a single point of real evidence on which it reposes. We must set aside in the first place the proposition that dukes and earls attended an assembly convened for the amelioration of Masonry by Athelstan. That story is mythical, even as the legend of Euclid. The royal and noble interest in Craft matters is thus taken out of the way, though I do not see that Gould’s thesis would be served, were the account historical in all its details. In the second place, we must remove that later part of the poem which extends from line 581 to the end. It has no connection with constitutiones artis geometriae, or anything arising therefrom. We are evidently dealing with two independent texts which have been joined by an irresponsible scribe. Had it happened, however, that the earlier part led up logically to the second there is again nothing in this to help out a hypothesis concerning elements of symbolical Masonry present in the whole text.

The Plea Fails.—There remain to be mentioned (1) a mythical history of Freemasonry in two parts, concerning Euclid and the Tower of Babel; (2) the Charges to Masters and Fellows; (3) the Ordinance on periodical Assemblies; and (4) the so-called Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. It is ridiculous to suggest that, collectively or otherwise, they contain any trace of symbolism or of a part that can be called speculative. They are pseudo-history and rules of conduct, neither veils of allegory nor illustrations of symbolism. We shall meet with their analogues and variants throughout the later Charges, which no one has ever regarded as other than operative documents. It will be seen in this manner that Gould’s plea for a reconsideration of Masonic origins in the light of the Regius MS. fails completely, and in giving expression to this finding it must be said that I am taking a course which is counter to all my wishes. Gould was seeking to prove that Symbolical Masonry was at least coeval with any incorporation of the Operative Art, perhaps even older; and taken in the light of other disquisitions by the same hand he was leaning towards the idea of a Rosicrucian inheritance passed over to Masonry, including the possibility that behind the Rosy Cross—though looming as shadows only—stood other and yet more secret Orders, with the suggestion of a greater Mastery. There is nothing that would consort better with the hope of my Masonic life or with the general trend of my researches into the Secret Tradition of Christian Times; but I am pledged to the truth as I see it, at whatever cost to personal predilections, including my own.

The Alleged Mental Range.—And now as to the question whether the Regius text as it stands would have been likely to exceed comprehension by Operatives at the period to which it belongs. It is difficult to suppose that this consideration could be advanced by any one acquainted with literary history in the Middle Ages or in the presence of Promptorium Parvulorum and a sheaf of similar documents. It must be remembered that the text belongs either to the last decade of the fourteenth century or to some later date, having 1430 as a limit on the hither side. We know now that the “Dark Ages” were ages of light, and Europe stood already on the threshold of the Renaissance. I do not believe that the body-general of Operatives in England were so deficient in the art of reading as some people may still suppose, and my view is that there was nothing to confound an average craftsman’s intelligence, whether heard or read by him. There is little to detain us in such a contention, and I question whether at the present moment it would find a champion.

The Cooke MS.—Preserved in the British Museum as Additional MS. 23,198. The second of the old Constitutions or Charges in point of date is in prose—like the long subsequent series—and is referred to the early portion of the fifteenth century or alternatively to the latter portion. The year 1430 has been proposed as an approximate date and there is one suggestion concerning an earlier original, though no reason has been given. The original editor, Mr. Matthew Cooke, conjectured that it was “used in Assemblies of Masons as a textbook of the traditional history and laws of the Fraternity,” and this is at least a sound description of the contents. It opens with the praise of the liberal sciences, especially geometry, out of which came Masonry, instituted no longer by Euclid but by Jabal among the children of Lamech. Jubal invented music, while the smith’s and weaver’s crafts originated respectively with Tubal Cain and Noema. But Tubal is said to have inscribed all the sciences on two Pillars, and thus at this early period we find a Masonic document drawing from the Secret Tradition of Israel, though Jewish stories concerning primeval Pillars of Knowledge are connected usually with the name of Enoch. According to the Cooke MS., three Pillars were found after the Flood by Pythagoras and Hermes, who became in this manner the saviours of the ancient wisdom. As might be expected, the Masonic version of the legend diverges at this point from that of the Kabalah, which knows nothing of Gentile philosophers in connection with the Pillars of Knowledge, as it knows nothing also of so-called liberal sciences. That which was preserved was the Hidden Doctrine communicated to Adam before the Fall. The text proceeds to the time of Babel, which is still termed Babylon, and this monument of early architecture is referred to Nimrod. It was Abraham in later days who taught Euclid Masonry, but it was Euclid who called it geometry, and he who instructed Egypt. The craft of Masonry was learned by Israel in the land of bondage and they carried it into Palestine, where David and Solomon favoured and protected Masons. There is now a leap over centuries: we hear of Charges and Ordinances prescribed by “Carolus Secundus,” King of France, and soon after the story of St. Alban, who first gave a Constitution to English Masons and made rules concerning wages. The Regius episode of Athelstan is confirmed in respect of the point that this king loved the Masons well, but it is his supposititious son—unknown to history—who gave them further Charges, purchased from his father a patent which enabled them to hold assemblies whenever they chose, and even himself became a Mason. The alia ordinatio of the previous text is practically identical with that respecting the patent in the Cooke MS. and concludes its traditional history, seeing that there is no recital concerning the Quatuor Coronati.

Rules and Charges.—In the later portion, which deals more especially with Laws and Regulations, we learn that those who were instructed by Euclid in Egypt were sons of lords, whom he divided into masters and fellows, according to skill and ability. Many Regulations cover the same ground as the earlier text, but there are others dealing with breaches of the Masters’ Articles and the Points of Fellows, the punishment of rebels against Statutes and the ordering of Assemblies under joint supervision at need by the Mayor or an Alderman of the place and the President or Master. It will serve no purpose to set out the whole series. I have now dealt at some length with two prototypical texts and as to those which are later considerations of space restrict me within narrow limits.

(1) William Watson MS.—This document has been allocated to the middle of the fifteenth century and to the year 1440. It will be practically correct to term it a later codex, with variants and amplifications, of the Cooke MS., which is at least its immediate progenitor. Among additional matters, we learn (a) that the mythical son of King Athelstan was named Edwin; (b) that the Masons’ Charges—corresponding in most respects to those of the Regius and Cooke texts—were approved by Henry VI. (2) T. W. Tew MS. I have placed this document thus early in the list on the authority of Gould, who affirms—presumably on internal evidence—that it is prior to 1534, though the only known copy belongs to 1680, or a little earlier. Among points in traditional history, it is said (a) that Abel was slain with an arrow, for which antecedent authorities are Sir John Maundeville and Petrus Comestor; (b) that Hiram, King of Tyre, had a son named Hyman—presumably Hiram—who was Master of Geometry, Master-in-Chief of Masons, Governor of carving and graving and of “all Masonry that belonged to the Temple”; (c) that another Mason of Solomon who is called Mammongratus—evidently the Naymus Graecus of later texts—proceeded subsequently to France and there taught the Craft; and (d) that some of the old Masons’ books were written in French, some in English, and others in different languages. The name of Charles Martel is substituted for the “Carolus Secundus” of the Cooke codex. (3) Lansdowne MS., No. 98 (48), preserved in the British Museum and referred to the year 1600, but also to the middle or later half of the sixteenth century. It contains the legendary history, together with certain Orders and Constitutions. (4) Grand Lodge MS., preserved in the Library of the Grand Lodge of England and dated on December 25, 1583. It contains old Charges and was at one time in the possession of Thomas Dunckerley. (5) Inigo Jones MS., so-called on account of an ornamented title by the famous architect. It is dated 1607 and is regarded as a valuable version of the MS. Constitutions, though drastic criticism affirms that it belongs in reality to 1723-25. Prince Edwin is described as the brother of Athelstan. (6) Wood MS., described in the text as newly translated by J. Whitestones for John Sargensonne, in the year 1610. It is called The Constitution of Masonry and contains, in addition to the traditional origin of the Craft itself and of other sciences, the “divers Rules, Orders and Precepts” which are to be observed by Masons. (7) Wilson MSS. These are two in number and have been referred to an early period of the seventeenth century, or even to the late sixteenth. They are in private hands. A Manifesto of the Lodge of Antiquity, issued in 1778, affirms that one of them was written in the reign of King Henry VIII. (8) York No. 1, in possession of York Lodge, No. 236, usually regarded as belonging to the early seventeenth century, and in any case antecedent to 1649. It does not call for comment in a brief summary, (g) York No. 3, once in the same custody, and described in an inventory of 1779 as a parchment Roll of Charges on Masonry, date 1630,” It is not now in evidence, (10) Harleian, No. 1942, in the British Museum collection of that name. It has been referred to the beginning of the seventeenth century, or at least prior to 1650. It contains certain new Articles, peculiar to this MS., and an Apprentice Charge, found in a few later versions. It is laid down in the Articles (a) that no one shall be “accepted a Free Mason except in a Lodge of five Free Masons, one of whom shall be either a Master or Warden of that division in which the Lodge is held”; (b) that Candidates must be of “able body, honest parentage, good reputation and observers of the laws of the land”; (c) that no one shall be admitted into any Lodge or Assembly without a certificate shewing the time of his “adoption” from the Lodge that accepted him, thus apparently providing for joining members, but the vague wording suggests also a distinction between adoption and reception as a Freemason; (d) that every Freemason “shall bring to the Master a note of the time of his reception,” for the observance of precedence and that Masons “may the better know each other,” the Master mentioned being presumably President of an Assembly and not of a particular Lodge; (e) that no person shall be accepted a Freemason until he has taken the oath of secrecy. The Charge to Apprentices recalls the Regius Points for Craftsmen, and it will be sufficient to cite (a) that an Apprentice shall not cause differences to arise among Masons, but shall behave reverently towards all “sworn brethren to his Master”; (b) that he shall not “use any carding, dicing or any other unlawful games”; and (c) that he shall not haunt taverns or ale-houses. (11) Dowland MS., known only as printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1815, having been offered to the editor by Mr. James Dowland, who described it as belonging apparently to the early seventeenth century. It has been regarded as the transcript of an original ranking next to the Cooke MS., and for the present purpose is represented sufficiently thereby. (12) Harleian, No. 2054, in the British Museum, regarded as prior to 1650. The Charges are called the Freemasons’ Orders and Constitutions, and there is a pledge to keep the Words and Signs secret, being considered the first reference to their existence. There is also a register of fees paid “for to be a Free Mason.” (13) Sloane MS., 3848, in the British Museum collection of that name, dated on October 16, 1646. (14) Stirling MS., belonging to the Ancient Stirling Lodge, No. 30, on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It is referred to circa 1650. The text is similar to that of the Grand Lodge MS., No. 1. It was long regarded as a Charter, but is a copy of the Old Charges. (15) Sloane MS., 3323, dated 1659. One of its provisions requires “that no fellow shall take upon him to call a Lodge to make any fellow or fellows without the consent of Master or Wardens, if they be within fifteen miles.” (16) Buchanan MS., preserved in the Library of the Grand Lodge of England and referred to the period between 1660-80. The traditional history traces all sciences of the world to geometry, afterwards called Masonry, which Art and Craft was brought into France by Namus Grecus, who had been at the building of King Solomon’s Temple. Among Charges particular to this text may be mentioned (a) that no Apprentice is to be bound for a term exceeding seven years; (b) that no Master shall give pay to his fellows save as they deserve, so that there may not be deception on the part of false workmen; (c) that no fellow shall go at night into the town where there is a Lodge of Fellows without being accompanied by some of them, who can prove that he was in an honest place; and (d) that every Mason shall receive and cherish every strange Mason “when they come to this country.” (17) Atcheson-Haven MS., in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It belongs to the year 1666, and specifies that a Mason’s obligation is to be taken “by one or more laying his hand on the book and swearing by one command and oath”—the book being undoubtedly that of Holy Scripture. (18) York No. 5, in the archives of York Lodge, is a similar text to that of York No. 1 and is referable to circa 1670. (19) Aberdeen MS., belonging to the Ancient Lodge of that city and dated 1670. It contains (a) the Laws and Statutes of the Lodge; (b) the Masons’ Charter; (c) General Laws and List of Members, etc. (20) Melrose MS., belonging to the old Lodge of Melrose and dated December 1-4, 1674. Among Charges particular to this text, it is specified (a) that a Freemason shall not take more than three Apprentices in his lifetime; (b) that those who have served their time shall be named free men and receive their discharge; and (c) that if “lawful members” cannot be given work they must be provided with money. (21) Heade MS., in the Library of the Inner Temple and signed by Henry Heade in 1675 or within twenty years later. It is entitled Constitutions of Freemasonry, and is regarded as the transcript of an earlier text. (22) Kilwinning MS., in the archives of Mother Kilwinning Lodge. It is similar to the Grand Lodge MS. of 1583 and, like other Scottish MSS„ is regarded as originating in South Britain. (23) Stanley MS., in the Library of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire and dated 1677. It has no important variations from previous texts, either in respect of traditional history or Charges. (24) Hope MS., belonging to the Hope Lodge, Bradford. The text is similar in several respects to York No. 4, but the Apprentice Charge is imperfect. Date uncertain. (25) Antiquity MS., belonging to the London Antiquity Lodge. The Royal Arms are engraved at the top, beneath which are those of the City of London and the Masons’ Company. At the end it is certified to be written by Robert Padgett, clerk to the Worshipful Society of the Free Masons of the City of London, A.D. 1686. It has been affirmed, however, that no such name is found in the books of the Masons’Company. (26) York No. 6, in the archives of the York Lodge, a dismembered parchment roll of uncertain date, but later than York No. 5. It concludes by beseeching the Brethren at every Meeting and Assembly to “pray heartily for all Christians.” (27) Supreme Council MS., No. 1, in the archives of 10 Duke Street, London, S.W. It is dated 1686. The Arms of the City of London and the Masons’ Company are emblazoned at the top. (28) Beaumont MS., in possession of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire. It belongs to the year 1690 and is without special features. The Invocation with which it opens is similar to that in the Buchanan and Atcheson-Haven MSS. (29) York No. 4, in the archives of the York Lodge, is dated October 23, 1693, and is entitled “The Constitutions of the Noble and Famous History (sic), called Masonry.” It is curious because it appends a list of “the names of the Lodge,” meaning its members, who were only five in number, not including the scribe. But it is memorable for a notable clause in the instruction on imposing the pledge: the words are: “he or she that is to be made a Mason,” and the great debate is whether the word “she” is a clerical error for “they” or a mistranslation of ille vel illi in York MS., No. 5. I believe that R. F. Gould was dissatisfied to the day of his death with both of these explanations, though it did not perhaps occur to him that “he or they that is to be made a Mason” would be rather awful, even for such English as may be found in Masonic documents. The debate is quiescent now and the question may be left in that limbus of things forgotten, about which “nobody knows and nobody cares,” for it is a matter of complete indifference whether or not women were occasionally admitted to the Mysteries and Privileges of Ancient Operative Masonry. (30) Waistell MS., formerly in the possession of Charles Waistell, Provincial Grand Registrar of North and East Yorkshire. It is dated on the 23rd day of January, 1693, and is imperfect at the beginning. It offers no important variation from earlier texts. (31) Shropshire MS., believed to be in private hands and belonging to the year 1694. It appears to be known only by a transcript made in 1748 and has no features of special and exclusive importance. (32) Foxcroft MS., in the Library of the Grand Lodge of England. It is dated 1699 and is held to be either a transcript from Antiquity MS. or from an original common to both. The valedictory words are “These be all the Charges and Covenants that ought to be read at the making of a Mason or Masons: the Almighty God of Jacob, Who ever have you and me in His keeping, bless us now and for ever.—Amen.” (33) Clapham MS., in the Library of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire. It is imperfect, in bad condition otherwise, and the work of an inexact scribe, who is supposed to have followed a much older document. It has been placed between 1700 and 1720. It mentions “a Mason’s son,” named Hiram, who was a Master of geometry, chiefest of all Solomon’s Masons, etc., the rest on the authority of scripture. (34) Alnwick MS., presumably in private hands. It is a folio volume containing (a) “the Masons’ Constitutions,” otherwise Old Charges, and (b) the records of “the Company and Fellowship of Freemasons,” i.e., of a Lodge held at Alnwick. These records begin on September 29, 1701. (35) Hughan MS., in the Library of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire, and referred to the end of the seventeenth or beginning of the eighteenth century. As regards the Assembly called by Prince Edwin at York it says: “He made a cry that all old Masons and young that had any writings or made standing (sic) of the Charges and manners that were made before in this land, or in any other, that they should shew them forth; and it was proved that there were found some in French and some in Greek, some in English and some in other languages. And the intent of them all was found to be all one, and they commanded a book to be made thereof and how the Craft was founded,” etc. (36) York, No. 2, in the archives of the York Lodge and bearing the date 1704. It is sufficiently described as a copy of the traditional history and the Old Charges. (37) Scarborough MS., in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Canada. It belongs to the year 1705, and was probably made for a Meeting held on July 10 of that year at “a private Lodge” in Scarborough, Yorkshire. (38) Papworth MS., formerly in the possession of Mr. Wyatt Papworth, London. The water-mark shews that it could not have been written before 1714.

Other Texts.—Among manuscripts transcribed after the foundation of Grand Lodge in 1717 there may be mentioned (1) the Macnab MS., belonging to the year 1722, in the archives of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire; (2) the Spencer MS. of circa 1726, in private hands at Cincinnati, U.S.A.; (3) the Carmick MS. of 1727, apparently in private hands in America, but there is a facsimile in possession of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and another copy in the Library of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (4) the Gateshead MS., belonging to the Industry Lodge at Gateshead and referred to the year 1730; (5) the Woodford MS., once in the possession of the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford; and (6) the Rawlinson MS. of 1730, or thereabouts, preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Of the remaining manuscripts—and it will be seen that my enumeration does not extend to half—some are in the Library of Grand Lodge, of the Supreme Council, of the Provincial Grand Lodge of West Yorkshire, and of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Their archives, however, will account for comparatively few, so that there are many others of which I have no particulars, while in respect of two or three it has not seemed necessary to mention them in a summary record like the present.

Operative and Speculative.—The Regius MS. is supposed to stand alone—that is to say, apart from the other codices, all later Constitutions and Charges descending from the Cooke MS. It is a point of textual criticism, and several experts have agreed thereon. As regards the root analogies subsisting between all, the materials for judgment have been placed here in the hands of every reader. They will have seen that the Euclid and Athelstan myths are in the Regius MS. as well as in the other texts, and that its Charges have points of correspondence with the other documents. The points of difference will be plain in like manner to those who will compare, and so—-I think—must be my main contention that they are all Operative texts: there is no allegory and there is no symbolism. It has been advanced that Speculative Masonry must be an old thing because it was holding Operative documents in 1717. My answer is that it held them because it took possession of Lodges that were once Operative. Had Speculative Lodges existed from time immemorial side by side with the others, there would be a mystery about the requisition, but on the contrary hypothesis there is none. The direction from which the invasion came is not far to seek: it is to be found in the ever increasing presence of non-operative members. Owing to these, there may have been vestiges of speculative aspects in the first decades of the seventeenth century and even earlier; there is no evidence, and we cannot tell. The case against it is that the speculative and symbolical Rituals are eighteenth-century work, embodying eighteenth-century notions and revision of a still later period. The case against it is also that at no time in the centuries up to 1717 did the speculative aspect ever win entrance into one line of the Masonic memorials with which we have been dealing. The case against it is finally that the Operative Charges which are post 1717 remain unaffected, in spite of Anderson, notwithstanding that “new and better method” into which he digested “the old Gothic Constitutions,” as directed. On the other hand, the case in its favour—though it can only remain tentative—is that Speculative Masonry could hardly have taken possession of the Lodges as easily and comparatively quickly in all parts of the Kingdom, had the ground not been prepared beforehand; but the decay of Operative vitality in the matter of Lodge-work would be of course one of the preparatives. This is how the debate stands and how it must be left at present. The work of Anderson belongs to another section.

The Christian Aspects.—There is one word more: by the evidence of all its Charges, from the last even to the first, Operative Masonry was a Christian Order and Mystery, stipulating on the part of its members that they should be “true to God and the Holy Church.” The great bulk of the Invocations which occur at the opening of the texts are in the Name of the Blessed Trinity. The Church in question was of course Catholic and Roman up to the period of the Reformation: thereafter it was Catholic by the hypothesis, but not Roman. The Masons’ Secrets were Operative Secrets and could be no otherwise in the nature of things. It has been well argued that they were practical applications of geometrical science; and we have seen that, according to the Melrose MS., the “privilege of compass, square, level and plumb rule” was denied to “losses” or “cowans.”

Printed Texts.—I must be content not only with a bare enumeration but with one that is not exhaustive. (1) The Regius MS. was printed for the first time by J. O. Halliwell: Early History of Freemasonry in England, 1840. (2) The Cooke MS. was published by R. Spencer in 1861, under the editorship of Matthew Cooke. (3) The William Watson MS. appeared in West Yorkshire Masonic Reprints, 1891. (4) An Exact Reproduction of the Tew Masonic MS. was printed by Mr. T. W. Tew in 1892. (5) The Lansdowne MS. was edited in 1872 by W. J. Hughan in his Old Charges of British Freemasons, 1872, together with the Grand Lodge MS., York No. 1, Harleian, 1942, Dowland MS., Sloane, 3848, Hope MS., Antiquity MS., and Papworth MS. (6) The Masonic Magazine printed various MS. Charges in its issues as hereinafter stated: The Inigo Jones, York No. 5, and Wood MSS. in 1881; the Harleian, 2054, in 1873; the Melrose, No. 2, and York No. 6 in 1880; the Gateshead in 1875; the Rawlinson and Wilson 1 and 2 in 1876. (7) The Stirling MS., for which see The Freemason of May 27,1893. (8) Sloane, 3323, was edited by Hughan in his Masonic Sketches, 1871-79, together with Harleian, 2054, Kilwinning, York No. 4, Alnwick and York No. 2. (9) Buchanan MS. is given in Gould’s large History of Freemasonry, 1886, Vol. 1, pp. 93-100. (10) Atcheson-Haven MS. was published by W. A. Lawrie: History of Freemasonry, second edition, 1859. (11) The Aberdeen MS. appeared in the Chicago Voice of Masonry, December, 1874. (12) The Heade MS. was described by Hughan in The Freemason, November 5, 1898. (13) The Stanley MS. was published in The Freemason for April 22, 1893. Refer also to ibid., February 25, 1893, and April 15, 1893. (14) Hope MS. was edited by W. J. Hughan with two other texts. See The Hope, Waistell and Probity Masonic MSS., 1892. (15) Beaumont MS., edited by William Watson for the Province of West Yorkshire in 1901. (16) Shropshire MS. See Masonic Year Book for the Province of Shropshire, 1912, and The Freemason, July 20 of that year. (17) Foxcroft MS., published in The Freemason, January 6, 1900. (18) Clapham MS., published in The Freemason, March 29, 1890. (19) Hughan MS., published in The Freemason, September 3, 1892. (20) Scarborough MS., published in The Mirror and Keystone, Philadelphia, U.S.A., 1860, and in the Masonic Magazine, 1879. (21) Among texts subsequent to 1717, see for Macnab MS. an account by Hughan in The Freemason, probably about 1900; for the Spencer MS., R. Spencer: Old Constitutions, 1871; and for the Carmick MS. a description in The Freemason, September 12, 1908.

Convivial Societies

If ever there was a time in England when, owing to the habit of its members, Masonry deserved the epithet of a banqueting society, we—who are within it and of it—know well that such an impeachment obtains no longer against it. Our Order forms in the grand aggregate but a very small part of a world which dines daily, and it is exact to say that the meal which follows our Meetings is a negligible part of our concern in comparison with the other activities. In France and, I think, also in some other continental countries the banquet was often a high ceremonial procedure, and indeed—the world over—those who dine at a Masonic board remember always that they are Masons, in the full chivalry of the expression. Apart altogether from the Order, there have been many Convivial Societies, and since it was their general custom to adopt certain forms, as if they sought—even in pleasantry itself—some kind of title to exist, so it has happened that their procedure occasionally recalled the shadow of Masonic forms. It came about for the most part by accident, but on rare occasions by design. I do not know why such things have been commemorated in Masonic works, but as they have never been wanting in encyclopaedic collections, so here I have set them briefly on record, but in a place, as it were, apart. They were not all merely convivial, as appears from the first item.

Aborigines.—The authority is The British Magazine of 1783, which gives the formulae of initiation into this so-called Secret Society. The Candidate undertook to follow the paths of Honour, Freedom, Honesty, Sincerity, Prudence, Modesty, Reputation, Sobriety and True Friendship. The Great Aboriginal was Adam and that Eden in which he dwelt constituted the Word of the Order: it was ruled by a Grand Original, who seems to have been identified with Nimrod. Whether such a society was ever incorporated, except in the pages of the magazine mentioned, may be open to question.

Adams, Society of.—Somewhere about 1750 there met at the Royal Swan, in Kingsland Road, the Most Ancient, Honourable and Venerable Society of Adams. What they meant by their title and what they did in their tavern—outside the rites of their festivals—does not seem to have been handed down. It looks like an earlier convention of Grand Originals.

**Blue and Orange, Loyal and Friendly Society of.—In and about 1742 this brotherhood of complementary colours met at the Kouli Khan’s Head in Leicester Fields.

Bucks, The Society of.—The birthplace appears to have been Liverpool, and a certain political as well as convivial aspect has been attributed to this Club. But it is on record also that it subscribed sums of money to the Marine Society and to provide clothing for British troops abroad. The President was the Grand Buck. It seems to have reached London, where there are said to have been thirteen branch Clubs in 1770.

Cabalarians, The Order of.—Self-styled “very honourable,” this motley association met at the Magpie, in Bishopsgate Street Without, the President wearing a fool’s-cap and keeping order with a knotted whip, but apparently after the manner of a gavel or hammer and not to chastise members.

Cannibal Club.—This dining society arose out of the London Anthropological Society, presumably about 1860, and was frequented by many notabilities, including Masons.

Cat and Bagpipe Society.—Another mid-eighteenth century pleasantry, meeting in the Great Western Road and advertising its convocations in the daily press.

Hiccolites.—They termed themselves an “ancient and joyous Order,” holding their General Court at the Sun Tavern, in Fish-Street Hill. These also are of 1750—earlier perhaps and later.

Jeopardy, Order of.—The name is explained by the ceremony of mock-initiation, the candidate being received with a halter drawn about his neck. The place of meeting was anywhere among the taverns of Lambeth, and the period about 1818.

Jerusalem Sols.—Presumably an incorporation of burning and shining lights, who celebrated their convivial secrets in London circa 1785, terming themselves a Royal and Grand Order. Alternatively, they may have been Solomons, a new Royal House of Israel.

Kill Care Club.—I know nothing of their date, but they met at the Castle, in Paternoster Row, which was termed their Fortress, and were otherwise Sons of Sound Sense and Satisfaction.

Kit-Cat Club.—This foundation is in a sense of immortal memory. The portraits of its members were painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, the secretary was Jacob Tonson, and the most distinguished Whigs of the day were numbered among its frequenters. The place of meeting was Christopher Cat’s Tavern, in King Street, Westminster, and this accounts for the name.

Knights of Amiable Commerce.La Chevalerie Sociale d’Aimable Commerce is a name only: it is said to have existed at Verdun in 1724.

Knights of Joy.L’Ordre des Chevaliers de la Joie was known to Clavel by its Statutes, which are said to have been printed in 1696. At that date there is no need to say that it was not Masonic in character.

Knights of the Cluster.—-According to Clavel, this was a dining society which flourished in 1697 at Arles in Provence. The French title was Chevaliers de la Grappe.

Medusa, Order of.—A terrible denomination for a society, which issued its Statutes under the title of “Pleasant Diversions of the Table.” This was in 1712, and the Brethren of Medusa belonged to Marseilles and Toulon.

Nature, Friends of Awaking.—An awkward title, even in this abbreviated form, but having such Masonic connections as reside in the fact that it was instituted by Masons, who celebrated “the return of spring by an annual banquet.” I suppose that this was in Paris, and the date of foundation was 1804.

**Noah, Order of.—F. H. Stanislaus Delaunay, the French author of a well-known Tyler of the Scottish Rite, mentions this Bacchic Society, but apart from all particulars.

Octogonians.—The place of meeting was the Ship and Anchor, at Temple Bar. It was an “ancient and honourable Order,” by its own hypothesis, and it belongs to 1750. It is supposed to have lampooned Masonry, but the authority does not appear.

Rejoicing Brethren.—In reality a literary society which published an annual volume of poetry and music, this foundation belongs to the year 1705 and to Lower Languedoc. The Grand Master was the Chief Rejoicing Brother, and they are said to have termed themselves otherwise a Society of Drinkers.

Round Table, Knights of the.—There was a Round Table in St. Martin’s Court, presumably the name of an eating-house, and a convivial club is said to have met thereat and called themselves Knights thereof. O dregs and lees of chivalry.

Saintonge.—The name and its meaning are past speculation, in connection especially with an eighteenth-century club, held at an Excise Coffee House in Old Broad Street.

Salamanders.—This association met at the Bull and Anchor, in the Hammersmith district, about 1770. The title may have signified a great thirst on the part of its members.

Screw, Monks of the.—The chief authority is in the novels of Charles Lever, but it is testified that a burlesque association under this name was actually established in Ireland late in the eighteenth century.

Trowel, Society of the.—The authority is Vasari: Lives of Painters and Sculptors, s.v. G. F. Rustici. It was a dining-club of Florentine artists, established at Florence about 1512. The adopted patron was St. Andrew, and the symbols recognised by members were the Trowel, Hammer, Square and Level. All this notwithstanding, they were neither Masons nor precursors of Masonry. Before their unofficial incorporation it happened that certain painters and sculptors who were at dinner in a garden discovered at hand a mass of mortar out of which a Trowel was protruding. For some inscrutable reason it led to considerable diversion and they undertook to dine annually together in commemoration of the event, terming themselves the Society of the Trowel.


A familiar term in Masonry which explains its own meaning to every Entered Apprentice. Many etymologies have been proposed, all indifferently unlikely and most indeed ridiculous. It has been identified with the Greek κύων, which signifies Dog. Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic words—possessing a phonetic resemblance—have been cited as sources. One fantasiast has even connected it with Chronos by way of contrast, because Masonry has eternity as its object, while the Cowan belongs to time and is restricted within that measure.

The Word in History.—Lexicography is inclined to regard the word as unknown in respect of derivation, but it seems unquestionably of Scottish origin and occurs in old books of accounts, in Scott’s Rob Roy and—among Masonic documents—in the well-known Schaw Statutes of 1598. It appears to have signified a low grade of craftsman, e.g. a builder of dry-stone dykes or walls, of bricks without mortar. In this way it became a term of contempt and in Masonry there is no doubt that it applied to those outside the union of the Guild. According to the same Statutes, a Master or Fellow must not receive cowans into his society or company, or send his own men to work along with them. The Melrose MS. uses the unaccountable word “losses” as an equivalent for cowans, and these were only to be employed when “regular Masons” could not be had, and then they were not to know “the privilege of the compass, square, level and the plumb-rule,” while they were to be displaced forthwith by Freemasons when these came forward to work. The cowans had not served their time as bound Apprentices “lawfully taken”; if employed, they should be set to do plumbing “with a line” only. As debarred at once from privileges and knowledge, it was supposed that they would pick up what scraps they could, and hence were distrusted as “eavesdroppers”; as “outsiders,” they were regarded as intruders, to be kept off as far as possible: they were “intruders and cowans to Masonry.” Anderson, being a Scotchman, would be acquainted with the word and its meaning in Masonry; it is therefore easy to account for its use in the second edition of his Constitutions. The term is of no importance whatever in Speculative Masonry, and it serves no purpose to carry the inquiry further: its equivalents are to be found no doubt when and wheresoever trade unions have flourished; the modern so-called “blackleg” is of course a cowan.

Craft System

The subject in hand may be opened by a citation which is familiar to all, and it so happens that it forms a convenient point of departure: “ But as we are not all Operative Masons, but rather Free and Accepted or Speculative, we apply these tools to our morals.” With certain variations these words occur in each of the Craft Degrees, while there are analogies to be found in a few subsidiary systems which may be said to arise out of the Craft—as, for example, the Honourable Degree of Mark Master Mason. That which is applied more especially to the working implements of Masonry belongs to our entire building symbolism, whether it is concerned with the erection by the Candidate in his own personality of an edifice or “superstructure perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder,” or—in the Mark Degree—with a House not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, or again with Solomon’s Temple spiritualised by the Legend of the Third Degree. It comes about in this manner that Masonry is described otherwise as “a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” The morality belongs to the building, the allegory and symbols are common to the art and its tools, all hanging together and making for one meaning.

Symbolical Architecture.—When the subject is approached more closely it will be found, that Craft Masonry incorporates three distinct elements, interlinked curiously under the device of symbolical architecture. Such interlinking is artificial to some extent and yet it arises logically, so far as the relation of ideas is concerned. There is, firstly, the Candidate’s own work, wherein he is taught how he should build himself. The method of instruction is practical within its own measures, but being familiar and open it is not—properly speaking—the subject-matter of a Secret Order. There is, secondly, a building myth, and the manner in which it is put forward involves the Candidate taking part in a dramatic pageant, when he is found to be in intimate relation to the Master-Builder of Masonry. There is, thirdly, a Masonic Quest, connected with the notion of a Secret Word communicated as an essential part of the Master Grade of building. This is perhaps the most important and distinctive of the three elements; but the Quest for the Word is left unfinished in the Third Degree.

Preparations.—Let us glance at the experience of an Entered Apprentice and how things stand with the Candidate when he comes within the precincts of the Lodge. He comes as one who is “worthy and well recommended,” as if he comprehended within himself certain elements or materials which are adaptable to a specific purpose. He is described otherwise as a person who is “properly prepared.” The fitness implied by such recommendation has reference to something which is within him, though not of necessity obvious or visible on his surface personality. It is not that he is merely regarded as a deserving member of society at large. He is this of course by the fact that he is brought forward as a Candidate, having Sponsors to answer for him; but he is very much more by the hypothesis, because Masonry has an object in view respecting his personality—something that can be accomplished in him as a result of his fellowship in the Brotherhood, something also that must be accomplished by himself. The “prepared” state is apparently conventional and of course external on the surface: we know in what it consists, and among several inward meanings it typifies the peculiar position of a person who has not been initiated but is made ready by his own concurrence for that experience. There are other particulars into which I must not enter; but it should be remarked in respect of preparation that the Candidate learns only the significance of an enveloping darkness—namely, that he has not as yet received the light communicated emblematically in Masonry. The significance of those hindrances which place him at a disadvantage, impede his movements and render him in fact helpless is much deeper than this. They constitute together an image of coming out from some old condition by being unclothed therefrom—partially at least—and thereafter of entering into another and new order, in which a different quality of light is communicated, another vesture is to be assumed and—ultimately—another life entered.

The First Degree.—In the First Degree the Candidate’s eyes are opened to the representation of a new world: the Lodge itself is a certain symbol of the world; extending to the four quarters, having the height above and the great depth beneath. He may think that the ordinary light has been taken out of his path for the mere purpose of his reception, has been restored thereafter automatically, when he has passed through a given part of the experience, and hence that he has been restored only to his previous position. In reality the light has been given back as if in another place; he has put aside old things, has assumed many that are new; and he will never pass out of the Lodge as quite the same man that he entered. Every important experience not attained previously marks an epoch, and this is peculiarly true of the Masonic Candidate, for there is a very real sense in which the particulars of his initiation have analogies with the process of birth into the physical world. The imputed darkness of his previous estate, amidst the life of the uninitiated world, recalls the condition of a child in its mother’s womb, while a certain yoke which is placed about him is in correspondence unquestionably with the umbilical cord. The point at which he is released therefrom is memorable in the minds of all. There is no need to press this view, which belongs in the main to another region of symbolism, while the procedure in later Degrees confuses an issue which might have been clear otherwise in the Degree of Entered Apprentice. It seems preferable to say that a new light—being in fact that of Masonry—illuminates the world of the Lodge, whereby and wherein the Candidate beholds things as they have not been presented previously.

As it is with the light so is it when he is appointed to resume in retirement certain things that have been set aside; in the actuality of symbolism he is accepting another environment, a new body of motive and experience, having a fresh sphere of duty attached thereto. He assumes a new vocation in the world.

The question of certain matters of a metallic kind—the absence of which plays an important part—has received various explanations, mostly conventional or arbitrary. One has heard of poverty of spirit and the denuded condition of those who have not as yet been enriched by the secret knowledge of the Holy and Royal Art. The meaning goes deeper than suggestions like these can reach. It has become the Candidate’s business to learn that he is amidst a different standard of values, and when he comes again into the possession of the old tokens he has to realise that their most important use is in causes that are not his own.

Second and Third Degrees.—It is only in the First Degree that the Candidate is instructed to build by his own efforts an edifice which is somehow himself, in the leading of a new life henceforth. This symbolism passes out of sight completely in the Ceremony of Fellowcraft, though it might be said that the work is going on in the renewal of his mind-part, to the extent that he adopts the golden counsels of a quest followed in the hidden mysteries of Nature, Science and Art. In the Sublime Degree of Master-Mason he hears of direct relations between man and his Creator, with suggestions of judgment to come. He is brought also face to face with the mystery of death and of that which follows thereafter, being the great mystery of Raising. The three technical and official words corresponding to his successive experiences are Entered, Passed and Raised. If we seek to understand them according to the counsel of self-building in the First Degree, they are states and stages of development in the history of one who has (a) undertaken to acquire the symbolical and spiritualised art of building the house of another life, (b) has reached therein a certain point of proficiency, and—in fine—(c) has attained the whole mystery. He has learned how to illustrate in his own personality that “new birth in time” which is mentioned by Bacon; to wear a new body of intention, desire and purpose. He has fitted to such body a new mind, dedicated to a new research. In fine, he has been taught how to lay all aside, and yet again how he may take it up after a different manner, under the influence of a strange symbolism. I believe that those who can enter into the considerations of this thesis will agree not only that they have expelled the sense of insufficiency which has been realised from time to time by some who have passed through the receptions of the Craft Degrees, but that they will be reminded forcibly of at least one catholic experience which must be almost universal in Masonry, the consciousness that in entering the Brotherhood they have been incorporated by a vital organism, that they have become part of a Living House. I do not refer simply to that spiritual consanguinity which should and does subsist frequently between those who are brothers in the spirit, but to the infolding power in the spirit itself of Masonry, as of a great and abiding presence in some great and holy house of the Lord and man. For myself and for the school which I represent it is the sign of a presence which leads man from house to house of initiation, through many symbolical deaths, through many passages of the underworld, that he may be raised at length truly or most truly exalted beyond the present sacramental order, and may thus realise that the speculative Mason is at work upon the erection of a Temple for the same reason and in the same manner that a pontiff is a bridge-builder.

Heads of the Thesis.—To sum up therefore: under this their palmary aspect, when taken together in their sequence, (1) the Degrees of Craft Masonry have as a main object the building up of the Candidate into a House or Temple of Life, while Grades outside the Craft aspire to fit him, like a living stone, into a Spiritual Temple, “meet for God’s service”; (2) they present also in symbolical order certain notions concerning a new birth, a life which follows thereon, a figuration of death and thereafter of resurrection; but these are developed by other systems as mysteries of spiritual experience. As regards the first of these points, the Candidate is counselled to work towards his own perfection under the light of Masonry. There is no mystery, no concealment; the analogies and replicas are everywhere, especially in religious systems: it is a reflection of the Pauline doctrine that man is or may become a Temple of the Holy Spirit. As regards the second point, we find vestiges only—and then by way of implication—concerning new birth and life; but the pageant of death and resurrection is complex and remote in its significance: it is, moreover, an universal mythos, for it is found everywhere in the world of the Mysteries. But we shall see further, in its proper place, after what manner Craft Masonry—like some of the Rites which follow and complete it, according to their respective hypotheses—embodies a Quest, having its characteristic exit and return formula. By this also it connects with an universal folklore mythos, on the one side, but on the other with the soul’s history—as formulated in all religions.

Cromwell and Masonry

As Emblematic Freemasonry according to one distracted hypothesis was devised for the promotion of the Stuart cause and the Restoration of Charles II, it is not perhaps surprising that some other mendacious invention should produce an undesigned antithesis thereto; and when Abbé Larudan wrote Les Francs-Maçons Écrasés in 1746 he pretended to demonstrate that in reality it had been invented by Oliver Cromwell. It was a Catholic and Roman scheme to discredit the Order by its ascription to a Protestant Origin. I must not be understood as suggesting that the Stuart romance antedated that of Larudan. As an explanatory hypothesis, it is indeed much later; but Ramsay’s Oration had given Freemasonry a Catholic complexion by connecting it with a Knightly Order, seeking to accomplish the work of God and of His Church in Crusading times, and to shew that it was bred and born in heresy would justify Roman hostility. It happened, however, that Abbé Larudan failed to convince any one, even in his own camp, so that his speculation was stillborn. Thereafter the records of mendacity and fable were silent on Cromwell and Masonry for almost one hundred and fifty years, when it occurred to Leo Taxil in 1895 to reveal in his mythical Memoirs of Diana Vaughan that the Lord Protector became an Accepted Mason—date and place uncertain, but most probably at Warrington. After the mendacious fable came the lie direct, and the canon of imposture closed.

Cross Symbolism

The Calvary Cross folds up as a double cube, and that cube can open only as a cross. In the science of the mystics an eloquent symbolism arises out of this fact, and it is not without analogies in Masonry, though I am not intending to press them, because things which belong to one another in different schools of thought must not be confused with one another on the basis of their spiritual affinity. The altar of every Christian Temple is in the form of a double cube laid sidewise, and this would open as a cross resting horizontally on the ground, being the position of the Calvary Cross—according to tradition—when Christ was nailed thereon. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered on the Altar is a memorial of this Divine Event. On such an Altar does the soul of every man in responding to the call of God offer up itself in sacrifice. But the Altar under another aspect represents the universe, and the sacred things which ought always to be laid within it signify the Divine Immanence in creation. When the cubical altar of the universe opens as a cosmic cross God immanent becomes God manifest. In the sense of the microcosm the double Cube is the body of man, having a divine nature hidden within it. The opening of this cube is the passage of latent into active and manifest divinity by the crucifixion of the evil within us. Every Masonic Temple when properly arranged is in the form of an oblong square which is laid sidewise. We know that it represents the universe, and the sacred work which takes place therein corresponds to Divine Activity in the cosmos, Such a cube is symbolical also of the Craft Grades, and it opens in the High Christian Grades as the Cross of Christ.

Jeremy L. Cross

The Broken Column, representing the untimely death of the Master-Builder, is a symbol of American origin. The suggestive idea is that of J. L. Cross, who was born in New Hampshire on June 27, 1783, and died in 1861. I believe that I am correct in stating, as regards his True Masonic Chart, or Hieroglyphic Monitor, published originally in 1859, that he was the first who produced the familiar Masonic emblems in pictorial form. The quaint conventional designs have circulated everywhere, in official Masonic publications and in the piracies which appeal to common curiosity. The Anchor, the Ark, the All-Seeing Eye, Jacob’s Ladder, the Pot of Incense, the Horn of Plenty, the Scythe and Hour-Glass are a few examples at random of the cuts to which I refer. For the rest, the contribution of Cross to monitorial literature depends from his instructor in Masonry, T. S. Webb, and Webb drew from Preston. We do well to hold such things in a kind of pious remembrance, but it is still more important to realise that they and all their conventions are dead and buried long since.

The Hieroglyphic Monitor.—The Monitor was published by the author himself at his own cost, containing not only all emblems explained in the Craft Degrees, but those of the Mark, Arch and several High Grades. There are thirty-eight pages of plates which group together a great number of designs. The letterpress has occasionally a certain modified interest, as exhibiting differences of working in 1819 and in America. But there is nothing of any real consequence. Among the antiquities of Masonry we shall not discover an epoch-making codex of Rituals in manuscript form and much less are we likely to find anything of real value in the old printed books. In 1821 Cross followed his first Monitor by a Templar’s Chart, another “Hieroglyphic Monitor,” containing emblems belonging to three “valiant and magnanimous” orders of Christian chivalry—Knights of the Red Cross, Knights Templar and Knights of Malta, to all of which he belonged, as there is no need to say. Again the experiment of publication was made at the cost of the author and apparently from his own address. There are eighty-one pages of plates. The original Chart has passed through many editions, but Masonic bibliographies do not shew a similar history as regards the second undertaking. The Templar aspects of the Manual are however of no small interest. I suppose that the Constitution of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar and of the Appendant Orders appears for the first time as a printed document herein, while the particulars of clothing and procedure at private Encampments indicate amazing differences not only from English workings but those of the present day in America.

R. T. Crucefix

The imperishable memorial of Dr. Crucefix is the Asylum for Aged and Decayed Masons and its development into the Royal Benevolent Institution by amalgamation with the Annuity Fund, though he who had worked so well and borne so much in laying the great foundation did not live to see the superstructure actually laid thereon. Mr. A. F. Calvert has given an excellent account of the subject and presented the hostility of the Duke of Sussex—then Grand Master—in a manner both temperate and intelligible. I shall refer the reader thereto, as it is available and ready to his hand. Dr. Crucefix also founded and edited The Freemasons’ Quarterly Review.

Biographical Note.—The birth of Robert Thomas Crucefix took place at Holborn in 1797, and he was educated at the Merchant Tailors’ School. He was entered as a student of medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and after taking the degree of Doctor he paid a visit to India. Thereafter he settled as a practitioner in London till 1845, when he removed to Milton-on-Thames. He died at Bath on February 25,1850—comparatively a young man. He was made a Mason in 1829. His literary remains are in the periodical already mentioned and having regard to his period they deserve so well of the Craft that they might even now be worth editing. I could wish at least that an extended notice were possible in this place. As a man of great, self-forgetting benevolence, amiability and sincerity of purpose in all relations of life our sympathies go out to him naturally when he was suspended for a period of six months from Masonic activities by the Grand Lodge because he failed in controlling certain speakers at a Charity meeting over which he presided. It appears to have been a drastic measure and he chafed under it, but when he printed in his Quarterly Review a very strong letter which he had addressed to the Duke of Sussex as Grand Master, he began to justify those who had condemned him over harshly and even his expulsion was proposed. However, he made his apologies, the suspension wore itself out, and he continued his good work on the benevolent side of Masonry. An odor suavitatis encompasses the name and memory of Dr. Crucefix, and he is one of the most distinguished characters of the Craft during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Culdees and Culdee Worship

An extraordinary growth of pseudo-historical speculation, invention and legend encompasses the little that is actually known about certain Culdee monks who were located at York in the time of Athelstan, and as they figure largely in the reveries of some uncritical Masonic writers, I propose to reduce the subject within manageable proportions. The great fountain of speculation from which all later dreamers have drawn—usually without acknowledgment—is Godfrey Higgins, and I shall therefore collect his scattered theses together in the first place: they will enable us to see where we are in respect of the fantasia at large. (1) The Culdees were identical with the Chaldees mentioned by the prophet Daniel and were originally Assyrian priests. (2) They are to be traced also in Babylon. (3) They were Mathematici and Architectonici in the time of the early Roman Emperors. (4) They were builders of King Solomon’s Temple. (5) They were Casideans, Essenes, Therapeutae, Magi and Druids. (6) They figured as Gnostic Manichaeans at the beginning of the Christian era. (7) They were the Assassins of a later age. (8) They were worshippers of the Dove or female generative power. (9) It came about that they adopted Christianity, but it was the Christianity of Malabar, and this they carried with them from the city of Colombo in Ceylon—or its vicinity—when they migrated westward. (10) They settled in England at York, in Scotland at Iona—which was once the religious capital of Caledonia by reason of their presence—in Wales and in Ireland. (11) They were called Cali-dei in Hibernia. (12) They named their sacred Isle of the West Iona or Columba, i.e., the female dove, not the male or Columbus—it being obvious that as wanderers from Ceylon they would be acquainted with the Latin tongue. (13) The language which they spoke in Iona was, however, Sanskrit, the name of the Gaelic language in Gaelic being Shan Scrien. (14) There was Culdee Christianity in Britain when Augustine came to Kent. (15) In common with the Christians of St. Thomas, it recognised three sacraments only, being Baptism, Holy Orders and the Eucharist. (16) A new name was conferred or adopted in Baptism, which was the first step of initiation into Culdee Mysteries. (17) One peculiarity in respect of their monastic Orders was the fact that there were both married and unmarried members of Culdee convents in Iona and Wales. (18) They ordained one another before the advent of Roman priests and were permitted to do so afterwards. (19) The Culdees of York were Masons, and though Higgins does not claim to trace them in a direct manner after A.D. 900, he affirms that all minsters were Culdee monastic establishments, and so also were all our old Collegiate Churches, Deaneries, Chapters, etc. (20) Finally, in the year 1835, Higgins claimed to be in possession of a Masonic document, by which he could prove that “no very long time ago” the Culdees or Chaldeans at York were Freemasons, that they constituted the Grand Lodge of England and that they held their meetings in the crypt under the great cathedral of that city. “The circular chapter-house did very well for ordinary business, but the Secret Mysteries were carried on in the crypts.”

Druidism.—It is obvious that in the opinion of Higgins the religion of Druidism was as much in the East as the West, that it passed under many names, that it did not cease to be Druidism when it happened to turn Christian, nor to be less a Manichaean heresy when it flourished under the aegis of Latin orthodoxy. Indeed an opinion is hazarded that Gnostic doctrines were held among the “select heads” of all orders of monks. Higgins was a learned man of his period and made a vast collection of materials, but the scholarship to which he belonged regarded every analogy of religious belief and observance as positive proof of identity and married all like-sounding words one to another in respect of philological origin.

Culdee Influence.—John Yarker—another collector of materials, but in this case almost illiterate—is the next witness and has certified in several places concerning Culdee influence. (1) As might be expected, he derives Culdean from Chaldean, following without citing Higgins, and affirms that Culdees were also Essenes, quoting Bede. (2) The Roman Collegia and the Mysteries of Serapis existed side by side at York and may have included “Brito-Romish Christians” who established Culdee Fraternities in that city. (3) The Culdee monks were equally Serapians, Christians and Schoolmasters who taught science and religion to the people. (4) The principal Culdee seats were York in England, Bangor in Wales, Donegal in Ireland and the Hebrides in Scotland. (5) There is no absolute proof that York was the first centre of Culdees in the North, but everything lends itself to that supposition. (6) Other English centres were at Lindisfarne and Ripon. (7) In the fifth century various Culdee Churches existed in England, Cornwall included. (8) Christian monks, priests and bishops were known as Culdees, many being most probably converts from the Druidical faith. (9) Their faith was heretical, “according to the standard of Rome” after Constantine. (10) They believed in the immortality of the soul, but not in the resurrection of the body. (11) They are said to have denied the personality of Jesus—meaning the historical personality and also the existence of a devil. (12) They were accused of possessing a secret doctrine. (13) This notwithstanding, early Culdee priests were sometimes educated at Rome and were converted Druidical initiates. (14) Following Toland, it is said that a Druidical College at Derry was converted into a Culdee Monastery. (15) About 561 St. Columba—with twelve companions—left Ireland to build the Monastery at Icolmkill, the Abbey of Melrose, and Colleges at Govan and Kilwinning. (16) They proceeded afterwards to Burgundy, erecting the Abbey of Luxeville and other sacred edifices in France and Italy. (17) Roman artisans became attached to Culdee monasteries and so transmitted their traditional art to Christian England. (18) Between 760 and 780 the Culdee monk Alcuin assisted at the rebuilding of York Minster. (19) In spite of Rome the Culdee form of worship existed till the Norman conquest—this was apparently in England. (20) It persisted still longer in Ireland, where it is said by Sir James Dalrymple to have resisted the whole power of the primacy till the beginning of the fourteenth century. (21) The Culdee monks were the schoolmasters and architects of their times. (22) The famous Masonic Lodges—such as Kilwinning, Melrose and Aberdeen—which go back to Culdee times, account for the persistence of the name of Knights Templar long after their suppression in France, and are counted part of the equal persistence which characterised the Culdee heresy. For the rest, the so-called allegorical history of the Round Table, as well as the Quest of the Holy Graal, is regarded by Yarker as referring in mystical terms to Culdee Rites, while the value of his suggestions regarding heretical doctrines is illustrated amply by a later statement that after the dissolution of monasteries the conservative Culdees contributed the largest percentage of recusants, being “those who followed the old dogmas of religion.”

Culdee Mysteries.—With these speculations may be compared more recent suggestions made by Mr. F. Armitage. (1) Without reference to sources, he reports an opinion that Culdees had Mysteries of their own, the same being of a Masonic type, derived from Egyptian sources and blended with Christian doctrine. (2) He thinks personally that owing to their contact with Masons the Culdees are likely to have treated operative tools as symbols of higher things, ascribing a spiritual meaning to axe and chisel, “which might mould lives as well as stone.” (3) They may have represented the square and compasses from a moral standpoint as giving “precision and certainty to work which would otherwise be executed roughly by the unguided hand.” (4) In a word, they may have taught Masons “to look upon their trade implements as guides to faith.” In the absence of any evidence such notions—even in the domain of speculation—are quite unwarranted. So also is the proposition that the York Culdees were responsible probably for the Edwin legend, “to which they gave a local setting.”

Views of Gould.—There is a considerable literature of the subject, and I have cited enough to shew that in the region of speculation it is exceedingly involved. There have been also long and difficult researches in the domain of pure scholarship. Mr. R. F. Gould has collected a mass of material for study in the first volume of his larger History of Freemasonry, though he does not attempt to treat it in a critical manner or to reach a definite conclusion. Quoting various authorities, he is disposed to hold (1) that the Columban monks were probably direct predecessors of the Culdees; (2) that the rule of the two bodies differed from each other in the way that any system in its original purity differs from the same in its corruption; (3) that there were Culdees in the British Isles prior to the ninth century; (4) that the name may come from the Celtic Cuiil dick, signifying men of seclusion, or from Cele De, being the Irish equivalent of Servus Dei, though both etymologies are doubtful; (5) that the canons of York were styled Culdees in the reign of Athelstan and that “the secular clergy of the cathedrals seem generally to have been distinguished by the same title”; (6) that Culdee history begins only when that which it represents was far advanced in decline and is then fragmentary; (7) that according to old records the Cele De monks came westward into Ireland at the beginning of the ninth century and again early in the tenth; (8) that they were known in Scotland as Culdees from the ninth century onward; (9) that, however, “the earliest Scottish record of the name and the discipline of the Cele De” takes us back to the sixth century and to St. Kentigern or Mungo, whose life is reported to have been written—presumably about that time—and to have contained “statements adverse to sound doctrine and opposed to the Catholic Faith”; (10) that this is another testimony to the general feeling that Celtic Christianity differed from that of Rome in the Middle Ages; (11) that, according to Neander, it “agreed much more nearly with the Churches of Asia Minor”; (12) that Culdee Ritual practices may have approximated to those of Oriental Churches; (13) that they were originally ascetic hermits dwelling in isolated cells; (14) that they became associated subsequently in communities; (15) that they made their appearance in the eastern districts of Scotland and succeeded the Columban monks; and (16) that they were finally brought under canonical rule, after which the name of Culdee “became almost synonymous with that of secular canon.”

The Masonic Aspect.—I have had two reasons for making these citations at length; in the first place, because Gould is not giving expression to his own opinions so much as to those of authorities who are of moment on the Culdee question; and, in the second, because he shews in summary form, and—as it would seem—without intention, the value of those speculations which have connected the Culdees with Masonry—whether Operative or Speculative. There seems no evidence whatever that they were promoters of architecture in mediaeval times or that they were connected, directly or indirectly, with building fraternities.

Authorities.—Among works of importance, from which Gould derives throughout, I may mention: Lanigan: Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1822; Reeves: The Culdees of the British Islands, 1864; Skene: Celtic Scotland, 1877. I should add that in 1844 the Hon. Algernon Herbert contributed to the British Magazine, Vol. XXVI, a dissertation on the peculiarities of Culdeeism, in which he asserted that the Culdees had Secret Rites, practised under the veil of Christian observances, and that they included human sacrifice.


The Mysteries of Atys and Cybele, known otherwise as Mysteries of the Corybantes, are like those of Osiris and Isis, of Proserpine and Demeter, concerned with death and resurrection, and this is the one standpoint under which they call for notice in a Masonic work, because Craft Masonry is a Mystery of Figurative Death, after which there is a resurrection in symbolism. This double event constitutes the title of Masonry to its proper place in the long story of initiation. Atys was the lover of Cybele and according to one of the traditional fables is said to have been slain by a boar. Cybele mourned his loss and the commemoration of her bereavement is the sorrow of these Phrygian Mysteries, for Atys was a shepherd of Phrygia and Cybele was the Bona et Magna Mater according to the prevailing mythology in that region of Asia Minor. She is identified with Ceres and Rhea, whose correspondences are numerous in the old pantheons: in a word, she was the earth-goddess, the mother of gods. According to one of the traditions, being that indeed which we owe to the Historia of Justinus, Midas—the ill-starred King of Phrygia—was initiated by Orpheus into the Thracian Mysteries and established the cultus of Rhea in his kingdom—as recorded by Clement of Alexandria—to civilise his subjects: it became the cultus of Cybele. The accounts vary and exclude one another as usual. In one version Cybele is the mother of Midas and Atys is her son in another, so that her mysteries are in commemoration of incest. This is on the authority of Catullus, but Atys is said otherwise to have been a young priest who instructed the people of Lydia in the worship of the mother of the gods and thus won her affection. The Mysteries of Cybele were celebrated about the period of the vernal equinox and lasted three days. On the first there was the dolour of the Rite; the horns of the Mysteries were sounded on the second day, proclaiming the resurrection of Atys; and the initiation took place on the third. Some authorities of the past have regarded the Rites of Cybele as anterior to those of Eleusis and as referable to circa 1580 B.C. Great light has been thrown upon their whole subjects in Frazer’s Isis, Osiris, Atys. In later times they became orgies of frenzy. The Corybantes were priests of Cybele and were originally three in number.