Da Costa ⬩ Frederick Dalcho ⬩ Danish Freemasonry ⬩ F. Dassigny ⬩ Death ⬩ Deist and Libertine ⬩ Henri Delaage ⬩ Thomas De Quincey ⬩ J. T. Desaguliers ⬩ N. C. Des Étangs ⬩ Design and Order of Ritual ⬩ Dionysian Artificers ⬩ Dionysian Mysteries ⬩ Disciplina Arcani ⬩ Discreet Master ⬩ Divine Union ⬩ Dominion Masonry ⬩ Druids and Their Mysteries ⬩ Thomas Dunckerley
The name of Hippolyto Jose Da Costa will be held always in sympathetic and affectionate memory throughout the world of Masonry. He was a native of Portuguese South America, having been born at Colonia-do-Sacramento on the river La Plata. He became a Mason at Philadelphia, but the star of fortune carried him to Lisbon, where he designed to settle. It was the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the Holy Inquisition still reigned in Portugal. The fact of his initiation transpired, and the official birds of prey prepared to swoop down upon him. He has left a full account of his persecution and of his ultimate rescue on the part of English Masons, by whom he was placed under the saving shelter of the British flag. It is sufficient to state the facts, as no consequence attaches to them at this day. But Da Costa is otherwise of interest, for at a later period—having found an asylum in England, where indeed his personal memoir appeared—he published a brief sketch of the Dionysian Artificers, or alternatively it was issued soon after his death. It is in any case unfinished and reads curiously in its somewhat broken English. The heads of the thesis are as follows: (1) Fifty years before the building of King Solomon’s Temple a Greek colony emigrated to Asia Minor and gave the name of Ionia to that part in which they settled. (2) There is no doubt that they carried their Mysteries with them, being those of Dionysius. (3) They cultivated the sciences, “especially architecture,” and invented the Ionian Order. (4) They became a building corporation, under the name of Dionysian Artificers. (5) They built the city of Thebes and spread into Syria, Persia and India. (6) Their Dionysian Rites became blended with architectural types. (7) The same Artificers were concerned in the erection of Solomon’s Temple, the word GIBLIM of 1 Kings v. 18, translated “stone-squarers” in the Authorised Version, meaning Giblites, inhabitants of Gebal, which is Byblos, a Dionysian centre. The Scriptural question apart, this speculation has its root in L’Étoile Flamboyante of Baron Tschoudy, who has no authorities to offer.
Eleusinian Mysteries.—Da Costa precedes his account by a review of the Ancient Mysteries, chief among which he places those of Eleusis, a solar significance being the ground of all. But the sun and its movements were moralised. The sleep of ignorance, the experience of physical death and that figurative death of the soul which comes about through its union with matter were in correspondence with the diurnal sinking of the solar orb below the western horizon. Its return, morning by morning, from the lower hemisphere symbolised the soul’s immortality, its state of beatitude—here and hereafter—when “purified from defilements of matter,” and the illumination of the mind by wisdom. We hear also of gradations in the scheme of the Mysteries, being those of (1) purgation; (2) tradition of the sacred nights—not otherwise described; (3) inspiration; (4) the placing of the crowns; (5) friendship with divinity and intimate converse with the gods. Amidst confused wording and insufficient reference, these stages appear to depict the Candidate’s progress from the condition of novice to that of epopt. They offer nothing unfamiliar, and Da Costa’s account as a whole is merely reflective in character. It supposes that—at some very early period—a group of contemplative men were desirous of deducing moral rules for the conduct of humanity from observation of Nature; that astronomy was selected for the purpose, the aid of architecture being invoked at a later time; that teaching was embodied in allegorical histories and impressed on the mind by means of symbolical ceremonies, and that in this manner the Mysteries came into being. In a word, the thesis offers at its value a hypothetical history of procedure on the part of early priesthoods, but the allegation concerning building symbolism is of course fictitious.
Authorities.—(1) H. J. Da Costa: Narrative of Persecution in Lisbon, by the Inquisition for the Pretended Crime of Freemasonry, 2 vols., London, 1811. (2) Sketch for the History of the Dionysian Artificers, London, 1820. I speak of the first work by report only, as I have failed to meet with a copy; it may mention the date of his birth: that of his death is unknown.
A monument to the memory of this worthy and indeed excellent Freemason stands in the vestry of St. Michael’s Church at Charleston in South Carolina; but so far as the Order is concerned a more important and lasting remembrancer is the work which he performed therein and its remarkable progress, to which he was an important contributor. Though connected with America throughout his professional and Masonic life, he was actually born in London, but of immediate Prussian origin, his father being an officer who served with great distinction under Frederick the Great and carried his wounds to England in search of health. I do not know when he died, but it was early in the life of his son, who was then and for some time previously a resident in Baltimore. There he is said to have received a classical education and entered in due course on the study of medicine. After obtaining his doctorate he received a commission in the army medical department and was stationed at Charleston Harbour. In 1799 he retired into private practice in that city and having certain literary gifts he is heard of in 1807 as one of the editors of a federal daily paper under the familiar title of Courier. It is probable that this connection was not of very long duration, and in any case Dalcho was drawn into other channels by what I presume to have been an ingrained disposition of mind. I refer to theological studies, in which it follows from his writings that he had a living and devoted interest. He was indeed a spiritual thinker of some consideration at his place and period. In 1814 he was called to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, became editor of its leading organ in South Carolina and had a cure of souls at Charleston. In this relation of life I can mention only his work on the Divinity of Christ and its demonstration by the word of prophecy; but there are certain essays and sermons beyond the ken in England which are reputed to exhibit considerable thought and research. Dr. Dalcho died at Charleston in 1836.
Masonic Career.—It is said that his father was a Mason, presumably under German obedience, and that the interest which he took therein was communicated to his son. I have not come across the date on which Frederick Dalcho was initiated, but it appears to have taken place at Charleston in an “Antient” or Atholl Lodge and at a time when the jurisdiction of South Carolina was divided between this form of Masonry and that of the Moderns, with the usual historical consequences of strife and rivalry; but the time of the union was at hand and that which was consummated happily at London in 1813 was followed four years later by the competitive obediences of South Carolina uniting to form henceforward a single Grand Lodge. Dr. Dalcho had worked with zeal and perseverance towards this desired end. So far back as 1801 he is said to have received the Thirty-third Degree of the Scottish Rite and to have assisted in establishing its Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States on May 31 of that year. The point is of considerable interest because there is evidence to shew that in 1801 the Rite of Perfection comprising Twenty-five Degrees developed suddenly into an Antiquus Scoticus Ritus Acceptus, with eight others superadded. It would seem, therefore, that Dr. Dalcho received that which he had helped to constitute, perhaps even to create, for the Grade and Ritual of Sovereign Grand Inspector General has no antecedent history. He became Grand Secretary and afterwards Grand Commander, the highest position in the Rite. He reaped in due course the kind of reward which was not uncommon at the period and previously. The Scottish Rite was rent with jealousies and dissensions; a spirit of antagonism was directed against its chief, who resigned in 1823, not alone from his exalted position in the High Grades, but from all Masonic activity.
Masonic Writings.—In 1803 and 1804—on both occasions, I believe, at the Festival of the Vernal Equinox—Dr. Dalcho delivered two Orations in the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. They were published together, with an Appendix embodying “an historical inquiry into the origin of the difference of Ancient and Modern Masons, usually so called,” an account of the Scottish Rite and its claims, etc. This was done on the resolution of the Grand Lodge, and the volume was reprinted in Ireland, with the author’s sanction, under the auspices of the College of Knights of Kadosh and the Chapter of Prince Masons of Ireland. In 1807 Dr. Dalcho issued An Ahiman Rezon for the use of South Carolina, and of this an enlarged edition appeared in 1822, with explanatory notes. A few of his views and speculations may be drawn thus together: (1) The origin of Masonry may be dated from the creation of the world. (2) It was never a body of architects. (3) It was not incorporated originally for the object of building, but “for moral and religious purposes.” (4) The principles of Masonry are derived from the Druids, so far as the manner of teaching is concerned. (5) Its moral maxims are referable to Pythagoras. (6) The word Mason is of Greek origin and means literally a member of some religious sect, devoted to the worship of God. (7) The prefix Free is probably drawn from the Crusades, “in which every man engaged . . . must have been born free.” (8) The term Accepted is “derived from the indulgences granted by the Pope to all those who would confess their sins and join in the enterprise for the recovery of the Holy Land.” (9) It is affirmed that “immense numbers of Freemasons” were engaged in the Holy Wars. (10) There were two great occasions when “our predecessors appeared to the world as architects”—namely, at the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and of the Temple at Jerusalem. Moses and Solomon “chose from among the people those whose wisdom and zeal for the true faith attached them to the worship of the Most High.” To them were committed “the erection of those works of piety,” a knowledge of the art of building being presumably communicated from on high, (11) “About twenty-seven thousand Masons accompanied the Christian Princes in the Crusades,” and they discovered several important Masonic MSS. “among the descendants of the ancient Jews.” In this manner the archives of Masonry were enriched and some Degrees were founded based on these records.
Scottish Rite.—The second oration and its appendix give some of the usual stories about the foundation and history of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, e.g. the headship of “His Majesty the King of Prussia” over the “Sublime and Ineffable Degrees,” and his ratification of “the Grand Constitution of the Thirty-third Degree” on May 1, 1786, when a Supreme Council of Grand Inspectors General is said to have been formed, being the titular distinction of the Grade in question. All other so-called Sublime Degrees were established prior to 1776, and Dr. Dalcho affirms that “not the smallest alteration or addition has been made to them.”
Ahiman Rezon.—Dr. Dalcho published a work under this title which must have been exceedingly useful at its period. I have seen only the second edition. It has been rather ignorantly compared with the work of Dermott and has been regarded as its modified reissue because it has borrowed the title. In so far as Dermott reproduces Anderson and in so far as Dalcho’s volume is a Book of Constitutions, there is a common likeness between all; but the Ahiman Rezon part of Dermott’s work lies within a small compass like its prototypes, the Charges and Regulations of Anderson’s first edition. Dr. Dalcho’s production is, on the other hand, most elaborate, though it does not at this day demand more particular notice.
There are “three epochs” in the history of Danish Freemasonry “which more especially merit our attention,” being (1) that of the foundation of the Order; (2) that of the colonisation of the country by the Rite of the Strict Observance; and (3) that which marked the introduction of the Swedish Rite, still regnant therein. As happened so frequently in the first half of the eighteenth century and not seldom at even a later period, the original Danish Lodge owed its existence to the individual enterprise of a private person, namely, Baron Münnich, a German belonging to the Lodge of the Three Globes in Berlin. He opened a Lodge at Copenhagen in 1743, and a second was formed in the following year by a process of segregation from the first. They were either called from the beginning or adopted later on the respective names of St. Martin and Zerubbabel. Both applied for and received English warrants, the second in 1745 and the first in 1749. They are said to have amalgamated subsequently under the title of Zerubbabel and the North Star. The accounts are confused as usual, for the year last mentioned marked the foundation of a Provincial Grand Lodge under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England, with Count Danneskiold Lauzvig as Provincial Grand Master, the evidence for which is the Book of Constitutions published in 1756. In 1747 a Scots Lodge was opened at Copenhagen under powers emanating from Berlin and this became in 1753 a second Provincial Grand Lodge, but holding from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It proved, however, of brief duration, and in the year 1765 the English Provincial Grand Lodge was the sole Masonic power, though there is no evidence to shew over what daughter Lodges its jurisdiction extended.
The Strict Observance.—At this time the great German Rite of Baron von Hund—or alternatively of the mysterious powers behind him—was spreading in all directions, conquering and as if still to conquer. The cities of official Freemasonry seemed falling everywhere before it. One of its apostles or ambassadors appeared at Copenhagen in 1765 and, forgetting forthwith or renouncing its obedience to England, the English Provincial Grand Lodge passed over to the “Unknown Superiors” and their prodigious invention. Henceforth it was raised to a Prefecture of the Strict Observance, claiming descent from Knights Templar and venerating the memory of Aumont, the mythical Grand Master in succession to Molay. The extent of the progress made by this transmuted Freemasonry in Denmark is not very much in evidence; but twenty years later the Strict Observance had been transformed on its own part at the Conventions of Lyons and Wilhelmsbad, becoming the Régime Écossais Rectifié and the great Rite of Novices and Knights Beneficent of the Holy City, with Hidden Grades beyond. The rectification was accepted by Denmark according to Gould, who does not give his authority, but the later history of this Spiritual Chivalry lends some colour to the statement.
The Swedish Rite.—The Régime Écossais and its extensions leave us in considerable doubt as to their hand in the Craft Degrees. The Order survives now only in Switzerland, where Blue Masonry is in charge of the Grande Loge Alpina. A similar rule may possibly have obtained in Denmark at the close of the eighteenth century, and this is rendered probable by the fact that on February 6, 1793, the Prince of Wales, acting as Grand Master, appointed the Landgrave Karl Provincial Grand Master of Denmark and Norway. There must, therefore, have been Blue Lodges, and the High Grades may not have intervened in the working of those of the Craft, which no doubt began to flourish under direct Royal Patronage. In this manner we are led on to that yet more spacious period when in 1841 the Crown Prince, afterwards Frederick VII, was initiated in the Lodge of Odensec, called Mary of the Three Hearts, and seven years later became Grand Master of Danish Masonry, as well as reigning monarch. In 1853 the Swedish Rite was brought into Denmark and not only did the Grand Master become one of its converts, but imposed the Rite on all Danish Masonry. This was in 1857, and two years later saw the formation of a Grand Lodge “of the VIIIth Province of the Temple,” for Swedish Masonry, like that of the Strict Observance, is based on Templar claims. At the present day the Danish King is Protector of the Order and the Crown Prince is Grand Master, otherwise Vicarius Salomonis. The number of Lodges is small in comparison with membership, but the Masonic Roll of Denmark is by no means large in itself, comprising about six thousand in round figures.
In the year 1744 Dr. Fifield Dassigny published an inquiry into the decay of Freemasonry in Ireland and the causes thereof. It appeared within the covers of a volume containing a second edition of the Irish Book of Constitutions. It has two points of historical consequence at the present day, being evidence of contemporary or almost contemporary activity on the part of the Grand Lodge at York, or at a time when it is supposed to have become extinct, and of something corresponding to the Royal Arch, then working at York and London.
Craft Masonry is figurative or emblematic, and as there is one point in its procedure which has direct and dramatic reference to the Mystery of Death it is important to realise that it is understood in the sense of substitution and is symbolical or spiritual, accordingly as we choose to regard it, but is in any case not physical. The term “figurative death” is adopted expressly for descriptive purposes, and it is associated in a peculiar manner with the idea of reunion. We have, therefore, to realise adequately in what sense the Mason is taught how to die. Is it simply to impress on him—as his chief duty in the Brotherhood—that he must be faithful and true, in and through all unfaltering upon the path of rightness? There is no question that this is one aspect of the lesson, and it happens to be that upon which there is direct insistence; yet it is not the only aspect. The province of Masonry, as it obtains now among us, is to rest content always with the lower grooves of significance, the first and most obvious construction which can be drawn from that and this, in part because things that are higher had not been formulated in the Masonic consciousness of the eighteenth century and in part because it would not have been comprehended by adepts and epopts of the Rummers and the Goose and Gridiron, or the corybantes of the Apple Tree Tavern. It comes about in this manner that Masonry reflects at a far distance only those earlier Instituted Mysteries, so exalted in the dreams of the past and from which—even at this day—many incline to believe that it has come down in an undemonstrable way. We know that such a derivation was an article of faith in the past among the chief Masonic literati; and I have undertaken to exhibit certain independent analogies as one of my chief purposes. In the old Mysteries—as we have seen already and shall yet find more amply—there were celebrations of symbolical and divine death followed by resurrection, because even as the Master Mason, so was the God raised; and even as the God died figuratively and then resumed life, so did the Candidate of old learn by his experience of the pageant—as the lesson comprised therein that all death is figurative, that life is continued thereafter, that for those who were reborn in the Mysteries there was “more life and fuller” to come. This lesson of the Mysteries became more and more clouded as the Rites fell into corruption: it is otherwise clouded also in Masonry, but the vestige remains notwithstanding, and if the Master Mason does not carry it forth from his culminating experiences in the Craft, then he brings nothing therefrom to which eternal consequence attaches.
Mysterium Christi.—That the God dies and the God rises, that Adonis is rendered back to Venus, that Proserpine is recovered by Demeter, that Osiris is taken up in his restored body to heaven, and that therefore the Candidate was led to expect a more perfect and beautiful life in a pure land lying under a pure sky may not have been the whole teaching of the Ancient Mysteries: we do not know certainly, for a cloud is over them, while those who have sought to lift it have begged questions, forestalled conclusions and found that which they wanted according to the fondness of their dream. But as there were Greek Mysteries, so there was Platonic philosophy, and after the light of Plato came that of the Successors, who have left us records of experience in states corresponding to the suspensions of figurative death. In fine, there came into the world the glory of that light which is in Christ, the Instituted Mystery of which is the Divine Life in Palestine. For the adepti and epoptai of the Christian centuries—that is to say, for the mystic saints—this life became a pattern and exemplar, in the scientific application of which they passed in their own souls through the experiences of new birth, new and regenerated life, mystical death, while in fine the candidates for that life which is eternal were raised in God. Birth, life, death, resurrection, and yet one mystery to come, which is that of the ascent in God, when the soul returns with Christ to His Father and our Father, unto His God and our God.
Within the Veil.—Hereof and hereon the literature of Christian Mysticism remains to testify; and out of this great witness, with its correlatives and concomitants, there has arisen and works in the hiddenness that which, in my thinking, is the head and crown of Instituted Mysteries. It is not of Masonry, and yet the keyword of its spiritual kingdom is by no means apart from building, for its motto is— Templum Domini aedificatur in cordibus nostris. Concerning this Mysterium in terra abdita I bear my witness as I can in the public places. We know that the world of present values is in the melting-pot and that a new Order is to come, whatever crucifixions and deaths may be suffered before the Candidate of universal humanity can be raised to a greater mastery. It may be near or far, but a time of the world is coming when the office of Masonic symbolism, as it stands now on the surface, must pass utterly away, unless it can be raised as the tabernacle of a deeper meaning and irradiated by a spiritual significance which can minister to the growing needs of the “holy spirit” of man. The purpose of my Masonic life is concerned solely with a work in humility towards this end. From the nature of Craft symbolism it may well be that it can do little more than intimate; but meanwhile the higher schools are developing and hereunto Masonry acts as a dramatic prologue, shewn forth in the morality of things.
Deist and Libertine
The following luminous passage occurs in the Anderson Constitutions of 1723: “A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law, and if he rightly understands the Art he will never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious libertine.” In other words, according to the logic of the statement, he must conform to the dictates of morality, there being, however, no settlement concerning them; but his theism or atheism is left to depend upon the degree of understanding which he happens to possess respecting the Art of Masonry. With a low grade only, he might by possibility be an atheist, so far as the wording goes, and yet not cease from his Masonry. This was assuredly not the intention of Anderson who—as we have seen—was a Presbyterian minister and even wrote a theological pamphlet on the Holy Trinity; but it illustrates the muddled mentality which went to work on the Gothic Constitutions and digested them “in a new and better method;” the calibre of those “fourteen learned brethren” who examined and reported on his work; and the intellectual status of that Grand Lodge which approved it formally. The quality of comprehension concerning Masonic Art is left also to determine the question of irreligious libertinage, and a point arises as to what Anderson may have meant by this expression. Given even his own sense of logic, he is not referring to the obligations of moral law: these have been settled already without any qualification implied by adequate understanding of that or this. The term “irreligious libertine” seems therefore synonymous with what is now called “freethinker,” being otherwise one who professes and advocates that “absolute liberty of conscience” in matters of religious belief which was proclaimed in 1877 by the Grand Orient of France. There is very little doubt that Anderson meant to exclude both atheist and freethinker, but in his looseness of thought and wording he ends by doing the reverse, and the Grand Orient is technically right when it appeals to Anderson’s Constitutions as supporting the action which it took at the date in question.
Quod Semper, Quod Ubique.—This is made further evident by the statement which follows immediately. “But, though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country, or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree.” One might think that this signified faith in God and in such a relation between Creator and creature as inheres in the term religion. Such, however, is not the case, for Anderson continues: “that is, to be good men and true, or men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever denominations or persuasions they may be distinguished.” Anderson did not understand therefore, or chose to ignore, the implications of the word religion, and by his most express definition the qualifications required of a Mason were obedience to a certain standard of conduct specified only as that on which “all men agree,” and not otherwise. Technically, if words mean anything, the Grand Orient was again therefore right. After the lapse of nearly a century the Grand Lodge of England began to see that there was something amiss and altered the Charge or Article. We know how it stands at this day and after the reference to “a stupid atheist” and “an irreligious libertine” proceeds to lay down that the Mason, above all men, “should best understand that God seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh at the outward appearance, but God looketh to the heart.”
Geographical Religion.—In considering the Old Charges and so-called Constitutions we have been placed in a position beforehand to appreciate Anderson’s statement that Masons were required “in every country to be of the religion of that country.” It does not signify—as might appear on the surface—that a journeyman builder who travelled from Rome to Byzantium would exchange Vatican Christianity for Greek orthodoxy and turn Turk at Zanzibar, but that Christians should cleave to Christendom and the followers of the prophet to “Mahound.” Against all this we have only to cite the Charges, as for example Harl., 1942: That the Apprentice “shall be true to God and the Holy Church.” In a word, the religion of early English Freemasonry was Christian, Catholic and Roman. In like manner the Torgau Ordinances of 1462, binding German Stonemasons, begin “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in honour of the Four Crowned Martyrs.” Moreover, they bind every Master to have four Masses said “on all acknowledged fasts,” on St. Peter’s Day, and on “every Feast of Our Lady.” In a word, Operative Freemasonry, wheresoever dispersed over the face of earth and water, during the Middle Ages and onward to 1717, was gathered under the Banner of Christ. The Jew and the heathen had no part therein.
Christian Implicits.—The Book of Constitutions threw open wider gates, but there is very full evidence that English Emblematic Freemasonry in Three Degrees was full of Christian implicits at the beginning, and though successive editing—more especially under the aegis of the theistic Duke of Sussex—has eliminated most of the evidence, there remain certain vestiges, as for example a pregnant allusion to “the bright and morning star” which occurs in one of the dramatic moments of the Third Degree. Outside Ritual there are time-immemorial observances of St. John’s Day, the Festival of St. Thomas, etc., which speak eloquently for themselves.
The Old First Lecture.—At a comparatively late period the evidence of the Lectures was stronger. There is a conveniently forgotten work of G. Claret, entitled The Whole of Craft Masonry, of which a second edition was published in 1841. At the end of the Fifth Section of the Lecture attached to the First Degree he places certain questions and answers by way of postscript, stating (1) that they appeared originally at that point; (2) that they were omitted by P. A. Gilkes—a person of great repute as a Masonic teacher—when he, Claret, was absent from London; (3) that Gilkes was actuated in so doing by consideration for the feelings of Hebrew Brethren; but (4) that he, Claret, had repeatedly “worked them” in the presence of Jews without any objection whatever on their part. The omitted Catechism is as follows:
Q.—King Solomon being an Hebrew and living long before the Christian era, to whom were they [i.e. Masonic Lodges] next dedicated?
A.—St. John the Baptist.
Q.—Why to St. John the Baptist?
A.—He being the forerunner of our Saviour, preached repentance in the wilderness, and drew the first line of the Gospel.
Q.—Had St. John the Baptist an equal?
A.—He had St. John the Evangelist.
Q.—Wherein is the Evangelist equal to the Baptist?
A.—He coming after the forerunner, finished by his learning what the other had begun by his zeal—[an allusion preserved to this day in the Grade of Masonic Knight Templar]—and thus drew a line parallel.
Q.—-The next Brother will favour us with the historical account of the two Grand Parallels in Masonry.
A.—From the building of the First Temple at Jerusalem to the Babylonish Captivity, Freemasons’ Lodges were regularly dedicated to King Solomon; from thence to the coming of the Messiah they were dedicated to Zerubbabel; and from that time to the final destruction of the Second Temple (sic) by Titus—son to the then reigning Emperor Vespasian—they were dedicated to St. John the Baptist; but owing to the many massacres that attended that event, Freemasonry fell much into decay, insomuch that many Lodges were broken up, and few could meet in sufficient numbers to constitute them legal ones. It was observed at a meeting of the Brethren held at the City of Benjamin, that the chief cause for Masonry falling so much into decay was the want of a Grand Master to patronise them. They therefore deputed some of the most eminent of their number to wait on St. John the Evangelist, who was at that time Bishop of Ephesus, requesting that he would take upon himself the dignified office of Grand Master. He returned for answer that being very old, he was afraid his abilities were inadequate to the task; but remembering that he had been initiated into Masonry in the early part of his life, and being a lover of the Craft, he consented to take the office, and while he presided over the Fraternity, finished by his learning what the other St. John had begun by his zeal, and thus drew what Freemasons term a line parallel. Since which time all Freemasons’ Lodges have been as regularly dedicated to the Evangelist as to the Baptist. Hereunto Claret adds what he describes as an Old Charge, a pretension which may stand at its value, since I have no intention to rule thereon. It reads thus: “The two Grand Parallels in Masonry: may we ever imitate their virtues and profit by their pious example.”
Evidence of Ramsay.—With this position of the subject in the first half of the nineteenth century, after several generations of pruning, we may compare the testimony of the Chevalier Ramsay a full century earlier. He affirms as follows in his Oration of 1737: “We have amongst us three classes of Brethren, namely, the Novice or Apprentice, the Companion or Professed and the Master or Perfected. We explain the moral virtues to the first, to the second the heroic virtues, and to the last the Christian virtues.”
Mark and Royal Arch.—I do not propose to carry the subject further, though much yet remains to be said. At the present day the Holy Royal Arch, in spite of all its editing, remains to all intents and purposes a Trinitarian Degree, as its characteristic symbol indicates, while Mark Masonry is full of Christian implicits and salient citations from the New Testament. These are eloquent testimonies to the mind of Masonry at the period when those important Grades were instituted. Hutchinson’s Spirit of Masonry and Oliver’s Mirror for Johannite Masons are still worth reading by those who would pursue the Christian aspects of the Third Degree. Those who may suggest that the Emblematic Freemasonry of Desaguliers and Anderson carried over naturally and inevitably something from the Operative past will be right in respect of the Festivals of St. John and St. Thomas, but otherwise they will miss a vital point of the debate. The Master Grade, the Mark and the Royal Arch are creations of Emblematic Times, and whatever they may have contained originally or may exhibit in vestige now belongs to the spirit of their institution and not to a reflection from the past.
Hutchinson and Oliver.—As regards his own period, the testimony of Hutchinson is that “the members of our Society at this day, in the third stage of Masonry, confess themselves to be Christian.” It is even as the voice of Ramsay. The testimony of Oliver is that, according to the Old Lectures, God sent His only begotten Son at the appointed time to instruct Israel; but in 1845 the substituted reading was: “Then was the kingly power vested in the person of Zerubbabel, who sprang from the royal line of David and the tribe of Judah; nor was a vestige thereof again effaced until after the destruction of the City and Temple by the Romans, in the year 70 of the present era; thus verifying the remarkable prophecy of Jacob, delivered in Egypt above one thousand years before, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.” See the Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry, Vol. I, page 48 note. Compare the Historical Lecture in the Holy Royal Arch. Oliver affirms also that the Prayer at Opening a Royal Arch Chapter concluded formerly with these words: “This we most humbly beg, in the Name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.”
An unofficial pupil, so to speak, of the occultist Éliphas Lévi, and reflecting some of his opinions, Delaage described himself as essentially a “man of tradition” and a man of faith, who rejoiced that the blood of Catholics flowed in his veins. He was not the less drawn by the talisman of Secret Societies and he wrote an exposition of their doctrine in a terrifying literary style. The Mysteries of Isis and of Mithra, the primitive Mysteries of Christianity, the initiations of the Knights Templar and those of the revolutionary Carbonari led him through the years and the ages to the initiatory Mysteries of Masonry. His maxim was that to make the Order known was to defend it and to become a Freemason was to enter the august repository wherein are preserved all instruments which have served in civilising the most illustrious peoples of the world. Moreover, “a Masonic Temple is a Sanctuary in which are garnered all dogmas and all traditions of religion.” At the same time there are certain people whom Masonic initiation can initiate into nothing, as there are those to whom the Christian revelation can reveal nothing. Henri Delaage was a member of the Loge des Coeurs Unis. He was of opinion that la lumiére Maçonnique was a key to the understanding of phrenology, animal magnetism and the occult sciences, but in a chapter devoted to the subject he fails to explain how, or at least intelligibly.
Thomas De Quincey
It is necessary to mention the author of that immortal book of Confessions because he wrote also in certain unguarded moments on Rosicrucians and Freemasons, deriving the Emblematic Order from the Mystical Fraternity, but following therein the speculations of a now discarded German professor. In connection therewith De Quincey has told us on his own authority that the Greek Mysteries were the great imposture of the ancient world, while Speculative Masonry is one of the large impositions and make-believes of the world as it now is. There is no reason to suppose that he spoke with any particular knowledge, even of a scholastic kind, about classical institutions, while his acquaintance with Masonry was as much and as little as he could be at the pains to assimilate from his German original, Bühle. De Quincey’s antithetical distinction is entertaining, and I do not suppose that—within or without the circles—any one has taken it seriously. The two reasons for citing him are (1) as I have given above, his thesis, moreover, being—for those who know its value—delightful reading of the romantic kind—and (2) to put on record the fact that a certain equipment is necessary on the part of those who enter upon the study of the Mysteries, more especially with the intention to write thereon. The classical authorities of Greece and Rome, who are supposed in the world of scholarship to be the sole source of our knowledge, are essential on the documentary side, as there is no need to say; but they are insufficient as a basis of judgment. It is necessary that the student should have a first-hand acquaintance with later forms of initiation—not to speak of those in the past which are extra-classical—and a vivid realisation of the symbolism shared by these in common, as well as of the particular symbolism characteristic of the several schools. He should be conscious of that which lies behind all as their warrant and as the grace behind their sacraments. In a word, the Mysteries can be understood only by the mystae, and those outside the secret associations of modern times, even with the best intentions and adequate scholarship, can hold only hypothetical and as such extraneous views.
J. T. Desaguliers
The most interesting Masonic personality of the period which followed the Revival of 1717 was John Theophilus Desaguliers, a graduate of Oxford, clerk in Holy Orders, Fellow of the Royal Society, a man of scientific attainments and some general culture. It has been said that to him above all—and in a secondary sense to Anderson—we are indebted for the fact that the Revival itself did not fall to pieces in its first years. He was elected Grand Master of Masons in 1719 and was Deputy Grand Master for at least three terms at subsequent periods. His extra-Masonic life is so well known, having been recited in more or less similar terms by every Masonic historian, that I regard it as enough for my purpose to say that he was born at Rochelle in 1683, the son of a French Huguenot pastor; that he was brought in his infancy to England on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes; and that in 1710 he became lecturer on experimental philosophy at Hart Hall. His scientific record—of course unimportant now—is in the Transactions of the Royal Society and in various published works. He held also several clerical appointments. He was well known and respected by Sir Isaac Newton, and it is stated that his lectures in Holland “attracted the attention of such men as Huyghens and Boerhaave.” He died on November 29,1743, as it has been said, in extreme poverty, but a study of the evidence has shewn only that he was rather in reduced circumstances.
Masonic Career.—To suggest that Desaguliers, whether aided or not by Anderson, could have kept the Revival together by mere personal influence and activity of the ordinary kind is not so antecedently probable that it can be accepted in the absence of evidence, and it is one of those opinions for which evidence would be difficult to collect under any circumstances. We have further to remember that in the absence of all records it is a purely speculative question whether in and before the year 1717 Masonry had any ceremonial procedure in the sense which we attach to this term at the present day, and in such case it would seem that there was little emblematical mortar to bind together those living stones which met on a memorable occasion at the Apple Tree Tavern. But Desaguliers has been credited also as the chief instrument in the grafting of Speculative Masonry “upon the old Operative system.” The view has been dwelt upon by the late Henry Sadler, who moreover indicated the years 1723 and 1725 as those during which there is some ground for supposing that the work was done. See Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. XXIII, page 326. There are again no records, but we know that the Rituals of Symbolical Masonry came into ostensible existence either then or immediately after, and if these were the work of Desaguliers we are in a position at once to understand the plenary sense in which we are indebted to him not only for a welding bond of the Revival, but for the growth and perpetuity of Masonry through ages continued thenceforward. As I shall refer to this matter later on, it may be left for the moment at this point. It remains only to add that Desaguliers’ published works belong exclusively to what was called experimental philosophy in those times. He did also some editing and translating. In the field of theology he published one sermon on repentance, which in these days no one presumably has read and no one has seen—including myself. It might be desirable to say otherwise of an oration on Masons and Masonry, once delivered in Grand Lodge, but it does not appear to have been printed and the archives of Freemasons’ Hall by no means include the manuscript. There is a general opinion that he “prepared” the General Regulations for Anderson’s Book of Constitutions. He is said to have been zealous in the collection of old records.
N. C. Des Étangs
Reformations of Masonry have been conceived and attempted in several private quarters and have remained naturally on paper. One of the most elaborate is that of Nicolas Charles Des Étangs, who was born at Allichamps, Department of Haute-Marne, on September 7, 1766. He studied at the Collège du Plessis and afterwards at that of Sainte-Barbe, after which he was articled to a notary of Paris. He was there in this capacity at the outbreak of the French Revolution, and having drunk at the springs of philosophy—as his only biographer puts it—he was ranged under that banner and took part in the taking of the Bastille, as also in the battles of Valmy and Jemmapes subsequently. He was, moreover, with the French army in Belgium. In 1796 he was again at Paris, and feeling drawn towards the instruction of the young he founded an institution at Clignancourt which became one of the most important on the outskirts of the capital. In 1809 he was appointed inspector of Austrian provinces conquered by the arms of France, but was recalled presently to Paris and to successive appointments in the Ministry of the Interior, his official life continuing till 1835. After twelve years passed in retirement, his honourable career closed at Paris on May 6, 1847. His Masonic Reform is embodied in a large work entitled Le Véritable Lien des Peuples. He wrote moreover a refutation of Barruel’s Mémoires Contre le Jacobinisme and a Discourse recommending the initiation of women into Freemasonry, which is actuated, however, not so much by their claim on its own merits as by a wish to justify the Order in their eyes.
The Bond of Masonry.—One would prefer to be sympathetic rather than otherwise, for the sincerity of Des Étangs is transparent, but the truth constrains me to say that he must have drunk at poisoned springs when he betook himself to such philosophy as was current in Paris outside theosophical circles—at the volcanic dawn of Revolution. The Rituals of Blue Masonry and the vast cohort of the High Grades were before him; he made his selection, but could produce only a reform à rebours, and there is nothing so dead or so negligible as his Rectified Rite in Five Degrees which was to replace or absorb everything. It consisted of (1) Entered Apprentice, (2) Companion, (3) Master, (4) Prince Rose-Croix, and (5) Kadosh. They will not call for consideration in discussing the transformation of these Grades: Des Étangs’ Reformed Masonry offers nothing to detain us.
Design and Order of Ritual
Our initiations, passings and raisings, our exaltations and installations are stages of progress by which—ex hypothesi and symbolically—the mind of the Masonic Recipient enters into illumination. From the beginning even to the end he is assumed to be desiring the light and, speaking intellectually, it is claimed that he receives it in stages. Within the limits, however, of Masonry and its alliances—which are the High Grades—this light is communicated only in the symbolism and pageant of Ritual, in the lessons arising therefrom and the hidden meanings of legends attached thereto. The design of all Ritual is of a sacramental kind. Its words and actions are meant to convey more than appears on the mere surface, and to justify the existence of any given Ritual, its inward meaning must be commensurate with the machinery that is involved. We do not travel a considerable distance from the normal course of life to hear platitudes and moralities, so that if these appear on the literal side there is either something important abiding beneath their veils or we have passed under the obedience of folly. This being granted—as must be done of necessity—we can move one step further and affirm that nothing deserves presentation or demands the medium which we are considering except the mysteries of the soul in the search and attainment of hidden spiritual treasures. It deserves, because this is the highest subject; it demands, because, if Ritual is a proper mode of its expression, there is an urgency which invokes its use; and in fine the propriety of the medium resides in the fact that Ritual offers a means of realisation which brings what is abstract and apart from general experience into an appreciable and concrete form.
The Christian Mass.—It happens too often unfortunately that the deep significations are imbedded also deeply, so that they are missed by the great majority of simple minds. Among the Rites of official religion there is an extreme case in point. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest on the external side in the world, but so profoundly is its true meaning laid to rest beneath the literal surface that—amidst the concourse of worshippers—there are few who can be said to discern and much less to realise vividly that which is involved therein. It is, however, so great and so holy that there is a life of salvation also on the external side, and the wayfaring man has no need to err herein. We should remember moreover (1) that the great things of the soul are clouded inevitably by the process which renders them visible, more especially in the manner of language; (2) that the deeper the mystery is, the more deep is the veiling; (3) that the mysteries of the soul are unfolded only in a science of experience, the nature of which cannot be intimated except through a glass and darkly to those who have not entered the paths of direct knowledge.
The claims of Building Guilds in the Middle Ages to be regarded as a natural explanation of the origin of Emblematic Freemasonry were not ignored by some early archaeologists of the Brotherhood. Their speculations did not fail in conformity to the one condition which was implied everywhere as an essential warrant of procedure. For them as for other literati all over the Masonic world, a Building Guild of itself could carry no consequence of living interest. They created—as we have seen—a harmony between their individual view and those hypotheses which had recourse to the Ancient Mysteries, the Essenes or the wisdom of Judea as a motive source. There is not much choice possible between any of the old dreams, nor is there need to observe that they have been all long since made void. One curious fact characterises nearly all, though there is little reason to suppose that isolated speculators in England, France and Germany had any particular acquaintance with each other’s lines of inquiry: all postulated a perpetuation from antiquity of the building art, and certain other Mysteries connected by hypothesis therewith, through wandering confraternities of builders. They seem to recognise almost unconsciously that from all times the Nomads have been stewards of peculiar Mysteries native to their place of origin. The thesis of the following quotation was once in considerable repute:
“The people of Attica went in quest of superior settlements one thousand years before the birth of Christ . . . They settled in Asia Minor and . . . the provinces which they acquired were called Ionia. In a short time these Asiatic colonies surpassed the mother country in prosperity and in science. Sculpture in marble—of the Doric and Ionian orders—was the product of their genius. They returned to instruct their mother country in that style of architecture which has been the admiration of succeeding ages. For these improvements the world is indebted to the Dionysian Artificers.”
Mysteries of Bacchus.—By the scope of this hypothesis these craftsmen were, however, no mere builders. They carried with them their Mysteries into Ionia, and these were Mysteries of Bacchus.
“They were an association of scientific men who possessed the exclusive privilege of erecting the temples, theatres and other public buildings in Asia Minor. These artists were very numerous in that part, and they existed under the same appellation in Syria, Persia and India. They supplied Ionia and the surrounding countries as far as the Hellespont with theatrical apparatus by contract, and they erected the magnificent temple at Teos to Bacchus, the founder of their Order. About three hundred years before the birth of Christ a considerable number among them were incorporated by command of the King of Pergamus, who assigned to them Teos as a settlement, it being the city of their tutelary god. Members of this association, which was intimately connected with the Dionysian Mysteries, were distinguished from the uninitiated inhabitants of Teos by the science which they possessed and by appropriate words and signs, through which they could recognise their Brethren of the Order. Like Freemasons, they were divided into Lodges, which were distinguished by different appellations. They held festivals occasionally in houses erected and consecrated for the purpose, and each separate association was under the direction of a Master and Presidents, or Wardens. They held a general meeting once a year which was solemnised with great pomp and at which the Brethren partook of an entertainment provided by the Master, after they had finished the sacrifices to their deities and especially to their patron Bacchus. They used particular utensils for their ceremonial observances, some of which are exactly similar to those which are now employed by the Fraternity of Freemasons.”
Inscribed Turkish Monuments.—The story goes on to affirm (1) that in Turkish burying-grounds at Siverhissar and Eraki there are still to be seen certain monuments reared by these builders to the memory of their Masters or Wardens; (2) that they were erected about one hundred and fifty years before Christ; (3) that the inscriptions express in strong terms the gratitude of the Fraternity for the distinguished exertions of the Wardens on behalf of the Order, for their generosity and benevolence to its individual members and for their private virtues as well as their conduct in public; (4) that Attalus, king of Pergamus, was most probably a member of the Dionysian Fraternity, the evidence cited being derived from the inscriptions themselves and from the names of one of the Lodges. It is said in fine:
“If it be possible to prove the identity of any two associations from the coincidence of their external forms, we are authorised to conclude that the Fraternity of Ionian Architects and the Fraternity of the Freemasons are exactly the same; and as the former practised the Mysteries of Bacchus and Ceres it may be safely affirmed that in their internal as well as external procedure the Society of Freemasons resembles the Dionysians of Asia Minor.”
The extract does not intend to suggest that Emblematic Freemasonry is dedicated to the cultus of either Ceres or Bacchus; it is only a confusion of expression. For the monuments and their inscriptions we must have recourse to other testimonies.
Byzantine Artists.—Those who framed the hypothesis of the Dionysian artificers trace the existence of the association in an uninterrupted continuity down to the “artisans of Byzantium” and then to the Building Brotherhoods of Western Europe. They are connected, moreover, with Judaea at a period previous to the first Temple and with the sacred achievement of Solomon, for—according to Josephus—the Temple was in the Ionic style and it is inferred therefore that the Dionysians assisted in its construction. They are connected with the Essenian Brotherhood, though the Essenes were a contemplative sect who could have no especial association with architecture of a material kind. They are traced even through the Knights Templar by recourse to the supposed Templar design of restoring to despoiled Zion the glory of its emblematic edifice. By a succession of similar fictions we are brought down to a trading association of architects which is represented as thriving under special authority of the See of Rome.
“As the demand for splendid monasteries and magnificent cathedrals arose, in order to encourage the profession of architects, the Bishops of Rome and other Potentates of Europe conferred upon the Fraternity of Freemasons the most important privileges and allowed them to be governed by customs and ceremonies peculiar to themselves. The association was composed of men of all nations—of Italians and Greeks, of French, German and Flemish artists, who were denominated Freemasons and who ranged from one country to another, erecting those elegant churches and cathedrals which now excite the notice of antiquaries. The government of this association was remarkably regular. Its members lived in a camp erected beside the building on which they were employed. A Surveyor or Master presided over and directed the whole; every tenth man was called a Warden and overlooked those who were under his charge; and such artificers as were not members of this Fraternity were prohibited from engaging in those buildings which Freemasons alone had the title to rear.”
Gothic Architecture.—The results of modern research do not countenance the notion that there was any extensive patronage of builders at the headquarters of the Latin Church, and it has been well observed that as regards Italy in general it was the one country in Western Europe which came least under the influence of Gothic architecture. It should be understood that the particular speculations to which place has been accorded here belong largely to the region of romance, and there is no call to deal seriously with their pretensions. Indeed a disposition to severity might characterise the hypothesis as beneath even those forged documents which abound in Masonic history, being devoid of the doubtful advantage which attaches to the production—sometimes not unskilful—of spurious archives.
I propose in the chief place to cite certain classical authorities who are the source of our information on the secret celebrations which pass under the name of Dionysius, being practised at Athens and elsewhere. As the allusions are numerous, it must be understood that I am selecting only and offering a brief summary, (1) According to Herodotus, the Dionysia were brought into Greece from Egypt, but this can mean only that he was drawing from a tradition on the subject. He says also that they were introduced by Melampus. (2) Pausanias, on the other hand, records that their adoption by the Athenians was due to Pegasus of Eleutheris. (3) The Dionysian Mysteries are to be distinguished from the ordinary Bacchanalia. (4) They were divided like those of Eleusis into Lesser and Greater Mysteries, the latter being sometimes regarded as the more ancient; but I question whether recent scholarship would consider that there is sufficient material for judgment on this point. (5) The Greater Mysteries were triennial. (6) Among these it would appear that there was a secret, sacrificial part in which the wife of the hierophant prepared the Priestesses of the Rite and received their solemn vows. (7) They testified to their purity and virginity and that they would follow the rules of the Rite. (8) As regards the Ceremonies of Initiation, I have met with nothing which offers any critical distinction between the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. (9) Preliminary to both there was an official purification by air, and thereafter the Candidates entered the Temple, (10) According to Euripides the Festivals took place at night, and one learns from Pausanias that the nature of the sacrifices was above all things else concealed, (11) This notwithstanding, Plutarch reports that they were first fruits of earth, especially of the vine and fig tree. We hear also of a boar being immolated and even of human sacrifice in places remote from Athens, but the authority is doubtful. (12) Theophrastus says that the Lesser Mysteries were celebrated in the city during winter, but the Greater were a vernal observance and it seems to follow from Aristophanes that they took place in open country. (13) Those who officiated in the Ceremonies wore a vestment of fawn-skin, a crown of myrtle and carried branches of trees. (14) About the actual Ritual of Initiation we know little, but Origen alludes to a masque of phantoms which struck terror to the heart. (15) The Legend of the Mystery was the murder of Bacchus by the Titans and his miraculous return to life. (16) Masonic writers have represented the Candidates as themselves undergoing in a mystical sense the death and resurrection of the god, but this is an egregious fable which institutes a false correspondence with the procedure of the Master Grade. (17) It presupposes a single Postulant, but—alike in the Lesser and Greater Mysteries—there were crowds of aspirants, and there is of course no evidence, as there is otherwise no likelihood, that one acted for the rest. (18) As in the Rites of Eleusis so in those of Dionysius, the presentations were in the form of dramatic pageants. (19) It has been suggested that the Dionysia, in respect of their part mystic, followed the Eleusinia as a prototype, but the traditional history is entirely against this view, it being obvious that there is no natural likeness between the Rape of Proserpine and the dismemberment of Bacchus, or between the restoration of her daughter to Demeter and the return of the god to life. (20) The prototype of Dionysia is to be sought in the myth of Osiris and—apart from questions of priority—its analogy is in the Mysteries of Adonis.
Dionysia and Freemasonry.—We have seen how a Masonic fable represents the Dionysian Artificers as Wardens of the Mysteries of Bacchus, which they appear to have celebrated at Teos, and that these Mysteries are the inner side of a very close correspondence between the old Artificers and modern Emblematic Freemasons, as some of their external observances are the outer side. It is granted at once that there is an important root analogy between the death and resurrection of a god—whether Osiris, Adonis, or Dionysius—and the Mystery in chief of Craft Masonry. But we are called to recognise a not less important distinction in respect of development from the root, for on the one hand the Legend of Osiris is not that of Hiram and the Grand Morality of Masonry is fortunately at poles asunder from the corrupt Festivals of Adonis. What, however, was veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbolism in the Secret Rites of Dionysius? Euripides is not a friendly witness, but his Bacchus—disguised as a Lydian—affirms that the Mysteries of this god are “opposed to impiety.” Moreover, the scholarship of the past has been inclined to regard them as originally simple and innocent. Their repute in the days of Virgil may be inferred from the seventh book of the Aeneid, and long before his date the Senate had abolished the Dionysia by reason of the drunkenness and debauchery which characterised the Festivals. We are without means of judgment as to the quality of the innocence which is claimed for their early form. Warburton says that “they were early and flagrantly corrupted,” but it is very difficult to certify on the question of date, and while there is no doubt as to the corruption or its flagrant nature, the witnesses concerning it are late in comparison with the antiquity of the Rite itself. We may distinguish as we like between Silenus and Bacchus or between the latter and Dionysius, but they were all gods of the vine, and the vine in Festivals and Mysteries which were open to both sexes does not connect naturally with a via ascetica or even a via prudentiae. Even the chastity of the priestesses after the celebrations has been challenged. Elles ne pouvaient néanmoins se passer du ministère du principal Prêtre de Bacchus, says the Baron de Saint-Croix in his Recherches sur les Mystères du Paganisme, Sect. VII., art. iii. But there is other and opposing testimony. The question is therefore open as regards the beginning of things, but as to their development and especially its later history there is almost a cloud of witnesses. The abominations were of every kind, as we may learn from Clement of Alexandria, St. Augustine and Plato. The last witnessed the whole city of Athens in a state of drunkenness during a Festival of Dionysius. Men and women stripped off their clothes and even exchanged them for purposes against Nature.
Phallic Mysteries.—The characteristic symbol of the Dionysia was the Phallus, representing the fecundity of Nature, as a plausible hypothesis suggests. Its selection in preference to grapes seems to have escaped commentary. In the purification of Candidates by air they leaped up to clutch a Phallus composed of flowers. Aristophanes and Diodorus are witnesses to the recurrence of this emblem, which was worn by women on their heads and at Lavinium was paraded through the streets. Whatsoever may have remained over to represent the original intent of the observances, regarded as Rites of Initiation, the externalities and practice of the Festivals were orgies of wine and sex: there was every kind of drunkenness and every aberration of sex, the one leading up to the other. Over all reigned the Phallus, which—in its symbolism à rebours—represented post ejaculationem, the death-state of Bacchus, the god of pleasure, and his resurrection when it was in forma arrecta. Of such was the sorrow and of such the joy of these Mysteries. The Masonic story of the Dionysian Artificers is a mass of fables. We know only that colonies from Attica and other parts of Greece settled in that part of Asia Minor which was bordered on the West by the Aegean and Icarian seas; that it came to be called Ionia and consisted of twelve states; that these states were federated, in commemoration of which a Temple was built at Teos, but whether dedicated to Bacchus or not I have failed to ascertain. According to Vitruvius the Ionic style of architecture was suited to the cultus of Juno, Diana and Bacchus, being intermediate between the delicate Corinthian and the severe Doric. There is no reason to suppose that the Ionian Dionysia were purer than those of Greece and Rome.
Authorities.—Some classical writers have been mentioned, but there are also Plutarch, Livy and the scholiast on Aristophanes, nor do these exhaust the sources; but I do not conceive that it is necessary in this place to enlarge or particularise further. I have cited also the Baron de Saint-Croix and Warburton. As regards the first there was a second edition of his Mémoires, in two volumes, 1818, edited by Baron Silvestre de Sacy. For Warburton, see The Divine Legation, Book II, sect, iv., but his account of the Dionysia is very slight. Some interest for Freemasons will attach to Oliver’s History of Initiation, Lecture VI, but under the name of Mysteries of Bacchus there is a hopeless medley of Dionysia, Eleusinia and Osiric Rites, on the supposition that they practically were the same. The study is not merely useless for critical purposes, but even for the ordinary reader who needs only a qualified guide.
Whatsoever has been said upon this subject in Masonic circles of the past and has been reflected by repetition to the present day calls to be set aside definitely, an exception being in favour of certain remarks by the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, whom I will cite in the present connection because they are characterised by sense and discrimination, while it is one of the few occasions on which I am able to approve his views. The statements are (1) that the Disciplina Arcani had nothing akin to Freemasonry and that any hypothesis to the contrary is utterly beyond the mark; (2) that such a connection is impossible, (3) that the only bond is in the common fact of a mysterium; and (4) that much has been written by Masons on this subject, but it rests upon no authority. I am citing from Kenning’s Cyclopedia of 1878. The Disciplina Arcani is, for others, like a system of initiation and advancement, divided into Lesser and Greater Mysteries and practised ex hypothesi in the Christian Church during the persecutions of the Roman Emperors. That on which the hypothesis rests is the ultra-obvious fact that the proselyte at the Gate of Christ was prepared gradually and by successive stages for incorporation into the living body of His Church. He who as yet was a complete stranger to the message of the Gospel did not learn at once that the threshold of the spiritual Temple was crossed only in virtue of the Rite of Baptism, nor did he who had been born again of water get to know immediately thereafter concerning the great observance of the Eucharist, and so of other sacramental ceremonies. Or if the names of such Rites transpired it was later only that he was called to take part therein. In a word, the preparation of a postulant—by a natural necessity—was moderately analogous to the growth of any person from infancy, through childhood and youth in the Church in which he is born; and to this necessity the terrors of the first Christian centuries added many delays prescribed by caution.
Grade Companions.—In the Old Greek Mysteries there were Neophytes, Mystae, Epopts and so forth, not to speak of the class-titles peculiar to ministers and celebrants; among the early Christians we hear of Catechumens, Competentes, Fideles and other class distinctions; but they bear as much and as little resemblance to the grade-names of the Mysteries as do the First Form, Second Form, Third and Fourth Forms in our schools and colleges. There is only one ground on which such fallacious comparisons have been thinly excusable in the past, and it resides in the fact that on rare occasions a few early Christian writers—St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Augustine are found using terminology which suggests a comparison between the Mysteries of Christian Doctrine and the Ceremonial Mysteries of the pagan world. The reason was obvious enough in their case, being an attempt to illustrate that which was unknown in experience, as indeed almost in name, by that which was familiar to all, for initiation was the rule rather than an exception in the classical world, and there was literally a passion for the Mysteries as there is now a fashion among multitudes which lead them from the Craft Grades to Rite after Rite beyond. The opinion of the early Christian Fathers on the Pagan Mysteries does not leave us in any doubt that—for them—they were Mysteries of Iniquity.
We have seen that according to the Early Grand Rite, and its curious impertinence or folly of a Grade entitled Architect, the heart of the Master-Builder was deposited in an urn, and that Candidates for advancement were required—as a test of integrity—to “partake of the heart,” in the form of a Masonic substitute. It is unconvincing as a test of integrity and, so far as I am aware; is the only instance—through all the misguided Rites—of cannibalism moralised and raised into the life of symbolism. It is not, however, the only Grade which is concerned with the heart of the Master and its deposition in a Golden Urn. The Rite of Memphis has a much more dignified and indeed elaborate Ceremony under the name of Discreet Master, being No. 4 in its system. It takes place in the Holy of Holies—as if the Temple were already finished—the Chief Officers being Solomon and the King of Tyre. The Candidate has been pledged, restored to light and his attention directed to a “resplendent luminary,” which shines before him in the East. It signifies the Holy Shekinah, but in the muddled attributions of the Grade it represents also the All-Seeing Eye and the Omnipresence of Jehovah. The pageant is at a pause when a Battery occurs without, and it is announced that “the heart of our lamented Grand Master is deposited in the Golden Urn.” A procession is immediately formed and the honour of conveying the sacred ashes is conferred upon the Candidate. They pass outside the Chapter—as if this were the Sanctum Sanctorum—and return bearing the trophy, which is celebrated as the Heart of Truth, amidst song, prayer and oration. The Urn is crowned in fine with laurel and with olive-branch, invoking peace and glory on the Master-Builder. A moralisation upon these emblems follows, the laurel alluding to the victory which must be gained over lower passions and the olive-branch to the bond of union which should join the Brethren together. The Candidate is then raised to the rank of a Levite and placed among the faithful guardians of the Holy of Holies, as one of the seven “who have been elected to supply the place of our Grand Master.” In fine he is appointed “one of the Conductors of the work which is to be raised to Divinity.” He becomes in this manner a Discreet Master, because the Jewel of the Grade is a key, described as “a symbol of fidelity and discretion.” It does not appear to open anything, and the Ceremony is not less wanting in real emblematic purpose than its correspondence in the Early Grand Rite.
Points of Symbolism.—As in all the High Grade Orders so in the Rite of Memphis, the Craft Degrees are presupposed and occupy the first three numbers, but they do not appear to have been worked: their possession was the title of admission. It comes about in this manner, that the Discreet Master, while ranking as fourth is really the first, so far as activity is concerned. The Historical Discourse of the Grade deals therefore with the general claims of the Rite, and these have been noticed sufficiently in another section. A few outstanding points may be collected under the following heads: (1) The Shekinah—represented by a Delta—is said to signify visible glory, and is a symbol of the Divine Presence. (2) In the Rite of Memphis it is regarded as an emblem of “the cultivated mind which disperses ignorance.” (3) The Delta is encompassed by a serpent, having its tail in its mouth and thus forming a circle, held to represent “the immensity of the power of God,” which has neither beginning nor end. (4) A star of five points is placed within the Delta. (5) Within this pentagram is the letter G, interpreted as Glory, Grandeur and Gomel—Glory in allusion to God; Grandeur by reference to man, since it is possible for him to attain perfection; Gomel, a Hebrew word “which signifies thanks to God for His supreme power.” (6) Gomel was the first word spoken by Adam “on discovering the adorable Eve.” (7) The name of the Sanctum Sanctorum is Dabri in Hebrew, because God “delivered His oracles” therein: the significance of the word is speech.
Every man, however unconsciously to himself, is in search of Union with God at every moment of his life, if only because he is unescapably in search of his proper end of being, including the beatitude which it connotes; and the mystical state is finality, alike by hypothesis and experience.
A Divine Quest.—The search after God is the only business of religion and His attainment is the fruition thereof. On the possibility and actuality of such attainment religion is therefore based, and hence it is a science of experience. It conveys as such the “certitude of our kinship with the Divine.” I do not think that we need at this day and I do not propose to offer any new definition of religion on its practical side, the work of attainment, much less a fresh consideration of the word s meaning from the standpoint of philology. It is the attainment of that state in which we no longer walk by faith but by sight also. It might not be very difficult to speak of it in new terms, or in those which would have a semblance of novelty, but I doubt whether it is desirable. On the contrary it may be realised more vitally by using forms of expression that are comparatively at least familiar. In an old, encompassing and always suggestive phrase, practical religion is the life which does come in fine to know of the doctrine. It is the glory of righteousness in this life and beyond. And the end is comparable to the eternal rest of Buddha. It is the knowledge of Unity which, according to Krishna, is above wisdom. It is the Sufic union of the lover and the Beloved. It is in a sense the Epiphany of Pythagoras, the vision from above—that is to say, the manifestation of the centre. It is the eternal repose and it is the essence apart from mode, which all inward spirits have chosen above and before all things as the goal of their desire. It is the attainment of the Kingdom of God; it is St. Thomas of Aquin’s foretaste of the Beatific Vision; it is Ruysbroeck’s secret marriage of the Soul with God. And because in the last resource it is an experience in consciousness of all that which otherwise it has not entered into the heart of man to conceive; because in the effort to think of it and in the attempt to encompass it by our apprehension, we are as those who “sit and play with similes”; because we are in respect of it like Sir Isaac Newton comparing himself to a child who gathers pebbles on the shores of a great ocean: for these reasons it is right that we should call it what it is—a thing mystical—that is to say, concealed and hidden—one also that passes very hardly, and then imperfectly into any manner of expression.
The Faithful Witnesses.—Now the records of this experience are written over the wide world; many beginnings and excerpts of it are at our own doors; its rumours and vestiges are in that common and elementary experience of religion by which many persons of this day seek to convey to one another the fact that something divine and strange in the consideration of holy things has entered into them and changed them. Its heights are in those regions of which we hear in the memorials of the saints of God, under all denominations of sanctity. I have just quoted some of their records, which are of the end rather than of the beginning. Many of us may know something, each within his own measure, of the lonely and wonderful paths which lead through the early stages; we may have conceived in the intellect something of that which is beyond; we may have adored and longed for that which is not less certainly intimated by the great vistas because it is now beyond sight and beyond conception, because the cloud and the fire, even the incense of aspiration, have set a veil over the scene. But if we know and have conceived and have longed, seeing in part, dreaming at the end of things, looking through inverted glasses, we depend to the whole extent of our deficiency, and we know it—oh, do we not?—upon the veridic testimony of those who have shewn us the way, who have led us, but so far only as we could follow their leading; and at a point they have left us. No, they have not exactly left us, for they were there already; they had attained; and it was only a little distance that we could climb after them in our weakness. We have made our halt therefore, waiting for the powers and the graces, for the season that is not here, and—so far as all realisation is concerned—confessing that after a certain point we know scarcely what they say. This is the higher sense in which it is hard to be a Christian; it is the sense also in which we are learning a language and spelling out a life. It is in such stages, far enough from the goal, but still on the road thereto, that we do well to remember how there are other memorials than those which first instructed us; that there is something to be said for the counsel of wise old alchemy, which affirmed that the truth of the art should be sought in a comparison of the sayings left by the masters of the past.
Openings through the Vistas.—The consideration of the great official religions may emerge with a new message in the light of this great experiment. We may discern the signs and portents as of an approaching transfiguration of doctrine. When those who have gone up into the blue height and have descended into the black void, return like Dante, saying: “and have not our fathers told us?”—when they testify that God recompenses those who seek Him out; does not their witness shew that those who are dedicated out of all revocation, with the whole heart of their nature, to this great reality of things, find all the spaces peopled in directions where the normal sight of humanity, the eye of the untrained soul, sees and can see nothing?
Higher Fields of Symbolism.—These are intimations of the experiments and of the goal to which it leads. I have spoken of them in this place because there are Instituted Mysteries which are above the measures of Emblematic Masonry, and they deal in stately symbolism with such a path of return to God. They are also like Masonry, in the sense that their figurative pageants portray a new birth, a new life, a mystical death and thereafter a resurrection in God, which is the life of Divine Union. The Masonic analogy lies at a very far distance, but it is there, in the Craft Degrees; though that which is done by the Master who confers the Rite and that which is suffered by the Candidate may not be understood by either; while those who made up the Rituals in the eighteenth century may not have known what they were doing.
I must set aside in the first place, and for almost obvious reasons, the record narrated by a Past Grand Master of Canada, according to which a Mineralogical Survey took place in 1827 and in the course of it there was found “on the shore of Goat Island in the Annapolis Basin, partly covered with sand, a slab of rock, 2½ feet by 2 feet, bearing on it those well-known Masonic Emblems, the Square and Compasses, and the date 1606.” The presence of these emblems in that or any part of the world at that or any other date is no evidence for the existence of Speculative Masonry in the opening years of the seventeenth century. The fact of such an inscription is no evidence whatever that it was written on the date affixed thereto. Lastly, in the absence of all particulars by which we might identify the Report made and published—if any—by or on behalf of the Survey we are without materials for judgment on the alleged fact itself, as, for example, the kind of stone, the mode of carving, the clearness or otherwise of the date. As it stands, the account is reminiscent of a much more famous inscription, described with much care in certain Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.
Early Craft History.—Such being the case, we must cleave perforce to the tradition (1) that in 1737 there was a certain Erasmus J. Phillips who was resident in Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia; (2) that he was made a Mason at Boston, Mass., in the course of a visit to this city; (3) that he returned to Annapolis and there opened a Lodge; (4) that he acted under the authority of Henry Price, Provincial Grand Master of Boston; (5) that the position of Deputy Grand Master was conferred upon him by Price; (6) that he became full Provincial Grand Master of Nova Scotia; and (7) that he warranted a Lodge at Halifax about 1749. The question of regularity or otherwise in these proceedings need not concern us. Coming down to more historical times, there were Lodges in Quebec from 1759 onwards, and they passed presently under the rule of a Provincial Grand Lodge of the Moderns. It had no competitor until 1791, when it happened that Prince Edward, afterwards Duke of Kent, was commanding the forces at Quebec, whereupon the Ancients placed a rival Provincial Grand Lodge under his jurisdiction. By 1800 the previous obedience appears to have fallen asleep. At the Union in 1813 the Ancients of Quebec and any Moderns that remained were united in a single Provincial Grand Lodge, under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Grand Lodge Period.—In a brief summary account it is neither necessary nor possible to speak of the growth of Lodges or of developments and intermediary changes of a governmental kind throughout the Dominion of Canada. I pass therefore to the period of independent sovereign jurisdiction. Certain dissensions between the Grand Lodge of England and the Province of Canada culminated in 1855 in a secession from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Upper Canada and in the establishment of an autonomous Grand Lodge. In 1857 the original body reformed as the Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada. In 1858 the two corporations united as the Grand Lodge of Canada. In 1869 its jurisdiction was limited to Ontario or Western Canada by the founding of a Grand Lodge of Quebec, which rules over Canada in the East. A Grand Lodge of New Brunswick was established in 1867, and the other foundations are as follows: Nova Scotia, 1869 ; British Columbia, 1871, and it is on record for the year 1899 that this Grand Lodge did more than double its Lodges and “almost doubled the aggregate of its subscribing members “ in the brief space of eight years; Manitoba, 1875; Prince Edward Island, 1875; Alberta, 1905; and Saskatchewan, 1906.
The Royal Arch.—According to a strong but somewhat speculative opinion, the Holy Royal Arch Degree is held to have been conferred in Quebec “within a quarter of a century of its introduction in York and in London,” or apparently in 1759. See J. H. Graham, Outlines of the History of Freemasonry in the Province of Quebec. The earliest records of Chapter working belong, however, to the year 1783 and are found in the Minutes of St. Andrew’s Lodge, No. 2 (Moderns), meeting in that city. In Toronto the records of the Royal Arch go back to the year 1800, when Rawdon Lodge, No. 498 (Moderns), transferred its allegiance to the Ancients Grand Lodge through anxiety to work the Degree “in a regular manner.” See H. T. Smith, Historical Sketch of the Introduction of Royal Arch Masonry into . . . Toronto, 1902.
Druids and Their Mysteries
We are not concerned with an excursion into the history of religious belief or practice, and therefore much which has been advanced by Masonic writers on Druidic Mysteries can be set aside at once including the dreams which have identified them with Brahminical priests, with primitive Buddhists and with keepers of Mosaic tradition. The question before us is whether they practised Rites of Initiation apart from public Religious Rites and, in this case, whether there are points of comparison with Modern Speculative Masonry. It has been said that their places of worship were also places for the practice of Secret Mysteries, which on the surface is probable but appears on examination to be a statement made at hazard, a sort of apology beforehand for a haphazard mixture of religious myth, doctrine and custom with the concealed instruction and procedure reserved to an elect few. We have among classical authorities those (1) of Strabo and Artemidorus for the analogy or identity of Druidic Rites with those of Samothrace; (2) of Dionysius for their relation to the Mysteries of Bacchus; (3) of Mnaseas for their Kabiric correspondences; but all this testimony can rank only as indicative of Druidic practices which were regarded as of an initiatory order and comparable—as heard of by rumour—with things that were known at first hand. We learn more expressly from Diogenes Laertius and Caesar (1) that the Druidic method of instruction was by symbols, enigmas, allegories, and (2) that they taught orally, deeming it unlawful to commit their knowledge to writing. It does not appear that these statements have any reference to esoteric doctrines or Rites: the allegory was presumably for the profane and popular world, while the meaning which lay behind it was for those of the Druidic order. The exoteric theology, moreover, is said by Caesar to have had a general conformity with that of Greece and Rome. For Secret Doctrine and Secret Rites we must have recourse to indigenous British literature, remembering that, according to Caesar, the principles of Druidism are to be sought here in their purity rather than in Gaul, though we know them at this day only by filtration through Welsh poets of the Christian period, chief among whom is Taliesin, who belongs to the sixth century but was a votary of the old religion and claimed Druidic initiation.
The British Tradition.—It must be understood that his literary remains entered into a written form after a very great lapse of time, probably six hundred years, or alternatively they were composed in the neighbourhood of the eleventh century. At however remote a distance there seems little question, however, that they stand for an early tradition, and we are concerned with that part of it which belongs to the Mysteries of Ceridwen. These have been regarded generally and are, I think, not improbably those of initiation and advancement through the Grades of Druidism. At least they were put forth as such; but supposing that the Bardic literature which passes under the name of Taliesin was composed in the eleventh century and is therefore of fraudulent ascription, it would represent Druidical doctrine and practice at a very far distance. I am putting the matter with naked plainness, that there may be no mistake on the part of unversed readers. Welsh literature is a pitfall for the unwary, and without being a scholar of the subject this is a counsel of caution ready to the hands of those who have followed the kind of speculations on the subject which are met with in The Celtic Druids and Anacalypsis of Godfrey Higgins or in The Celtic Researches and Mythology and Rites of the British Druids by Edward Davies. The opinion of modern authorities is not needed to tell us their present value, but we know their views. Dr. Oliver’s lectures on Celtic Mysteries and Initiation in Britain, forming part of his History of Initiation, are like a deep below the deep of fantasy, formulated in terms of certitude.
Testimony of Taliesin.—It is assumed therefore and only that, either as through a glass and darkly or otherwise nearer at hand, the poems of Taliesin are meant to shadow forth some part of the Mysteries of Druidism. What appears to be the place of initiation is described as a Holy Sanctuary which has no need of walls, because the sea surrounds it. In other words, it is situated on an island, and those who dwell within it are called holy. Those who are admitted therein, meaning those who are initiated, drink of the mead and wine which are offered them by the Lord of the Sanctuary. The tongue of Taliesin is sealed; he must observe the laws religiously and must not disclose that which takes place at the Festivals; but the Holy Sanctuary contains the Vessel of Ceridwen and those who are presented thereto attain their wishes. Ceridwen is the mystic goddess, ruler of the bards and first of womankind. The Cauldron connnected with her name is that of melodious song, the source of inspiration, of poetic frenzy, above all of wisdom—in a word, the lore of the Cauldron. To drink of this Cauldron was to be initiated into the Mysteries of Ceridwen, which were Hidden Mysteries. In the sense of the silence which they imposed, it is said that those who, being dead, were restored by the power of the Cauldron and its mystic brew did not recover their speech; but this restoration signifies the second birth of the Mysteries, about which those who had experienced it could not speak to the world. The brew contained in the Cauldron is sometimes described as water, sometimes as wine and mead, but Taliesin on one occasion gives an elaborate account of the contents. All descriptions are of course by the hypothesis allegorical, as are also the gifts of the Cauldron, which itself was a symbol of the Mysteries, whatsoever was contained therein representing the science of the Mysteries, the hypothetical knowledge of past and future communicated therein and thereby, the art of particular discipline, the wisdom of divine doctrine and the word thereof. The wisdom as a whole was the Language of the Chair of Ceridwen, which was of course a voice in the silence, meaning that it was reserved to the Sanctuary.
The Initiatory Rites.—Such being the setting of the Mysteries, presented in barest outline, let us see what can be gleaned as shortly about their ceremonial working. Symbolically or literally—as we have seen—the place was an island sanctuary. In the latter case it was reached by a boat, which Taliesin terms a coracle, in which he proceeded to initiation. But his tale is also symbolical, for he arrives as an infant, even a new-born babe, by allusion to the rebirth which initiation conferred upon the Candidate. The mystical sailing of the sea was then typical of the ceremonial reception leading to rebirth attained. The infant redeemed from the boat was he whose initiation was accomplished; he was laid in the arms of "the Presence," that is, was acknowledged as such by the Hierophant, Priest or Warden of the Mysteries. But according to Taliesin there was a triple birth, suggesting three successive Grades, and of this there are traces otherwise. He who had experienced all, the Welsh epopt, was termed thrice-born. Alternatively, the first birth was from his mother's womb and hence into natural life; in the second he was born of Ceridwen or into the external Rites of Druidic religion; but in fine he was born of the coracle, or into the Inner Sanctuary, wherein he attained true knowledge of God and also the science of the world, otherwise theology and cosmology, understood in the sense of the Sanctuary.
Druidism and Masonry.—It will be seen that the Rites of Druidism are therefore concerned with rebirth, not with mystical death and resurrection following thereon. That there is no analogy with Emblematic Freemasonry I do not need to say, and having reached in this manner the term of the subject I have only to express a hope that the claims of this slight sketch will not be misconstrued. While it is founded on archaic metrical remains it has no pretence to completeness. As an interpretation it stands at its value and is put forward under all reserves.
Authorities.—The works of Godfrey Higgins and Edward Davies were the source of Masonic information on Druidic subjects from the dates of their publication in the first half of the nineteenth century to the time when George Oliver may be said to have closed the particular canon of interpretation at his death in 1867. His lectures on Celtic Mysteries and Ceremonies of Initiation in Britain, forming part of the History of Initiation are guides of the perplexed as to things that should be avoided in this kind of research. The reader who desires a general review of the subject apart from Masonic preoccupations should consult D’Arbois de Jubainville, Introduction à l’Étude de la Littérature Celtique, 1886, and Les Dieux Celtiques, 1906.
We are concerned with this interesting character only from the Masonic standpoint, and even so, more especially on the literary side. He was a natural son of George II, but the fact did not transpire, so far as the Royal Family was concerned, till the death of his father, when he was granted a pension and apartments in Hampton Court Palace. It is said also that he was licensed to bear the royal arms with a bar sinister. The last statement comes from a dubious source, is essentially unlikely and has not been confirmed by any one. He died in 1795. As regards his Masonic career, (1) he was initiated in a Lodge at Plymouth, (2) received authority from Grand Lodge “to regulate Masonic affairs in the newly-acquired Canadian provinces,” (3) formed a Lodge under warrant on board the Vanguard, for he began life in the Navy, (4) was installed an Acting Grand Master of all Warranted Lodges in Quebec, (5) formed another warranted Sea-Lodge on board the Prince, which after various migrations became the Somerset House Lodge, meeting at the Turk’s Head in Soho, (6) was made Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire in 1767, (7) of Essex, Dorsetshire and Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somersetshire, and finally of Herefordshire—respectively in 1776, 1777, 1784 and 1790. I am giving the heads only. He received also the rank of Past Senior Grand Warden of England, created the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry, served the Office of Grand Superintendent, and finally was the first Grand Master of Masonic Knights Templar.
Literary Remains.—Though indefatigable in his efforts for Freemasonry in all directions of activity and covered, as we have seen, with its honours, the literary work of Dunckerley lies within a very narrow compass, being (1) a Discourse after the manner of a Charge, delivered at Plymouth in April, 1757, and entitled The Light and Truth of Masonry Explained; (2) an Ode for “an Exaltation of Royal Arch Masons; “ and (3) a Song for the Knights Templar. The last two are of the usual conventional order, but it is worth noting that the so-called Ode—which is properly a hymn—describes the Second Temple as “that sacred place, where three in one” comprise the “comprehensive name” of God—another if casual instance of Trinitarian doctrine in the Royal Arch. The Discourse on Masonic Light opens with reference to St. John the Evangelist and affirms “that it is the duty of every Mason to live soberly, righteously and godly; or—according to the words of the Evangelist—he should walk in the light and do the truth.” The noticeable point is the recurrence of Christian allusions and the appeal to Christian scriptures, though it is affirmed otherwise that “we own all Masons as brothers, be they Christians, Jews, or Mohammedans.” The moral reflections on truth and charity are of course unexceptionable, but they are typically representative of their period, and it is sufficient to say that as Dunckerley understood “a good Mason” he was one whose life is “conformable and agreeth to that true light, the law of God, which shines clear to his heart, and is the model by which he squares his judgment.” The Charge was published as a tiny pamphlet at sixpence in 1737; it was reprinted and annotated by Oliver in his Golden Remains of Early Masonic Writers, Vol. I, pages 137 et seq. A considerable portion was included by Henry Sadler in Thomas Dunckerley: His Life, Labour and Letters, 1891—an excellent and exhaustive compilation. The Ode was added to the Book of Constitutions, edition of 1784. Finally the Song for Knights Templar appeared in The Freemasons’ Magazine of August, 1794. I may add that Mr. Sadler elucidates the subject of the royal arms and the bar sinister. It appears that Dunckerley used them as a book-plate in the first instance, adding the motto Fato non Merito. The design was engraved at Portsmouth. At a much later period the arms appear on his armorial seal. There is no suggestion that he sought or obtained a licence. For the rest, Dunckerley was a great Christian Mason, of high sincerity in his faith and a pattern to those about him in the great world of the Craft.