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but without any justification, the legend being met with in England centuries prior to the date of the Regius MS., and long prior to its incorporation in masonic legends on the Continent. The next MS., in order, is known as the “Cooke" (Ad. MS. 23,198, British Museum), because Matthew Cooke published a fair reproduction of the document in 1861; and it is deemed by competent paleographers to date from the first part of the 15th century. There are two versions of the Old Charges in this little book, purchased for the British Museum in 1859. The compiler was probably a mason and familiar with several copies of these MS. Constitutions, two of which he utilizes and comments upon; he quotes from a MS. copy of the Policronicon the manner in which a written account of the sciences was preserved in the two historic stones at the time of the Flood, and generally makes known the traditions of the society as well as the laws which were to govern the members. Its introduction into England through Egypt is noted (where
the Children of Israel “lernyd ye craft of Masonry"), also the
“lande of behest" (Jerusalem) and the Temple of Solomon (who “confirmed ye chargy's yt David his Fadir" had made). Then masonry in France is interestingly described; and St Alban and “AEthelstane with his yongest sone” (the Edwin of the later MSS.) became the chosen mediums subsequently, as with the other Charges, portions of the Old Testament are often cited in order to convey a correct idea to the neophyte, who is to hear the document read, as to these sciences which are declared to be free in themselves (fre in hem sclfe). Of all crafts followed by man in this world “Masonry hathe the moste notabilite,” as confirmed by “Elders that were bi for us of masons [who] had these chargys wryten,” and “as is write and taught in ye boke of our charges.” Until quite recently no representative or survival of this particular version had been traced, but in 1890 one was discovered of 1687 (since known as the William Watson MS.). Of sonne seventy copies of these old scrolls which have been unearthed, by far the greater proportion have been made public since 1860. They have all much in common, though often curious differences are to be detected; are of English origin, no matter where used; and when complete, as they mostly are, whether of the 16th or subsequent centuries, are noteworthy for an invocation or prayer which begins the recital:— “The mighte of the father of heaven And the wysedome of the glorious Sonne through the grace and the goodnes of the holly hoste yt been three p’sons and one God # with us at or beginning and give us grace so to gou'ne us here in or lyving that wee maye come to his blisse that nevr shall have ending.—Amen.” (Grand Lodge M.S. No. 1, A.D. 1583.) They are chiefly of the 17th century and nearly all located in England; particulars may be found in Hughan's Old Charges of the British Freemasons (1872, 1895 and supplement 1906)." The chief scrolls, with some others, have been reproduced in facsimile in six volumes of the Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha; and the collection in Yorkshire has been published separately, either in the West Yorkshire Reprints or the Ancient York Masonic Rolls. Several have been transcribed and issued in other works. These scrolls give considerable information as to the traditions and customs of the craft, together with the regulations for its government, and were required to be read to apprentices long after the peculiar rules ceased to be acted upon, each lodge apparently having one or more copies kept for the purpose. The old Lodge of Aberdeen ordered in 1670 that the Charge was to be “read at ye entering of everie entered prenteise'; another at Alnwick in 1701 provided– “Noe Mason shall take any apprentice (but he must] Enter him and give him his Charge, within one whole year after "; ... " The service rendered by Dr W. Begemann (Germany) in his "Attempt to Classify the Old Charges of the British Masons.” (vol. 1 Trans. of the Quatuor Coronati £ , London) has been ver reat, and the researches of the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford and G. W. peth have also been of the utmost consequence.
and still another at Swallwell (now No. 48 Gateshead) demanded that “the Apprentices shall have their Charge given at the time of Registering, or within thirty days after"; the minutes inserting such entries accordingly even so late as 1754, nearly twenty years after the lodge had cast in its lot with the Grand Lodge of England. Their Christian character is further emphasized by the “First Charge that you shall be true men to God and the holy Church”; the York MS. No. 6 beseeches the brethren “at every meeting and assembly they pray heartily for all Christians”; the Melrose M.S. No. 2 (1674) mentions “Merchants and all other Christian men,” and the Aberdeen M.S. (1670) terms the invocation “A Prayer before the Meeting.” Until the Grand Lodge era, Freemasonry was thus wholly Christian. The York MS. No. 4 of 1693 contains a singular error in the admonitory lines:— “The [n]one of the elders takeing the Booke and that hee or shee that is to be made mason, shall lay their hands thereon and the charge shall be given.' This particular reading was cited by Hughan in 1871, but was considered doubtful; Findel, however, confirmed it, on his visit to York under the guidance of the celebrated masonic student the late Rev. A. F. A. Woodford. The mistake was due possibly to the transcriber, who had an older roll before him, confusing “they,” sometimes written “the,” with “she,” or reading that portion, which is often in Latin, as ille vel illa, instead of ille vel illi. In some of the Codices, about the middle of the 17th century. and later, New Articles are inserted, such as would be suitable for an organization similar to the Masons' Company of London, which had one, at least, of the Old Charges in its possession according to inventories of 1665 and 1676; and likewise in 1722, termed The Book of the Constitutions of the Accepted Masons. Save its mention (“Book wrote on parchment”) by Sir Francis Palgrave in the Edinburgh Review (April 1839) as being in existence “not long since,” this valuable document has been lost sight of for many years. That there were signs and other secrets preserved and used by the brethren throughout this mainly operative period may be gathered from discreet references in these old MSS. The Institutions in parchment (22nd of November 1696) of the Dumfries Kilwinning Lodge (No. 53, Scotland) contain a copy of the oath taken “when any man should be made ":— “These Charges which we now reherse to you and all others ye secrets and misterys belonging to free masons you shall faithfully and truly keep, together with ye Counsell of ye assembly or lodge, or any other lodge, or brother, or fellow.” “Then after ye oath taken and the book kissed” (i.e. the Bible) the “precepts” are read, the first being:— “You shall be true men to God and his holy Church, and that you do not countenance or maintaine any eror, faction, schism or herisey, in ye church to ye best of your understanding.” (History of No. 53, by James sm#3 The Grand Lodge MS. No. 2 provides that “You shall keepe secret ye obscure and intricate pts of ye science, not disclosinge them to any but such as study and use ye same.” The Harleian MS. No. 2054 (Brit. Mus.) is still more explicit, termed The free Masons Orders and Constitutions, and is in the handwriting of Randle Holme (author of the Academie of Armory, 1688), who was a member of a lodge in Cheshire. Following the MS. Constitutions, in the same handwriting, about 1650, is a scrap of paper with the obligation:“There is sevrall words and signes of a free Mason to be revailed to yu, wch as yu will answr. before God at the Great and terrible day of judgmt. yu keep secret and not to revaile the sanne to # in the heares of any p’son, but to the Mrs and fellows of the Society of Free Masons, so helpe me God, &c." W. H. Rylands, Mas. Mag., 1882.) * Findel claims that his Treatise on the society was the cause which "first impelled England to the study of masonic history and ushered in the intellectual movement which resulted in the writings of Bros. Hughan, Lyon, Gould and others.” Great credit was due to the late German author for his important work, but before, its advent the Rev. A. F.A. Woodford, D. Murray Lyon
# others in Great Britain were diligent masonic students on similar ines.
organizations. This precious document was only discovered in 1871, having been missing for a long time, thus doubtless accounting for the erroneous representations met with, not having the correct blazon to follow. The oldest masonic motto known is “God is our Guide” on Kerwin's tomb in St Helen's church, Bishopgate, of 1594; that of “In the Lord is all our trust.” not being traced until the next century. Supporters consisting of two doric columns are mentioned in 1688 by Randle Holme, but the Grand Lodge of England in the following century used Beavers as operative builders. Its first motto was “In the beginning was the Word” (in Greek), exchanged a few years onward for “Relief and Truth,” the rival Grand Lodge (Atholl Masons) selecting “Holiness to the Lord” (in Hebrew), and the final selection at the “Union of December 1813" being Audi Wide Tace. Mr Conder's discovery of a lodge of “Accepted Masons "being held under the wing of the Company was a great surprise, dating as the records do from 1620 to 1621 (the earliest of the kind yet traced in England), when seven were made masons, all of whom were free of the Company before, three being of the Livery; the entry commencing “Att the making masons.” The meetings were entitled the “Acception,” and the members of the lodge were called Accepted Masons, being those so accepted and initiated, the term never otherwise being met with in the Records. An additional fee had to be paid by a member of the Company to join the “Acception,” and any not belonging thereto were mulct in twice the sum; though even then such “acceptance.” did not qualify for membership of the superior body; the fees for the “Acception ” being £1 and £2 respectively. In 1638– 1639, when Nicholas Stone entered the lodge (he was Master of the Company 1632-1633) the banquet cost a considerable sum, showing that the number of brethren present must have been large. Elias Ashmole (who according to his diary was “made a Free Mason of Warrington with Colonel Henry Mainwaring,” seven brethen being named as in attendance at the lodge, 16th of October 1646) states that he “received a summons to appear at a Lodge to be held next day at Masons' Hall, London.” Accordingly on the 11th of March 1682 he attended and saw six gentlemen “admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons,” of whom three only belonged to the Company; the Master, however, Mr Thomas Wise, the two wardens and six others being present on the occasion as members in their dual capacity. Ashmole adds: “We all dyned at the Halfe Moone Tavern in Cheapside at a noble dinner prepaired at the charge of the new-accepted Masons.” It is almost certain that there was not an operative mason present at the Lodge held in 1646, and at the one which met in 1682 there was a strong representation of the speculative branch. Before the year 1654 the Company was known as that of the Freemasons for some time, but after then the old title of Masons was reverted to, the terms “Acception” and “Accepted "belonging to the speculative Lodge, which, however, in all probability either became independent or ceased to work soon after 1682. It is very interesting to note that subsequently (but never before) the longer designation is met with of “Free and Accepted Masons,” and is thus a combination of operative and speculative usage. Mr Conder is of opinion that in the Records “there is no evidence of any particular ceremony attending the position of Master Mason, possibly it consisted of administering a different oath from the one taken by the apprentices on being entered.” There is much to favour this supposition, and it may provide the key to the vexata quaestio as to the plurality of degrees prior to the Grand Lodge era. The fellow-crafts were recruited from those apprentices who had served their time and had their essay (or sufficient trial of their skill) duly passed; they and the Masters, by the Schaw Statutes of 1598, being only admitted in the presence of “sex Maisteris and twa enterit prenteissis.” As a rule a master mason meant one who was master of his trade, i.e. duly qualified; but it sometimes described employers as distinct from journeymen Freemasons; being also a compliment con
ferred on honorary members during the 17th century in particular. In Dr Plot's History of Staffordshire (1686) is a remarkable account of the “Society of Freemasons,” which, being by an unfriendly critic, is all the more valuable. He states that the custom had spread “more or less all over the nation ”; persons of the most eminent quality did not disdain to enter the Fellowship; they had “a large parchment volum containing the History and Rules of the Craft of Masonry’; St Amphibal, St Alban, King Athelstan and Edwin are mentioned, and these “charges and manners” were “after perusal approved by King Hen. 6 and his council, both as to Masters and Fellows of this right Worshipfull craft.” It is but fair to add that notwithstanding the service he rendered the Society by his lengthy description, that credulous historian remarks of its history that there is nothing he ever “met with more false or incoherent.” The author of the Academie of Armory, previously noted, knew better what he was writing about in that work of 1688 in which he declares: “I cannot but Honor the Fellowship of the Masons because of its Antiquity; and the more, as being a member of that Society, called Frce Masons” Mr Rylands states that in Harl. MS. 5955 is a collection of the engraved plates for a second volume of this important work, one being devoted to the Arms of the Society, the columns, as supporters, having globes thereon, from which possibly are derived the two pillars, with such ornaments or additions seen in lodge rooms at a later period. In the same year “A Tripos or Speech delivered at a commencement in the University of Dublin held there July 11, 1688, by John Jones, then A.B., afterwards D.D.,” contained “notable evidence concerning Freemasonry in Dublin.” The Tripos was included in Sir Walter Scott's edition of Dean Swift's works (1814), but as Dr Chetwode Crawley points out, though noticed by the Rev. Dr George Oliver (the voluminous Masonic author), he failed to realize its historical importance. The satirical and withal amusing speech was partly translated from the Latin by Dr Crawley for his scholarly introduction to the Masonic Reprints, &c., by Henry Sadler. “The point seems to be that Ridley (reputed to have been an informer against priests under the barbarous penal laws) was, or ought to have been, hanged; that his carcase, anatomized and stuffed, stood in the library; and that frath scoundrellus discovered on his remains the Freemasons' Mark.” The importance of the references to the craft in Ireland is simply owing to the year in which they were made, as illustrative of the influence of the Society at that time, of which records are lacking. It is primarily to Scotland, however, that we have to look for such numerous particulars of the activity of the fraternity from 1599 to the establishment of its Grand Lodge in 1736, for an excellent account of which we are indebted to Lyon, the Scottish masonic historian. As early as 16oo (8th of June) the attendance of John Boswell, Esq., the laird of Auchinleck, is entered in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh; he attested the record and added his mark, as did the other members; so it was not his first appearance. Many noblemen and other gentlemen joined this ancient atelier, notably Lord Alexander, Sir Anthony Alexander and Sir Alexander Strachan in 1634, the king's Master of Work (Herrie Alexander) in 1638, General Alexander Hamilton in 1640, Dr Hamilton in 1647, and many other prominent and distinguished men later, “James Neilsone, Master Sklaitter to His Majestie,” who was “entered and past in the Lodge of Linlithgow, being elected a joining member,” 2nd March 1654. Quarter-Master General Robert Moray (or Murray) was initiated by members of the Lodge of Edinburgh, at Newcastle on the 20th of May 1641, while the Scottish army was in occupation. On due report to their Alma Mater such reception was allowed, the occurrence having been considered the first of its kind in England until the ancient Records of the Masons' Company were published. The minute-books of a number of Scottish Lodges, which are still on the register, go back to the 17th century, and abundantly confirm the frequent admission of speculatives as members and officers, especially those of the venerable “Mother Lodge
Lodge of all England” was its modest title), and was flourishing for years, receiving into their company many county men of great influence. Some twenty years later there was a brief period of somnolence, but in 1761 a revival took place, with Francis Drake, the historian, as Grand Master, ten lodges being chartered in Yorkshire, Cheshire and Lancashire, 1762-1790, and a Grand Lodge of England, south of the Trent, in 1779, at London, which warranted two lodges. Before the century ended all these collapsed or joined the Grand Lodge of England, so there was not a single representative of “York Masonry "left on the advent of the next century. The premier Grand Lodge of England soon began to constitute new Lodges in the metropolis, and to reconstitute old ones that applied for recognition, one of the earliest of 1720-1721 being still on the Roll as No. 6, thus having kept company ever since with the three “time immemorial Lodges,” Nos. 2, 4 and 12. Applications for constitution kept coming in, the provinces being represented from 1723 to 1724, before which time it is likely the Grand Lodge of Ireland" had been started, about which the most valuable Caementaria Hibernica by Dr Chetwode Crawley may be consulted with absolute confidence. Provincial Grand Lodges were formed to ease the authorities at headquarters, and, as the society spread, also for the Continent, and gradually throughout the civilized globe. Owing to the custom prevailing before the 18th century, a few brethren were competent to form lodges on their own initiative anywhere, and hence the registers of the British Grand Lodges are not always indicative of the first appearance of the craft abroad. In North America” lodges were held before what is known as the first “regular” lodge was formed at Boston, Mass., in 1733, and probably in Canada.” likewise. The same remark applies to Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and other countries. Of the many scores of military lodges, the first warrant was granted by Ireland in 1732. To no other body of Freemasons has the craft been so indebted for its prosperity in early days as to their military brethren. There were rivals to the Grand Lodge of England during the 18th century, one of considerable magnitude being known as the Ancients or Atholl Masons, formed in 1751, but in December 1813 a junction was effected, and from that time the prosperity of the United Grand Lodge of England, with few exceptions, has been extraordinary. Nothing but a volume to itself could possibly describe the main features of the English Craft from 1717, when Anthony Sayer was elected the first Grand Master of a brilliant galaxy of rulers. The first nobleman to undertake that office was the duke of Montagu in 1721, the natural philosopher J. T. Desaguliers being his immediate predecessor, who has been credited (and also the Rev. James Anderson) with the honour of starting the premier Grand Lodge; but like the fable of Sir Christopher Wren having been Grand Master, evidence is entirely lacking. Irish and Scottish peers share with those of England the distinction of presiding over the Grand Lodge, and from 1782 to 1813 their Royal Highnesses the duke of Cumberland, the prince of Wales, or the duke of Sussex occupied the masonic throne. From 1753 to 1813 the rival Grand Lodge had been busy, but ultimately a desire for a united body prevailed, and under the “ancient’’ Grand Master, H.R.H. the duke of Kent, it was decided to amalgamate with the original ruling organization, H.R.H. the duke of Sussex becoming the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge. On the decease of the prince in 1843 the earl of Zetland succeeded, followed by the marquess of Ripon in 1874, on whose resignation H.R.H. the prince of Wales became the Grand Master. Soon after succeeding to the throne, * The celebrated “Lady Freemason,” the Hon. Mrs Aldworth (née Miss St Leger, daughter of Lord Doneraile), was initiated in Ireland, but at a much earlier date than popularly supposed; certainly not later than 1713, when the venturesome lady was twenty. All early accounts of the occurrence must be received with caution, as there are no contemporary records of the event. * History of Freemasonry, by Dr A. G. Mackey (New York, 1898), and the #: of the # Publishing Company, Boston, Mass., give very full particulars as to the United States. *See History of Freemasonry in Canada (Toronto, 1899), by J. Ross Robertson.
King Edward VII. ceased to govern the English craft, and was succeeded by H.R.H. the duke of Connaught. From 1737 to 1907 some sixteen English princes of the royal blood joined the brotherhood. From 1723 to 1813 the number of lodges enrolled in England amounted to 1626, and from 1814 to the end of December 1909 as many as 3352 were warranted, making a grand total of 4978, of which the last then granted was numbered 3185. There were in 1909 still 2876 on the register, notwithstanding the many vacancies created by the foundation of new Grand Lodges in the colonies and clsewhere. Distribution and Organization.—The advantage of the cosmopolitan basis of the fraternity generally (though some Grand Lodges still preserve the original Christian foundation) has been conspicuously manifested and appreciated in India and other countries where the votaries of numerous religious systems congregate; but the unalterable basis of a belief in the Great Architect of the Universe remains, for without such a recognition there can be no Freemasonry, and it is now, as it always has been, entirely free from party politics. The charities of the Society in England, Ireland and Scotland are extensive and well organized, their united cost per day not being less than £500, and with those of other Grand Lodges throughout the world must amount to a very large sum, there being over two millions of Freemasons. The vast increase of late years, both of lodges and members, however, calls for renewed vigilance and extra care in sclecting candidates, that numbers may not be a source of weakness instead of strength. In its internal organization, the working of Freemasonry involves an elaborate system of symbolic ritual,” as carried out at meetings of the various lodges, uniformity as to essentials being the rule. The members are classified in numerous degrees, of which the first three are “Entered Apprentice,” “Fellow Craft” and “Master Mason,” each class of which, after initiation, can only be attained after passing a prescribed ordeal or examination, as a test of proficiency, corresponding to the “essays” of the operative period. The lodges have their own by-laws for guidance, subject to the Book of Constitutions of their Grand Lodge, and the regulations of the provincial or district Grand Lodge if located in counties or held abroad. It is to be regretted that on the continent of Europe Freemasonry has sometimes developed on different lines from that of the “Mother Grand Lodge” and Anglo-Saxon Grand Lodges generally, and through its political and anti-religious tendencies has come into contact or conflict with the state authorities* or the Roman Catholic church. The “Grand Orient of France" (but not the Supreme Council 33°, and its Grand Lodge) is an example of this retrograde movement, by its elimination of the paragraph referring to a belief in the “Great Architect of the Universe” from its Statuts ct réglements généraux. This deplorable action has led to the withdrawal of all regular Grand Lodges from association with that body, and such separation must continue until a return is made to the ancient and inviolable landmark of the society, which makes it impossible for an atheist either to join or continue a member of the fraternity. The Grand Lodge of England constituted its first lodge in Paris in the year 1732, but onc was formed still earlier on the continent at Gibraltar 1728–1729. Others were also opened in Germany 1733, Portugal 1735, Holland 1735, Switzerland 1740, Denmark 1745, Italy 1763, Belgium 1765, Russia 1771, and * The Masonic Records 1717–1894, by John Lane, and the excellent Masonic Yearbook, published annually by the Grand Lodge, of England, are the two standard works on Lodge enumeration, localization and nomenclature. For particulars of the Grand Lodge and especially that of England, Gould's History is most uscful an trustworthy; and for an original contribution to the history of the rival Grand Lodge or Atholl Masons, Sadler's Masonic Facts and "#" wasm of Maio wie is a d ill tar system o orality, Vc 1n o and Iliustrated £ (old definition '. # ry *The British House of Commons in 1799 and 1817, in acts of parliament, specifically recognized the laudable character of the society and provided for its continuance on definite lines.