Chapter 5 – Secret Societies and Subversive Movements

ORIGINS OF FREEMASONRY

” THE origin of Freemasonry,” says a masonic writer of the eighteenth century, ” is known to Freemasons alone.”(1) If this was once the case, it is so no longer, for, although the question would certainly appear to be one on which the initiated should be most qualified to speak, the fact is that no official theory on the origin of Freemasonry exists ; the great mass of the Freemasons do not know or care to know anything about the history of their Order, whilst Masonic authorities are entirely disagreed on the matter. Dr. Mackey admits that ” the origin and source whence first sprang the institution of Freemasonry has given rise to more difference of opinion and discussion among masonic scholars than any other topic in the literature of the institution.”(2) Nor is this ignorance maintained merely in books for the general public, since in those specially addressed to the Craft and at discussions in lodges the same diversity of opinion prevails, and no decisive conclusions appear to be reached. Thus Mr. Albert Churchward, a Freemason of the thirtieth degree, who deplores the small amount of interest taken in his matter by Masons in general, observes :

Hitherto there have been so many contradictory opinions and theories in the attempt to supply the origin and the reason whence, where, and why the Brotherhood of Freemasonry came into existence, and all the ” different parts ” and various rituals of the ” different degrees.” All that has been written on this has hitherto been theories, without any facts for their foundation.(3)
In the absence, therefore, of any origin universally recognized by the Craft, it is surely open to the lay mind to speculate on the matter and to draw conclusions from history as to which of the many explanations put forward seems to supply the key to the mystery.

According to the Royal Masonic Cyclopodia, no less than twelve theories have been advanced as to the origins of the Order, namely, that Masonry derived :

” (1) From the patriarchs. (2) From the mysteries of the pagans. (3) From the construction of Solomon’s Temple. (4) From the Crusades. (5) From the Knights Templar. (6) From the Roman Collegia of Artificers. (7) From the operative masons of the middle ages. (8) From the Rosicrucians of the sixteenth century. (9) From Oliver Cromwell. (10) From Prince Charles Stuart for political purposes. (11) From Sir Christopher Wren, at the building of St. Paul’s. (12) From Dr. Desaguliers and his friends in 1717.”
This enumeration is, however, misleading, for it implies that in one of these various theories the true origin of Freemasonry may be found. In reality modern Freemasonry is a dual system, a blend of two distinct traditions–of operative masonry, that is to say the actual art of building, and of speculative theory on the great truths of life and death. As a well-known Freemason, the Count Goblet d’Alviella, has expressed it : ” Speculative Masonry” (that is to say, the dual system we now know as Freemasonry) ” is the legitimate offspring of a fruitful union between the professional guild of medival Masons and of a secret group of philosophical Adepts, the first having furnished the form and the second the spirit.”(4) In studying the origins of the present system we have therefore (1) to examine separately the history of each of these two traditions, and (2) to discover their point of junction.

 

OPERATIVE MASONRY

Beginning with the first of these two traditions, we find that guilds of working masons existed in very ancient times. Without going back as far as ancient Egypt or Greece, which would be beyond the scope of the present work, the course of these associations may be traced throughout the history of Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian era. According to certain masonic writers, the Druids originally came from Egypt and brought with them traditions relating to the art of building. The Culdees, who later on established schools and colleges in this country for the teaching of arts, sciences, and handicrafts, are said to have derived from the Druids.

But a more probable source of inspiration in the art of building are the Romans, who established the famous Collegia of architects referred to in the list of alternative theories given in the Masonic Cyclopodia. Advocates of the Roman Collegia origin of Freemasonry may be right as far as operative masonry is concerned, for it is to the period following on the Roman occupation of Britain that our masonic guilds can with the greatest degree of certainty be traced. Owing to the importance the art of building now acquired it is said that many distinguished men, such as St. Alban, King Alfred, King Edwin, and King Athelstan were numbered amongst its partons,(5) so that in time the guilds came to occupy the position of privileged bodies and were known as ” free corporations”; further that York was the first masonic centre in England, largely under the control of the Culdees, who at the same period exercised much influence over the Masonic Collegia in Scotland, at Kilwinning, Melrose, and Aberdeen.(6)

But it must be remembered that all this is speculation. No documentary evidence has ever been produced to prove the existence of masonic guilds before the famous York charter of A.D. 926, and even the date of this document is doubtful. Only with the period of Gothic architecture do we reach firm ground. That guilds of working masons known in France as ” compagnonnages” and in Germany as ” Steinmetzen ” did then form close corporations and possibly possess secrets connected with their profession is more than probable. That in consequence of their skill in building the magnificent cathedrals of this period they now came to occupy a privileged position seems fairly certain.

The Abbé Grandidier, writing from Strasbourg in 1778, traces the whole system of Freemasonry from these German guilds : ” This much-vaunted Society of Freemasons is nothing but a servile imitation of an ancient and useful confrérie of real masons whose headquarters was formerly at Strasbourg and of which the constitution was confirmed by the Emperor Maximilian in 1498.(7)

As far as it is possible to discover from the scanty documentary evidence the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries provide, the same privileges appear to have been accorded to the guilds of working masons in England and Scotland, which, although presided over by powerful nobles an apparently on occasion admitting members from outside the Craft, remained essentially operative bodies. Nevertheless we find the assemblies of Masons suppressed by Act of Parliament in the beginning of the reign of Henry VI, and later on an armed force sent by Queen Elizabeth to break up the Annual Grand Lodge at York. It is possible that the fraternity merely by the secrecy with which it was surrounded excited the suspicions of authority, for nothing could be more law-abiding than its published statutes. Masons were to be ” true men to God and the Holy Church,” also to the masters that they served. They were to be honest in their manner of life and ” to do no villainy whereby the Craft or the Science may be slandered.”(8)

Yet the seventeenth-century writer Plot, in his Natural History of Staffordshire, expresses some suspicion with regard to the secrets of Freemasonry. That these could not be merely trade secrets relating to the art of building, but that already some speculative element had been introduced to the lodges, seems the more probable from the fact that by the middle of the seventeenth century not only noble patrons headed the Craft, but ordinary gentlemen entirely unconnected with building were received into the fraternity. The well-known entry in the diary of Elias Ashmole under the date of October 16, 1646, clearly proves this fact : ” I was made a Freemason at Warrington in Lancashire with Col. Henry Mainwaring of Karticham [?] in Cheshire. The names of those that were then of the Lodge, Mr. Rick. Penket, Warden, Mr. James Collier, Mr. Rich. Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam Rich. Ellam and Hugh Brewer.” (9) ” It is now ascertained,” says Yarker, ” that the majority of the members present were not operative masons.”(10)

Again, in 1682 Ashmole relates that he attended a meeting held at Mason Hall in London, where with a number of other gentlemen he was admitted into ” the Fellowship of the Freemasons,” that is to say, into the second degree. We have then clear proof that already in the seventeenth century Freemasonry had ceased to be an association composed exclusively of men concerned with building, although eminent architects ranked high in the Order ; Inigo Jones is said to have been Grand Master under James I, and Sir Christopher Wren to have occupied the same position from about 1685 to 1702. But it was not until 1703 that the Lodge of St. Paul in London officially announced ” that the privileges of Masonry should no longer be restricted to operative Masons, but extended to men of various professions, provided they were regularly approved and initiated into the Order.”(11)

This was followed in 1717 by the great coup d’état when Grand Lodge was founded, and Speculative Masonry, which we now know as Freemasonry, was established on a settled basis with a ritual, rules, and constitution drawn up in due form. It is at this important date that the official history of Freemasonry begins.

But before pursuing the course of the Order through what is known as the ” Grand Lodge Era,” it is necessary to go back and enquire into the origins of the philosophy that was now combined with the system of operative masonry. This is the point on which opinions are divided and to which the various theories summarized in the Masonic Cyclopodia relate. Let us examine each of these in turn.

 

SPECULATIVE MASONRY

According to certain sceptics concerning the mysteries of Freemasonry, the system inaugurated in 1717 had no existence before that date, but ” was devised, promulgated, and palmed upon the world by Dr. Desaguliers, Dr. Anderson, and others, who then founded the Grand Lodge of England.” Mr. Paton, in an admirable little pamphlet(12) has shown the futility of this contention and also the injustice of representing the founders of Grand Lodge as perpetrating so gross a deception.

This 1717 theory ascribes to men of the highest character the invention of a system of mere imposture. . . . It was brought forward with pretensions which its framers knew to be false pretensions of high antiquity ; whereas . . . it had newly been invented in their studies. Is this likely ? Or is it reasonable to ascribe such conduct to honourable men, without even assigning a probable motive for it ?

We have indeed only to study masonic ritual–which open to everyone to read–in order to arrive at the same conclusion, that there could be no motive for this imposture and further that these two clergymen cannot be supposed have evolved the whole thing out of their heads. Obviously some movement of a kindred nature must have led up to this crisis. And since Elias Ashmole’s diary clearly proves that a ceremony of masonic initiation had existed in the preceding century, it is surely only reasonable to conclude that Dr. Anderson and Desaguliers revised but did not originate the ritual and constitutions drawn up by them.

Now, although the ritual of Freemasonry is couched in modern and by no means classical English, the ideas running through it certainly bear traces of extreme antiquity. The central idea of Freemasonry concerning a loss which has befallen man and the hope of its ultimate recovery is in fact no other than the ancient secret tradition described in the first chapter of this book. Certain masonic writers indeed ascribe to Freemasonry precisely the same genealogy as that of the early Cabala, declaring that it descended from Adam and the first patriarchs of the human race, and thence through groups of Wise Men amongst the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Persians, and Greeks.(13) Mr. Albert Churchward insists particularly on the Egyptian origin of the speculative element in Freemasonry : ” Brother Gould and other Freemasons will never understand the meaning and origin of our sacred tenets till they have studied and unlocked the mysteries of the past.” This study will then reveal the fact that ” the Druids, the Gymnosophists of India, the Magi of Persia, and the Chaldeans of Assyria had all the same religious rites and ceremonies as practised by their priests who were initiated to their Order, and that these were solemnly sworn to keep the doctrines a profound secret from the rest of mankind. All these flowed from one source–Egypt.”(14)

Churchward further quotes the speech of the Rev. Dr. William Dodd at the opening of a masonic temple in 1794, who traced Freemasonry from ” the first astronomers on the plains of Chaldea, the wise and mystic kings and priests of Egypt, the sages of Greece and philosophers of Rome,” etc.(15)

But how did these traditions descend to the masons of the West ? According to a large body of masonic opinion in this country which recognizes only a single source of inspiration to the system we now know as Freemasonry, the speculative as well as the operative traditions of the Order descended from the building guilds and were imported to England by means of the Roman Collegia. Mr. Churchward, however, strongly dissents from this view :

In the new and revised edition of the Perfect Ceremonies according to our E. working, a theory is given that Freemasonry originated from certain guilds of workmen which are well known in history as the ” Roman College of Artificers.” There is no foundation of fact for such a theory. Freemasonry is now, and always was, an Eschatology, as may be proved by the whole of our signs, symbols, and words, and our rituals.(16)
But what Mr. Churchward fails to explain is how this eschatology reached the working masons, moreover why, if, as he asserts, it derived from Egypt, Assyria, India, and Persia, Freemasonry no longer bears the stamp of these countries. For although vestiges of Sabeism may be found in the decoration of the lodges, and brief references to the mysteries of Egypt and Phoenicia, to the secret teaching of Pythagoras, to Euclid, and to Plato in the Ritual and instructions of the Craft degrees–nevertheless the form in which the ancient tradition is clothed, the phraseology and pass-words employed, are neither Egyptian, Chaldean, Greek, nor Persian, but Judaic. Thus although some portion of the ancient secret tradition may have penetrated to Great Britain through the Druids or the Romans–versed in the lore of Greece and Egypt–another channel for its introduction was clearly the Cabala of the Jews. Certain masonic writers recognize this double tradition, the one descending from Egypt, Chaldea, and Greece, the other from the Israelites, and assert that it is from the latter source their system is derived.(17) For after tracing its origin from Adam, Noah, Enoch, and Abraham, they proceed to show its line of descent through Moses, David, and Solomon (18) –descent from Solomon is in fact officially recognized by the Craft and forms a part of the instructions to candidates for initiation into the first degree. But, as we have already seen, this is the precise genealogy attributed to the Cabala by the Jews. Moreover, modern Freemasonry is entirely built up on the Solomonic, or rather the Hiramic legend. For the sake of readers unfamiliar with the ritual of Freemasonry a brief résumé of this ” Grand Legend” must be given here.

Solomon, when building the Temple, employed the services of a certain artificer in brass, named Hiram, the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphthali, who was sent to him by Hiram, King of Tyre. So much we know from the Book of Kings, but the masonic legend goes on to relate that Hiram the widow’s son, referred to as Hiram Abiff, and described as the master-builder met with an untimely end. For the purpose of preserving order the masons working on the Temple were divided into three classes, Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts, and Master Masons, the first two distinguished by different pass-words and grips and paid at different rates of wages, the last consisting only of three persons–Solomon himself, Hiram King of Tyre, who had provided him with wood and precious stones and Hiram Abiff. Now, before the completion of the Temple fifteen of the Fellow Crafts conspired together to find out the secrets of the Master Masons and resolved to waylay Hiram Abiff at the door of the Temple.

At the last moment twelve of the fifteen drew back, but the remaining three carried out the fell design, and after threatening Hiram in vain in order to obtain the secrets, killed him with three blows on the head, delivered by each in turn. They then conveyed the body away to some distance from Jerusalem and buried it on Mount Moriah. Solomon, informed of the disappearance of the master-builder, sent out fifteen Fellow Crafts to seek for him ; five of these, having arrived at the mountain, noticed a place where the earth had been disturbed and there discovered the body of Hiram. Leaving a branch of acacia to mark the spot, they returned with their story to Solomon, who ordered them to go and exhume the body–an order that was immediately carried out.
The murder and exhumation, or ” raising,” of Hiram, accompanied by extraordinary lamentations, form the climax of Craft Masonry ; and when it is remembered that in all probability no such tragedy ever took place, that possibly no one known as Hiram Abiff ever existed,(19) the whole story can only be regarded as the survival of some ancient cult relating not to an actual event, but to an esoteric doctrine. A legend and a ceremony of this kind is indeed to be found in many earlier mythologies ; the story of the murder of Hiram had been foreshadowed by the Egyptian legend of the murder of Osiris and the quest for his body by Isis, whilst the lamentations around the tomb of Hiram had a counterpart in the mourning ceremonies for Osiris and Adonis–both, like Hiram, subsequently ” raised “–and later on in that which took place around the catafalque of Manes, who, like Hiram, was barbarously put to death and is said to have been known to the Manicheans as ” the son of the widow.” But in the form given to it by Freemasonry the legend is purely Judaic, and would therefore appear to have derived from the Judaic version of the ancient tradition. The pillars of the Temple, Jachin and Boaz, which play so important a part in Craft Masonry, are symbols which occur in the Jewish Cabala, where they are described as two of the ten Sephiroths.(20) A writer of the eighteenth century, referring to ” fyve curiosities ” he has discovered in Scotland, describes one as–

The Mason word, which tho’ some make a Misterie of it, I will not conceal a little of what I know. It is lyke a Rabbinical Tradition in way of Comment on Jachin and Boaz, the Two Pillars erected in Solomon’s Temple with ane Addition delyvered from Hand to Hand, by which they know and become familiar one with another.
This is precisely the system by which the Cabala was handed down amongst the Jews. The Jewish Encyclopodia lends colour to the theory of Cabalistic transmission by suggesting that the story of Hiram ” may possibly trace back to the Rabbinic legend concerning the Temple of Solomon,” that ” while all the workmen were killed so that they should not build another temple devoted to idolatry, Hiram himself was raised to Heaven like Enoch.”(21)

How did this Rabbinic legend find its way into Freemasonry ? Advocates of the Roman Collegia theory explain it in the following manner.

After the building of the Temple of Solomon the masons who had been engaged in the work were dispersed and a number made their way to Europe, some to Marseilles, some perhaps to Rome, where they may have introduced Judaic legends to the Collegia, which then passed on to the Comacini Masters of the seventh century and from these to the medival working guilds of England, France, and Germany. It is said that during the Middle Ages a story concerning the Temple of Solomon was current amongst the compagnonnages of France. In one of these groups, known as ” the children of Solomon,” the legend of Hiram appears to have existed much in its present form ; according to another group the victim of the murder was not Hiram Abiff, but one of his companions named Maître Jacques, who, whilst engaged with Hiram on the construction of the Temple, met his death at the hands of five wicked Fellow Crafts, instigated by a sixth, the Pre Soubise.(22)
But the date at which this legend originated is unknown. Clavel thinks that the ” Hebraic mysteries existed as early as the Roman Collegia, which he describes as largely Judaised (23) ; Yarker expresses precisely the opposite view : ” It is not so difficult to connect Freemasonry with the Collegia ; the difficulty lies in attributing Jewish traditions to the Collegia, and we say on the evidence of the oldest charges that such traditions had no existence in Saxon times.” (24) Again : ” So far as this country is concerned, we know nothing from documents of a Masonry dating from Solomon’s Temple until after the Crusades, when the constitution believed to have been sanctioned by King Athelstan gradually underwent a change.” (25) In a discussion which took place recently at the Quatuor Coronati Lodge the Hiramic legend could only be traced back–and then without absolute certainty–to the fourteenth century, which would coincide with the date indicated by Yarker.(26)

Up to this period the lore of the masonic guilds appears to have contained only the exoteric doctrines of Egypt and Greece–which may have reached them through the Roman Collegia, whilst the traditions of Masonry are traced from Adam, Jabal, Tubal Cain, from Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, with Hermes and Pythagoras as their more immediate progenitors.(27) These doctrines were evidently in the main geometrical or technical, and in no sense Cabalistic. There is therefore some justification for Eckert’s statement that ” the Judeo-Christian mysteries were not yet introduced into the masonic corporations ; nowhere can we find the least trace of them. Nowhere do we find any classification, not even that of masters, fellow crafts, and apprentices. We observe no symbol of the Temple of Solomon ; all their symbolism relates to masonic labours and to a few philosophical maxims of morality.” (28) The date at which Eckert, like Yarker, places the introduction of these Judaic elements is the time of the Crusades.

But whilst recognizing that modern Craft Masonry is largely founded on the Cabala, it is necessary to distinguish between the different Cabalas. For by this date no less than three Cabalas appear to have existed : firstly, the ancient secret tradition of the patriarchs handed down from the Egyptians through the Greeks and Romans, and possibly through the Roman Collegia to the Craft Masons of Britain ; secondly, the Jewish version of this tradition, the first Cabal of the Jews, in no way incompatible with Christianity, descending from Moses, David, and Solomon to the Essenes and the more enlightened Jews ; and thirdly, the perverted Cabala, mingled by the Rabbis with magic, barbaric superstitions, and–after the death of Christ–with anti-Christian legends.

Whatever Cabalistic elements were introduced into Craft Masonry at the time of the Crusades appear to have belonged to the second of these traditions, the unperverted Cabala of the Jews, known to the Essenes. There are, in fact, striking resemblances between Freemasonry and Essenism–degrees of initiation, oaths of secrecy, the wearing of the apron, and certain masonic sign ; whilst to the Sabeist traditions of the Essenes may perhaps be traced the solar and stellar symbolism of the lodges.(29) The Hiramic legend may have belonged to the same tradition.

 

THE TEMPLAR TRADITION

If then no documentary evidence can be brought forward to show that either the Solomonic legend or any traces of Judaic symbolism and traditions existed either in the monuments of the period or in the ritual of the masons before the fourteenth century, it is surely reasonable to recognize the plausibility of the contention put forward by a great number of masonic writers–particularly on the Continent–that the Judaic elements penetrated into Masonry by means of the Templars.(30) The Templars, as we have already seen, had taken their name from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. What then more likely than that during the time they had lived there they had learnt the Rabbinical legends connected with the Temple ? According to George Sand, who was deeply versed in the history of secret societies, the Hiramic legend was adopted by the Templars as symbolic of the destruction of their Order. ” They wept over their impotence in the person of Hiram. The word lost and recovered is their empire. . . .”(31) The Freemason Ragon likewise declares that the catastrophe they lamented was the catastrophe that destroyed their Order.(32) Further, the Grand Master whose fate they deplored was Jacques du Molay. Here then we have two bodies in France at the same period, the Templar and the compagnonnages, both possessing a legend concerning the Temple of Solomon and both mourning a Maître Jacques who had been barbarously put to death. If we accept the possibility that the Hiramic legend existed amongst the masons before the Crusades, how are we to explain this extraordinary coincidence ? It is certainly easier to believe that the Judaic traditions were introduced to the masons by the Templars and grafted on to the ancient lore that the masonic guilds had inherited from the Roman Collegia.

That some connexion existed between the Templars and the working masons is indicated by the new influence that entered into building at this period. A modern Freemason comparing ” the beautifully designed and deep-cut marks of the true Gothic period, say circa 1150-1350,” with ” the careless and roughly executed marks, many of them mere scratches, of later periods,” points out that ” the Knights Templars rose and fell with that wonderful development of architecture.” The same writer goes on to show that some of the most important masonic symbols, the equilateral triangle and the Mason’s square surmounting two pillars, came through from Gothic times.(33) Yarker asserts that the level, the flaming star, and the Tau cross, which have since passed into the symbolism of Freemasonry may be traced to the Knights Templar, as also the five-pointed star in Salisbury Cathedral, the double triangle in Westminster Abbey, Jachin and Boaz, the circle and the pentagon in the masonry of the fourteen century. Yarker cites later, in 1556, the eye and crescent moon, the three stars and the ladder of five steps, as further evidences of Templar influence.(34) ” The Templars were large builders, and Jacques du Molay alleged the zeal of his Order in decorating churches in the process against him in 1310 ; hence the alleged connexion of Templary and Freemasonry is bund to have a substratum of truth.”(35)

Moreover, according to a masonic tradition, an alliance definitely took place between the Templars and the masonic guilds at this period. During the proceedings taken against the Order of the Temple in France it is said that Pierre d’Aumont and seven other Knights escaped to Scotland in the guise of working masons and landed in the Island of Mull. On St. John’s Day, 1307, they held their first chapter. Robert Bruce then took them under his protection, and seven years later they fought under his standard at Bannockburn against Edward II, who had suppressed their Order in England. After this battle, which took place on St. John the Baptist’s Day in summer (June 24), Robert Bruce is said to have instituted the Royal Order of H.R.M. (Heredom) and Knights of R.S.Y.C.S. (Rosy Cross).(36) These two degrees now constitute the Royal Order of Scotland, and it seems not improbable that in reality they were brought to Scotland by the Templars. Thus, according to one of the early writers on Freemasonry, the degree of the Rose-Croix originated with the Templars in Palestine as early as 1188 (37) ; whilst the Eastern origin of the word Heredom, supposed to derive from a mythical mount on an island south of the Hebrides(38) where the Culdees practised their rites, is indicated by another eighteenth-century writer, who traces it to a Jewish source.(39) In this same year of 1314 Robert Bruce is said to have united the Templars and the Royal Order of H.R.M. with the guilds of working masons, who had also fought in his army, at the famous Lodge of Kilwinning, founded in 1286,(40) which now added to its name that of Heredom and became the chief seat of the Order.(41) Scotland was essentially a home of operative masonry and, in view of the Templar’s prowess in the art of building, what more natural than that the two bodies should enter into an alliance ? Already in England the Temple is said between 1155 and 1199 to have administered the Craft.(42) It is thus at Heredom of Kilwinning, ” the Holy House of Masonry “–” Mother Kilwinning,” as it is still known to Freemasons–that a speculative element of a fresh kind may have found its way into the lodges. Is it not here, then, that we may see that ” fruitful union between the professional guild of medival masons and a secret group of philosophical Adepts ” alluded to by Count Goblet d’Aviella and described by Mr. Waite in the following words :

The mystery of the building guilds–whatever it may be held to have been–was that of a simple, unpolished, pious, and utilitarian device ; and this daughter of Nature, in the absence of all intention on her own part, underwent, or was coerced into one of the strangest marriages which has been celebrated in occult history. It so happened that her particular form and figure lent itself to such a union, etc.(43) ?
Mr. Waite with his usual vagueness does not explain when and where this marriage took place, but the account would certainly apply to the alliance between the Templars and Scottish guilds of working masons, which, as we have seen, is admitted by masonic authorities, and presents exactly the conditions described, the Templars being peculiarly fitted by their initiation into the legend concerning the building of the Temple of Solomon to co-operate with the masons, and the masons being prepared by their partial initiation into ancient mysteries to receive the fresh influx of Eastern tradition from the Templars.

A further indication of the Templar influence in Craft Masonry is the system of degrees and initiations. The names of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason are said to have derived from Scotland,(44) and the analogy between these and the degrees of the Assassins has already been shown. Indeed, the resemblance between the outer organization of Freemasonry and the system of the Ismailis is shown by many writers. Thus Dr. Bussell observes : ” No doubt together with some knowledge of geometry regarded as an esoteric trade secret, many symbols to-day current did pass down from very primitive times. But a more certain model was the Grand Lodge of the Ismailis in Cairo”–that is to say the Dar-ul-Hikmat.(45) Syed Ameer Ali also expresses the opinion that ” Makrisi’s account of the different degrees of initiation adopted in this lodge forms an invaluable record of Freemasonry. In fact, the lodge at Cairo became the model of all the Lodges created afterwards in Christendom.”(46) Mr. Bernard Springett, a Freemason, quoting this passage, adds : ” In this last assertion I am myself greatly in agreement.”(47)

It is surely therefore legitimate to surmise that this system penetrated to Craft Masonry through the Templars, whose connexion with the Assassins–offshoot of the Dar-ul-Hikmat–was a matter of common knowledge.

The question of the Templar succession in Freemasonry form perhaps the most controversial point in the whole history of the Order, British Freemasons in the main rejecting it in favour of the Roman Collegia theory, Continental Masons more generally accepting it, and even glorying in it.(48) Mackey, in his Lexicon of Freemasonry, thus sums up the matter :

The connexion between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons has been repeatedly asserted by the enemies of both institution and has often been admitted by their friends. Lawrie, on the subject, holds the following language : ” We know that the Knights Templar not only possessed the mysteries but performed the ceremonies and inculcated the duties of Freemasons,” and he attributes the dissolution of the Order to the discovery of their being Freemasons and their assembling in secret to practise the rites of the Order.(49)
This explains why Freemasons have always shown indulgence to the Templars.

It was above all Freemasonry [says Findel], which–because it falsely held itself to be a daughter of Templarism–took the greatest pains to represent the Order of the Templars as innocent and therefore free from all mystery. For this purpose not only legends and unhistorical facts were brought forward, but manouvres were also resorted to in order to suppress the truth. The masonic reverers of the Temple Order bought up the whole edition of the Actes du Procès of Moldenhawer, because this showed the guilt of the Order ; only a few copies reached the booksellers. . . . Already several decades before . . . the Freemasons in their unhistorical efforts had been guilty of real forgery. Dupuy had published his History of the Trial of the Templars as early as 1654 in Paris, for which he had made use of the original of the Actes du Procès, according to which the guilt of the Order leaves no room for doubt. . . . But when in the middle of the eighteenth century several branches of Freemasonry wished to recall the Templar Order into being, the work of Dupuy was naturally very displeasing. It had already been current amongst the public for a hundred years, so it could no longer be bought ; therefore they falsified it.(50)
Accordingly in 1751 a reprint of Dupuy’s work appeared with the addition of a number of notes and remarks and mutilated in such a way as to prove not the guilt but the innocence of the Templars.

Now, although British Masonry has played no part in these intrigues, the question of the Templar succession has been very inadequately dealt with by the masonic writers of our country. As a rule they have adopted one of two courses–either they have persistently denied connexion with the Templars or they have represented them as a blameless and cruelly maligned Order. But in reality neither of these expedients is necessary to save the honour of British Masonry, for not even the bitterest enemy of Masonry has ever suggested that British masons have adopted any portion of the Templar heresy. The Knights who fled to Scotland may have been perfectly innocent of the charges brought against their Order ; indeed, there is good reason to believe this was the case. Thus the Manuel des Chevaliers de l’Ordre du Temple relates the incident in the following manner :

After the death of Jacques du Molay, some Scottish Templars having become apostates, at the instigation of Robert Bruce ranged themselves under the banners of a new Order (51) instituted by this prince and in which the receptions were based on those of the Order of the Temple. It is here that we must seek the origin of Scottish Masonry and even that of the other masonic rites. The Scottish Templars were excommunicated in 1324 by Larmenius, who declared them to be Templi desertores and the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, Domniorum Militio spoliatores, placed for ever outside the pale of the Temple : Extra girum Templi, nunc et in futurum, volo, dico et jubeo. A similar anathema has since been launched by several Grand Masters against Templars who were rebellious to legitimate authority. From the schism that was introduced into Scotland a number of sects took birth.(52)
This account forms a complete exoneration of the Scottish Templars ; as apostates from the bogus Christian Church and the doctrines of Johannism they showed themselves loyal to the true Church and to the Christian faith as formulated in the published statutes of their Order. What they appear, then to have introduced to Masonry were their manner of reception, that is to say their outer forms and organization, and possibly certain Eastern esoteric doctrines and Judaic legends concerning the building of the Temple of Solomon in no way incompatible with the teaching of Christianity.

It will be noticed, moreover, that in the ban passed by the Ordre du Temple on the Scottish Templars the Knights of St John of Jerusalem are also included. This is a further tribute to the orthodoxy of the Scottish Knights. For to the Knight of St. John of Jerusalem–to whom the Templar property was given–no suspicion of heresy had ever attached. After the suppression of the Order of the Temple in 1312 a number of the Knights joined themselves to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, by whom the Templar system appears to have been purged of its heretical elements. As we shall see later, the same process is said to have been carried out by the Royal Order of Scotland. All this suggests that the Templars had imported a secret doctrine from the East which was capable either of a Christian or an anti-Christian interpretation, that through their connexion with the Royal Order of Scotland and the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem this Christian interpretation was preserved, and finally that it was this pure doctrine which passed into Freemasonry. According to early masonic authorities, the adoption of the two St. Johns as the patron saints of Masonry arose, not from Johannism, but from the alliance between the Templars and the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.(53)

It is important to remember that the theory of the Templar connexion with Freemasonry was held by the Continental Freemasons of the eighteenth century, who, living at the time the Order was reconstituted on its present basis, were clearly in a better position to know its origins than we who are separated from that date by a distance of two hundred years. But since their testimony first comes to light at the period of the upper degrees, in which the Templar influence is more clearly visible than in Craft Masonry, it must be reserved for a later chapter. Before passing on to this further stage in the history of the Craft, it is necessary to consider one more link in the chain of the masonic tradition–the ” Holy Vehm.”

 

THE VEHMGERICHTS(54)

These dread tribunals, said to have been established by Charlemagne in 772(55) in Westphalia, their avowed object the establishment of law and order amidst the unsettled and even anarchic conditions that reigned in Germany. But by degrees the power arrogated to itself by the ” Holy Vehm ” became so formidable that succeeding emperors were unable to control its workings and found themselves forced to become initiates from motives of self-protection. During the twelfth century Vehmgerichts, by their continual executions, had created a veritable ” Red Terror ” so that the East of Germany was known as the Red Land. In 1371, says Lecouteulx de Canteleu, a fresh impetus was given to the ” Holy Vehm ” by a number of the Knights Templar who, on the dissolution of their Order had found their way to Germany and now sought admission to the Secret Tribunals.(56) How much of Templar lore passed into the hand of the Vehmgerichts it is impossible to know, but there is certainly a resemblance between the methods of initiation and intimidation employed by the Vehms and those described by certain of the Templars, still more between the ceremony of the Vehms and the ritual of Freemasonry.

Thus the members of the Vehms, known as the Wissende (or Enlightened), were divided into three degrees of initiation : the Free Judges, the veritable Free Judges, and the Holy Judges of the Secret Tribunal. The candidate for initiation was led blindfold before the dread Tribunal, presided over by a Stuhlherr (or master of the chair) or his substitute, a Freigraf, with a sword and branch of willow at his side. The initiate was then bound by a terrible oath not to reveal the secrets of the ” Holy Vehm,” to warn no one of danger threatening them by its decrees, to denounce anyone, whether father, mother brother, sister, friend, or relation, if such a one had been condemned by the Tribunal. After this he was given the password and grip by which the confederates recognized each other. In the event of his turning traitor or revealing the secrets confided to him his eyes were bandaged, his hands tied behind his back and his tongue was torn out through the back of his neck after which he was hanged by the feet till he was dead, with the solemn imprecation that his body should be given as a prey to the birds of the air.

It is difficult to believe that the points of resemblance with modern masonic ritual (57) which may here be discerned can be mere matter of coincidence, yet it would be equally unreasonable to trace the origins of Freemasonry to the Vehmgerichts. Clearly both derived from a common source either the old pagan traditions on which the early Vehms were founded or the system of the Templars. The latter seems the more probable for two reasons : firstly, on account of the resemblance between the methods of the Vehmgerichts and the Assassins, which would be explained if the Templars formed the connecting link ; and secondly, the fact that in contemporary documents the members of the Secret Tribunals were frequently referred to under the name of Rose-Croix.(58) Now, since, as we have seen, the degree of the Rosy Cross is said to have been brought to Europe by the Templars, this would account for the persistence of the name in the Vehmgerichts as well as in the Rosicrucians of the seventeenth century, who are said to have continued the Templar tradition. Thus Templarism and Rosicrucianism appear to have been always closely connected, a fact which is not surprising since both derive from a common source–the traditions of the near East.

This brings us to an alternative theory concerning the channel through which Eastern doctrines, and particularly Cabalism, found their way into Freemasonry. For it must be admitted that one obstacle to the complete acceptance of the theory of the Templar succession exists, namely, that although the Judaic element cannot be traced further back than the Crusades, neither can it with certainty be pronounced to have come into existence during the three centuries that followed after. Indeed, before the publication of Anderson’s ” Constitutions ” in 1723 there is no definite evidence that the Solomonic legend had been incorporated into the ritual of British Masonry. So although the possession of the legend by the conpagnonnages of the Middle Ages would tend to prove its antiquity, there is always the possibility that it was introduced by some later body of adepts than the Templars. According to the partisans of a further theory, these adepts were the Rosicrucians.

 

ROSICRUCIAN ORIGIN

One of the earliest and most eminent precursors of Freemasonry is said to have been Francis Bacon. As we have already seen, Bacon is recognized to have been a Rosicrucian and that the secret philosophical doctrine he professes was closely akin to Freemasonry is clearly apparent in his New Atlantis. The reference, to the, ” Wise Men of the Society of Solomon’s House ” cannot be a mere coincidence. The choice of Atlantis–the legendary island supposed to have been submerged by the Atlantic Ocean in the remote past–would suggest that Bacon had some knowledge of a secret tradition descending from the earliest patriarchs of the human race, whom, like the modern writer Le Plongeon, he imagined to have inhabited the Western hemisphere and to have been the predecessors of the Egyptian initiates. Le Plongeon, however, places this early seat of the mysteries still further West than the Atlantic Ocean, in the region of Mayax and Yucatan.(59)

Bacon further relates that this tradition was preserved in its pure form by certain of the Jews, who whilst accepting the Cabala rejected its anti-Christian tendencies. Thus in this island of Bensalem there are Jews ” of a far differing disposition from the Jews in other parts. For whereas they hate the name of Christ, and have a secret inbred rancour against the people amongst whom they live ; these contrariwise give unto our Savour many high attributes,” but at the same time they believe ” that Moses by a secret Cabala ordained the laws of Bensalem which they now use, and that when the Messiah should come and sit on his throne at Jerusalem, the King of Bensalem should sit at His feet, whereas other kings should keep at a great distance.” This passage is of particular interest as showing that Bacon recognized the divergence between the ancient secret tradition descending from Moses and the perverted Jewish Cabala of the Rabbis, and that he was perfectly aware of the tendency even among the best of Jews to turn the former to the advantage of their Messianic dreams.

Mrs. Pott, who in her Francis Bacon and his Secret Society sets out to prove that Bacon was the founder of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, ignores all the previous history of the secret tradition. Bacon was not the originator but the inheritor of the ideas on which both these societies were founded. And the further contention that Bacon was at the same time the author of the greatest dramas in the English language and of The Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosenkreutz is manifestly absurd. Nevertheless, Bacon’s influence amongst the Rosicrucians is apparent ; Heydon’s Voyage to the Land of the Rosicrucians is in fact a mere plagiarism of Bacon’s New Atlantis.

Mrs. Pott seems to imagine that by proclaiming Bacon to have been the founder or even a member of the Order of Freemasonry she is revealing a great masonic secret which Freemasons have conspired to keep dark. But why should the Craft desire to disown so illustrious a progenitor or seek to conceal his connexion with the Order if any such existed ? Findel, indeed, frankly admits that the New Atlantis contained unmistakable allusions to Freemasonry and that Bacon contributed to its final transformation.(60) This was doubtless brought about largely by the English Rosicrucians who followed after. To suggest then that Freemasonry originated with the Rosicrucians is to ignore the previous history of the secret tradition. Rosicrucianism was not the beginning but a link in the long chain connecting Freemasonry with far earlier secret associations. The resemblance between the two Orders admits of no denial. Thus Yarker writes : ” The symbolic tracing of the Rosicrucians was a Square Temple approached by seven steps . . . here also we find the two pillars of Hermes, the five-pointed star, sun and moon, compasses, square and triangle.” Yarker further observes that ” even Wren was more or less a student of Hermeticism, and if we had a full list of Freemasons and Rosicrucians we should probably be surprised at the number who belonged to both systems.”(61)

Professor Bühle emphatically states that ” Freemasonry is neither more nor less than Rosicrucianism as modified by those who transplanted it into England.” Chambers, who publish his famous Cyclopodia in 1728, observes : ” Some who are friends to Freemasonry, make the present flourishing society of Freemasons a branch of Rosicrucians, or rather the Rosicrucians themselves under a new name or relation, viz. as retainers to building. And it is certain there are some Freemasons who have all the characters of Rosicrucians.”

The connexion between Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism is, however, a question hardly less controversial than that of the connexion between Freemasonry and Templarism.

Dr. Mackey violently disputes the theory. ” The Rosicrucians,” he writes, ” as this brief history indicates, had no connexion whatever with the masonic fraternity. Notwithstanding this fact, Barruel, the most malignant of our revilers with a characteristic spirit of misrepresentation, attempted to identify the two institutions.”(62) But the aforesaid ” brief history ” indicates nothing of the kind, and the reference to Barruel as a malignant reviler for suggesting a connexion, which, as we have seen, many Freemasons admit, shows on which side this ” spirit of misrepresentation ” exists. It is interesting, however, to note that in the eyes of certain masonic writers connexion with the Rosicrucians is regarded as highly discreditable ; the fraternity would thus appear to have been less blameless than we have been taught to believe. Mr. Waite is equally concerned with proving that there ” is no traceable connexion between Masonry and Rosicrucianism,” and he goes on to explain that Freemasonry was never a learned society, that it never laid claim to ” any transcendental secrets of alchemy and magic, or to any skill in medicine,” etc.(63)

The truth may lie between the opposing contentions of Prof. Bühle and his two masonic antagonists. The Freemasons were clearly, for the reasons given by Mr. Waite, not a mere continuation of the Rosicrucians, but more likely borrowed from the Rosicrucians a part of their system and symbols which they adapted to their own purpose. Moreover, the incontrovertible fact is that in the list of English Freemasons and Rosicrucians we find men who belonged to both Orders and a amongst these two who contributed largely to the constitutions of English Freemasonry.

The first of these is Robert Fludd, whom Mr. Waite describes as ” the central figure of Rosicrucian literature, . . . an intellectual giant, . . . a man of immense erudition, of exalted mind, and, to judge by his writings, of extreme personal sanctity. Ennemoser describes him as one of the most distinguished disciples of Paracelsus. . . .”(64) Yarker adds this clue : ” In 1630 we find Fludd, the chief of the Rosicrucians, using architectural language, and there is proof that his Society was divided into degrees, and from the fact that the Masons’ Company of London had a copy of the Masonic Charges ‘ presented by Mr. fflood ‘ we may suppose that he was a Freemason before 1620.”(65)

A still more important link is Elias Ashmole, the antiquary, astrologer, and alchemist, founder of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, who was born in 1617. An avowed Rosicrucian, and as we have seen, also a Freemason. Ashmole displayed great energy in reconstituting the Craft ; he is said to have perfected its organization, to have added to it further mystic symbols, and according to Ragon, it was he who drew up the ritual of the existing three Craft decrees–Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason–which was adopted by Grand Lodge in 1717. Whence did these fresh inspirations come but from the Rosicrucians ? For, as Ragon also informs us, in the year that Ashmole was received into Freemasonry the Rosicrucians held their meeting in the same room at Mason Hall !(66)

How, then, can it be said that there was ” no traceable connexion between Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism ” ? and why should it be the part of a ” malignant reviler ” to connect them ? It is not suggested that Rosicrucians, such as Fludd or Ashmole, imported any magical elements into Freemasonry, but simply the system and symbols of the Rose-Croix with a certain degree of esoteric learning. That Rosicrucianism form an important link in the chain of the secret tradition is therefore undeniable.

 

THE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY RABBIS

There is, however, a third channel through which the Judaic legends of Freemasonry may have penetrated to the Craft, namely, the Rabbis of the seventeenth century. The Jewish writer Bernard Lazare has declared that ” there were Jews around the cradle of Freemasonry,”(67) and if this statement is applied to the period preceding the institution of Grand Lodge in 1717 it certainly finds confirmation in fact. Thus it is said that in the preceding century the coat-of-arms now used by Grand Lodge had been designed by an Amsterdam Jew, Jacob Jehuda Leon Templo, colleague of Cromwell’s friend the Cabalist, Manasseh ben Israel.(68) To quote Jewish authority on this question, Mr. Lucien Wolf writes that Templo “had a monomania for . . . everything relating to the Temple of Solomon and the Tabernacle of the Wilderness. He constructed gigantic models of both these edifices.”(69) These he exhibited in London which he visited in 1675, and earlier, and it seems not unreasonable to conclude that this may have provided a fresh source of inspiration to the Freemasons who framed the masonic ritual some forty years later. At any rate, the masonic coat-of-arms still used by Grand Lodge of England is undoubtedly of Jewish design.

” This coat,” says Mr. Lucien Wolf, ” is entirely composed of Jewish symbols,” and is ” an attempt to display heraldically the various forms of the Cherubim pictured to us in the second vision of Ezekiel–an Ox, a Man, a Lion, and an Eagle–and thus belongs to the highest and most mystical domain of Hebrew symbolism.”(70)

In other words, this vision, known to the Jews as the ” Mercaba,”(71) belongs to the Cabala, where a particular interpretation is placed on each figure so as to provide an esoteric meaning not perceptible to the uninitiated.(72) The masonic coat-of-arms is thus entirely Cabalistic as is also the seal on the diplomas of Craft Masonry, where another Cabalistic figure, that of a man and woman combined, is reproduced.(73)

Of the Jewish influence in Masonry after 1717 I shall speak later.

To sum up, then, the origins of the system we now know as Freemasonry are not to be found in one source alone. The twelve alternative sources enumerated in the Masonic Cyclopodia and quoted at the beginning of this chapter may all have contributed to its formation. Thus Operative Masonry may have descended from the Roman Collegia and through the operative masons of the Middle Ages, whilst Speculative Masonry may have derived from the patriarchs and the mysteries of the pagans. But the source of inspiration which admits of no denial is the Jewish Cabala. Whether this penetrated to our country through the Roman Collegia, the compagnonnages, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, or through the Jews of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whose activities behind the scenes of Freemasonry we shall see later, is a matter of speculation. The fact remains that when the ritual and constitutions of Masonry were drawn up in 1717, although certain fragments of the ancient Egyptian and Pythagorean doctrines were retained, the Judaic version of the secret tradition was the one selected by the founders of Grand Lodge on which to build up their system.

 

 

 

1. A Free Mason’s answer to the Suspected Author of a Pamphlet entitled ” Jachin and Boaz,” or an authentic Key to Freemasonry, p. 10 (1762).

2. Quoted by R.F. Gould, History of Freemasonry, I. 5, 6.

3. Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, p. 1 (1910).

4. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, XXXII. Part I. p. 47.

5. Preston’s Illustrations of Masonry. pp. 143, 147, 153 (1804).

6. John Yarker, The Arcane Schools, pp. 269, 327, 329.

7. Published in the Essai sur la Secte des Illuminés by the Marquis de Luchet p. 236 (1792 edition).

8. Brother Chalmers Paton, The Origin of Freemasonry : the 1717 Theory Exploded, quoting ancient charges preserved in a MS. in possession of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, written in the reign of James II, but ” supposed to be really of much more ancient date.”

9. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, XXV. p. 240, paper by J. E. S. Tuckett on Dr. Rawlinson and the Masonic Entries in Elias Ashmole’s Diary, with facsimile of entry in Diary which is preserved in the Bodleian Library (Ashmole MS. 1136. fol. 19).

10. Yarker, The Arcane Schools, p. 383.

11. Preston’s Illustration of Masonry, p. 208 (1804).

12. The Origins of Freemasonry : the 1717 Theory Exploded.

13. The Rev. G. Oliver, The Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry, pp, 55, 57, 62, 318 (1845).

14. Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, p. 185 (1910).

15. Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, p. 8 (1910).

16. Ibid., p. 7. The German Freemason Findel disagrees with both the Roman Collegia and the Egypt theory, and, like the Abbé Grandidier, indicates the Steinmetzen of the fifteenth century as the real progenitors of the Order : ” All attempts to trace the history of Freemasonry farther back than the Middle Ages have been . . . failures, and plating the origin of the Fraternity in the mysteries of Egypt . . . must be rejected as a wild and untenable hypothesis.”–History of Freemasonry (Eng. trans.), p. 25.

17. Dr. Oliver and Dr. Mackey thus refer to true and spurious Masonry, the former descending from Noah, through Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses to Solomon–hence the appellation of Noachites sometimes applied to Freemasons–the latter from Cain and the Gymnosophists of India to Egypt and Greece. They add that a union between the two took place at the time of the building of the Temple of Solomon through Hiram Abiff, who was a member of both, being by birth a Jew and artificer of Tyre, and from this union Freemasonry descends. According to Mackey, therefore Jewish Masonry is the true form.–A Lexicon of Freemasonry, pp. 323-5 ; Oliver’s Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry, I. 60.

18. Rev. G. Oliver, The Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry, pp. 55, (1845)

19. The Jewish Encyclopodia (article on Freemasonry) characterizes the name Hiram Abiff as a misunderstanding of 2 Chron. ii. 13.

20. Clavel, Histoire pittoresque de la Franc-Maçonnerie, p. 340 ; Matter, Histoire du Gnosticisme, I. 145.

21. Article on Freemasonry, giving reference to Pesik, R.V. 25a (ed. Friedmann).

22. Clavel, op. cit., 364, 365 ; Lecouteulx de Canteleu, Les Sectes et Sociétés Secrètes, p. 120.

23. Clavel, op. cit., p. 82.

24. Yarker, The Arcane Schools, p. 257.

25. Ibid., p. 242.

26. ” According to Prof. Marks and Prof. Hayter Lewis, the story of Hiram Abiff is at least as old as the fourteenth century.”–J.E.S. Tuckett in The Origin of Additional Degrees, A.Q.C. XXXII. Part I. p. 14. It should be noted that no Mason who took part in the discussion brought evidence to show that it dated from before this period. Cf. Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges (1923), by Wor. Bro. Lionel Vibert, I.C.S., p. 135, where it is suggested that the Hiramic legend dates from an incident in one of the French building guilds in 1401.

27. Yarker, op. cit., p. 348 ; Eckert, op. cit., II. 36.

28. Eckert, op. cit., II. 28.

29. ” The Essenes, in common with other Syrian sects possessed and adhered to the ‘ true principles ‘ of Freemasonry.”–Bernard H. Springett, Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon, p. 91.

30. ” The esoteric doctrine of the Judeo-Christian mysteries evidently penetrated into the masonic guilds (ateliers) only with the entry of the Templars after the destruction of their Order.”–Eckert, op. cit., II. 28.

31. La Comtesse de Rudolstadt, II. 185.

32. Ragon, Cours philosophique des Initiations, p. 34.

33. Mr. Sidney Klein in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, XXXII. Part I. pp. 42, 43.

34. John Yarker, The Arcane School, pp. 195, 318, 341, 342, 361.

35. Ibid., p. 196.

36. Official history of the Order of Scotland quoted by Bro. Fred. H, Buckmaster in The Royal Order of Scotland, published at the offices of The Freemason, pp. 3, 5, 7 ; A.E. Waite, Encyclopodia of Freemasonry, II. 219 ; Yarker, The Arcane School, p. 330 ; Mackey, Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 267.

37. Baron Westerode in the Acta Latomorum (1784), quoted by Mackey, op. cit. 265. Mr. Bernard H. Springett also asserts that this degree ” originated in the East (Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon, p. 294).

38. Chevalier de Bérage, Les Plus Secret Mystères des Hauts Grades de la Maçonnerie dévoilés, ou le vrai Rose Croix (1768) ; Waite, The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, I. 3.

39. In 1784 some French Freemasons wrote to their English brethren saying : It concerns us to know if there really exists in the island of Mull, formerly Melrose . . . in the North of Scotland, a Mount Heredom, or if it does not exist.” In reply a leading Freemason, General Rainsford, referred them to the words (Har Adonai), i.e. Mount of God (Notes on the Rainsford papers in A.Q.C., XXVI. 99). A more probable explanation appears, however, to be that Heredom is a corruption of the Hebrew word ” Harodim ” signifying princes or rulers.

40. F.H. Buckmaster, The Royal Order of Scotland, p. 5. Lecouteulx de Canteleu says, however, that Kilwinning had been the great meeting-place of Masonry since 1150 (Les Sectes et Sociétés Secrètes, p. 104). Eckert, op cit., II, 33.

41. Mackey, Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 267.

42. Clavel, op. cit., p. 90 ; Eckert, op. cit., II. 27.

43. A.E. Waite, The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, I. 8.

44. ” Our names of E.A., F.C., and M.M. were derived from Scotland.”–A.Q.C., XXXII. Part I. p. 40. Clavel, however, says that these existed in the Roman Collegia (Histoire pittoresque, p. 82).

45. Religious Thought and Heresy in the Middle Ages, p. 372.

46. The Spirit of Islam, p. 337.

47. Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon, p. 181 (1922).

48. See, for example, Bouillet’s Dictionnaire Universel d’Histoire et de Géographie (1860), article on Templars : ” Les Franc-Maçons prétendent se rattacher à cette secte.”

49. Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 185.

50. Findel, Geschichte der Freimaurerei, II. 156, 157 (1892 edition). Dr. Bussell (op. cit, p. 804), referring to Dupuy’s work, also observes : ” An editor of a later edition (Brussels, 1751) undoubtedly was a Freemason who tried to clear the indictment and affiliate to the condemned Order the new and rapidly increasing brotherhood of speculative deism.”

51. The Royal Order of Scotland.

52. Manuel des Chevaliers de l’Ordre du Temple, p. 10 (1825 edition).

53. Oration of Chevalier Ramsay (1737) ; Baron Tschoudy, L’Étoile Flamboyante I. 20 (1766).

54. The description of the Vehmic Tribunals that follows here is largely taken from Lombard de Langres, Les Sociétés Secrètes en Allemagne (1819) quoting original documents preserved at Dortmund.

55. Clavel derides this early origin and says it was the Francs-juges themselves who claimed Charlemagne as their founder (Histoire pittoresque, p. 357).

56. Lecouteulx de Canteleu, Les Sectes et Sociétés Secrètes, p. 100.

57. According to Walter Scott’s account of the Vehmgerichts in Anne of Geierstein, the initiate was warned that the secrets confided to him were ” neither to be spoken aloud nor whispered, to be told in words or written in characters, to be carved or to be painted, or to be otherwise communicated, either directly or by parable and emblem.” This formula, if accurate, would establish a further point of resemblance.

58. Lombard de Langres, Les Sociétés Secrètes en Allemagne, p. 241 (1819) ; Lecouteulx de Canteleu, Les Sectes et Sociétés Secrètes, p. 99.

59. A. le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries among the Mayas and the Quichas (1886).

60. Findel, History of Freemasonry (Eng. trans., 1866), pp. 131, 132.

61. John Yarker, The Arcane Schools, p. 216, 431.

62. Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 298.

63. Waite, The Real History of the Rosicrucians. p. 403.

64. Ibid., p. 283.

65. Yarker, The Arcane Schools, p. 430.

66. ” Yarker pronounces Elias Ashmole to have been circa 1686 ‘ the leading spirit both in Craft Masonry and in Rosicrucianism,’ and is of opinion that his diary establishes the fact ‘ that both societies fell into decay together in 1682.’ He adds : ‘ It is evident therefore that the Rosicrucians . . . found the operative Guild conveniently ready to their hand, and grafted upon it their own mysteries . . . also, from this time Rosicrucianism disappears and Freemasonry springs into life with all the possessions of the former.’ “–Speculative Freemasonry, an Historical Lecture, delivered March 31, 1883, p. 9 ; quoted by Gould, History of Freemasonry, II. 138.

67. L’Antisémitisme, p. 339.

68. Jewish Encyclopodia, articles on Leon and Manasseh ben Israel.

69. Article on ” Anglo-Jewish Coats-of-arms ” by Lucien Wolf in Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society, Vol. II. p. 157.

70. Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, Vol. II. p. 156. A picture of Templo forms the frontispiece of this volume, and a reproduction of the coat-of-arms of Grand Lodge is given opposite to p. 156.

71. Zohar, section Jethro, folio 70b (de Pauly’s trans., Vol. III. 311).

72. The Cabalistic interpretation of the Mercaba will be found in the Zohar, section Bereschith, folio 18b (de Pauly’s trans., Vol. I. p. 115).

73. “By figure of a man is always meant that of the male and female together.”–Ibid., p. 116.

Join our newsletter

Bypass big tech censorship by joining our mailing list. We send 2-4 emails per month and will never spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest