Imatges de pàgina

To maintain a friendly correspondence with all ancient grand lodges was deemed correct, and this has carefully been attended to ever since ; but it was very properly resolved, that it was inconsistent with the principles of the craft, to be subordinate to any of them, as masonry, in a peculiar degree, inculcates the doctrine of obedience on every brother, to the government of the country, under which he lives. Independent grand lodges were, therefore, formed in each of the different states, of which I shall give an account towards the close of the work.


Uses of Masonry. AFTER SO long a history of the rise, progress, and present state of masonry, it must be natural for those, who have not been admitted into the order, to inquire into the benefits, which result from the institution ; and for what purpose it has been patronised by so many great and illustrious personages. From the profound secrecy, in which the system of masonry is so very strictly, as well as properly involved, its benefits now are, and will for ever be, best known to the members of the fraternity. This far, however, may be asserted without fear of contradiction, that it promotes philanthropy, benevolence, and morality; and that in proportion as masonry has been cultivated, the countries in which it has shed its benigo iufluence, have been proportionably civilized.

There is, likewise a very important advantage attached to masonry, viz. that its* signs and tokens serve as a kind of universal language ; so that by means of them people of the most distant nations, may become acquain?

ed, and enter into the most friendly intercourse, with each other. In this society, the bigot and the enthusiast throw aside their rancour, and will readily take by the hand a brother, who walks in the paths of moral rectitude, and will treat him with tenderness, humanity, and delicacy, whatever diversity of opinion may be entertained between them, with respect either to politics or religion.

Thus through the instrumentality of Free-masonry, all those disputes, which have so much agitated and disturbed the world, upon subjects, concerning which it has been found impossible to come to a final conclusion, and which only tend to irritate the mind, are avoided. Here harmony and peace predominate. The Chinese, the Algerine, the Persian, the native of Indostan, the Turk, and the Jew, may, under the masonic banners, associate in love with their Christian brethren, and participate of all the benefits of the institution ; nor is any dispute tolerated between whigs and tories, federalists and democrats, or any other political factions.

The basis of masonry is peace, good will to men; and he knows very little of its essential and fundamental principles, who does not feel it as an imperious duty to promote, as far as may be in his power, the happiness of the whole human race, particularly of those, who may be connected with bimself in the same fraternity.

From these observations, the utility of masonry must be sufficiently apparent. Its benefits are well koown to its members, who deem them invaluable ; and to the world it must appear obvious that a distressed mason, will, in most parts of the globe, find a brother ready and willing to assist him. Let brotherly love continue.


Of Modern Masons.

In a book entitled Ahiman Rezon, by Lawrance Dermott, Esq. deputy grand master of the grand lodge of England, we have the following account of the origin of modern masonry. “ About the year 1717,” says he, “ some joyous companions, who had passed the decree of a craft, though very rusty, resolved to form a lodge for themselves, in order that by conversation they might be enabled to recollect what had been formerly dictated to them; or if that should be found impracticable, to substitute something new, which might, in future, pass for masonry amongst themselves. At this meeting, the question was asked, whether any one present knew the master mason's part, and being answered in the negative, it was resolved nem. con. that the deficiency should be made -up by a new composition ; and that such fragments of the old order as were found amongst themselves, should be immediately reformed, and made more pliable to the humours of the people.”

He then goes on with a ludicrous description of the manner, in which they resolved to initiate new members, which, however, I deem foreign to my purpose. But whatever may bave been deemed the origin of this institution, it arose in England to a considerable degree of respectability, as we find according to Mr. Dermott's statement, that in the year 5788, the duke of Manchester was chosen grand master, and it is well known, that since that period, persons of high standing in society have successively filled the chair.

The ancient masons style themselves “ free and accepted masons,” The moderns, “ free-masons of Eng

land.” But though there be a similarity of names, yet they differ greatly in their makings, ceremonies, masonic koowledge, and installations.

Mr. Dermott has pointed out the difference between the two by questions and answers ; I have, however, thought it better to throw aside his questions, and give the substance of his answers, which, I trust, will be more satisfactory to the reader.

1. Free-masonry, as practised in ancient lodges, is uni- , versal ; but that which is called modern masonry is not.

2. An ancient mason cannot only make himself known to his brother ; but, in case of necessity, can discover his very thoughts to him in the presence of a modern, while the modern cannot discover, that either of them are freemasons.

3. A modern mason may, with safety, communicate all his secrets to an ancient mason ; but it would be highly indiscreet in an ancient mason to repose confi. dence in a modern; for, as a science comprehends an art, though an art cannot comprehend a science, even so ancient masonry contains every thing valuable amongst the moderns, as well as other things, which cannot be ravealed without additional ceremonies.

4. A person made in the modern manner is not qualified to sit in a master's lodge, according to the univer. sal system of masonry. To such an one, therefore, the appellation of “ Free and Accepted” is, by no means, applicable.

5. A modern mason cannot be initiated into the Royal Arch Lodges, which is the very essence, the prop the key stone of masonry, unless through the ancient cerea monies,

6. The number of the ancient ma:ons, compared

with moderns, being at least as ninety-nine to one, * proves the universality of the old order ; and its utility appears from the love and respect shewn to the brethren in consequence of their superior abilities, in conversing with, and distinguishing the magons of all countries and denominations.

These, and many others too tedious to be mentioned, are the advantages which the ancient bave over the modern masons ; these last, bowever, are not so much to be blamed as some may suppose ; as they have been duped and received for sterling, that which was not much better than dross. But I announce with pleasure, that modern masons becoming sensible of their delusion, are, from time to time, joining the ancient lodges ; and without possessing the spirit of prophecy I may assert that the time is not far distant when all who profess themselves to be masons will rally round the ancient standard.

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Objections against Free Masonry obviated. In the year 1794, an extraordinary publication was is. sued from the press in Great Britain, written by John Robinson, A. M. professor of Natural Philosophy in the university of Edinburgh, entitled “ Proofs of a conspiracy against all the religions and governments of Europe. carried on in the secret meetings of Free-masons, Illuminati, and reading societies.” What could have occasioned such a production from the pen of a professor, in so eminent an university, is difficult to conjecture. He must,

* This is so well known in Great Britain, Ireland, the United States, &c. that it becomes altogether unnecessary to add a single ar. gument in proof of this assertion. It is believed, that no modern lodge exists on the continent of North America,

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