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James Anderson: Man & Mason, By David Stevenson (2002)

 
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MessagePosté le: Dim 5 Oct - 12:58 (2008)    Sujet du message: James Anderson: Man & Mason, By David Stevenson (2002) Répondre en citant

James Anderson: Man & Mason
By David Stevenson


Published in Heredom, Vol. 10, 2002 (p. 93-138)

Note: Il y a des typos dues à la copie, je tâcherai de les corriger quand j'aurai du temps...


James Andersonis a figure ofcentral significance in the new,expansive
phase ofFreemasonry which began with the founding ofthe first Grand
Lodge,in London in 1717. His importance lies in his authorship ofthe first
and second editions ofThe Constitutions ofthe Free-Masons,and especially
in his providing a history stressing the antiquity and importance of“the Craft,”
in his recording of the early history of Grand Lodge itself,and in his effortsto
define the attitude ofFreemasonry to religion.His works were given the formal
approbation of Grand Lodge, which insisted that all lodges adhere to them.
They were to set the standards ofBritish Freemasonry for nearly a century,and
even when they were superseded later standards were based on his work.Yet
when in the late nineteenth century masonic historians began to dissect his
work,it soon became common to deride him,with writers practically queuing
up to add denunciations. His version of the history of Masonry contained a
great deal ofinvention—and was badly written.His definitions at critical points
were ambiguous.Even over events of his own time he was inaccurate—some-
times deliberately so.All this is true.Anderson’s status dwindled,and indigna-
tion at his failings grew.Was he just incompetent—or deliberately fraudulent?
Anderson was guilty as accused, and once failings were unearthed in his
works, which had guided Freemasonry for so long, by the new “scientific”
approach to historical research,the language that has sometimes been used to
describe the man and his work becomes extreme. Why was this? There was
resentment and embarrassment at the idea that Anderson had tricked Freema-
sons for generations with false history.There was a judging ofhim on the basis
of late-nineteenth-century and twentieth-century English assumptions, espe-
cially about Freemasonry,with little attempt to understand his own age—and
indeed what the Constitutionswere intended to do. There was also, it may be
suspected,a determination to prove how “scientific”the standards of masonic
history had become,after past laxity,with harshness ofjudgment taken to be a
measure of good scholarship. Finally, there seem sometimes to have been in
attacks on Anderson’s character,a response to the fact that he was vulnerable,a
man “historians”found it easy to attack without feeling they were attacking
early Grand Lodge Freemasonry itself.He was an “outsider”in three ways.He
was a Non-Conformist minister,he was a Scot,and he was poor.For a Scot to
have been given the task of compiling the standards for English Freemasonry
was an embarrassment.That Anderson was poor becomes evidence that he had
base motives,cynically using Freemasonry to make money.His interest in Free-
masonry “was that of a discoverer of a remunerative field for literary employ-
ment.” When he attended Grand Lodge in the 1730s this was only “to get
authority for his literary work or to obtain patronage for his publications.”¹The
fact that he held the copyright ofboth editions ofthe Constitutionsis taken to
prove the point,and serves to “prove”a further point,that the Constitutionswere
a private venture, not an “official”masonic publication. In the light of Grand
Lodge’s approbations (1723, 1738) ofhis work this is ludicrous,but it meant
that Anderson could be denouncedwithout that reflecting badly on Grand
Lodge itself.²The shabby little Non-Conformist Scottish money-grubber can
be disowned.This essay does not seek not to white-wash Anderson,but to wash
offthe mud that has been thrown at him.

The starting-point in seeking to explain Anderson’s interest in and expertise
in Freemasonry is his father,another James.The elder Jameswas for many years
a leading member ofthe Lodge ofAberdeen.He compiled the elaborate “Mark
Book”ofthe lodgewhile he was serving as its secretary,and in the 1690s he had
served as its Master. As late as 1719 he served as its keymaster.³It has been argued
that there is no evidence that the younger Anderson’s masonic knowledge was
based on his experience ofScottish Freemasonry,and indeed that he might not
even have been aware ofhis father’s masonic links.R.F.Gouldwas more flexi-
ble.He accepted that it was “in the highest degree probable”that Anderson had
been initiated in Scotland and bought to England “a stock of Masonic knowl-
edge equal to that ofany English brother,”and indeed that some might go fur
ther and see Grand Lodge’s mandate to him as “a recognition ofhis supremacy
as a votive ofthe royal art”[Masonry].⁴Definite evidence that Anderson knew
ofand valued his father’s masonic career has now emerged to support Gould.A
personal seal used by Anderson displays,as a crest surmounting a family coat of
arms,the mason mark used by his father.⁵

The younger James Anderson was born in 1679 in Aberdeen, the son of a
glazier, and his childhood experiences may well have shaped his later distaste
for religious strife.In his early years he was brought up in a Church ofScotland
which was Episcopalian,and Aberdeen was a stronghold ofsupport for bishops.
But the revolution of 1688-89 transformed the situation.James II was expelled
from the throne,and William and Mary were declared joint sovereigns.The rev-
olution and the settlement that followed were designed to secure Britain from
the threats ofCatholicism and absolutism that James had posed.Protestantism
was to be secured,and in England this was done by confirming the existing Epis-
copalian church establishment,but this proved impossible in Scotland for polit-
ical reasons.None of the Scottish bishops would countenance the new regime,
and the Presbyterians were insistent on gaining the reward due for their support
ofthe revolution.In 1660 therefore the king was forced into accepting Presbyter-
iangovernment for the Church ofScotland.As most parish ministers remained
committed to Episcopacy, bitter conflict was inevitable. Many remained in
office,in the short term at least,simply because the Presbyterians could not pro-
duce the hundreds ofnew ministers needed to replace them overnight.

This was the religious climate in which Anderson grew up,and he could not
help being aware ofthe ferocity ofthe mutual denunciations which were being
exchanged between the warring parties.Indeed when he became a student at
Marischal College in Aberdeenthe chair of divinity was officially vacant as its
Episcopalian holder had been deposed,and a Presbyterian replacement was not
established until 1697.At college,discussions ofthe denominational issue must
have been heated—and one led to a case in which Anderson was called as a wit-
ness.A visiting minister,who found it hard to accept the new regime,abused
another minister and stated “that the way to be a Presbyterian minister was to
speak nonsense with confidence.”In the course ofthe dispute a woman present
asked in bewilderment “what difference there was between Presbytery and
Prelacy.”⁶It was a good question,and Anderson,though committed to Presby-
terianism, was to show in his later life that such sectarian differences, though
they seemed irreconcilable to some,were not in his mind deep enough to jus-
tify conflict.Anderson may have learnt his distaste for sectarian squabbling in
Aberdeen, and the Lodge of Aberdeen itself might also have influenced him,
directly (if he was a member,which cannot be proved),or indirectly,through
his father’s reflection of its attitudes,for the lodge’s membership demonstrates
its tolerance.Several of its members were Quakers (one of whom,by emigrat-
ing,became the first known Freemason to reach the American colonies).⁷

Anderson graduated from Marischal College in Aberdeen as a Master of
Arts in 1698 and was then granted a bursary for four years to study theology,an
indication that he intended to make a career as a parish minister in Scotland.
After completing his studies in 1702 Anderson vanishes from sight for some
years.It is a reasonable assumption that, like other candidates for the ministry,
he gained a license to preach and began searching for a vacant parish ready to
accept him as its minister.He failed to find one,but found a job as a chaplain
with an unidentified nobleman.This was probably what brought him to Lon-
don,as the 1707 parliamentary union brought many Scots nobles south,some
to sit in the new British house oflords.In London he met and married “an Eng-
lish widow”who had some money,and with this he was able to set up as a Pres-
byterian minister in London. In 1709 he was preaching to a Dissenting
congregation in Glasshouse Street,and the following year he moved to a former
French Huguenot chapel in Swallow Street,Westminster,where he established a
Presbyterian congregation.⁸The English Toleration Act of 1689 allowed most
non-conformists to organize and worship,though many restrictions on them
remained.In England he was thus free to find his own congregation,without
waiting for acceptance to fill a parish vacancy in an established church,and he
received ordination from dissenter ministers there.⁹ Ironically, Presbyterian
Scotland had denied Anderson the opportunity to be a Presbyterian minister,
but Episcopalian England allowed him to become one.

In some respects Anderson’s timing looked good. His congregation soon
became known as the Scots Church,and many Scots were being drawn to Lon-
don to attend the union parliament.But he soon got a taste ofthe limits oftol-
erance in practice.Dissenters were seen as a threat to the Church of England,
and in 1710 the “High Church”preacher Henry Sacheverell was tried for sedition
after making an inflammatory sermon about the dangers of the Non-Con-
formists. His supporters responded with fierce riots.Six ofthe leading Dissent-
ing chapels in London were wrecked by the mob,¹⁰ but Swallow Street was
spared through its obscurity.

All that is known ofAnderson’s ministry is what is revealed in a handful of
published sermons.They are,overall,conventional,but it is notable that he con-
sciously sought to avoid getting involved in the bitter conflicts that engaged the
more extreme Anglicans and Dissenters, Tories and Whigs, over politics and
religion. He proved ready to defend Presbyterianism when need be, but pre-
ferred to keep a low profile and avoid giving gratuitous offence to other denom-
inations.There were limits,however.He was a firm revolution-man (after all,it
was post-revolution tolerance that enabled him to preach in London),and this
meant hostility to Roman Catholics,regarded as politically subversive through
their support for the Jacobite cause which sought to overthrow the revolution.
Moreover,the radical sects among the Non-Conformists,who challenged basic
traditional Christian beliefs,were beyond Anderson’s courtesy.

The first of the sermons,delivered in 1712,well illustrates his attitudes.He
spoke of how the country was blessed by having a good Protestant sovereign
and a happy constitution,having been delivered from the jaws of“Popery and
Slavery”by the revolution.But dangers threatened.The growth of popery was
alarming,for by their principles Catholics recognized a foreigner—the Jacobite
pretender—as rightful king. Moreover there was the danger ofthe “Contagion
of Scepticism and Deism.”There were “too many, that either think God is an
idle Spectator ofthe Affairs ofthe World,and will allow him no further Super-
intendency over it than a Clockmaker or an Architect.”¹¹ Thus Anderson
denounced the tendency,following on the increasing emphasis on explaining
the functioning ofthe world in terms offixed natural laws,to see God as a fig-
ure distant from daily life,the clockmaker who has set the machine in motion,
or the architect who has worked out his mathematical destiny for the universe
and left it to its own devices.He might accept the metaphor which described of
God as “great architect ofthe universe”in the traditional sense that had depicted
Him in this way since the Middle Ages,but he was hostile to interpretations of
the phrase that lent support to Deism.

The second ofAnderson’s sermons to survive was preached on January 30,
1715, the anniversary ofthe execution ofCharles I in 1649,and it is his only ser-
mon to have a message that was bound to be seen as unacceptable to many rev-
olution supporters,for its intent was to prove that Scots Presbyterians had not
been responsible (as many in England claimed) for the king’s death. Anderson
records that he had been reluctant to preach on political matters, but he had
been persuaded to do so by members ofhis congregation.He had not wished to
publish the piece, but had been forced to do so to refute misrepresentations
(“which is the common Lot,of all those call’d Presbyterians”) of what he had
actually said,for he had “studied to avoid giving Offence.”But it is not surpris-
ing, even reading Anderson’s authorized text, that offence had been taken.

Anderson had not been content to deny Presbyterian guilt,but had taken the
offensive with a bold and radical Whig line argument justifying the right of
resistance to sovereigns in certain circumstances. However, having done his
duty by Presbyterianism,Anderson had urged restraint,and that due respect be
paid to Church of England clergy and laity. It was the present that mattered.
Instead of indulging in controversy on a long past civil war,men should cele-
brate loyalty to King George I and “to our happy Constitution.”and strive to
transmit British liberties and privileges to their successors.¹²

Anderson’s desire to avoid inter-denominational conflict became visible
again in 1718. He twice preached a sermon which touched on issues ofwhat con-
gregations should do when they were divided over the choice ofnew ministers.
But he refused to print the sermon,as the subject was one causing much con-
troversy in the Church of England “with whom I had no business.”In other
words,he would not intervene,or seem to intervene,in another denomination’s
squabbles.Only after he had preached the sermon a third time,in 1720, did he
judge that controversy on the matter had died down sufficiently for him to pub-
lish the sermon without seeming provocative.¹³

It even seems that Anderson was prepared to go beyond the discouraging of
sectarian bickering to the far more positive act of making positive gestures
towards the Church ofEngland.On the death ofthe Bishop ofLondon in 1713
“J.Anderson”published a sheet of Latin verses on his death. The deaths ofArch-
bishops ofYork (1724) and Canterbury (1737) were to be marked in the same
way (along with the death ofGeorge I in 1727).¹⁴ These signs ofrespect for cler-
ical leaders of a different denomination seem to have aroused no comment.
Probably most Presbyterians were appalled at such laxity,many Anglicans infu-
riated at the presumption ofthis petty Dissenter. His publishing of his 1715 ser-
mon on Charles I’s death had not answered his criticsbut, predictably,enraged
them, and a pamphlet, No king-sellers: or, a brief detection ofthe vanity and vil-
lany in a sermon entitul’d, No king-killers. Preached by the Scotch-Presbyterian of
Swallow-Street, Picadilly had poured torrents of abuse on “Poor Jammy”—
”This Diminutive in Divinity, this little white-liver’d, red-headed Scot,” “the
fraud ofthis Prig,”“this Pimp ofa Presbyter.” All this, however, was mild com-
pared to the attackwhich was launched in satirical verses published in about
1720, claiming to be a response to an earlier work, Priapeia Presbyteriana, or the
Presbyterian peezle. This may never have existed,for no copies survive, but the
mock answer, Anti-Priapeia, claims to be the lament ofthe Church ofScotland
on news that its representative in London, James Anderson, had been diagnosed
as suffering from venereal disease, and it makes a great play ofAnderson’s sup-
posed disgrace.¹⁵ The satire is in all probability a baseless attempt to discredit
him. The message could be taken literally—Anderson was a Libertine. But the
more sophisticated would enjoy the verses as metaphor. Presbyterian ministers
were introducers ofcorruption,here presented in sexual terms.The verses also
stigmatized Anderson as a foreign agent,a minister ofthe Church ofScotland,
seeking to advance an alien religion in England, and answerable to an alien
authority,the general assembly ofthat church.In fact there is no evidence that
the assembly regarded itself as having authority over Anderson, and any such
attempt by a foreign religious jurisdiction to exercise power in England would
have been hugely controversial. The obscenity of the verses must have stung
Anderson, but such coarse satire was a commonplace of the age.

As well as being attacked by enemies of Presbyterianism, Anderson was
regarded with hostility by some ofhis own denomination because ofhis toler-
ance. On a copy of his 1712 sermon a contemporary has written under the
author’s name “a Little prig ofa Mass John.”¹⁶The word “prig”was often used at
the time as a vague term indicating dislike or disrespect,and here it is evidently
used by a zealous Scots Presbyterian to denounce Anderson as insufficiently
rigorous in his attitude toward Episcopalians:he is no better than a “mass John,”
a contemptuous term for a priest.Another epithet Anderson bore (according to
a source written long after his death) was also probably bestowed by those dis-
illusioned by his lack of zeal for sectarian strife: he was “well known in those
days among people ofthat persuasion [Presbyterianism] as Bishop Anderson.”¹⁷

OfAnderson’s personal life, little is known, not even the name of his wife.
The couple had a son and a daughter, the former being born about 1717. It is said
that his wife’s dowry was mostly lost in the South Sea Bubble,the great orgy of
speculation that collapsed in 1720 and ruined thousands. But the suggestion
that he may have been imprisoned for debt and that poverty drove him to vol-
unteer to write the Constitutions¹⁸ rests on prejudice rather than evidence.
Probably in these years he was already engaged in the antiquarian researches
that were to busy him for the rest of his life, and that this included masonic
research may be deduced from the short time between his being commissioned
to write the Constitutions and his producing his manuscript.

The English Grand Lodge formed in 1717 had modest beginnings, being
formed by a mere four London lodges, made up of London craftsmen (employ-
ers rather than “hand on”) and merchants, none of them men of very high
standing. The fashion for clubswas growing fast in London, basically groups of
friends meeting for social pleasure, with drink and song prominent in their
activities. Some liked to add ritual and initiation to their activities, ranging
from the ludicrous to serious exercises in bonding based on claims to links with
the distant past. Traditions of the special importance of the stonemasons trade
had survived from the Middle Ages, and some clubs adapted these older tradi-
tions to the new world of London clubs. In 1717 some of these masonic theme
clubs decided to come together, have an annual joint feast, and achieve a degree
of coherence and recognition for Freemasonry, electing a Grand Master. Sym-
bolism based on the tools ofthe mason trade—square, compasses and so on—
was well established, and tradition was called on to extol the masonic virtues of
brotherhood and harmony—and secrecy.

Already by this time there were emerging conventions in clubs aimed at
avoiding dispute. Some matters should not be discussed as they were likely to
lead to argument, and destroy the social pleasure men had met to enjoy. Reli-
gion and politics were the obvious topics for such bans, and this ethos was
doubtless already present in the London lodges.

The new Grand Lodge was small in scale,but it was ambitious from the first,
for it resolved “to chuse a Grand Master from among themselves, till they
should have the Honour ofa Noble Brother at their Head.”¹⁹Their beliefs in the
importance of Masonry made a noble Master appropriate, and such exalted
patronage would bring Masonry the respect it deserved.Anthony Sayer,elected
as first Grand Master,had the bare status ofgentleman—and he was to prove so
obscure that nothing about him except for his connection with Freemasonry is
known.In social status he was the best the London masons could provide.The
next year they did a little better finding an “esquire” to be Grand Master,George
Payne.He took the first step towards attaining another goal, providing Freema-
sonry with agreed standards and rules. The “masonic” traditions ofthe lodges
were based on the recollections of old men who had had connections with
working stonemasons and their traditions, and on the various copies of the late
Medieval documents known as the “Old Constitutions” or “Old Charges,” which
survived. Both oral tradition and Old Constitutions varied from version to ver-
sion—and in any case they related to attempts to regulate the lives of stonema-
sons, not sociable London citizens. There was a need for standardization and
up-dating if Freemasonry was to be a coherent product attractive to new—and
socially superior—members. In 1718 George Payne desired any brother who
could do so to produce old writings or records concerning Freemasonry. This
resulted in several copies of the Old Constitutions being produced.²⁰ In his sec-
ond term of office, 1729-1, Payne renewed interest in the issue, and more old
manuscripts were collected.He then produced General Regulations,which were
approved by Grand Lodge on June 24, 1721.These dealt with fairly mundane (if
essential) matters ofadministration and procedures,²¹and evidently Payne and
his colleagues felt unable to provide themselves any more comprehensive
account ofthe Craft,and turned to Anderson to fill the gap.

There is no direct evidence as to how they learned of the expertise of this
obscure man.It is possible that he had approached Grand Lodge and offered his
services,²² equally possible that he was already a member of a London lodge
and his antiquarian interests had become known. But a previously neglected
chronological conjunction may provide a clue as to why Grand Lodge decided
that a Scot was the man for the job in hand.

John Theophilus Desaguliersstands beside, or indeed a step or two ahead,of
Anderson as a crucial founding figure ofGrand Lodge Freemasonry,and he had
served as third Grand Master (1719-20). He was a minor celebrity in London
through the popular lectures he gave on Newtonian science, and through his
positionas a fellow of the Royal Society,and the society’s curator and demon-
strator,he had links with eminent scientists and noblemen.It was probably these
contacts that enabled the Grand Lodge to achieve one of its core ambitions—
having a noble Grand Master,to demonstrate the Craft’s position in society.In
1721 the duke of Montagu (FRS) became the first noble Grand Master.Desag-
ulierswas a Church ofEngland minister,chaplain,and (more informally) con-
sulting engineer to the duke of Chandos (FRS).In July 1721 Desaguliers dined
with the duke at his great house ofCanons on a day when a number ofleading
Scots were present, including John Campbell, the provost (mayor) of Edin-
burgh.²³A month later Desaguliers was in Edinburgh,advising the burgh coun-
cil on its water supply.As Desaguliers had been supervising the installation ofa
piped water system at Canons,it is likely that it was at the dinner at Canons that
Campbell and Desaguliers had met and the latter had been commissioned to go
to Edinburgh.Previously,he had no known contact with Scotland or Scottish
Freemasonry. But once in EdinburghDesaguliers approachedEdinburgh
Lodge (Mary’s Chapel).“ Being in toun” he was “desirous to have a conference”
with the officers of the lodge.They agreed, and on August 24, 1721,“Finding him
duely qualified in all the points of Measonry, They receaved him as a Brother
into their societie.” Thus the Scottish masons were careful to check the validity
of the masonic credentials of an English Past Grand Master before admitting
him to their lodge. In the days that followed, Desaguliers was present when
Provost Campbell and a number ofother leading Edinburgh officials and wor-
thies were admitted to the lodge.²⁴The Edinburgh lodge at this time consisted
largely ofstonemasons and their employers,but Desaguliers seems to have per-
suaded it that it should now copy London (and indeed some other Scottish)
lodges in seeking to recruit from the higher ranks ofsociety.And the burgh élite
apparently was ready to embrace Freemasonry,now so fashionable in England.
A month after Desaguliers’introduction to Scottish Freemasonry,the Scot
Anderson was commissionedby Grand Lodge to provide revised constitutions
for English Freemasonry.It is very tempting to conclude that the two events are
linked, that Desaguliers had hastened back to London and persuaded Grand
Lodge that Scottish expertise was needed.Desaguliers would have found that
the Edinburgh lodge had continuous minutes going back for over a century,and
that several other lodges were known to have existed that long—and doubtless
boasts were made oflodge histories stretching much further back than that.He
had found Scots Freemasonry similar enough to English for Scots masons to
admit him, and perhaps a degree of knowledge about Freemasonry that
impressed him.²⁵Ifa link between Desaguliers’Edinburgh visit and Anderson
is accepted,another question remains unananswerable.Was Desaguliers told of
Anderson’s expertise,or did he already know Anderson and now accept that the
Scots mason had knowledge useful to English ones? There is no hard evidence
to show that Anderson had been an English (or indeed a Scottish) Freemason
for any significant length of time, but there is a hint that he may have been
known as one by 1715. The pamphlet denouncing his Charles I sermon hurled
at him charges ofbeing “a fradulent Brother”and a master offraud “or a Crafts
Master.”²⁶These may just be random items in the indiscriminate litany ofabuse
and therefore cannot be taken as conclusive,but they may indicate Anderson
was active as a mason before Grand Lodge was formed.

On September 29, 1721, Grand Master Montaguand Grand Lodge, having
found fault with all the copies ofthe “old Gothic Constitutions,”commissioned
Anderson “to digest the same in a new and better Method.”At the next meeting
of Grand Lodge, December 27,he presented his work.Fourteen “learned Broth-
ers”were appointed “to examine Brother Anderson’s Manuscript,and to make
report.”In March 1722 the committee reported “that they had perused Brother
Anderson’s Manuscript,v iz. the History, Charges, Regulations, and Master’s Song,
and after some Amendments had approv’d of it: Upon which the Lodge desir’d
the Grand Master to order it to be printed.”²⁷ The new constitutions made fast
progress:they had been commissioned, written, revised and approved for pub-
lication in a period of six months. With a noble Grand Master providing pub-
licity and numbers oflodges and masons growing rapidly, it seems that the need
for a published summary ofthe non-secret aspects ofFreemasonry was seen as
a priority.But ten further months were to be passed before they were actually
published. The reason for the delay was probably a crisis that threatened to
undermine and even destroy the movement.The strains which emerged can be
put down to several forces—unease caused by fast expansion and attempts to
increase Grand Lodge’s authority,political insensitivity,and personal ambition.
Grand Lodge Freemasonry was noted for its ban on the discussion ofpolitics,
yet in a very basic way the movement was profoundly political.It was committed
to the revolution settlement,based on acceptance of the Protestant succession
and limited monarchy. Indeed, though there is a lack of direct evidence as to
why Grand Lodge was formed, it may well be that political motivation was
involved—beliefthat it would be useful,indeed that it was necessary,to provide
a forum in which all varieties of supporters of the revolution could meet in
friendship.They might not discuss politics in the lodge but,hopefully,having
found that brotherhood was possible in spite ofpolitical differences,their rela-
tionships outside the masonic context would become less confrontational.

By 1717 the 1688 revolution had survived for over a generation,but threats to
it were constant.The Jacobite rising of 1715-16 had only just been defeated, and
a Spanish-backed new attempt was already looming on the horizon,though it
was to prove abortive (1719).Self-preservation seemed to require that revolu-
tion-men unite against the Jacobite threat,but instead they were locked in fierce
factional conflict. Whigs and most Tories, Non-Conformists, and the great
majority of the Church of England supported the revolution, but they often
seemed to put far more energy into fighting among themselves than in facing
the threats to the revolution. Such disunity might prove fatal, giving foreign-
backed Stuarts a chance to regain their thrones.

The accession of George I in 1714 ,though it secured the key to the revolu-
tion,the Protestant succession,greatly increased internal divisions.His prede-
cessors had employed both Whigs and Tories as ministers in government,
producing some division ofspoils among factions.King George,convinced that
at heart all Tories were Jacobites and thus his enemies, excluded them from
power locally and nationally.The result,predictably,was to embitter them and
make many question their allegiance,for politically there seemed no hope for
them in the future under the Hanoverians.

The timing of the creation of Grand Lodge may therefore have involved a
desire to provide a forum which would show the unity ofrevolution men in the
face of the Jacobite threat, and to reverse the tendency for Tories to swing
sharply towards Jacobitism by offering them a role in an inclusive organization
and ideology.However,it soon became clear that the leadership ofGrand Lodge
was dominated by Whigs. Desaguliers’ sympathies clearly lay with the Whigs
and he relied on a Whig grandee (Chandos) as patron.Anderson was staunchly
Whig.The duke ofMontaguwas a leading Whig courtier.Yet Toryism was strong
in London,and from what happened in 1722 it seems it was well represented in
masonic lodges. Perhaps the election ofso prominent a Whig as Montagu was
seen as provocative.

They had accepted Freemasonry as beyond political faction, but Grand
Lodge was shaping a public image for itself that was so blatantly Whig that
Tories were bound to find it offensive.There may too have been a wider objec-
tion from ordinary masons to what was happening.Had they,in Grand Lodge,
created an organization that instead ofserving them was taking them over? Not
all were happy at the move towards standardization.Moves towards promoting
Freemasonry’s public image jarred with the quiet, semi-private Masonry of
small groups offriends who had perhaps savored obscurity as being related to
their treasured secrecy.

The annual feast or assembly at which Montagu was installed in office in
June 1721 was far more ambitious than its predecessors,in that for the first time
masons marched in a public processionto their assembly,and for the first time
it was held in a public building,Stationers Hall,rather than in an ale house.In
May 1722 Freemasons went a step further,and perhaps a step too far,too soon,
in their self-publicity by organizing a ceremony that amounted to a claim to an
active role in public affairs.“With a great deal of ceremony by the society of
Free-Masons,”afoundation stone was laid for the new church of St.Martin in
the Fields.²⁸The Freemasons were, in effect, claimingthat, as masons (archi-
tects) they had a role in the dedication ofpublic buildings.In any circumstances
such an intrusion would have been presumptuous.The fact that another foun-
dation stone had been laid two months previously by the bishop ofSalisbury,in
name ofthe king himself,made the matter potentially even more controversial.
Laying a new stone,without permission,could be seen as an insult not only to
the bishop and his church but to the king himself.That the new stone lay exactly
over the original one,but twelve feet above it,might seem to suggest symbolically
that the first stone was being superseded.The masons had trumped the king.

There is no direct evidence that the incident caused controversy,but the cir-
cumstantial evidence is suggestive.Anderson in the 1738 edition ofthe Consti-
tutions,was to reduce two foundation stones and two ceremonies to one.There
had been “a solemn Procession”to the church “with many Free Masons,”to
level the foundation stone at the south east corner by giving it “great Knocks
with a Mallet.”²⁹History had been rewritten,the masonic foundation stone’s
intrusion suppressed.However,the stone may help explain an incident that fol-
lowed.The masons were due to hold their annual feast soon after their St.Mar-
tin’s ceremony and “a select Body of the Society of Free Masons”felt it was
necessaryto wait on Lord Townsend,one of the secretaries of state,to notify
him that their annual assembly was approaching and to urge that “they hoped
the Administration would take no Umbrage at that Convocation,as they were
all zealously affected to his Majesty’s Person and Government.”Was it felt that
presumption at St. Martin’s made a reassurance necessary? Townsend conde-
scendingly gave government consent to masonic activity,but added a sneer at
their supposed secrets. They “need not be apprehensive of any molestation”
from the government “so long as they went on doing nothing more dangerous
than the ancient Secrets of the Society; which must be of a very harmless
Nature, because, as much as Mankind love Mischief, no Body ever betray’d
them.”³⁰The cynical politician could not believe anything could be kept secret
for long ifit was important.

However, if one motive for the nervous masonic delegation to Townsend
was fear that the foundation stone had been a blunder, another was probably
fear that the Torieswithin Freemasonry were ready to challenge Whig domina-
tion,and that this might raise suspicions as to the movement’s loyalty.The situ-
ation was exploited by the maverick duke ofWharton.Born in 1698,the young
Wharton was talented and ambitious but unscrupulous and wildly inconsistent.
He had swerved into ardent Jacobitism,then into active support for the Whig
regime, then into vocal denunciation of government corruption, associating
himself with the Tories. In 1721 he was involved in the blasphemous, though
obscure,“Hell-Fire”clubsthat were denounced by the government,and in the
same year he became a Freemason,typically drawing public attention to the fact
by walking home from his initiation wearing his white leather masonic apron.³¹
At the end ofthe year he appears to have veered back into support for the gov-
ernment, then almost immediately doubled back to the Tories.³² Given his
energy, it is no surprise that Wharton threw himself into Freemasonry with
enthusiasm,and in June 1722 he took over the grandmastership by a coup d’état,
out-witting Grand Lodge. The “official”masonic account of what happened
comes from Anderson and,as in the matter ofSt.Martin’s,distorts events.

According to Anderson,“the better Sort”ofmasons had wanted Montaguto
continue in office as Grand Master for a second year “and therefore they delay’d
to prepare the Feast.”The lack oflogic ofthe “therefore”is obvious,and luckily
Anderson’s version of events can be corrected by reference to a press report.
From this, it emerges that it had been decided to organize the feast for June 25,
not the traditional June 24 (St. John the Baptist’s day). The reason for this is
unknown but quite possibly was mundane: June 24 was a Monday, and the feast
was moved forward a day to avoid the necessity of making preparations on the
Sabbath. But Wharton “being ambitious of the Chair,”according to Anderson,
got a number ofmasons to meet him at Stationers Hall on the 24th. He proba-
bly found it easy to whip up indignation at Grand Lodge overturning tradition
by moving the feast,playing on suspicions that a second term ofoffice for Mon-
tagu meant that the Whig clique running Grand Lodge was monopolizing
office,riding rough-shod over the rights ofindividual lodges and masons.

The masons who met on June 24,with no Grand Lodge officials present,pro-
claimed Wharton Grand Master. For months thereafter, according to Anderson,
Freemasons were split in their allegiance. “The noble Brothers and all those who
would not countenance irregularities” disowned Wharton. But Montagu even-
tually healed the breach. Acting as though he was still Grand Master, he sum-
moned a meeting of Grand Lodge in January 1723. On Wharton then
“promising to be True and Faithful”he was accepted as Grand Master. But
though a Tory had been accepted in the office,this was apparently the result of
a compromise, for Desaguliers became his Deputy and Anderson one of the
Grand Wardens,replacing William Hawkinswho was “always out ofTown.”³³

That is Anderson’s version ofevents.But the press tells a different story.They
make no mention of the Monday, June 24,coup but describe the June 25 feast
(which Anderson fails to mention at all).Wharton was chosen as Grand Master,
and Desaguliers as his Deputy. Several nobles were present. Thus if (as seems
likely) Wharton had indeed organized an unofficial meeting of masons on
June 24 which agreed that he should become Grand Master in place ofofficial
Grand Lodge candidate,Montagu,this had been accepted by most masons by
the following day in order to preserve unity at the feast.But compromise was
present from the start,with the unstable Tory Wharton holding the honorary
position as head of the movement, but reliable Whig Desaguliers preserving
continuity as Deputy.³⁴Anderson’s account ofWharton’s recognition as Master
being delayed for six months presumably represents the view of a minority of
masons,presumably including Anderson himself,who refused to accept Whar-
ton’s coupin June but were reconciled to it in January.But a dispute over one of
the Grand Wardens posts remained. Anderson’s account of the January 1723
meeting (at which,incidentally,his Constitutionswere finally approved),main-
tained that he had then replacedWilliam Hawkins, evidently a supporter of
Wharton,as a Grand Warden.But Grand Lodge,for the moment,thought oth-
erwise.A list ofGrand Wardens mentions Hawkins,and Anderson’s name does
not appear at all.But at some time Anderson himselfhas added to the list a note
that Hawkins had demitted office in his favor.Moreover,the earliest minute of
Grand Lodge (June 24, 1723) stated that at the meeting that day Anderson
merely acted as a Grand Warden for Hawkins, who was absent. But subse-
quently the words that indicated that he had only been acting for Hawkins have
been erased. The incident has been much discussed, but almost entirely in
terms ofAnderson’s unscrupulousness and attempt at self-aggrandizement.It is
far more plausible to see it as part of the continuing factional battle within
Grand Lodge.Some claimed in January to June 1723 Anderson had been Grand
Warden, others that if he officiated it was only as a stand-in for Hawkins. It
seems rather petty,but it is part ofthe Whig versus Tory muscle-flexing going
on in Wharton’s year as Grand Master.Whigs prevailed in the long-term,and
Anderson triumphed in official history.Within a few years his status as a former
Grand Warden was fully accepted—and eventually poor Hawkins disappears
from lists ofpast officials altogether.³⁵As usual the victors wrote the history.

In 1722-23 Grand Lodge Freemasonry avoided political schism by accepting
the need for a degree of political diversity among masons in appointments to
office—even though politics could not be discussed.But though harmony was
maintained,ifthe satirical account ofthe 1722 feast at which Wharton became
Grand Master is to be believed,political tensions did surface.It was a good din-
ner,Robert Samber(who was present) allows,though how “demolishing huge
Walls of Venison Pastry” “after a very disedifying Manner” contributed to
“building up a Spiritual House” he did not know. olitics and religion were not
discussed, as the masons seemed to be following the advice of “that Author”(a
reference to Anderson, whose Constitutions had been published by the time
Samber wrote). But at one point the band had begun to play “Let the King enjoy
his own again,”a popular Jacobite (and thus seditious) tune. The Tories were
getting cheeky—talking politics might be banned, but music could make a
political point.The band was “immediately reprimanded by a Person of great
Gravity and Science,”which surely means Desaguliers.After that,Hanoverian
decorumwas restored—and indeed emphasized.The bottle went merrily about
and toastswere made to king,royal family,and the established “Churches”(thus
carefully maintaining a British dimension by recognizing that England and
Scotland had different establishments).Other toasts were drunk to prosperity
to Old England “under the present Administration”,and “Love,Liberty,and Sci-
ence,”an interesting trio.³⁶

Harmony might have been preserved outwardly,but Wharton’s holding of
office became an increasing embarrassment as the year passed, for he took a
leading role in Tory,even crypto-Jacobite,activity.The political situation was
even more tense than usual.In a Jacobite plot for the overthrow of King
George was discovered,and the government decided to use this as a pretext for
action against “the idol of the country clergy,the Pretender’s most formidable
supporter in England,”³⁷Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester. His political
views had long been known, and though evidence of involvement in the plot
was weak it was decided to use it to destroy him and thus frighten other Jaco-
bite-inclined Tories into submission. During the case,Wharton emerged as a
leading supporterof the bishop,giving,on May ,,what was regarded as
an outstanding speech denouncing the proceedings against him.³⁸After Atter-
bury was sentenced to perpetual banishment,Wharton accompanied him to
the ship taking him into exile,gave him a sword,and took the bishop’s former
chaplain into his own employment.³⁹
With the June , , feast just weeks away there must have been much
apprehension at the possible consequences of the Grand Master’s political
stance.Freemasonry was very much in the news.Shortlybefore Constitutions
were published in February,The Free-masons: A Hudibrastick Poemwas pub-
lished, mocking the movement. In April it was reported that the masons “are
determined (we hear) to use all the Methods in their Power to raise their Repu-
tation among the People,”and suppress false reports about their movement.
Feelings were running high.A mason was prosecuted for breaking the head of
a man who had been offensive in his mockery ofthe Freemasonry,but was let
offwith a fine as he had been under “very great Provocation.”⁴⁰
On the morning ofthe feast Wharton made things worse,appearing at
hustings to speak in support oftwo Tory crypto-Jacobites standing for election
as sheriffs ofLondon.Again,however,it emerged that a compromise had been
arranged.Wharton had agreed at a meeting in April (at which Anderson had
acted as Secretary) that he should be succeeded in office by the earl ofDalkeith
 Heredom
David Stevenson
(the son of the duke of Buccleuch).⁴¹Montaguand Wharton, the first noble
Grand Masters,had been chosen as great men with high public profiles.This
had satisfied masonic vanity but caused discord through their active identifica-
tion with political factions.It therefore made sense to aim rather lower—have
as Grand Masters nobles of distinguished blood but relatively inactive politi-
cally,though soundly Hanoverian.
Nonetheless, the June  feast was stormy. Grand Lodge’s approval of
Anderson’s Constitutionswas accepted,though there are signs ofunease about
changes to “ancient”traditions.Then Wharton refused to nominate a successor.
Dalkeith,whom he was supposed to nominate,was absent in Scotland,but he
had agreed to serve as Grand Master.In spite ofWharton’s silence Dalkeith was
agreed on as next Grand Master,but when it emerged that he had nominated
Desaguliers as his Deputy Wharton objected.Perhaps he felt that ifthe master-
ship went to a Whig the Deputyship should go to a Tory.The feast then took
place,but once it was over Wharton tried to insist on a new vote,declaring that
he had doubts about the accuracy ofthe first one.On this being refused he with-
drew with his supporters.They soon returned but,Wharton later “went away
from the Hall without Ceremony,” after his conduct was denounced as
“unprecedented, unwarrantable, and irregular, and tending to introduce into
the Society a Breach of Harmony,with the utmost Disorder and confusion.”⁴²
When Wharton had been accepted as Grand Master in this had been done
in order to preserve harmony,but now it seemed that he was ready to destroy it.
Anderson’s official account makes no mention of the dispute over the
Deputy, though he indicates some conflict, saying some proposed that as
Dalkeith was not present a different Grand Master should be chosen.⁴³Whatever
bitter disputes took place in these muddled months of–,Anderson as offi-
cial historian later put a brave face on them.Wharton had been a good Grand
Master,very assiduous in visiting lodges and creating new ones,pleasing Free-
masons by his “affable and clever Conversation.”⁴⁴Preserving the appearance of
harmony was a priority—and Grand Masters,almost by definition,are above
reproach.In a private letter to Montagu,who had not been present at the 
feast,Anderson was more forthcoming.Wharton had “endeavoured to divide
us”against Desaguliers,having met with other masons in the morning whom he
had persuaded to support him.⁴⁵As before the feast,Wharton had organ-
ized his faction in advance. Neither officially nor unofficially does Anderson
record how relieved masons must have been that Wharton had severed his con-
tacts with their movement,for shortly thereafter the duke left the country,and
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
declared himselfboth a Jacobite and a Roman Catholic.Internal dispute rum-
bled on for a time,however.In November Grand Lodge deposed the Mas-
ter ofa lodge who had made unsubstantiated charges against Desaguliers.⁴⁶
It was during this time of turmoil in Freemasonry that Anderson’s
Constitutionswere finalized and published.Anderson had produced his book
“now in Print”before Grand Lodge,presidedover by Wharton,at the January
,,meeting at which (according to Anderson at least) Wharton’s appoint-
ment was regularized,and he himselfbecame a Grand Warden.The book “was
again approv’d, with the Addition of the ancient Manner of Constituting a
Lodge”⁴⁷written by Wharton as a postscript.Final additions to Anderson’s ear-
lier draft were three new songs, a dedication to Montagu(written by Desag-
uliers on Wharton’s orders) and an official approbation of the work, the
signatories being Wharton,Desaguliers as his Deputy,the Grand Wardens,and
the Masters and Wardens oftwenty lodges.⁴⁸One ofthe Masters was Anderson
himself,who added to his name “The Author ofthis Book.”⁴⁹As his name did
not appear on the title page,this is the only place he is identified in the edi-
tion.The book was ordered to “be receiv’d in every particular Lodge under our
Cognizance,as the Only Constitutions of Free and Accepted Masons amongst
us.”They were to be studied by candidates, read at their admissions—and
whenever else the Master of a lodge thought fit.⁵⁰In order, no doubt, to per-
suade those who might be tempted to reject Anderson’s new-fangled work and
stick to the Old Constitutions, the latter were denounced with fury as “much
interpolated,mangled,and miserably corrupted,not only with false Spelling,but
even with many false Facts and gross Errors of History and Chronology,
through Length ofTime,and the ignorance ofTranscribers,in the dark illiter-
ate Ages.”⁵¹ At last, late in February , the Constitutions were published,
advertised as “Order’d to be publish’d and recommended to the Brethren by the
Grand Master and his Deputy.”⁵²
The work had,according to the approbation “fully answered the End pro-
posed”retaining what was valuable from older documents,correcting errors in
history and chronology,all being “digested in a new and better Method.”Thus,
whatever faults later generations have found,the book satisfied those who had
commissioned it.Over half of it,the History,describes the Craft’s ancient and
exalted past.Taken as history as judged by modern scholarly standards,Ander-
son’s account is clearly absurd,but in some respects the abuse heaped on it,and
therefore on Anderson himself, is unjustified. There is little point in raging
against him for starting with Adam and then wending his way through the Old
 Heredom
David Stevenson
Testament,for in his time that was the conventional mainstream ofthe past,not
a bizarre aberration.Moreover beginning the story ofMasonry with Adam was
to be expected. Everything started with the Creation, so a history naturally
started there.To do otherwise would have been unsatisfactory,a starting in the
middle of a subject.Masonry should be traced back to Adam,just as dynastic
history traced royal families and national histories their origins to Adam.
Even ifthis is allowed,at first reading Anderson’s History may seem totally
ludicrous,for great figures throughout the ages are described as Masons,Mas-
ter Masons,and Grand Masters.But there is in fact a logic to what he is doing,
based on the ambitious claims that were made for what “Masonry”was.
Masonry to Freemasons did not just mean building,for buildings were only the
physical expression of the skills of the architect, and in turn the architect
worked according to the rules of geometry.The claim that geometry/architec-
ture was the queen ofthe arts was an old one,but it seemed ofparticular rele-
vance and importance in the age in which Anderson was writing.Mathematics
was increasingly seen as the key to understanding the world,with the work of
Sir Isaac Newtonan awesome demonstration ofits power.The boasted claims
for Masonry were thus not just based on a bizarre inflated opinion ofstonema-
sons.They were claims that Masonry was central to intellectual life.Therefore
men who had promoted architecture/geometry/building in the past might
justly be called masons,and this included not only practitioners but the rulers
who had ordered the construction ofgreat buildings.And,a distinctly dubious
further step onwards in this logic,groups ofmasons formed (or were known as)
lodges,therefore past masons must have had lodges.
Ifthis seems grotesque,an analogy may be useful.English-speaking histori-
ans tend to call rulers in the past, from many different cultures “kings”or
“princes.”This is not a claim that they were actually known as kings in their own
day,but a matter oftranslation and ofstandardization,to aid comprehension of
what these people were.Past rulers had had dozens ofdifferent titles legitimizing
their rule,but their function—that they ruled—give them enough in common
to make it useful to categorize them as “kings.”Great rulers are generally called
“emperors”in English,and groups which advised them described as “councils.”
What is so different in using such categorizing-words for men involved in the
function of“Masonry”in the past? They were “Master Masons”because ofone
oftheir functions,and ifthey excelled at it,they were “Grand Masters.”
Adam, created in the image of God,“the great Architect of the Universe,”
“must have had”the liberal sciences,particularly geometry,written on his heart,
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
for ever since the creation ofman the principles ofgeometry have been “in the
Hearts of his Offspring.”⁵³Here,as in a number of places,Anderson makes it
clear that he is deducing without direct evidence.Mankind used these innate
skills in the mechanical arts, and only later reduced some of them to the
abstract rules of geometry.In this lies the foundation of all the arts based on
geometry,particularly masonry and architecture.“No doubt”Adam taught his
sons geometry.Anderson is making the stride from geometry to buildings as
the outstanding examples of geometry in action.“At length the Royal Art was
carry’d to Greece”and the th proposition ofthe first book ofEuclidis high-
lighted for “ifduly observ’d,[it] is the Foundation ofall Masonry,sacred,civil
and military.”⁵⁴This is the proposition that demonstrates that in a right-angled
triangle the square ofthe length ofthe side opposite the right-angle is equal to
the sum ofthe squares ofthe lengths ofthe two other sides.The importance of
the proposition to Freemasons is again emphasized by the frontispiece of the
Constitutions,for a diagram illustrating it stands beneath the scroll which rep-
resents Anderson’s work.That the right angle or square also lies at the heart of
Freemasonry’s symbolism and rituals is not even mentioned, for Anderson’s
task is to trace the outward history ofFreemasonry,not to reveal its secrets.
Attention now switches to Rome,where “it is rationally believ’d”the Emperor
Augustusbecame Grand Master ofthe Lodge at Rome.As Augustus was Vitru-
vius’s patron and many great buildings had been constructed in his reign “the
Remains of which are the Pattern and Standard of true Masonry in all future
Times,”his qualifications for the designation are clear.Architecture/ masonry
has reached its peak as regards style,and “we are now only endeavouring to imi-
tate,and have not yet arriv’d to its Perfection.”⁵⁵At this point Anderson diverges
from his narrative to write about lodges.“Old Records”(by which he no doubt
meant the Old Constitutions) gave “large Hints”that lodges had existed from the
beginning ofthe world,especially “in Times ofPeace,and when the Civil Pow-
ers, abhorring Tyranny and Slavery, gave due Scope to the bright and free
Genius oftheir happy Subjects.”In such times masons above all artists were the
“Favourites ofthe Eminent.”⁵⁶This is a theme that has been hinted at before (an
ambiguous passage can be read as saying King David was not considered a
mason as he had been a “Man ofBlood”):Masonry is associated with peace and
civil liberty,and thrives best under them.Masonry is possible under other con-
ditions,but unlikely to flourish.And linked with this is a moral element.David
was to be blamed for bloodshed,and Sampson is condemned as one who can-
not be regarded as a mason because he showed weakness by betraying secrets.⁵⁷
 Heredom
David Stevenson
Thus to the geometry/architecture/buildings/stonemasons complex form-
ing “Masonry”are added issues of character or morality and a declaration of
political preferences.Different political message emerges when,eventually,the
seventeenth century is reached. English Freemasonry, in decline, was revived
when King James VI,the mason king ofScotland,inherited the English throne.
Thus commitment to the united kingdom ofGreat Britain is shown by demon-
strating that it was advantageous to Masonry—and this also gave Anderson an
opportunity to stress the significance of his own, Scottish masonic heritage,
though writing for English masons.Under James IIthe London lodges go into
a severe decline.No explanation is offered,but the reader again is expected to
see a political message. James had been Catholic and absolutist, so of course
Masonry had not flourished under him.But with the coming ofKing William
in the –revolution Masonry revived,went from strength to strength,and
was reinforced when the coming ofpeace is added to civil liberty (the end ofthe
war ofthe Spanish succession in ,the defeat ofthe Jacobites in –).The
triumph of Masonry is to be seen all around. It is peace and liberty, it is the
dominant style ofarchitecture in which England is being rebuilt (the Roman or
Augustan),superior to all others,it is growth in numbers (and social standing)
ofFreemasons and lodges.Anderson builds up to a climactic conclusion.Lon-
don lodges thrive and have quarterly meetings and annual assemblies, “the
Royal Art”(so called because practiced by kings) is cultivated “and the Cement
of the Brotherhood prerserv’d; so that the whole Body resembles a well built
Arch;several Noblemen and Gentlemen ofthe best rank,with Clergymen and
learned Scholars of most Professions and Denominations”have joined,under
the Grand Master,the duke ofMontagu.The lack ofa mention ofhis successor,
Wharton,might be explained by the fact that the History had been completed
before Wharton became Grand Master,but the failure to use the term “Grand
Lodge”is harder to explain. That some lodges had joined to hold quarterly
meetings and an annual assembly is described,but perhaps some masons were
still suspicious of the name “Grand Lodge,”fearing that it indicated an unwel-
come claim to power over their lodges.
As “history”as now understood by its academic practitioners,Anderson’s
History of Masonry is worthless.But much of what he writes reflects conven-
tional historical concepts of his age applied to a specialist account of the
masonic past.The modern ideal of“objectivity”would have seemed alien.His-
tory was invariably used to serve a purpose.This was taken for granted.Ander-
son’s purpose was to glorify Masonry,and provide Grand Lodge Freemasonry
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
with a past that would prove its outstanding importance.That Anderson occa-
sionally makes it clear that he has no direct evidence for something,and some-
times admits to uncertainty about a fact,may seem to modern eyes a sign that
there were glimmerings ofa modern attitude to use ofevidence in him,but at
the time they probably looked like weaknesses,for hesitation was not called for
in maintaining a cause.
In producing his account ofthe masonic past Anderson is at his most confi-
dent where he has the basis ofthe Old Testament and the Old Constitutionsto
work on,and he is therefore weakest in dealing with the centuries linking his
own time with the Middle Ages.Ironically,considering how often he has been
denounced for invention and fantasy,when originality in inventing the past is
most called for, he falters. Scrappy and unconvincing notes fail to provide a
coherent narrative as he traverses the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with
only his own creativity to guide him.But criticismof his style is due not only
here but throughout the History.Anderson’s central antiquarianinterest,as was
to emerge in later years, was genealogy, and this approach dominates his
masonic History,and genealogies do not make for easy reading or lend them-
selves to displays ofliterary style.At the end he has a few flourishes on the tri-
umph of Masonry, but much of the rest of his narrative is clumsy, and can
descend to little more than lists ofthe names ofgreat men—though in extenu-
ation there were many “histories”published in his age with the same faults.
Some of the History’s weaknesses of presentation may well be due to the
committee of fourteen which revised the text.One footnote was referred to at
the time as being by Desaguliers (who may be assumed to have been a member
ofthe committee),⁵⁸and there must be a strong suspicion that another,listing
ancient scientists,is also his work,for it includes the obscure “Ktesibius … the
Inventor ofPumps.”⁵⁹Developing water pumpslay at the center ofDesaguliers’
engineering activities. In other instances, too, it may be suspected that the
committee,when it wanted to add to or amend Anderson’s draft ofthe History,
left his text unchanged but added footnotes,falling over themselves to display
their erudition.The result is many long footnotes,sometimes ofmarginal rele-
vance,occasionally contradicting the main text.An already untalented work (in
literary terms) seems to have been strangled in verbiage by committee.
TheConstitutionshave been called “an extraordinary example of political
propaganda,”⁶⁰but though there is certainly a strong political message in the
work, its prevailingly prosaic language make it remarkably low-key—even
incompetent—propaganda,with occasional flashes ofpolitics buried in masses
 Heredom
David Stevenson
ofthe mundane and irrelevant.But,without seeking to excuse Anderson’s fail-
ings as a writer by presenting them as deliberate,this in all probability was what
Grand Lodge wanted.
It was not the time or place for a stirring manifesto.Freemasonry was seek-
ing to promote harmony and unity,and this meant avoiding any sign ofseeking
to inflame and stir up activism.It wished to show that it was solid and unthreat-
ening.Its ideology was based on persuading men to come together,bonding in
traditions and rituals and in relaxed social interaction.In the second edition of
his work Anderson was to depict men ofall sorts turning to Freemasonry as “a
safe and pleasant Relaxation from Intense Study or the Hurry ofBusiness,with-
out Politicks or Party.”⁶¹What Grand Lodge wanted from Anderson was not a
call to arms, but presentation of Freemasonry as an escape from competitive
pressures and rivalries into brotherhood, with the legitimacy of having been
highly respected from ancient times.
Thus his History makes commitment to the revolution settlement clear,but
in a fairly muted way.There is no attempt to accompany support for it with furi-
ous denunciation ofits enemies.This is particularly clear where religion is con-
cerned.It was suggested earlier that Anderson’s specialist history of“Masonry”
was on the whole conventional in the framework it adopted, and in some
respects his occasional fantasies are less striking than how closely he stuck to
the mainstream of historical development and avoided diverging into the
extravagant.Hermeticism and the Rosicrucians had been linked with Freema-
sonry in the minds ofsome well before Anderson’s time.After him,masons on
the wilder shores ofFreemasonry were to invent fantasies about the Royal Arch,
the Knights Templar,Druids,and much else.Anderson’s restraint stands in con-
trast.But in his restraint about religion he does diverge sharply from the main-
stream.Religion (and especially conflicts about religion) was important in most
histories,central to many.
Anderson’s History, however, never mentions the Reformation, or Roman
Catholics,or Protestants.Even Christ only gets a passing mention,a reference to
the Emperor Augustusbeing followed by “(in whose Reign was born God’s Mes-
siah,the great Architect ofthe Church).”⁶²Christ’s life,a central event in most
western versions ofhistory,is dismissed in one short sentence.Moreover,he is
simply called Messiah.The term was commonly used for Christ,and in general
usage it was taken for granted that it was a word that accepted his divinity,that
he was the Son ofGod.But strictly the word means the anointed one or deliv-
erer.It is very hard to believe that the Constitutions’use ofit is accidental.Both
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Anderson and Desaguliers weretrained in theology,and not likely to be casual
in how they referred to Christ.Thus,tucked away in parentheses,is an implicit
acceptance that all Freemasons might not regard Christ as divine, part of the
Holy Trinity.He may be accepted instead as a deliverer sent by God.
The width ofFreemasonry’s willingness to be inclusive becomes evident,for
not only all varieties ofmainstream Trinitarian Christians but Deists and Uni-
tarianscould be embraced within such a view ofChrist.It is hardly necessary to
say that Anderson,as a Presbyterian minister,did not approve ofsuch people.He
denounced them in sermons,both before and after ,but there he was acting
in his professional capacity.In the lodge he—and of course the Freemasonry
which accepted his Constitutions—were willing to put such arguments aside.
That was a large part of what Freemasonry was for. It provided a special
world in which it was legitimate,in the name ofbrotherhood and some unde-
fined underlying common beliefs,to ignore differences in dogma which it was
legitimate, even necessary, to dispute over in the ordinary world beyond.
Though such masonic attitudes were combined with full acceptance ofdenom-
inational religion,nonetheless traditional views ofreligion were being directly
challenged,for they claimed that their religious beliefs should be reflected in all
aspects oflife,all the time.Freemasonry argued that there should be the possi-
bility ofa part-time opt-out from denominational religion,cooling-offperiods
for turning one’s back on denominational differences. The implications were
revolutionary,a step toward secular societies in which religion tends to be seen
as one compartment oflife rather than its essence.
Freemasonry was serious in intent, its rituals solemn, but it was largely
relaxed and light hearted in its activities.Anderson’s prose History may often be
turgid,but he provided jovial alternatives.His “Master’s Song”appended to the
Constitutionsis subtitled “The History ofMasonry,”while his “Warden’s Song”
is “Another History of Masonry.”Having written a “scholarly”history of
Masonry, he seems to be mocking the idea of writing definitive history: it is
something flexible that can be presented in alternative versions according to
context.Between the various parts ofthe Master’s Song,toasts are to be drunk.
This may seem disconcerting.The staid prose History fits much better with
stereotypes ofPresbyterian ministers as being stern and humorless.But Ander-
son like other Freemasons saw the jolly socializing as being as central to the ide-
ology and usefulness of“the Craft”as ritual.
One letter survives which gives a hint ofAnderson as a sociable,even witty
man,who would fit into boisterous lodge expressions of brotherhood through
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drinking and singing.It dates from ,and Anderson was writing to a fellow
mason, Samuel Gale, forwarding a letter from the Warden of Horn Lodge
(Anderson’s own lodge). The Warden’s letter recommended its bearer “who is
also a Mason true”to Gale,asking him to use his influence with his brother,a
commissioner of excise,to get him a job as an excise man.Anderson adds his
own recommendation:“I am well informed ofhis moral character that it is very
good;and you know we Presbyterians will not own those ofan ill character,far
less recommend them.”Anderson is indicating that his recommendation is
based on knowledge,but the way he puts it seems to contain a good-natured jibe
at Gale’s Anglicanism:You have to come to Presbyterians to get trustworthy ref-
erences.But it is the postscript to Anderson’s letter that is most revealing ofthe
man behind it.“O my dull memory! I had also forgot to tell you that I long much
to laugh halfan hour with you,my worshippfull brother;and pray let me know
when and where I can wait on you for that laudable purpose.”⁶³The Anderson of
his sermons and most ofthe Constitutionsis formal and serious.The man ofthe
masonic songs and this letter enjoys good-fellowship and laughter.
In the Constitutions the History is followed by the Charges, supposedly
injunctions extracted from the records ofancient lodges in Britain and beyond
the seas,the main object being to instruct masons on how to behave towards
each other and non-masons,concluding that “Brotherly-Love”is both the foun-
dation stone and the capstone ofthe movement.Metaphorically,it is the cement
that holds the edifice together.⁶⁴But the charges begin with the Charge “Con-
cerning God and Religion,”a paragraph that has proved the most controversial
item in Anderson’s work.A mason is obliged “to obey the moral Law;and ifhe
rightly understands the Art,he will never be a stupid Atheist,nor an irreligious
Libertine.”(Stupidis to be taken here not as crude insult but in the sense of
“having one’s senses deadened.”) In ancient times masons had been charged in
every country to follow it’s religion,
yet ’tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion
in which all Menagree,leaving their particular Opinions to themselves;
that is, to be good Men and true, or men of Honour and Honesty, by
whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d;
whereby Masonrybecomes the Center ofUnion,and the means ofconcil-
iating true friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a per-
petual Distance.⁶⁵
The fierce words ofthe opening sentence seem to contrast with the spirit of
the rest ofthe paragraph,and it is possible that they are part ofthe committee
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offourteen’s revision ofthe text,indicating that it was felt that though Freema-
sonry was elastic some limits had to be laid down to prevent scandal.But even
the message on Atheists and Libertines can be interpreted as ambiguous.It does
not say they will be refused admission to the Craft,or expelled from it,but that
they will not hold these beliefs ifthey “rightly understand”Freemasonry.More-
over,just as the History had Christ without acknowledgement of his divinity,
the Charges have religion and moral law,and a denunciation ofAtheists,with-
out (except in the heading) specific mention of God. This vagueness, if not
ambiguity,has exasperated generations ofmasonic historians,who have gener-
ally attributed it to Anderson’s incompetence,but again this ignores the context.
His task was to provide a broad framework,not lay down a new dogma for a
new denomination. Freemasonry existed as an escape from denominational
and factional constraints into a sphere into which men concentrated on what
bound them together,not what divided them.In not defining the “Religionin
which all Men agree”Anderson is being evasive in one sense,but is also appeal-
ing to an ideal.Vagueness becomes a virtue,for any attempt at precise definition
would have been destructive.His ambiguity should perhaps be seen as masterly.
The search for what unites instead ofwhat divides was ofcourse not exclu-
sive to Freemasonry.Endless attempts to force all men into a single denomina-
tion had failed dramatically in the generations since Reformation,causing vast
suffering without bringing unity any nearer. The English Toleration Act had
resulted as much from exhaustion and expediency as from principle, but the
search was widespread to establish principles on which the acceptance ofdiver-
sity could be based.The idea ofsome common underlying agreement on essen-
tials which underlay denominational variety in worship, dogma, and church
government generally involved invoking morality as the key,and then brother-
hood or neighborly love as the key to morality itself.
To take just one example (though a highly relevant one,given the veneration
in which Desaguliers held him),in unpublished notes Isaac Newtonpondered
“the essential part of religion”binding on all nations and “of an immutable
nature because grounded upon immutable reason.”Love ofGod and neighbors
were the essentials,so “This religion may therefore be called the Moral Law of
all nations.”⁶⁶Even within Freemasonry Anderson was not the first to search for
something common to religions.That ideas of this sort imbued Freemasonry
before the publication ofthe Constitutions is shown by Robert Samber,writing
in .Masons avoided religion and politics in discussion but had a religion,
and indeed “the Religion we profess … is the best that ever was,or will or can
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be … for it is the Law ofNature,which is the Law ofGod,for God is Nature.It
is to love God above all things,and our Neighbor as our self; this is the true,
primitive,Catholic and universal Religion,agreed to be so in all times,and con-
firmed by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.”⁶⁷The dedication ofone ofAnder-
son’s sermons, preached in the same year as the Constitutionswas published
shows him trying to express the same sort ofconcept in the context ofhis own
denomination. The dedication is addressed to the earl of Buchan(one of the
Scottish representative peers sitting in parliament), for whom Anderson was
acting as chaplain, and Anderson commends the earl—and by implication
himself—for their zeal for the Church ofScotland “and for our zeal for serious
Religion and trueChristianity in general,which is more to be regarded than any
Denomination or Party of Christians under Heaven.”⁶⁸ Underlying his own
church there was seriousreligion and trueChristianity,beyond sectarian strife.
It is a remarkable statement for a Presbyterian minister.
In the Charge on Religion, Freemasonry avoided precision of definition
because that would immediately begin to build barriers,and the intention was
inclusiveness.“God”in the title ofthe charge indicates a limitation to monothe-
ism,but this was not something that,in terms ofthe British society that Ander-
son was assuming as his context, was deliberately introduced as a barrier to
membership. All the rival religious grouping in Britain were monotheists.
Indeed the only significant religious group that was not Christian (or closely
derived from Christianity, like the Unitarians and Deists) was the Jews. They
were an increasingly accepted presence in London society, worship by them
having been sanctioned in .By ,the year in which Anderson’s Constitu-
tions were commissioned, two Jewish masons can be identified in London
lodges,and by one was a Master.⁶⁹Jews were playing an increasing role in
public life.A Portuguese and Spanish synagogue was built in London in ,
and one for Germans and Poles in .The Charge on Religion dealt with the
British situation:it was only as Empire expanded that Freemasonry had to con-
sider its attitudes to other faiths.⁷⁰
When they turn to relations to civil power,the Charges are at first crisp and
direct.A mason is a peaceable subject to civil powers.They are known for their
loyalty and thrive in times ofpeace.That the state need have no fears about Free-
masonry’sgrowth is the clear message.But then complications set in.A mason
who is a rebel against the state cannot be “countenanc’d”in his rebellion,though
he may be pitied as an unhappy man.But though his rebellion is to be disowned
and Freemasonry must give the government ofthe time no ground for political
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James Anderson: Man and Mason
jealousy,the mason-rebel cannot be expelled from his lodge ifhe has commit-
ted no other crime,for his relationship to his lodge “remains indefeasible.”Part
ofthe message seems straightforward.Brotherhood is a relationship that is irre-
versible.A sibling cannot become a non-sibling.But then there is the qualifica-
tion. This applies to rebels, but not to those who commit other crimes.
Presumably other crimes carried out in pursuance ofrebellion is meant.Again
the obscurity is likely to be deliberate,and the meaning when decoded,it may
be suggested,is that a brother may be a rebel “in principle”in that he does not
recognize the lawfulness ofthe government,but so long as he does not commit
further “crimes”by acting on his beliefhe is still acceptable as a mason.Action
would be treason.Ifthis is the charge’s intention,it means a man who was Jaco-
bite at heart but had no intention ofactively furthering the Jacobite cause could
be a Freemason. Such a hint at the extent of masonic political inclusiveness
would need to be swathed in obscurity if it was not to cause alarm.The later
charge which rules against discussion of religion and politics in lodges both
reflects genuine masonic ideology and gives added reassurance that masons
should not be seen as a threat,and is also the occasion for the first mention in
the Constitutionsofthe Reformation.Not discussing such matters,it is claimed,
has always been the rule for masons,but it was especially necessary to observe
it in Britain since that “Dissent and Secession ofthese Nations from the Com-
munion of Rome.”⁷¹ Reformation had led to denominational diversity and
political splits had followed,and in one sense Freemasonry was trying to create
a dimension ofunity in society which would heal that breach.
The publication ofthe Constitutionsaroused no discernible public interest.
Few non-masons would have bothered reading it,fewer still with the attention
needed to detect the radical points buried deep within it and concealed by care-
ful wording.Within the masonic movement there are clear signs ofunease,but
these concentrated on the General Regulations which sought to define how
Grand Lodge and ordinary lodges should be organized and the relations
between them. There is evidence of objections being made to some Regula-
tions,and Grand Lodge made several changes to them.⁷²A masonic reviewer
took exception to parts ofthe History,but he accepted that Adam was the first
mason,for this was something that was “universally agreed.”But he pointed out
that Anderson expressed uncertainty as to whether Charles IIand William III
had been masons, noting that this raised doubts as to how well informed his
more ancient history was.It was a fair point.But overall the reviewer,far from
blaming Anderson for credulity, tended to rebuke him for not making even
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larger historical claims for Masonry.⁷³On the wider issues of Freemasonry’s
attitude to religion,the reviewer notes the obligation to obey moral law,and that
even rebels against government cannot be expelled,but no comment is made on
these controversial matters.⁷⁴Another writer observed that there “are Schisms
and Fractions,more than enough,in our most Excellent Religion”so Freema-
sons should not add to their number,⁷⁵missing the point that Masonry made
no claim to be a “fraction”claiming to be beyond such things.In all,the lack of
attack on the radical attitude of Freemasonry to denominational religion
expressed in the Constitutionsis remarkable.⁷⁶A satirical denunciation of
Freemasonry said the Constitutions“contain nothing but what is perfectly inno-
cent,and proves [masons] to be rather a whimsical than a dangerous and for-
midable Sect.But I must observe that this book seems design’d to amuse rather
than inform the World”as it did not reveal masonic secrets.⁷⁷Ifdesigned not to
alarm,Anderson’s work served its purpose admirably.
Anderson’s Constitutionswere to be ofcentral importance to Freemasonry,
supplying a foundation and agreed traditions and regulations as a basis for
expansion based on Grand Lodge.There was a good deal in it that was new in
detail,but Anderson’s work ofcompilation did not involve any major innovation
or attempt to take Freemasonry in fresh directions.He had been commissioned
to build on medieval traditions and provide for the reincarnated Freemasonry of
his own day,based on London club-lodges,what the Old Constitutionshad pro-
vided for stonemasons centuries before.For these stonemasons,religious unity
was taken for granted,and celebrated in an invocation to God at the beginning
ofmany copies oftheir constitutions.The eighteenth-century world ofdenom-
inations and factions was very different,and unity had to be based on a studied
vagueness about religion.There has been much discussion of exactly how far
the religious inclusiveness ofMasonry as set out in the Constitutionswas meant
to stretch,but Anderson and the Grand Lodge that approved his work did not
want to attempt to answer such questions.The assumption ofmonotheism and
the condemning ofAtheists and Libertines were their only concessions to defi-
nition.And,in practice,even the last two ofthese three restrictions were irrele-
vant.Lodges initiated whoever they wanted,including Libertines and men who
came very close to Atheism.William Stukeley(FRS),who became a mason in
,was closely associated with a number ofthose whose beliefs brought about
the denunciation in that year ofhell-fire clubs,though he attended church him-
self (and was laughed at for it, for he was a physician, and physicians were
expected to be godless).Later Stukeley became a Church of England minister
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James Anderson: Man and Mason
and critical of his old friends. Martin Folkes (FRS, Deputy Grand Master
–) was according to Stukeleyin religion “an errant infidel and loud
scoffer”who believed “nothing ofa future state,ofthe Scriptures,ofrevelation.”
He had organized an infidel club in London in and “perverted”Montagu
(Grand Master –),Richmond(Grand Master –) and other nobles.
This “has done an infinite prejudice to Religion in general, made the nobility
throw offthe mask,and openly deride and discountenance even the appearance
of religion.”⁷⁸Stukeley had striven to persuade Montagu to take religion seri-
ously,but the company ofFolkes and other “irreligious”people prevailed.
Thus by its choice of its first noble Grand Master Freemasonry had agreed
to be led by a man who outwardly conformed to the Church ofEngland out of
convenience but at heart was close to Atheism.In it elected its first (and
only) Roman Catholic,and at heart Jacobite,Grand Master,the duke of Nor-
folk.His social status and willingness not to parade his beliefs publicly saved
him from persecution. A satirical attack on Freemasonry noted that Grand
Lodge’s ceremonial sword had been “presented to Them,as I am inform’d,by a
great Roman Catholic Peer,”meaning Norfolk,and hinted that this showed that
Masonry had military ambitions and was seditious But there was no sign of
public unease,though it may have been feared that there would be opposition
within Masonry to Norfolk’s appointment. Nine out of eleven earlier Grand
Masters were present at his installation in what looks like a deliberate display of
how many senior masons supported the appointment,though it could also be
regarded as a recognition that this was a particularly important appointment:
masonic inclusiveness had taken a leap forward in looking beyond Protes-
tantism for a leader.⁷⁹
Lack oflodge minutes means only occasional glimpses ofAnderson’s masonic
career after publication of the Constitutionsare available.Which lodge he had
been Master ofwhen their approbation had been signed is unknown,but a 
list oflodge members reveals him as a member oftheHorn Lodge,in which the
élite (socially and intellectually) was concentrated,and two years later “Jacques
Anderson Maitre [de] Arts”was also a member oftheFrench Lodge(Solomon’s
Head, Hemmings Row) which had Desaguliers as its Master.⁸⁰ In the s
(having been recognized as a former Grand Warden) he can occasionally be
found attending Grand Lodge meetings. The compiling of the Constitu-
tionsseems to have whetted Anderson’s appetite for scholarly and literary work,
though he still occasionally published sermons,⁸¹and a treatise ofdemon-
strated his continuing adherence to traditional Christian theology, being
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devoted to supporting the doctrine of the Trinity against “Idolaters, Modern
Jews and Anti-Trinitarians.”⁸² Increasingly, however, Anderson’s studies
focused on genealogy,and in the mid s he circulated a proposal for pub-
lishing by subscription a translation “from the High Dutch”ofa work by Johann
Hübneron the genealogy of emperors, kings and princes, with additions by
Anderson himself.⁸³ The response must have been encouraging, because he
immersed himselfin his project.A taster for what was to come appeared as an
appendix to a sermon in ,in the form ofa genealogy ofChrist,then the fol-
lowing year came Royal Genealogies: or, the Genealogical Tables of Emperors,
Kings, and Princes, from Adam to These Times (London, ).⁸⁴It is a huge
work,and Anderson’s claim that it had taken him seven years of hard labor to
compile it is easy to believe. Though based on Hübner’s work,Anderson had
expanded the original vastly,rearranging it and attempting to make the work a
history as well as a genealogy, by including brief summaries of events under
each reign, much of the early material being quarried from Humphrey
Prideaux’s The Old and New Testaments Connected(–).⁸⁵To help finance
this massive work of reference,Anderson had obtained a glittering list of sub-
scribers,including many nobles and masons—including Desaguliers.It was the
most prestigious ofAnderson’s publications,and it was probably it that brought
him a gift of£from the queen in .⁸⁶He had also gained some academic
recognition. In his university, Marischal College,Aberdeen, granted him
the degree ofdoctor ofdivinity,he being (as a London newspaper reported) “a
gentleman well known for his extensivelearning.”In the years that followed he
used his connections to persuade his old university to grant the same honor to
several English Dissenting ministers,who were (like him) debarred from aca-
demic recognition by English universities.A further sign ofhis continuing links
with the place ofhis birth is that he sent his son to Aberdeen Grammar School
and then () to Marischal.⁸⁷
The Royal Genealogiesdoubtless brought Anderson gratification,but it failed
to make money,for sheets of the first edition,with a few extra pages,were re-
issued as a second edition in ,and after his death the expense ofthe project
was blamed for many ofhis difficulties.There were also problems in his career
as a minister,and in he left the Swallow Street Chapelwith part ofhis for-
mer congregation and became a preacher in Lisle Street, Leicester Square. In
retrospect that his last published sermon was given to debtorsfrom the Fleet
Prison seems ominous,his sympathy for the debtors’problems perhaps a reflec-
tion ofhis own worries.⁸⁸
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By this time the first edition of the Constitutionshad been sold out,and in
 William Smith’s Pocket Companion for Free-Masons was published in
Dublin as a substitute, using much material from Anderson’s work. His
response was to present a paper to Grand Lodge complaining that Smith “had
without his privity or Consent pyrated a considerable part of the Constitu-
tions,”to Anderson’s prejudice as it was his “sole property.”A new edition ofthe
Constitutions, was therefore needed, and he submitted his proposed text for
one,with additions and alterations.Obviously Anderson must have been work-
ing on his updated edition long before Smith’s book had been published,and
though he held the copyright he wanted Grand Lodge approval for his project.
Grand Lodge agreed to the new edition,and again a committee was appointed
to consider his text.⁸⁹That most ofits members were also members ofAnder-
son’s own lodge,the Horn,was hardly surprising as it had a unique concentra-
tion of senior Freemasons,and doubtless Anderson had discussed his project
informally with his brothers before he approached Grand Lodge.He had also
attended Grand Lodge on a scattering of occasions in the s,⁹⁰indicating
that he had remained near the center ofmasonic affairs even while devoting his
scholarly attentions mainly to genealogy.
The revising committee having made some corrections,in January the
Grand Lodge gave the text its approval and ordered that it be printed.The long
delay between submission and approval may partly be explained by Grand
Lodge’s determination that the work be as full as possible.In March it had
given orders that it include a list of all Grand Masters from the beginning of
time.⁹¹Far from it being the case that Anderson tricked gullible Freemasons
with historical fantasies,in the eyes ofhis brethren he was too restrained in his
scholarly inventions about the glories ofthe Craft’s past.But Anderson got his
reward for his extra work:the new edition was ordered to be “the only Book for
the Use ofthe Lodges,”⁹²expanding its potential market.
The Constitutionshadrun to just pages. The editionreached
—and that in much smaller print.The History had grown vastly,Anderson
modestly excusing his not citing his sources as “most ofthe Facts are generally
well known”from other histories.⁹³He was not claiming to be an original his-
torian, but to be extracting the masonic theme from general history. Now,
invention to boost the status of Masonry becomes blatant, and a long list of
those now designated Grand Masters of England stretches far back into the
Middle Ages to satisfy the orders ofGrand Lodge.More convincingly,the vast
expansion of Grand Lodge Freemasonry since is demonstrated by long
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lists of English lodges and of deputations granted to lodges and provincial
Grand Masters around the world—from Spain to Russia,from South America
to New Jersey, from West Africa to the Leeward Islands—though of course
many of these grandiose gestures meant little in practice.But there was some
recognition ofthe limits ofempire.Scotland,Ireland,France,and Italy were rec-
ognized as “affecting Independency,”by having their own Grand Masters.⁹⁴
To the later historian, however, by far the most valuable of the historical
material in the Constitutionsis the section which describes the origins of
Grand Lodge.From to (when Grand Lodge began to keep minutes)
Anderson is often the only source for events, and where his account can be
checked it becomes clear that he is not to be trusted implicitly.He made errors,
through carelessness or bad memory,and he was at times guilty of distortion,
conscious,or not,tidying up the past to smooth over problematic events (as has
been noted earlier over the St.Martin’s foundation stone and Wharton).That,
after all,was what an official historian was for.
Turning to the General Regulations,those ofare much revised in ,
in the light ofexperience as Freemasonry had grown.But the printing ofthe old
and new regulations side by side,which was doubtless intended to be ofpracti-
cal use to masons by making clear what changes had been made,proved disas-
trous in the long-term to Anderson’s reputation, for the “old”regulations as
printed in vary in wording from those published in .How can Ander-
son be trusted if he cannot even be relied on to copy accurately from his own
work?⁹⁵Anderson would probably have protested that the discrepancies are
merely verbal,⁹⁶but nonetheless the impression given is ofslipshod work.
Anderson was now sick and in financial trouble,and this may have under-
mined the standard ofhis work,but one quite remarkable item in the Con-
stitutionsindicates eccentricity—and sneaks what could be seen as a factional
political statement into an officially approved masonic publication. In 
Captain John Porteousofthe Edinburgh Town Guard had been lynched by an
Edinburgh mob,furious that he had been given a royal pardon after being con-
demned to death for ordering his men to fire into a crowd (causing several
deaths) during a riot.The lynching caused a huge political row,as it was seen as
a direct insult to the crown.An attack on Freemasonry published in the Crafts-
manin London in asserted that the lynching of Porteous “was concerted
and executed with so much Unanimity and Secrecy, that none but a Mob of
Free-Masons could be guilty ofit,”no-one ever being charged with involvement
in the crime. The charge was probably not meant seriously, but Anderson
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
included in one of the new songs he appended to the Constitutions an
expression ofcontempt for the author ofthe attack on Masonry,adding a note
that those who lynched Porteous were called masons “because they kept their
own Secrets.”⁹⁷Anderson may merely have meant that Porteous’s killers were
referred to as masons metaphorically,as they were good at keeping secrets.But
in agreeing that in a sense they weremasons is there a hint of more? To many
Scots, those who lynched Porteous were men who had administered justice
when a corrupt,English-dominated government had failed to do so.The courts
ofScotland had sentenced him to death but government had intervened to save
him.Ordinary people had therefore intervened to execute justice.Is this,as well
as secrecy,“Masonic,”in that it was an enforcement ofmoral law? It would per-
haps be foolish to take a note to a song too seriously,but Anderson was a Scot
and he could not fail to have been aware of the political side of the Porteous
affair, with opposition politicians blaming the government for the debacle.
Moreover the previous year Frederick,prince ofWales,who had become asso-
ciated with opposition to the king’s ministers, had been initiated as a mason.
Prince and Porteous may add up to a temporary lapse in masonic political
impartiality.On the other hand,the increasingly unpopular Prime Minister,Sir
Robert Walpole,had been a mason for years,so perhaps Frederick’s accession
should be seen as restoring political balance.⁹⁸But in later editions ofthe Con-
stitutionsthe Porteous reference was dropped.
In the second as in the first edition oftheConstitutionsit is what is said about
religion that has proved ofmost lasting interest.The references to Christ in the
History,and the wording ofthe first charge,ofthe new edition are notably diff-
erent from their predecessors,indicating that in spite of lack of public contro-
versy some within Freemasonry had found the edition too radical.In the
History Christis now rescued from parenthetical obscurity.The much greater
length ofthe new History allowed more detail,but more than this is suggested by
the space now given to his birth.In him the Word was made flesh.He was the
Lord Jesus Christ Immanuel,Great Architect or Grand Master ofthe Christian
Church.He was crucified,he rose from the dead,for the justification “ofall that
believe in him.”⁹⁹Yet even now that Christ’s significance is stressed,there seems
to be compromise.Immanuel has been substituted for Messiah,but this makes
little difference,for the name Immanuel was applied to Jesus in his role as Mes-
siah.The statement that he was God or Son ofGod is still not made.Changes in
the first charge point in the same direction,towards a degree ofcompromise.The
assertion that in ancient times masons were charged “to be ofthe religion”ofthe
 Heredom
David Stevenson
country they were in had,it would appear,been seen to carry the unacceptable
implication that in the past Christian masons had,in non-Christian countries,
been bound to conform to other religions.The Charge is therefore rewordedto
state that ancient Christian masons were charged to “comply with the Christian
usages”ofcountries in which they travelled or worked.But as Masonry was now
found in all countries “even ofdivers Religions”they were now only obliged to
the religion on which all men agree. Thus “Christianity”now gains a specific
mention in the Charge—but is only awarded a special place in Masonry in the
distant past.A more significant change concerns the moral law.In there had
been no attempt to define it, and while this aided inclusiveness it left unan-
swered the awkward question ofwhere it could be found,but trying to define it
in Christian terms was still regarded as unacceptably exclusive.By Ander-
son had found a useful new formula.A mason was obliged to obey moral law“as
a true Noachida.”In the preceding History the “Noachidae”had also been men-
tioned,with a note that that was “the first name ofMasons,according to some
old traditions”(which had no doubt just been invented).¹⁰⁰
The Noachian or Noahide Lawswere those regarded as having been given by
God to Adam and Noah. As all men were descended from them, they were
equally binding on all mankind (unlike the later Ten Commandmentsgiven to
Moses, which God gave specifically to the Jews). Originally there were seven
laws,but generations ofscholars,with typical eagerness to complicate matters,
had derived new ones from them until a total of thirty had been reached.¹⁰¹
Here,therefore,was a basis for moral law on which Christians,Jews,and hope-
fully others could agree. Even Deists and Atheists could be influenced by an
appeal to the Noachian Laws,for whatever their religious standpoint they gen-
erally accepted the Old Testament’s/Talmud’s version of the early history of
mankind.For practical purposes,however,defining masons as Noachida,while
pleasingly erudite to the scholar like Anderson, did nothing to help ordinary
masons understand what the moral law was.Very few would ever have heard of
the Noachian Laws.It is tempting to think that the reference to them was put in
as a sop to those who wanted some definition ofmoral law,but done in a delib-
erately obscure way.This impression is intensified when the revised charge goes
on to state that the good men and true of all religions who come together as
masons agreed on “the great Articles ofNoah.”¹⁰²These had previously been
mentioned in the History,for after Anderson had mentioned the Zoroastrians
he had indicated his wish to avoid religious controversy by saying,“They are here
mention’d,not for their Religious Rites that are not the subject ofthis Book:for
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
we leave every Brother to Liberty of Conscience; but strictly charge him to
maintain the Cement of the Lodge, and the Articles of Noah.”¹⁰³It sounds
imposing, and doubtless Anderson knew which three Noachian Laws he was
referring to.So,too,did other masons at the time.But modern Freemasons do
not know for certain.¹⁰⁴.Sometimes too much secrecy is counter-productive.
A final difference between the two editions ofthe Constitutionsis the status
ofAnderson himself.In the first edition he had been simply “the author,”iden-
tification ofwhom he squeezed into a list ofofficers oflodges.By however
he was no longer the obscure antiquarian Dissenter of.He was a recognized
authority on matters masonic,a genealogist ofsome note and a doctor ofdivin-
ity.These were petty claims to fame perhaps,but he was not the nonentity he
had been,and could claim full credit for his work on the title page.He himself
wrote the dedication,at the order ofthe officers ofGrand Lodge,to the prince
ofWales.And he was allowed room to address his readers directly “From my
Study in Exeter-Court”in the Strand.Those who find his prose style too prolix
for their tastes may smile at his proud boast that he has left out unnecessary
material as “It is good to know what not to say!”—though this,as well as a pat
on the back for himself,may be taken as a statement that he has been careful to
observe masonic secrecy where appropriate.¹⁰⁵
Anderson’s note to readers in the new Constitutionsis dated November ,
,but by that time he had swung back to genealogical research.In April 
he had written to Lord Perceval(son ofthe Earl ofEgmont) about research he
was doing on his family,¹⁰⁶and he was still busy in this field when he wrote his
last known letter,from Exeter Court,to Sir Philip Parkerà Morley Long,on May
,.It is a sad letter,ingratiatingly signed “your genealogist.”The bearer was
Anderson’s daughter, who was delivering to Long an unfinished genealogical
table for his “great book.”Then comes embarrassment.Anderson explained that
he had been reduced to great weakness ofbody by a “complex ofailments”that
now centered in a “dropsical humour.”He was hoping to go to the country for a
few days to recover his health but long illness had left him out of pocket “and
forceth me,against inclination,to request the favour [of] some more money.”
He pleaded his merit in collating and collecting “which is the hardest work for
a man’s brains.”He was not in the habit ofasking for money before he had fin-
ished work, and begged ten thousand pardons from Long in “my present
pinch.”A further note indicates the urgency ofhis need:“The bearer will bring
safely what you send.”Could his daughter bring him the money immediately,in
other words.¹⁰⁷
 Heredom
David Stevenson
Anderson probably never got his days in the country,for he died at Exeter
Court two weeks later,on May .The only assessment ofhis character to sur-
vive that was written in his own lifetime appears in an anonymous history of
London Dissenting churches, evidently by a dissenter minister. Anderson is
described as “a gentleman oflearning,and ofready parts,but is ofa lively brisk
temper and has not the guard upon his conduct that serious Christians could
wish,though it is hoped he is a good man,and [he]has been useful in his min-
istry to many persons”He lived in a part ofLondon where dissenters were little
in fashion,“yet has a pretty numerous congregation.”¹⁰⁸Overall approval is thus
indicated—a talented and learned man.But a bit too hot tempered,and some-
times in behavior not all that could be wished for—perhaps a reference to his
readiness to mix with those ofother beliefs.
The Gentleman’sMagazinegave a brief note of the death ofAnderson,“An
eminent Dissenting Minister,”mentioning his authorship of the Constitutions
and Royal Genealogies,¹⁰⁹and a newspaper noted that he had been a person of
great learning and abilities “and reckoned a very facetious [witty,jocular] Com-
panion.”¹¹⁰The Scots Magazinegave a much fuller obituary.Anderson had been
“a Gentleman of uncommon abilities, and most facetious conversation: But,
notwithstanding his great talents,and the useful application he made ofthem,
being, by the prodigious expence attending the above mentioned work [the
Genealogies], reduced to slender circumstances, he has, for some years, been
exposed to misfortunes, above which the encouragement due to his merit
would have easily raised him.—But the remembrance ofhis qualifications,and
the many hardships under which he was publicly knownto labour,will serve to
shew succeeding generations … a Gentleman who,by more thantwenty years
study,gave the world a book ofinconceivable labour,and universal use,was suf-
fered to fall a victim to his attempts to serve mankind.”The writer,who surely
had known Anderson personally,added bitterly that while the talented Ander-
son suffered, rich English patrons bestowed fortunes on Italian singers.¹¹¹
Another verdict,delivered much later,was that Anderson had been “a learned
but imprudent man.”¹¹²
A newspaper account ofAnderson’s funeral on June is dramatic,and per-
haps exaggerated,but indicates that both the minister and the Freemason were
recognized.He was buried in Bunhill Fields (the main burial ground for Dis-
senters in London) “in a very remarkable deep grave.”His coffin was carried to
his grave by five fellow Dissenting ministers and his old friend JohnDesag-
uliers—who was ofcourse a Church ofEngland minister.About a dozen Free-
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
masons stood round the grave.Dr Earle (Jabez Earle,a well known London Dis-
senting minister with a Scottish doctorate) then spoke ofthe uncertainty oflife,
but “without [saying] one Word ofthe deceased.”Then in a “solemn dismal pos-
ture”the Freemasons lifted up their hands and struck their aprons three times
in Anderson’s honor.¹¹³
Two posthumous works kept his memory alive for a few years. The first,
appropriately enough, was News from Elysium: or, Dialogues from the Dead
().This featured pairs ofgreat European sovereigns who had been rivals in
life moralizing about the secret politics of their reigns, and discussing news
reaching them from the world of the living.¹¹⁴This was a new departure for
Anderson, escaping from the previous restriction of his writings to religion,
Masonry,and genealogy,perhaps spurred on by the hope that it would restore
his fortunes.Had he lived,he would have been disappointed,for the dialogues
have very little to offer,as either entertainment or instruction.
The appearance three years later of A Genealogical History of the House of
Yverybrings Anderson’svoice from the grave,for the dedication to the earl of
Egmont in the first volume is his work.It explains how,in compiling the Royal
genealogies he had “made almost immense Collections”of material and then
spent some time seeking to “methodise and arrange this indigested Mass.”
Becoming interested in the house ofYvery (Egmont’s family) he had compiled
this work.Anderson urged his own diligence:he had not relied on earlier pedi-
grees but worked from sources.With respect to integrity and truth,he asserted,
he was not inferior to any writer—though he could not guarantee that there
were absolutely no errors.¹¹⁵
That note of combined pride in his labors but caution about the possible
limitations of the work seems a suitable point at which to leave Anderson.He
was not a man oforiginal ideas,his talents as a writer were limited,but though
his works on Freemasonry were a mixture ofcompilation and fantasy,invention
and manipulation,clarity and ambiguity—and indeed error—they were hugely
formative for Grand Lodge Freemasonry in his own time and succeeding gen-
erations. What he gave Freemasons was acceptable to them. More recent
masonic historians want different things,and have felt let down because Ander-
son failed to satisfy late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century standards of what
history should be—and what they thought Freemasonry to be.Freemasonry,as
an influential,publicly recognized movement,was just inventing itself,and in
the process ofinvention it was necessary at times to diverge from tradition and
innovate—but,as was commonplace,not admit change was being made.There
 Heredom
David Stevenson
was a necessity for a degree ofingenuity and even fable that Anderson and his
colleagues understood.It was an age in which credibility depended largely on
claims to antiquity,and that Anderson provided copiously.History was the leg-
end based on fact which gave masons a past on which to base their harmony
and unity and their claims to glory.Masonry also claimed “scientific”validity,
through its self-identification with geometry, and it assumed divine valida-
tion—though only in the widest terms to avoid denominationalism. To the
wider world,Anderson was the spokesman ofthe early Grand Lodge,expound-
ing the non-secret parts of the Craft.At the installation of Norfolkas Grand
Master in ,the Master ofthe most senior lodge present had carried the Con-
stitutionson a velvet cushion in front ofGrand Master Lord Kingston.¹¹⁶It was
the clearest possible indication of the status Anderson’s work,for all its faults,
had achieved.
Anderson died in genteel poverty.A man who had chosen to be a Non-Con-
formist minister and then specialized in genealogy was hardly making gaining
worldly riches a priority in life.Yet allegations that he was only interested in
Freemasonry to make money from writing about it and gaining subscriptions
for other publications have been made,¹¹⁷based on no discernible evidence—
except that he was poor.Undoubtedly,Anderson would have liked to have made
money from his books,but that is hardly a reason to denounce him as a cynical
money-grubber.And of course,ironically,Anderson’s whole career shows him
as a man who proved highly unsuccessful in the life-skills offinding patronage
and making money. The research for the Royal Genealogies reduced him to
poverty,and the second edition ofthe Constitutionswas so far from being a best
seller that unsold stock was re-issuedwith a new title-page in .His work on
the Constitutionsand on genealogy suggest he pursued his own genuine intel-
lectual interests at the expense ofhis pocket,though he hoped for better things.
There is no plausible reason for casting doubt on the sincerity ofthis little red-
headed Scots’ dedication to Freemasonry and the ideological conviction that
some way ahead for society lay in inclusiveness.¹¹⁸
Editor’s Note:This article is reprinted from Freemasonry on Both Sides ofthe
Atlantic,eds.R.W.Weisberger,W.McLeod,and S.B.Morris (Boulder:East Euro-
pean Monographs,),© by R.William Weisberger.Used with permission.
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
NOTES
.L.Edwards,“Anderson’s Book ofConstitutions of,”Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.
Being the Transactions ofthe Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.,London[AQC],vol.
(),p..
.L.Vibert,“Anderson’s Constitutions of,”AQC,vol.(),p.;Edwards,
“Anderson’s Book,”AQC,vol. (),pp.–.
. A.L. Miller,“The Connection of Dr. James Anderson of the ‘Constitutions’ with
Aberdeen and Aberdeen University,”AQC,vol.(),p..See also A.L.Miller,
Notes on the Early History and Records of the Lodge, Aberdeen(Aberdeen: ); D.
Stevenson,The First Freemasons:Scotland’s Early Lodges and Their Members (Aberdeen:
),p..
.R.F.Gould,“Masonic celebrities,No.—The Rev.William Stukeley,M.D.,”AQC,
vol.(),p..
. British Library, Add MS A, f.r. For Anderson’s father’s mark see Miller,
“Connection,”AQC,vol.(),p.and Miller,Notes,opposite p..
.A.L.Miller,“Connection,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.The accused minister
was subsequently deposed for “false accusation,drunkenness,and obscene conversation,
ofwhich he had been guilty when in the North,”Fast Ecclesiae Scoticanae,vols.(Edin-
burgh:–),vol.,p..
.D.Stevenson,The First Freemasons,pp.,.
.Miller,“Connection,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.The information on Ander-
son’s move to London is drawn from No king-sellers:or,a briefdetection ofthe vanity and
villany in a sermon entitul’d,No king-killers.Preached by the Scotch-Presbyterian ofSwal-
low-Street,Picadilly(London:),p..This pamphlet is furiously abusive about Ander-
son,but once stripped ofinvective the stray biographical details are probably reliable.
.See the preface to Anderson’s sermon,cited in W.J.C.Crawley,“The Rev.Dr
Anderson’s Non-Masonic Writings, –,”AQC, vol.  (), p. . But the
Church of Scotland has included Anderson in its fasti,Fasti,vol.,pp.–,and
though outside its jurisdiction Anderson regarded himselfas an adherent ofthat church.
As opponents pointed out,his calling his ministry Presbyterian was anomalous as there
was no presbytery supervising him.
.I.Gilmour,Riot,Risings and Revolution.Government and Violence in Eighteenth-
Century England(London:),pp.–.
.J.Anderson,A sermon preach’d in Swallow-street,St James’s,on Wednesday,Jan..
/.being the national fast-day(London:),pp.,,,.
. J Anderson, No king killers. A sermon preached in Swallow-Street, St James, on
 Heredom
David Stevenson
January .,edns.(London:).
.J.Anderson,Contend earnestly for the faith.A sermon preach’d to a religious society
in Goodman’sFields.On Monday,August (London:).
. D.F. Foxon, English Verses –. A Catalogue of Separately Printed Poems,
vols.,(Cambridge:),vol.,p.,nos.A—A .Foxon accepted that the James
Anderson ofthese verses was the Swallow Street church Anderson,but cites no evidence.
.Anti-Priapeia: or,an answer to Priapeia Presbyteriana,or the Presbyterian Peezle.
In a letter from the General Assembly of Scotland, to their missionary at London, inter-
cepted and paraphrased by Ille ego qui quondam[London: ]. The piece has been
described as—”A satire on the Presbyterians,occasioned by the fact that James Ander-
son … was known to have caught the Pox,”Foxon,English Verses,vol.,pp.–,but no
evidence to support the allegation that Anderson really had the pox is cited.
.National Library of Scotland,.(),quoted Crawley,“Non-masonic writings,”
AQC,vol.(),p..
.Gentleman’sMagazine,vol.,Jan.,pp.–.
.The only “evidence”produced to advance the idea that he was imprisoned is that
many years later he gave a sermon to debtor-prisoners showing sympathy for their
plight,A.Robbins,“Dr Anderson ofthe ‘Constitutions,’”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
In other words,there is no evidence.
.Constitutions(),p..The two editions ofthe Constitution,and ,are
cited from the facsimile reprints of(introduction by L.Vibert) and (introduc-
tion by W.J.Hughan).These were republished as a single volume in (introduction
by E.Ward).
.Constitutions(),p..
.Constitutions(),p.–.
.There is no evidence to support the confident statement that Anderson appeared
before Grand Lodge and asked “permission”to write and publish a history of Freema-
sonry,J.R.Clarke,“The Change from Christianity to Deism in Freemasonry,”AQC,vol.
(),p..
.C.H.C.Baker and M.I.Baker,The life and Circumstances of James Brydges,First
Duke ofChandos(Oxford:),p..
.The Minutes ofthe Lodge ofEdinburgh,Mary’sChapel,No.,–3,ed.H.Carr,
and J.R.Dashwood (London: Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha,Masonic Reprints of
the Quatuor Coronati Lodge,vol.,),pp.–.
. For early Scottish Freemasonry see D. Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry.
Scotland’sCentury,–(Cambridge:).
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
.No king-sellers,pp.,.
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.A.F.Robbins,“The Earliest Years ofEnglish Organised Freemasonry,”AQC,vol.
(),p..Constitutions(),–describes the laying ofthe first stone,March .
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),p..The name “hell fire”club later
came to be regarded as referring to sexual activities,but it originally referred to groups
regarded as blasphemous.
.Complete Peerage,,part ,p..
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.Edwards,“Anderson’s Book,”AQC,vol.(),p..
. R. Samber, Ebrietatis ecomium(), quoted in Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,
vol.(),pp.–.
.B.Williams,The Whig Supremacy,–(Oxford:),p..
.Dictionary ofNational Biography.
.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),p..
.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),p..
.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),p.;R.F.Gould,“Masonic Celebri-
ties.No..The Duke ofWharton,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–;Minutes ofthe Grand
Lodge of Freemasons of England, 3–3, ed.W.J. Songhurst, Quatuor Coronati Anti-
grapha,Masonic Reprints ofthe Quatuor Coronati Lodge,vol.(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),p..
.Constitutions(),p..
.A.F.Robbins,“Earliest Years,”AQC,vol.(),p..
.Minutes ofthe Grand Lodge,p..
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.The approbation had been signed in advance,in Nov.or Dec. ,Vibert,“Ander-
son’s Constitutions of,”AQC,vol.(),p.—a time when,by Anderson’s
later account,Wharton had not yet been officially accepted as Grand Master.
 Heredom
David Stevenson
.It has been pointed out in the Aberdeen Mark Book of“”Anderson’s father
had similarly referred to himself,in a list of lodge members,as “Wreater of this book,”
Miller,Notes,;Vibert,“Anderson’s Constitutions of,”AQC,vol.(),p..
.Constitutions(),pp.–
.Constitutions(),p..
.Vibert,“Introduction”to Constitutions(),p.viii.
.Constitutions(),p..
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),pp..
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.Early Masonic Pamphlets,ed.D.Knoop,G.P.Jones,and D.Hamer (Manchester:
),p.;Constitutions(),pp.–n.
.Constitutions(),p.n.
.M.C.Jacob,The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons and Republicans
(London:),p..
.Constitutions(),pp..
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.The Family Memoirs of the Rev.William Stukeley,M.D.,and the Antiquarian and
Other Correspondence of William Stukeley, [ed. W.C. Lucis], vols. (Surtees Society:
–),vol.,p..
.Constitutions(),p..
.Constitutions(),p..
.H.Peters,“Sir Isaac Newton and the ‘Oldest Catholic Religion,’”AQC,vol.(),
pp.–.
. Eugenius Philalethes [R. Samber], The Long Livers(London: ), dedication,
quoted in Early Masonic Pamphlets,p.and J.R.Clarke,“The change from Christian-
ity to Deism in Freemasonry,”AQC,vol.(),p..
. The happy death. A sermon occasion’d by the death of the …Reverend William
Lorimer,A.M.minister ofthe Gospel,who died on the th ofOctober,.His funeral ser-
mon having been accidentally omitted,this was preach’d,at the desire ofsome friends,to the
Scots Church in Swallow-street,St.James’s,Westminster,on Lord’sDay,the th ofOctober,
3 …and concluding in a briefaccount ofMr Lorimer’slife(London:.);J.T.Thorp,
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
“The Rev.James Anderson and the Earls ofBuchan,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.E.Ward,“Anderson’s Freemasonry not Deistic,”AQC,vol.(),pp.,;
J.M.Shaftesley,“Jews in English Freemasonry in the th and th Centuries,”AQC,vol.
(),p..
. Debate about whether Anderson’s Freemasonry was Deistic, and whether Free-
masonry changed from Christian to Deist, has often been learned but equally often
seems to miss the essential point.The move was not towards beingDeist,but to being
inclusive.See D.Knoop and G.P.Jones,“Freemasonry and the Idea ofNatural Religion,”
AQC, vol. (), pp. –; D. Knoop and G.P. Jones, The Genesis of Freemasonry
(London:),p.;J.R.Clarke,“The Change from Christianity to Deism,”AQC,vol.
(),pp.–,and E.Ward,“Anderson’s Freemasonry Not Deistic,”AQC,vol.
(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),pp.,.
. Knoop and Jones, Genesis, p. ; Edwards,“Anderson’s Book,”AQC, vol. 
(),pp.–;Vibert,“Anderson’s Constitutions of,”AQC,vol.(),p..
–of one lodge record a determination to keep a close eye on the revising of the
Constitutionto ensure that “no Variation be made in the Ancient Establishment.But the
minutes in the form that they survive were written many years later,and confusion in
their dating suggest that they were originally compiled after the event to justify resist-
ance to change,”W.H.Rylands,Records of the Lodge ofAntiquity,No , vols.(London:
–),vol.,pp.,.
.The secret history ofthe free-masons.Being an accidental discovery,ofthe ceremonies
made use ofin the several lodges …with some observations,reflections and critical remarks
on the new constitution book ofthe free-masons,written by James Anderson,A.M.…(Lon-
don:[?];nd edn ),reprinted in Early Masonic Pamphlets,pp.–.
.Knoop and Jones,Genesis,pp.–.
.Early Masonic Pamphlets,p..
.Knoop and Jones,Genesis,pp.–.
.W.J.C.Crawley,“Contemporary Comments on the Feemasonry ofthe Eighteenth
Century,”AQC,vol.(),p..
.The Family Memoirs ofthe Rev.William Stukeley,vol.,pp.,.
.Crawley,“Contemporary Comments,”AQC,vol.(),p.;Grand Lodge,
– ,ed.A.S.Frere,(Oxford:),p..Norfolk’s sword is still used in the Eng-
lish Grand Lodge’s ceremonial today.
.Minutes oftheGrand Lodge,vol.(),p..
. J.Anderson, The word made flesh, or, the logos incarnate. A sermon preached on
 Heredom
David Stevenson
Christmas Day, 3. To the Scots Church …Westminster …to which is annexed, the
genealogy and family ofJesus ofNazareth (London:);The Lord looseth the prisoners:
a sermon preach’d in Prujean Court Old Bailey(London:).
. Unity in trinity, and trinity in unity(London: ); Crawley,“Anderson’s Non-
Masonic Writings,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.Proposals for printing by subscription the translation ofthe genealogical tables ofall
the emperors,kings,and sovereign princes,collected by J.Huebner,with additions by James
Anderson(London:c.),quoted in Crawley,“Non-Masonic Writings,”AQC,vol.
(),pp.–.
. It is typical of the way in which sneering at Anderson becomes almost routine
among masonic historians that whereas Hübneris praised for his “miracles ofintelligent
industry,”Anderson’s translation is simply said to follow the original with “more or less
fidelity,”Crawley,“Non-Masonic writings,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.Vibert,“Anderson’s Constitutions of,”AQC,vol.(),p..
.AQC,vol.(),p..;Edwards,“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC,vol.
(),p..
.Miller,“Connection,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.J.Anderson,The Lord looseth the prisoners:a sermon preach’d in Prujean Court Old
Bailey,London,on Sunday the 3d of July 3. To the prisoners for debt that reside in the
rules ofthe Fleet-Prison(London:).The debtors were assembled in Prujean Court (a
place,not a court oflaw),and the following year Anderson addressed a letter “from my
study in Prujean Court Old Bailey,”British Library,Mss Add A.f.r.
. Edwards,“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC, vol.  (), p. ; R.F. Gould,
History ofFreemasonry,ed.H.Poole,vols.(London:),vol.,pp.–.
.Edwards,“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC,vol. (),p..
.Edwards,“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC,vol. (),pp.,–.
.Hughan,“Introduction”to Constitutions(),p.v;Constitutions(),pp.xi,.
.Constitutions(),p.i.For a very full account of the new edition see Edwards,
“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC,vol. (),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
. Knoop and Jones, Genesis, p. . For a list of the discrepancies see Edwards,
“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC,vol. (),pp.–,–.
. Hughan, “Introduction”to Constitutions (), p. v; Constitutions (), pp.
–.
Volume ,  
James Anderson: Man and Mason
.Crawley,“Contemporary Comments,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–;Constitu-
tions(),p..
.A.Robbins,“Frederick,Prince ofWales,as a Freemason,”AQC,vol.(),pp.
–and AQC,vol.(),pp.–;Constitutions(),pp.,;A.Newman,
“Politics and Freemasonry in the Eighteenth Century,”AQC,vol.(),p..
.Constitutions(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),p..
.Constitutions(),pp.–:see also p.;E.Ward,“Anderson’s Freemasonry
Not Deistic,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.Constitutions(),p..
. Constitutions(), p. ; Edwards,“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC, vol. 
(),p..
.Edwards,“Anderson’s Constitutions,”AQC,vol. (),p..
.Constitutions(),p.x.
.British Library,Mss Add A.f.–.
.British Library,Mss Add ,f..
.Quoted in W.Wilson,The History and Antiquities ofDissenting Churches,vols.
(London:–),pp.iv,.
.Gentleman’sMagazine,vol.(),p.
. R.T. Beck,“Anthony Sayer, Gentleman: The Truth at Last,”AQC, vol. 
(),p..
.Scots Magazine,vol.(),p..
.Gentleman’sMagazine,vol.,Jan.,pp.–,.
.Beck,“Anthony Sayer,”AQC,vol. (),p..
.Crawley,“Non-Masonic Writings,”AQC,vol.(),pp.–.
.J.Anderson,A genealogical history ofthe house ofYvery,in its different branches of
Yvery,Luvel,Perceval and Gournay,vols.,(London:).
.Minutes ofthe Grand Lodge,pp.–.
.See Edwards,“Anderson’s Book,”AQC,vol.(),p..The allegation was
evidently first made by the German masonic historian W.Begemann.
. The irony that this “inclusive”world was to be created through an “exclusive”
organization is not lost on me.
 Heredom
David Stevenson
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