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Was Anderson right? By the Grand Historian Ossian Lang (1932)

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MessagePosté le: Dim 21 Déc - 06:07 (2008)    Sujet du message: Was Anderson right? By the Grand Historian Ossian Lang (1932) Répondre en citant

Source :

(Grand Lodge of New York, 1932)
R.W. OSSIAN LANG, Grand Historian
presented the following report
which was received and ordered
printed in the Proceedings.
To the Grand Lodge:


A Review of His Report on the First Six Years of Organized Freemasonry

The story of the formation of the first Grand Lodge ofFree and Accepted Masons in the world
has been told innumerable times. The earliest and only official accountsare those to be found in
the first and second editions of the "Constitutions of the Freemasons" published by order of the
Grand Lodge of England. The first edition (1723) contains only a passing reference to the event,
but includes a list of Lodges recorded as being in existence in 1722. The edition of 1738 is the
one which supplies the earliest summary of what took place between 1716 and 1723 and after.
The account having been written about twenty years after the happenings of the things there
recorded, it is possible of course that the text contains some errors. The question is whether the
things attacked by critics as not being true, really are important, or whether ANDERSON's
account may be accepted as substantially correct.

The report respectfully submitted herewith presents conclusions arrived at after careful
consideration of scholarly criticisms of ANDERSON'S text and their bearing upon ascertained
facts relating to the formative period of organized Freemasonry from 1716 to June 24, 1723, the
date when the premier Grand Lodge installed its first Secretary, from which time onward the
official minutes have been kept without interruption and are in existence now.

Tedious as the examination of questionings of the accuracy of ANDERSON'S account may
appear, those criticisms have obtained currency because of the scholarly writers who raised them
and, if for no other reason, it seemed important that the facts should be established so firmly as to
put a wholesome check on writers who would, if they could, keep the story of beginnings look
uncertain and thereby retain a play-ground in which they can sport their imaginations in the guise
of history.

The original text of the first Book of Constitutions was compiled and completed before June 24,
1722, submitted in print on January 17, 1723, and put on sale in February, as is evident from an
advertisement in the London Post Boy of February 26/28, 1723:

The CONSTITUTION of the FREE-MASONS. Containing the History, Charges,
Regulations, &c., of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity, for the use of
the Lodges. Dedicated to his Grace THE DUKE OF MONTAGU the last Grand
Master, by Order of his Grace THE DUKE OF WHARTON the present Grand Master
authorized by theGrand Lodge of Masters and Wardens at the Quarterly
Communication. Order'd to be publish'd and recommended to the Brethren by the
Grand Master and his Deputy. Printed in the Year of Masonry 5723; of our Lord 1723.
Sold by J. Senex and J. Hooke, both overagainst S. Dunstan's Church in Fleetstreet.
The first edition has only one reference to beginnings, and that is rather vague:
And now the Freeborn British Nations, disentangled from foreign and civil Wars, and
enjoying the good Fruits of Peace and Liberty, having of late much indulg'd their happy
Genius for Masonry of every sort, and reviv'd the drooping Lodges of London, this fair
Metropolis flourisheth,as well as other Parts, with several worthy particular Lodges, that
have a quarterly Communication, and an annual grandAssembly, wherein the Forms
and Usages of the most ancient and worshipful Fraternity are wisely propagated, and the
Royal Art duly cultivated, and the Cement of the Brotherhood preserv'd; so that the
whole Body resembles a well built Arch; several Noblemen and Gentlemen of the best
Rank, with Clergymen and learned Scholars of most Professions and Denominations,
having frankly join'd and submitted to take the Charges, and to wear the Badges of a
Free and Accepted Mason, under our present worthy Grand-Master, the most noble

ANDERSON himself appeared in Grand Lodge for the first time in September 1721, and so
could have had no share in the shaping of the organization before that time. One point of special
interest in the cited statement is that-

"Several worthy particular Lodges have a quarterly Communication, and an annual
Grand Assembly."

Nothing is said of a Grand Lodge.

In a second edition of the Book of Constitutions (1739), he supplies considerable detail, but
hardly any reference therein given as to matters antedating 1723, has gone unchallenged. His
"carelessness" here has been severely criticized, and not always justly. ANDERSON, it Must be
remembered, had to depend almost entirely on hearsay. Details of what took place, before THE
DUKE OF MONTAGU became Grand Master, probably were supplied by his friend JACOB
LAMBELL (or LAMBALL), a carpenter, who attended the First Assembly, on John Baptist Day
in 1717, and retained his membership in the Craft for many years thereafter.

Having suffered serious financial losses in the bursting of the South Sea Bubble, in 1720,
ANDERSON sought to supply his wants by compilations for which there might be a profitable
market. If in his recital of eventshe gave ratherfree rein to his imagination wherethere was a
hiatus, he did no more than a host of others have done after him, when the object was to write
Masonic History. In ANDERSON's defence we at least can say that he was the pioneer in the
field and had nothing to guide him. Moreover, no really serious harm has been done to the
reputation of the Craft, which is something that can not be said in behalf of later uncritical
writers with abundant opportunity near at hand to get at the truth.

It is well to bear these things in mind when reading, for example, LIONEL VIBERT'S paper on
"Anderson's Constitutions of 1723," originally prepared for the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of
London, in 1723, and since republished in book form; or Bro. DR. WILIIELM BEGEMANN'S
monumental work on Freemasonry in England, who first formulated the various strictures
repeated by the former distinguished historiographer.

Without ANDERSON'saccount of what occurred between 1716 and the timeof the first
appointment of a Secretary to Grand Lodge, on June 24,1723, we should have next to nothing to
turn to for light concerning the earliest beginnings ofFreemasonry, except stray newspaper items
and a few diary notations and letters. If the men who had been active participants in the events
recited by ANDERSON in the Constitutions of 1738, and were yet alive, foundno fault with his
chronicle, there would appear to be no reasonable ground for taking him to task now.

The newspaper items collected by SIR ALFRED ROBBINS and published in volume XXII of
the Transactionsof the Lodge Quatuor Coronati; DR. STUKELEY's Diariesand Letters,
containing references to Masonic doings in London from January 6, 1721, onward, which
GOULD extracted and read to the Lodge Q. C. on July 23,1893; and various notes found in
other contemporary publications, supply correctives for anything which may be found amissin
ANDERSON or is not included in his chronicle. After all issaid and done, weshall find that his
chief fault, if itis a fault, is that hewas inclined to picture conditions in too rosy a light. For my
own part I feel that Freemasonry owes to JAMES ANDERSON a greater debt of gratitude than
to any other men of the early days, except perhaps DESAGULIERs and PAYNE.

The chronicle of Masonic events from the formation of the premier Grand Lodge, in 1717, to the
beginning of the first official minutes, in 1723, as it is setdown by ANDERSON inhis
Constitutions of 1739, has been reprinted many times as the Official History of the Grand Lodge
of England for that period. Yet, forconvenience in reviewing it critically, it appears desirable to
repeat it once more. So here goes:

King George 1. enter'd London most magnificently on 20 Sept. 1714. And after the Rebellion
was over A.D. 1716, the few Lodges at London finding themselves neglected by SIR
CHRISTOPHER WREN, thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the Center of Union and
Harmony, viz., theLodges that met,

1. At the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church-Yard.
2. At the Crown Ale-house in Parker's Lane near Drury-Lane.
3. At the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles-street, Covent-Garden.
4. At the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel-Row, Westminster.

They and some old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree, and having put into theChair the oldest
Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge), they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro
Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of
Lodges (Call'd theGrand Lodge) resolv'd to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to
chuse a Grand Master from among themselves, till they should have the Honour of a Noble
Brother at their head.

SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN, the renowned architect, was adopted a Brother, on May 18, 1691,
at a great convention, at St. Paul's Church, of the Fraternity of Free-Masons, as would appear
from a Ms. notation made by JOHN AUBREY (1626-97). The Fraternity (or Fellowship) of
Freemasons was a circle distinct from the Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of
London. It is at least a coincidencethat the Founder Lodge No. 4 was formed in the same year in
which SIR CHRISTOPHER was adopted into the Fraternity. Moreover, there is a tenacious
tradition, with at least one leg to stand on, that SIR CHRISTOPHER was elected head of the
Fraternity. The expectation, in such case no doubt was that he would takean active interest.
ANDERSON obviously followed the current talk when he said that the few Lodges at London
found themselves neglected by SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN.

On St. John Baptist Day, in the 3d year of King George I., A.D. 1717, the ASSEMBLY and
Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons was held at the foresaid Goose and Gridiron Ale-house.
Before Dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the Chair, proposed a
List of proper Candidates; and the Brethren by a Alajority of Hands elected MR. ANTONY
SAYER, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons, who being forthwith invested with the Badges of
Office and Power by the said oldest Master, and install'd, was duly congratulated by the
Assembly who pay'd him the Homage.
Grand Wardens
SAYER, Grand Master, commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand
Officers every Quarter in Communication,* at the Place that he should appoint in his summons
sent by the Tyler.
N.B. -It is called the Quarterly Communication, because it should meet Quarterly according to
antient Usage, and when the Grand Master is present it isa Lodge in Ample Form; otherwise, only in Due Form,
yet having the sameAuthority with AmpleForm.

That the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called Grand Lodge), held in 1716,
represented a revival, has been denied by learned writers with considerable emphasis. But why?
It had been the custom of English trade Corporations orCompanies of Masons from time
immemorial" to hold Quarterly Communications, usually held on Michaelmas Day (Sept. 25),
the Feast of St. John Evangelist (Dec ' 27) and Lady Day (March 25) ; and to hold their Annual
Assembly on St. John Baptist Day. Hence the restoration of such practice by the Lodges of
1717, descendants of their operative prototypes, actually meant a revival, even thoughthe rule
was not observed during the inchoateperiod of the Grand Lodge. As a matter of fact, only
Annual Assemblies were held in 1717, 1718, and 1719. The first Quarterly Communication of
record was that on St. John Evangelist Day in 1720.

That any joint meeting of the four Lodges was held prior to St. John Baptist Day, 1717, also has
been questioned. Certainly some action must have been taken by the interested parties to prepare
for that Assembly. I can see no cogent reason for not accepting ANDERSON'S statement,
especially as the critics have produced no counter proposition. JACOB LAMBALL, carpenter,
made Senior Grand Warden of the premier Grand Lodge, is known to have been a friend of
ANDERSON and is listed among the advance subscribers to the 1738 Constitutions, and he
certainly never questioned the cited account, quite likely having himself furnished the
information put intoprint.

The occurences noted in the record of the momentousAssembly on St. John Baptist Day, in
1717, the birthday of Freemasonry, the critics have allowed to stand unchallenged.

ASSEMBLY and Feast at the said Place 24 June 1718.
Brother SAYER having gather'd the Votes, after Dinner proclaimed aloud our Brother GEORGE
PAYNE, Esq., Grand Master of Masons who being duly invested, install'd, congratulated and
homaged, recommended the strict Observance of the Quarterly Communication; and desired any
Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old Writings and Records concerning Masons and
Masonry in order to shew the Usages of antient Times: And this Year several old Copies of the
Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated.

PAYNE was an antiquarian and a man of considerable substance. He brought order into the
organization, roused the me: hers to an appreciation of its antecedents, and urged a re-
establishment of the ancient usages of operative Masons. ANDERSON speaks of Gothic
Constitutions. It wasthe fashion in the London of his time to affect contempt for Medievalism in
architecture and to enthuse over the Classic-Roman or Antient, ANDERSON calls it-style. What
the cultured Englishman thought of the"Gothic" style may be judged from a sentence in S:R
HENRY WOTTEN'S "Elements" (1650), where he speaks of the pointed Gothic:
"As for those arches. which our artizans call the third and fourth point, I say, these, both for the
natural imbecility of the sharp angle itself, and likewise for their very uncomeliness, ought to be
exiled from judicious eyes, and left to their first inventors, the Goths and Lombards, amongst
other reliques of that barbarous age."

And Sir EVELYN, in dedicating his "Account of Architects and Architecture" (1687) to SIR
CHRISTOPHER WREN lets loose a torrent of irritation at what he calls the "decadence of
Classic Art":

"After the irruption of swarms of those truculent people from the North, the Moors and
Arabs from the South and East, overrunning the civilized world, that, wherever they find
themselves, they soon began to debauch this noble and useful art. Instead of those
beautiful orders, so majestical and proper for their stations, becoming variety, and
ornamental accessories, they set up those slender and misquine pillars, or rather bundles of
staves, and other incongruous props to support incumbent weights and ponderous arched
roofs, without entablature. . . . The unreasonable and universal thickness of the walls,
clumsy buttresses, etc., nonsensical insertions of various marbles impertinently placed,
turrets and pinnacles thick set withmonkeys and chimeras, and abundance of other busy
work and incongruities, dissipate and break the angles of the sight, and so confound it that
one can not consider it with any steadiness where to begin and where to end."

I am citing the opinions of those learned worthies because they furnish a clue to ANDERSON'S
intentions in referring to the medieval "Constitutions 19 of the operative Masons as Gothic. He
was a Scot Calvinist of the Knox stamp, and the time before the Reformation was the Dark , the
Gothic Age . It accounts formuch that is amiss in what he offers asHistory of the antecedents
of the Craft. Moreover, it explains why our Senior Deacons' oration ascribes to the Greeks and
Romans all that is best and noblest in architecture and disowns the Gothic altogether, the very
style which was created by our own operative forbears.

ASSEMBLY and Feast at the said Place, 24 June 1719. Brother PAYNE having gather'd the
Votes, after Dinner proclaimed aloud our Reverend Brother JOHN THEOPHILUS
DESAGULIERS, LL.D. and F.R.S., Grand Master Of Masons,( Mr. ANTHONY SAYER, MR.
THO S MORRICE, Grand Wardens) and being duly invested, install'd, congratulated and
homaged, forthwith reviv'd the old regular and peculiar Toasts of Healths of the Free Masons.
Now several old Brothers, that had neglected the Craft, visited the Lodges; Some Noblemen were
also made Brothers, and more new Lodges were constituted.

The importance assigned to the revival of "the old and peculiar Toasts and Healths of the Free
Masons" is. first of all, an indication that a study of old Writings and Records concerning
Masons and Masonry" had gotten under way. Incidentally it reveals the essentially convivial
character of the Lodges, before DESAGULIERS, PAYNE and ANDERSON, the great
constructive trio, had effected a change, putting ideals into the foreground.

THOMAS MORRICE, stonecutter, who retains his place as Junior Warden, was a freeman of
London and member of the Masons Company. As to the Noblemen made Brothers and the new
Lodges there is justified doubt. The desire for the honor of a "Noble Brother" no doubt would
else have found expression, and ANTHONY SAYER, Gentleman, would not have been put in
the Grand Senior Warden's chair, after having been Grand Master. Anyway so the critics reason,
and none can deny them.

ASSEMBLY and Feast at the foresaid Place 24 June 1720. Brother DESAGULIERs having
gather'd the Votes, after Dinner proclaimed aloud GEORGE PAYNE, Esq., again Grand Master
of Masons; MR. THOMAS HOBBY and MR. RICH. WARE, Grand Wardens), who being duly
invested, install'd, congratulated and homag'd, began the usual Demonstrations of Joy, Love and

This year, at some private Lodges several very valuable Manuscripts (for they bad
nothing yet in Print) concerning the Fraternity, Their Lodges, Regulations, Charges. Secrets, and
Usages (particularly one writ by Mr. NICHOLAS STONE the Warden of Inigo Jones) were too
hastily burnt bv somescrupulous Brothers; that those Papers might not fall into strange Hands.
GEORGE PAYNE, Esquire, again Grand Master. So a Noble Brother is not yet available.

At the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge, in ample form, on St. John Evangelist's Day
1720, at the said Place
It was agreed, in order to avoid Disputes on the Annual Feast Day, that the new Grand Master for
the future shall be named and proposed to the Grand Lodge some time before the Feast, by the
present or old Grand Master; and if approv'd, that the Brother proposed, if present, shall be
kindly saluted; or even if absent, his Health shall be toasted as Grand Master Elect.
Also agreed, that for the future the New Grand Master, as soon as he is install'd, shall have the
sole power of appointing both his Grand Wardens and a Deputy Grand Master (now found as
necessary as formerly) according to antient Custom, when Noble Brothers were Grand Masters.

At the Grand Lodge in ample Form on Lady-Day 1721, at the said Place Grand Master PAYNE
proposed for his Successor our most Noble Brother.

JOHN DUKE OF MONTAGU, Master of a Lodge; who being present, was forthwith saluted
Grand Master Elect, and his Health drank in due Form; when they all express'd great Joy at the
happy Prospect of being again patronized by noble Grand Masters, as in the prosperous Times of

PAYNE, Grand Master, observing the Number of Lodges to encrease, and that the General
Assembly requir'dmore Room, proposed the next Assemblyand Feast to be held at Stationers-
Hall, Ludgate Street; which was agreed to.

Then the Grand Wardens were order'd, as usual, to prepare the Feast, and to takesome Stewards
to their Assistance, Brothers of Ability and Capacity, and to appoint some Brethren to attend the
Tables; for that no strangers must be there. But the Grand Officers not finding a proper Number
of Stewards, our Brother MR. JOSIAH VILLENAU, Upholder in the Burrough Southwark,
generously undertook the whole himself, attended by some Waiters, THOMAS MORRICE,

The "Noble Brother" is assured. PAYNE, ever on the alert for good order, introduced new
regulations to prepare the way for a Grand Master who may not always be free to attend
meetings. "Sole Power" is given the "New Grand Master" to appoint both his Grand Wardens
and a Deputy Grand Master. GOULD ("The Four Old Lodges," 1879) wrote the final word on
this departure:

"The first innovation upon the usages of the society occurred ... when the office of Deputy Grand
Master was created, and the Grand Master was empowered to appoint that officer, together with
the two Wardens. This encroachment upon the privileges of members seems to have been

strenuously resisted for several years, and the question was not finally settled until April 28,

Lady-Day means March 25. Sometime before this, THE DUKE OF MONTAGU must have
become a member of the fraternity and was made Master of a Lodge. The ardent wish of the
Grand Lodge was now about to be realized.

The news of the acquisition spread abroad rapidly. A young organization, composed for the
larger part of middle-class men, must have unusual attractions to secure a Duke for its official
leader. Members of the nobility and scholars now sought and found membership. The REV.
WILLIAM STUKELEY, M.D., fellow ofthe Royal Society appears to have been the first one to
take the step. Hewas received into Masonry on January 6, 1721, as is witnessed by an entryin
his diary reading:

"June 6, 1721. 1 was made a Freemason at the Salutation Tav., Tavistock Street, with MR.
COLLINS, CAPT. ROWE, who made the famous diving Engine."

To his interest in the fraternity, for a number of years, we owe much interesting information
concerning actual conditions in Grand Lodge, as he made mention of them both in his
Autobiography and his Common-Place Book. As regards the period immediately preceding the
installation of THE DUKE OF MONTAGU in the Grand Master's chair, he furnishes this note:
"I was the first person made a freernason in London for many years. We had great
difficulty to find members enough to perform the ceremony. Immediately after that it took
a run, & ran it self out of breath thro' the folly of the members."

What he means by "the folly of the members" appears to have troubled the critics quite a little.
No doubt he had in mind the excitement which the admission of the Duke created, with the
consequent influx of members, some of whom might not have been able to find admission after a
close scrutiny oftheir fitness forMasonrv. Being nobles or members of the Royal Society
appears to have been considered ample recommendation.

ASSEMBLY and Feast at Stationers-Hall, 24 June 1721, in the 7th Year of King George 1.
PAYNE, Grand Master, with his Wardens, the former Grand Officers, and the Master and
Wardens of 12 Lodges, met the Grand Master Elect in a Grand Lodge at the King's Arms Tavern,
St. Paul's Church-yard, in the Morning; and having forthwith recognized their Choice of Brother
MONTAGU they made some new Brothers, particularly the noble PHILIP LORD STANHOPE,
now Earl of Chesterfield; and from thence they marched on Foot to the Hall in proper Clothing
and due Form; where they were joyfully receiv'd by about 150 true and faithful, all clothed.

After Grace said, they sat down in the antient Manner of Masons to a very elegant Feast, and
dined with Joy and Gladness. After Dinner and Grace said, Brother PAYNE, the old Grand
Master, made the first Procession round the Hall, and when return'd he proclaimed aloud the
most noble Prince and our Brother, JOHN MONTAGU, Duke of Montagu, Grand Master of
Masons and Brother PAYNE having invested his Grace's Worship with the Ensigns and Badges
of his Office and Authority, install'd him in Solomon's Chair and sat down on his Right Hand;
while the Assemblyown'd the Duke's Authority with due Homage and joyful Congratulations,
upon this Revival of the Prosperity of Masonry.

MONTAGU, G. Master, immediately call'd forth (without naming him before) as it were
carelessly, JOHN BEAL, M.D., as his Deputy Grand Master, whom Brother PAYNE invested,
and install'd him in Hiram Abbiff's Chair on the Grand Master's left Hand.
In like Manner his Worship call'd forth and appointed

MR. JOSIAH VILLENEAU Grand MR. THOMAS MORRICE Wardens, who were invested
and install'd by the last Grand Wardens. Upon which the Deputy and Wardens were saluted and
congratulated as usual.

Then MONTAGU, G. Master, with his Officers and the old Officers, having made the 2d
procession round the Hall, Brother DESAGULIERS made an eloquent Oration about Masons
and Masonry: And after Great Harmony, the Effect of brotherly Love, the Grand Masterthank'd
Brother VILLENEAU for his Care ofthe Feast, and order'd him as Warden to close the Lodgein
good time.

The following newsprint report, published in the Post Boy , June 27, 1721, no doubt was
furnished to the press. It was copied subsequently in two weekly papers:

"There was a Meeting on Saturday last (June 24tb) at Stationers Hall of between two and
three hundred of the ancient Fraternity of Free-Masons, who had a splendid Dinner, and
Musick. Several Noblemen and Gentlemen were present at this Meeting, and His Grace
THE DUKE OF MONTAGUE was unanirnously chosen Master for the ensuing Year, and
DR. BEALE Sub-Master. The ReverendDR. DESAGULIERS made a Speech suitable to
the Occasion."

STUKELEY attended the meeting, to judge from the following entry in his diary:
"June 24, 1721-TheMasons had a dinner at Stationers Hall present,
&C. DR. DESAGULI]ERS pronounced an oration. The Gd. Master MR. PAIN prodtic'd
an old MS. of the Constitutions which he got in the West of England, 500 years old. He
read over a new sett of articles to be observ'd. THE DUKE OF MONTAGUE chose Gd.
Mr. Next year. DR. BEAL, Deputy."

This adds to ANDERSON's account the interesting and important mention Of PAYNE's having
"produced an old Ms. of the Constitutions which he got in the West of England. The
document has been identified authoritatively as the so-called "Cooke Ms." of the Ancient
Charges, now in the British Museum. BEGEMANN has proved conclusively, on
philological grounds, that it actuallywas derived from Western England, more particularly
the Western Midland and, though it must have been written in the early part of the fifteenth
century, it contains a part dating back to a much earlier time. Hence STUKELEY, learned
archaeologist that he was, appears to be right when he judged it to have been five hundred
years old at the time it was exhibited in Grand Lodge.

The Grand Lodge in ample Form on 29 Sept. 1721, at King's Arms foresaid, with the
former Grand Officers and thoseof 16 Lodges.
His Grace's Worship and the Lodge finding Fault with all the Copies of the old Gothic
Constitutions, order'd Brother JAMES ANDERSON, A.M., to digest the same in a new
and better Method.
This probably is correct in substance as it stands.

The next item in the diary refers to the constitution by Dr. BEAL, Deputy Grand Master, of a
new Lodge of which STUKELEY became the Master. The recorded meeting must have taken
place in the afternoon, preceding the next Quarterly Communication:

December 27, 1721. "We met at the Fountain Ta. Strand &by consent of Grand Mr. present,
DR. BEAL constituted a new Lodge there, where I was chose Mr."
The Grand Lodgein ample Form on St John's Day 27 Dec. 1721, met at the said King's Arms,
with Former GrandOfficers and those of 20 Lodges.

MONTAGU, GrandMaster, at the Desire of the Lodge, appointed 14 learned Brothers to
examine Brother ANDERSON'S Manuscript, and to make Report. This Communication was
made very entertaining by the Lectures of some old Masons.
This was the first Communication attended by ANDERSON.

Grand Lodge at the Fountain, Strand, in ample Form, 25 March 1722, with former Grand
Officers and those of 24 Lodges.
The said Committee of 14 reported that they had perused Brother ANDERSON'S Manuscript,
viz, 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.
Meanwhile Ingenious Men of all Faculties and Stations being convinced that the Cement of the Lodge was
Love and Friendship, earnestly requested to be madeMasons, Affecting this amicable Fraternity
more than other Societies, then oftendisturbed by warmDisputes.
Grand Master MONTAGU'S good Government inclin'd the better Sort to continue him in the
Chair another year; and therefore they delay'd toprepare the Feast.

But PHILIP, DUKE OF WHARTON, lately made a Brother, tho' not the Master of a Lodge,
being ambitious of the Chair, got a Number of Others to meet him at Stationers-Hall 24 June
1722. And having no Grand Officers, they put in the Chair the oldest Master Mason (who was
not the present Master of a Lodge, also irregular ' ),and without the usual decent Ceremonials,
the said old Mason proclaimed aloud
PHILIP WHARTON, Duke of Wharton, Grand Master of Masons, and
Mr. JOSHUA TIMSON, Blacksmith, Grand but his Grace appointed
Mr. WILLIAM HAWKINS, Mason, Wardens no Deputy, nor was the
Lodge opened and closed in due Form. Therefore the noble Brothers and all those that would not
countenance Irregularities, disown'd WHARTON'S authority, till worthy Brother MONTAGU
heal'd the Breach of Harmony.

The significanceof the latter sentence is explained by ominous happenings. The first inkling is
supplied in an innocent looking news item in Applebee's Original Weekly Journal of August 5,

"Last week His Grace THE DUKE OF WHARTON was admitted into the Society of Free-
Masons; the Ceremonies being performed at the King's Arms Tavern in St. Paul's Church-
Yard, and His Grace came Home to his House in the Pall-Mall in a white Leathern Apron."
WHARTON was only twenty-two years old and in the midst of "that wilfull and unruly age,
which lacketh rypeness and discretion, and (as wee saye) hath not sowed all theyr wyeld Oates."
He was a dissipated, unstable, arnbitioiis, turbulent young man, attractive in appearance and a
popular mixer. Politics was his particular hobby and, after having been, with the Whigs, on the
side of the King, he turned Jacobite and agitated the Stuart cause. His admission into Masonry
was bound to rousethe suspicions of the Government, ashe carried his Jacobite preferences to
the hustings.

The many newspaper references to the expansion of Grand Lodge, since THE DUKE OF
MONTAGU's election to the Grand Mastership, no doubt led WHARTON to see in Masonry a
short route to prominence. He lost no time to press his aspirations to the fore and make known
his desire to succeed MONTAGU in office.

The danger of having politics break into Masonry caused the Craft much anxiety. Hence the
delay of preparations for "the Feast."

STUKELEY notes in his diary that, on May 25, 1722, be met THE DUKE OF QUEENSBORO',
Lord DIJMBARTON, HINCHINBROKE and others, at Fountain Tavern "to consider the Feast
of St. John's." This would appear to suggest that WHARTON's doings were discussed and an
agreement reached that the Annual Assembly must be held on St. John's Day, whatever may

The anxieties of "the better Sort" may be surmised from a news item in the London Journal of
June 16, 1722:

"A few Days ago a select Body of the Society of Free Masons waited on the Right
Honourable the Lord VISCOUNT TOWNSHEND, one of His Majesty's Principal
Secretaries ofState, to signify to his Lordship, that being obliged by theirConstitutions, to
hold a General meeting now at Midsummer, according to annual Custom, they hoped the
Administration would take no Umbrageat the Convocationas they were all zealously
affected to his Majesty's Person and Government. His Lordship received this Intimation in
a very affable manner; telling them, he believed they need not be apprehensive of any
Molestation from the Government, so long as they went on doing nothing more dangerous
that the ancient Secrets of the Society; which must be a very harmless Nature, because as
much as Mankind love Mischief, no Body ever betray'd them."

The Government's assurance that there would be no Molestation "so long as they went on doing
nothing more dangerous than the ancient Secrets of the Society" quite likely was a veiled hint to
WHARTON and his adherents to stick to the Landmarks and leave politics alone.
This was the prelude to the following announcement in the Daily Journal of June 20, 1722:

"On Monday next, being the 25th Instant, will be kept at Stationers-Hall, the Grand
Meeting of the most Noble and Ancient Fraternity of Free Masons, as usual."

In the same number of the Daily Journal appeared another announcement, not authorized by
Grand Lodge and evidently issuing from the WHARTON camp:

"All belonging to theSociety of Free-Masons who design to be at Stationer's Hall
the 25th Instant, are desired to take out tickets before next Friday; And all those
Noblemen and Gentlemen that have took tickets and do not appear at the Hall,
will be look'd upon as false Brothers."

This misleading ad was stamped as spurious in the Post next day:
"Whereas there was an Advertisement inserted in this Paper Yesterday, design'd
to be injurious, 'tis hoped no such sly Insinuation will have any Influence on the

On the same day was published, by authority of Grand Lodge, in the Daily Journal, the
following announcement:

"All belonging to the Society of Free Masons that design to meet at Stationer's
Hall on Monday the 25th Instant, are desired to take out Tickets by tomorrow
night; and as they are deliver'd out by the most Ancient Branch of this Society in
Town, therefore pray take out Tickets by to-Morrow Night, or Saturday Morning
at the farthest."

The Daily Post of June 27, 1722, printed a brief notice which emanated no doubt from an official

"On Monday last was kept at Stationer's Hall, the usual Annual Grand Meeting of
the most Noble and Ancient Fraternityof Free-Masonry(where there was a noble
Appearance of Persons of Distinction) at which meeting they were obliged by
their Orders to elect a Grand and Deputy-Master; in pursuance whereof they have
accordingly chosen His Grace THE DUKE OF WHARTON their Grand Master,
in the room of His Grace THE DUKE OF MONTAGIJE, and DR.DESAGULIERS, Deputy
Master, in the Room of DR. BEAL, for the Year ensuing."

ANDERSON's account of the happenings on June 25, 1722,written fifteen years after theevent,
has been criticised because he gives the date as June 24 -a not unnatural slip, seeing it was the St.
John's Day Assembly. From that the conclusion is drawn thateverything he wrote under this
head must be wrong, particularly as the cited newspaper report tells an entirely different story.
To begin with the Grand Lodge hardlycould afford, at the time, to have the details of the Stormy
Feast appear in public print, considering the conditions under which the Government bad
permitted it to be held. As between the two accounts, that by ANDERSON undoubtedly is the
correct one. His Grace actually had "appointed no Deputy" for the very good reason that
DESAGULIERS, sternly loyal to the King, saw fit to protest against some of the upstart Duke's
Jacobite doings. This also was not wise to publish abroad.

If ANDERSON had started a new paragraph at "Therefore the noble Brothers . . . disown'd
WHARTON's Authority," he would have made clearer that the reference was to noble Brothers
who had kept awayso as not to give riseto still more unbecoming acts.

"Brother MONTAGU heal'd the Breach of Harmony" on January 17, 1723, in exactly the manner
described by ANDERSON, and it was not till after WHARTON had given certain pledges, that
his Grand Mastership was ratified and DESAGULIERS appointed Deputy Grand Master. In
other words WHARTON doffed the Jacobite coat and donned the Hanoverian one again. A new
impetus was given to Masonry now that order had been restored.

The Grand Lodge met 17 January 1722/3 at the King's Arms foresaid, where THE DUKE OF
WHARTON promisingto be True and Faithful, Deputy Grand Master BEAL proclaimed aloud the
most noble Prince and our Brother. PHILIP WHARTON, Duke of Wharton, Grand Master of Masons,
who appointed DR. DESAGULIERS the Deputy Grand Master,JOSHUA TIMSON, Foresaid, and
JAMES ANDERSON, Grand Wardens, for HAWKINS demitted as always out of town.
When former Grand Officers, with those of 25 Lodges, paid their Homage.
G. Warden ANDERSON produced the new Book of Constitutions now in Print, which was again
approv'd, with the Addition of the antient Manner of Constituting a Lodge.
Now Masonry flourish'd in Harmony, Reputation, and Numbers; many Noblemen and
Gentlemen of the first Rank desir'd to be admitted into the Fraternity, besides other Learned
Men, Merchants, Clergymen, and Tradesmen, who found a Lodge to be a safe and pleasant
Relaxation from Intense Study or the Hurry of Business, without Politicks or Party. Therefore
the Grand Master was obliged to constitute more new Lodges, and was very assiduous in visiting
the Lodges everyWeek with his Deputy and Wardens; and his Worship was well pleas'd with
their kind and respectful Manner of receiving him, as they were with his affable and clever
conversation. ANDERSON's Book of Constitutions was presented in print and again approved.
The mentioned "Addition" probably was suggested at this meeting. The Book was put on sale on
February 1, 1723,as shown by the advertisement citedat the beginning ofthis report.
Grand Lodge in ample Form, 25 April 1723, at the White-Lion, Cornhill. with former Grand
Officers and those of 30 Lodges call'd over by G. Warden ANDERSON, for no Secretary was yet
appointed. When WHARTON, Grand Master, proposed for his Successor THE EARL OF
DALKEITH (now Duke of Buckleugh), Master of a Lodge, who was unanimously approv'd and
duly saluted as Grand Master Elect.

Of exceptional importance is the record-unquestioned-that no Secretary had been appointed as
yet. ANDERSON called the roll and wrote the above minutes which were printed in the 1738
edition of his Book of Constitutions. Here we have another reminder of the indebtedness of the
Craft to him for allessential information concerning Communications of Grand Lodge from its
very beginning to June 24, 1723, when "WILLIAM COWPER, Esquire, a Brother of the Horn
Lodge at Westminster" became "Secretary to Grand Lodge."


We have arrived at a convenient place to stop. The succeeding Assembly was a ratheragitated
one, because of the scheming WHARTON. That may be interesting history, but is not concerned
in the examination of ANDERSON'S accounts before the opening of the first official Grand
Lodge Book of Minutes.

For the convenience of the readers of my report I now shall attempt to indicate what of
ANDERSON's account remains intact:

Some time in 1716, four Lodges of Free-Masons, located in London and Westminster, together
with some unaffiliated old Brothers, met in joint session at the Apple-Tree Tavern in Covent
Garden. The oldest Master Mason, then Master of a Lodge, was called upon to preside. A
resolution was adopted to revive the time-immemorial custom of operative Mason Lodges of
holding an Annual Assembly and Feast on St. John Baptist Day.

The proposed Feast was held on June 24, 1717, at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St. Paul's
Churchyard. Before dinner, the oldest Master Mason, then Master of a Lodge, was placed in the
Chair. It was decided to elect a Grand Master. The presiding Master proposed a list of suitable
candidates. The Brethren, by show of hands, elected ANTHONY SAYER, Gentleman. The
presiding Masterforthwith invested him with the insigniaof the office, and the Assembly paid
him the customary homage. JACOB LAMBELL, carpenter, and CAPTAIN JOSEPH ELLIOT
were made Grand Wardens. The four Lodges then constituted a Grand Lodge, in due form, to be
their common center of union. After that they dined together.

On St. John Baptist Day, in 1718, the Grand Lodge met againat the Goose and Gridiron, in
Annual Assembly. An election was held, and ANTHONY SAYER who presided, proclaimed
Brother GEORGE PAYNE, Esquire, to have been chosen Grand Master. Investment, installation
and homage followed. PAYNE recommended the holding of Quarterly Communications,
according to ancient usage, and asked the Brethren to bring to Grand Lodge any old manuscripts
and records concerning Masons and Masonry in order to arrive at a better knowledge of the
usages of ancient times.

At the Annual Assembly of 1719, the Rev. Brother JOHN THEOPHILUS DESAGULIERS,
LL.D. and F.R.S., was elected Grand Master, and ANTHONY SAYER and THOMAS
MORRICE were made Grand Wardens. At dinner, DESAGULIERS revived the old regular
toasts peculiar tothe Free Masons.

On St. John Baptist Day, in 1720, GEORGE PAYNE was again elected Grand Master.
The first Quarterly Communication ofGrand Lodge washeld on December27, 1720, in
celebration of St. John Evangelist Day. With an eye to orderly procedure at the Annual Feast, a
resolution was adopted to elect the future Grand Masters at some time before that event, the
actual Grand Master naming and proposing his successor, and, if the nomination be approved,
the Grand MasterElect, if present, is to be saluted and his health toasted. The latter homage is to
be paid even if heshould be absent.

Also agreed was that, in the future, the new Grand Master shall have the sole power of
appointing both his Grand Wardens and a Deputy Grand Master. Whether or not this was the
"antient Custom, when Noble Brothers were Grand Masters" is of no consequence. Grand Lodge
felt assured that it was. That assurance is valuablemerely as indication of a settled purpose to
act in all things in accord with what was believed to have been the traditional practice of the
ancient forbears of the Grand Lodge.

All Communications from 1717 onward, including the one held on March 25, 1721, were held at
the Goose and Gridiron. At the latter Grand Lodge session, THE DUKE OF MONTAGU, then
Master of a Lodge, was elected Grand Master, on nomination by GEORGE PAYNE.

This would appear to be sufficient recension of the record bequeathed to posterity by the Rev.
Bro. DR. JAMES ANDERSON concerning the early days of the first Grand Lodge of Free and
Accepted Masons, from which all present regular Freemasonry has sprung. From the day on
which MONTAGU was installed Grand Master, onward, an abundance of printed material has
become accessible to interested historians to supplement ANDERSON's record. Without him we
should be entirely in the dark with regard to beginnings, and Freemasonry would be, even more
than it has been, at the mercy of romancers of the DR. OLIVER type and fabulists with a
penchant for creating a history toprove particular theories.

Thank God for ANDERSON and that he is right,-on the whole!-so far as concerns the formative
period of organized Freemasonry, from its beginning in 1716 or 1717 to the day of the
inauguration of official minutes, on June 24, 1723, and from there onward to the present.

Our Brethren in Continental Europe are inclined to regard JAMES ANDERSON as a sort of
hierophant who, under the guise of phantastic history, conceals mysteries which to the initiates
reveal the truemeaning of the wisdom of the cabalists, alchemists or whatever they would like to
be regarded as the true ancestors of Freemasonry. Appeal to the "Anderson Constitutions" is one
to Sir Oracle. They never think of referring to them as the Constitutions of the premier Grand

In England, on the other hand, the tendency has been to regard ANDERSON as a mere hack,
diffuse, and utterly unreliable in almost everything but the Charges and Regulations, which are
not his, but are transcripts of the authoritative law of Grand Lodge.

The Scots and the Irish took over the Constitutions "as is" and have not troubled themselves
about the "History" bound up with the book ' One who does not know the Scots might think
national pride would have stirred them from the verybeginning to gather everything available in
the records of their country to supply a comprehensive and authentic biography. So far they have
not turned a hand. Why should they? It was a Scot who gave to England and to the world at
large the Constitutions of Freemasonry. That is all that matters.

ANDERSON was a Presbyterian and thepastor of "a congregation gathered from amongst
persons of the Scottish nation who resided about Westminster." The words between inverted
commas appear in the first fairly satisfying biographical notice of him, a voluminous work on
"Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses in London, Westminster and Southwark," published
by a non-Mason, in 1814. Dissenter-that is what ANDERSON, "this learned divine," was, --
being a Presbyterian pastor in the early Georgian days. And it was not good manners to talk
about such non-conformist persons. That may explain the night of silence enshrouding JAMES
ANDERSON for almost a century. It is only within the past thirty years or so that English
Masons have gone to work to build up a biography of what they could find concerning him.
In 1910, Bro. ALFRED ROBBINS read to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge his paper on "Dr.
Anderson of the Constitutions" (vol. XXIII, A.Q.C.). In it he embodied much information
regarding ANDERSON and his extensive literary output. The discussion by the members
revealed a deep-seated unwillingness to have it appear that they consider the compiler of the
Constitutions to be entitled to a niche in the Masonic hall of fame.

Bro. ROBBINS characterized ANDERSON'S work as "imaginative, fantastic and unhistorical."
That passed as being about right. He spoke of ANDERSON'S "appalling industry." That was
challenged. ANDERSON'S title of D.D. was questioned, etc.

Yet ANDERSON was, as Bro. ROBBINS pointed out, "the constant associate and helper" of
DESAGULIERS whose "large part in the origin and development of the Grand Lodge of
England" is freely acknowledged by all. The DUKE OF BUCHAN was his life-long patron.
"My friend Mr. JA. ANDERSON"-writes STUKELEY in his diary. The standing and character
of the men who were lifelong admirers and friends ofANDERSON ought to suffice in
themselves to makecritics cautious.

It is well to bear inmind also that a man must be judged against the background of the time in
which he is living. Judging a man of two centuries or more ago by present day standards of
scholarship is unhistorical as well as not fair. The literary life and social conditions of the
London of the first third of the eighteenth century must be taken into account, to do justice to any
public figure of that period.

JAMES ANDERSON was born at Aberdeen about 1680, he was graduated from Mareschal
College, and later he received the degrees of M.A. and D.D. Sometime between 1705 and 1710
he arrived in London where he gathered together a number of his Presbyterian countrymen and
became their minister. The congregation worshiped in a church formerly held by French
Hugenots, on Swallow Street, with the father of DR. DESAGULIERS for their rector.
four years later, a division having arisen in his congregation, ANDERSON with his followers
transferred to Lisle Street in Leicesterfields. The division appears to have arisenout of his
leaning toward ceremonial, which caused his being popularly known as "Bishop Anderson" and
by the facetious as "a little mass John."

His literary output was staggering, considering the amount of research necessarily involved.
Among his published sermons was one preached on the anniversary of the execution of Charles
I., entitled "No King-Killers" and was intended chiefly to beat down current misrepresentation of
the position of the Presbyterians, during the civil wars,by showing that the conduct of his people
and of Scots in general always had been entirely loyal to the crown. The sermon aroused enough
interest to call for a second edition. The prefacereveals that he personally had been subjected to
vehement attacks from pulpit and press for anti-monarchical principles and practices. The
publication is dedicated to the REV. DANIEL WILLIAMS, one of the most eminent divines of
his time, by whom ANDERSON had been ordained to the ministry.

ANDERSON'S wife, Rebecca, had brought him a considerable fortune, most of which was lost
in a wild orgy of speculation quite generally indulged in and finally, in 1720, resulting in disaster
for all stockholders in the South Sea scheme.

Aside from the "Constitutions" his chief work was entitled "Royal Genealogies; or the
Genealogical Tables of Emperors, Kings and Princes, from Adam to these times." It was
professedly based on a German publication by JOHANN HUEBNEII, but considerably expanded
by ANDERSON to include genealogies and dynasties and "the peers and great gentry of the
Britannic isles." The latter feature found particular favor in England. The folio was dedicated to
Frederick, Prince of Wales. ANDERSON spent seven years of hard labor on it, the first work of
its kind on so large a scale published in the English language. Those who are interested and
happen to live in or near New York City, will find a copy in the New York Public Library.
To mention only one more of his publications, there is "Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity," a
theological treatise "by JAMES ANDERSON, D.D., chaplain to RT. HONOURABLE DAVID
BUCHAN." It was dedicated to JOHN MITCHELL, M.D., forreasons of "our old friendship
early contracted at the University which hitherto has not been once interrupted." SIR RICHARD
ELLYES, Baronet, is mentioned, as from the library of this renowned scholar ANDERSON had
obtained the use of many rare books on Classical and Oriental lore, including many Rabbinical

There is no need of enlarging the list. ANDERSON continued to write to the day of his death, on
May 25, 1739. "News from Elysium, or Dialogues of the Dead" was published after his death.

Prejudice appears to have dogged him to the very grave and after The Daily Post of Saturday,
June 2, 1739, had this interesting note concerning his interment, interesting as furnishing - the
earliest hint as to bow Masonic obsequies were conducted:

"Last Night, was interr'd in Bullhill-Field the Corpse of DR. ANDERSON, a Dissenting
Teacher, in a very remarkable deep Grave. His Pall was supported byfive Dissenting Teachers,
and the REV. DR. DESAGULIERS: It was follow'd by about a Dozen of Free-Masons, who
encircled the Grave; and after DR. EARLE had harangued on the Uncertainty of Life, &c.
without one Word ofthe Deceased, the Brethren, in amost solemn dismal Posture, lifted up their
Hands, sign'd, and struck their Aprons three Times in Honour to the Deceased."

His brother, ADAM ANDERSON (1692-1765), had the advantage over him as regards exposure
to unfair criticism, by not being a clergyman and having chosen commerce and industry for his
chief study. He was an industrial expert, as is witnessed by his great two-volume historical and
chronological work "tracing political, commercial, social and colonial developments of European
powers, with particular reference to Great Britain and Ireland." An appendix is devoted to
"Modern Politico-Commercial Geography of the Several Countries of Europe."

Interesting to us as Americans is ADAM ANDERSON'S particular devotion to colonial affairs
and his having been one of the trustees for establishing a colony of Englishmen in Georgia. He
also was a trustee to carry out the wishes of Queen Anne for the establishment of parochial
libraries at homeand in the colonies.

The minutes of the Grand Lodge of England, under date of December 13, 1733, record that
"Deputy Grand Master BATSON recommended the New Colony of Georgia, in North America
to the Benevolence of the particular Lodges."

The reason for making mention of ADAM ANDERSON was to suggest what the intellectual
caliber of the two brothers was and what sort of educational equipment they must have brought
with them from Scotland.

Criticism, whether constructive or destructive, is needed to destroy or correct error. Prejudice
never yet has benefited anyone, least of all the one afflicted with it. That is why one of the chief
objects of Masonry is to emancipateits votaries from such obsession and to turn them into
sympathetic, open-minded and open-eyed searchers for the truth andgood in all things.
I have dropped into preaching. AllI merely wanted to do was to try to have you appreciate with
me the great debt Freemasons owe to our worthy Brother, the REVEREND JAMES
ANDERSON, D.D., from Aberdeen.

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