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To put this matter out of the reach of contradiction, take the testimony of Mr. Spencer, one of their Grand Secretaries : Copy of an answer (in writing) given to brother W
C -ll, a certified petitioner from Ireland.
“ Your being an Ancient Mason you are not “ entitled to any of our charity. The Ancient Ma. u sons have a lodge at the Five Bells in the Strand, " and their Secretary's name is Dermott.
“Our society is neither Arch, Royal Arch, or “ Ancient, so that you have no right to partake of our charity.”
Such was the character given of them by their own Grand Secretary about fourteen years ago : How much they have changed for better or worse, is no business of mine at this time. In the afore. said calendar, amongst other things which I am to suppose were extracted from the records of modern Masons, I observed a censure passed (in the year 1755) on persons for calling theinselves Ancient Masons.
The compiler seems to be unacquainted with the masonical proceedings of that time, otherwise he would have known that the persons were censured, not for assembling under the denomination of Antient Masons, but for practising Ancient Masonry, having their constitution from the Modern Grand Lodge. The case was briefly thus : A lodge at the Ben Johnson's Head in Pelham Street, in Spitalfields, were composed mostly of Ancient Masons, tho’ under the Modern Constitution. Some of them had been abroad, and received extraordinary benefits on account of Ancient Masonry. Therefore they agreed to practise Ancient Masonry on every third lodge night. Upon one of those nights some
• The originalis in the author's possession.
Modern Masons attempted to visit them, but were refused admittance: the persons so refused laid a formal complaint before the Modern Grand Lodge, then held at the Devil Tavern, near Temple-Bar. And the said Grand Lodge, though incapable of judging the propriety or impropriety of such refusal (not being Ancient Masons) ordered, that the Ben Johnson's lodge should admit all sorts of Masons without distinction.
And upon non-compliance to that order, they were censured, &c.
The persons thus censured, drew up, printed, and published, a Manifesto, and Masons Creed; (sold by Owen in Fleet-street) which did honor to their hearts, and heads. The following lines were copied from the
preface to their pamphlet :
“ Whereas the genuine spirit of Masonry seems “ to be so greatly on the decline, that the craft is in “ imminent danger from false brethren. And " whereas its very fundamentals have of late been “ attacked, and a revolution from its ancient prin
ciples, &c. &c.-It has been thought necessary, “ by certain persons, who have the welfare of the “ craft at heart, to publish the following little pamph
let, by means of which it is hoped, the ignorant may
be instructed, the luke-warm inspired and “the irregular reformed,” &c. &c.
Every real--that is, every Ancient Mason, who had read those publications, were convinced of the injustice done to the Ben Johnson's lodge, in censuring them for doing their duty; a duty which they owed to god and to themselves; and a business which their judges (the then Modern Grand Lodge) were as ignorant of—as a blind man is in the art of mixing colours.
Nevertheless censure was passed, and a minute thereof preserved in the archives of the (would-be)
Supreme, &c. From whence it is now published in their calendar as one of the legislative orders on their records, which records have received much honour and amendments from twelve-penny lectures, twelve-penny illustrations and twelve penny callenders.
The brethren, censured had their constitution from the Modern Grand Lodge, nor had they any connexion with the Ancient Grand Lodge at that time nor since ; nevertheless I do affirm (from personal knowledge and public report) they were persons of most amiable characters, as men and masons; and the names of the ingenious Marigeot, Cheet. ham, Cornish, &c. &c. will be long remembered with esteem and veneration, amongst the faithful and legitimate heirs of old Hiram.
In justice to another person, I am under the necessity of taking notice of a plagiarism in the Calendar aforesaid. In page 41, 42 and 43, the compil. er (or author) in describing the ceremonies at laying the foundation, and dedication of the Modern Masons Hall, says, “ A grand Anthem, written " by H. D. Esq. was sung,
* &c.- in the same page is written the words of the anthem, beginning,
« To heaven's high Architect all praise,
6 All praise all gratitude be given, &c." This anthem was not written by H. D. F.sq. nor by any member of the modern society : It was pilfered from the oratorio of Solomon's Temple, annexed to the prologues in this book, and was written by Mr. James Eyre Weeks, an ancient Mason of the city of Dublin.
I should not have taken so much notice of the calender, were it not that the title page says that it is " published under the sanction of the Grand Lodge of England.
As there are some of the most respectable gentlemen (and I am willing to believe their present Grand Officers such) belonging to the Modern Grand Lodge, I am sorry to find they have acted incautiously as to give sanction to falsehoods.
Although falsehood found admittance into the calender, yet a true and memorable transaction is omitted, viz. That the Modern Masons petitioned parliament to grant them a charter of incorporation, in order to give them the power and pleasure of punishing every Freemason in England, that did not pay quarterage to them. Had they obtained the charter, it would have shut out all Masons of the neighbouring kingdoms, as they could receive no manner of benefit therefrom.
The wisdom of parliament treated the petition with just contempt : And it was reported in the public papers, that the honourable Speaker of the House of Commons said, “ that if the petition was “ granted, he made no doubt the chimney-sweepers “would soon apply for a charter."
It is remarkable, that the said petition was presented on (fool's day) the first of April, 1770. For other matters relative to the Moderns, I refer the reader to page 35, 36, &c.
In the following sheets, under the title of Ahiman Rezon, I have inserted nothing but what are undeniable truths, which will be found, (if observed) to be of great use to the fraternity, and likewise to numbers that are not of the society ; to the latter, it will shew them the folly of ridiculing a society founded upon religion, morality, brotherly love and good fellowship: and to those of a more gentle and polished nature, in giving them an opportunity of examining whether they are endued with the neces sary qualifications to be made free-masons.
How far this may answer the design, I know not ; but I hope that my brethren and others will accept the will for the deed, and take this as the widow's : mite was received, which will amply reward my
For such Gentlemen, as may be inclined to
become Free-Masons, GENTLEMEN,
IF the love of knowledge, interest, company, or dear curiosity, should take possession of any corner of your heads or hearts, and work you up to a desire of becoming free-masons ; in such case, I beg leave to offer my service as your guide to the lodge door: this proposal, will not (I hope] be disagreeable to you, considering that I am the first person that ever offered assistance in this manner. But, before we set out, it is necessary that you carefully examine whether you are properly equipt for such an undertaking.
To this end, be it known to you gentlemen, that in every warranted lodge they have the following order, viz.
“Any person desirous of being made a free mason in the lodge, shall be proposed by a member thereof, that is to say, his name, age, description of his person, title or trade and place of residence; that such proposal shall be made in lodge hours* at least one lodge-night before the initiation, in order, that the brethren may have sufficient time and opportunity to make a strict enquiry into the morals, character and circumstances of the candi. date ; and the brother that proposes him shall at
* That is from the vernal to the autumnal equinox between seven and ten o'clock in the evening, and from the autumnal to the vernal equinox following, between six and nine o'clock.