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avoid giving more offence, I pass over in silence, and shall content myself with shewing the apparent state of ancient and modern masonry in England at the time of this present writing, i. e. July 1778.
But let us first consider, that although the laws do not expressly protect free and accepted masonry, yet neither are free-masons nor any other, sup: posed; innocent or cheerful society prohibited hereby. This lenity has given birth to a great number of what may be called 'tipling clubs or societies in London, such as the Vertuoso's Club,
The Beggars Club, Knights of the Golden Fleece The Chatterwitts Club, Club,
The Florists Club, The No Nose Club,
The Smoaking Club, The Long Nose Club, The Musical Club, The Farthing Club,
The Beesitake Club,
The Bucks Club,
The Cousins Club,
The Maccaroni Club, The Weekly Dancing Club ! The Choice Spirité Club, The Bird Fanciers Club, The Never Fret Club, The Lying Club,
The K1 Care Club. And many others not worth notice, whose chief practice consists in eating, drinking, singing, smoak
Several of those clubs, or societies, have in imitation of the free-masons, called their club by the name of lodge, and their presidents by the title of grand master, or most noble grand.
Hence the meanest club think they have a right to the freedom of communication amongst themselves equal to any unchartered society, though composed of the most respectable persons. Now
is the custom or constitution of the country un, favorable to this opinion.
And whereas a great number of those clubs or societies (without scripture or law to recommend them) have existed and multiplied for several years past, no wonder free-masonry should meet with encouragement; as being the only society in the universe which unites men of all professions, believing in the Almighty Creator of all things, in one sacred band. And at the same time carrying in itself, evident marks of its being not only coeval with the scripture, but in all probability prior thereto.
Yet after all this, strange as it may appear, we have no true history of the origin of free-masonry in this or any other kingdom in Europe, whatever people may pretend to.
I conceive this defect is owing to the bigotry and superstition of former times when free niasons were supposed to have a power of raising the Devil, and with him tempestuous storms, &c. &c. and consequently were forbid by the clergy to use the black art, as it was often called.
In such case it was natural, prudent and necese sary for the brethren to conceal their knowledge and meetings. And that this was the case about 350 years ago will clearly appear by reading the great philosopher Locke's letter and copy of an old manuscript, in the Bodleian library, which letter and copy, are annexed.
From what has been said, it is evident that all unchartered societies in England, are upon equal footing in respect to the legality of association.
In this light we are to view the fraternities of ancient and modern free masons, who are become two great communities now in England.
The ancients, under the name of free and ac. cepted masons. The moderns, under the name
of free masons of England. And though a similarity of names, yet they differ exceedingly in makings, ceremonies, knowledge, masonical language, and installations ; so much that they al. ways have been and still continue to be two dis. tinct societies totally independent of each other.
As such the moderns having an undoubted right to chuse a chief from amongst themselves : accordingly they have chosen his
Grace the Most Noble Duke of Manchester, to be their Grand Master, and have all the outward appearance of a Grand Lodge. With equal right the Ancients have unanimously chosen his Grace the Most Noble Duke of Atholl, an Ancient Mason and Past Master of a regular lodge, and now Grand Master Elect for Scotland, to be their Grand Master, And his Grace was personally installed in a gene ral Grand Lodge, at the Half-moon tavern, Cheapside, London, in the presence, and with the concurrence and assistance of his Grace the Most Noble Duke of Leinster, Grand Master of Ireland ; and the honourable Sir James Adolphus Oughton, Grand Master of Scotland, with several others of the most eminent brethren in the three kingdoms; an honour never conferred on Modern Masons.
These are sterling truths, from whence the ima partial reader will draw the natural inference.
I shall conclude this as I did in the former editions, with saying, that I hope I shall live to see a general conformity, and universal unity between the worthy Masons of all denominations.
These are the most earnest wishes, and ardent prayers of, Gentlemen and Brethren,
Your sincere friend, and most obedient ser.. vant, and faithful brother,
OF THE FAMOUS PHILOSOPHER,
MR. JOHN LOCKE,
A Letter from the learned Mr. John Locke, to the
Right Honourable *** Earl of ****, with an old Manuscript on the subject of FREE-MASONRY,
MAY 6, 1696.
I have at length by the help of Mr. CNS procured a copy of that manuscript in the Bodleian Library, which you were so curious to see : and in obedience to your Lordship's commands, I here. with send it to you. Most of the notes annexed to it are what I made yesterday for the reading of my lady MASHAM*, who is become so fond of masonry, as to say, that she now more than ever wishes herself a man, that she might be capable of admission into the fraternity
The manuscript, of which this is a copy, appears to be about 160 years old ; yet (as your Lordship will observe by the title) it is itself a copy of one yet' more ancient by about one hundred
for the original is said to have been the handwriting of King Henry VI. where that Prince had it is at present an uncertaintity : But it seems to me to be an examination (taken perhaps before the King) of some one of the brotherhood of MASONS ; among
* This letter, seems to have been written at Oates, (the country seat of Sir Francis Masham) in Essex, where Mr. Locke died Oct. 28, 1704, in the 730 year of his age.
whom he entered himself, as it is said, when he came out of his minority, and thenceforth put a stop to the persecution that had been raised against them: But I'must not detain your Lordship longer by my prefaces from the thing itself.
CERTAIN QUESTIONS WITH AWNSWERE'S
to the same, concernynge the
MYSTERY OF MACONRYE. Wryttenne by the hande of Kynge Henrye the sixthe
of the name, and faythfullye copyed by me (1) JoHAN LEYLANDE, Antiquarius, by the commande of his (2) highnesse.
They be us followethe:
Answer. Ytt beeth the Skylle of nature, the understondynge of the myghte that ys hereynne, and its sondrye Werckynges ; sonderlyche, the Skylle of Rectenyngs, of Waightes, and Metynges, and the treu manere of Faconnynge al thynges for Mannes use, headlye, dwellynges, and buyldynges of alle kindes, and al odher thynges that make gudde to nianne.
(1) John Leylande was apointed by King Henry the eighth, at the dissolution of Monasteries, to search for, and save such books and records as were valuable among them.
them. He was a man of great labour and industry.
(2) His Highnesse, meaning the said King Henry the eighth. Our kings had not then the title of majesty.
(3) what mote ytt be? that is, what may this mys. tery of masonry be ?- The answer imports, that it consists in natural, mathematical, and mechanical