Freemasonry the Early Years
[Editor's note: Footnotes in the original are omitted.]
Interest by non-masons in Freemasonry began to grow in the seventeenth century. Freemasonry began to divide into two kinds: operative and speculative. Scottish Masonic lodges began to allow honorary members, who were not stonemasons. These Scottish Masons brought about the restoration of the House of Stuart in 1660. The beginnings of modern Freemasonry started about 1619 when the London Masons’ Company organized a body called the "Acception." This organization was established for men who were not masons by trade; they were known as "gentleman masons" or "accepted masons."
Freemasonry became so popular and fashionable in Great Britain during the seventeenth century that the "accepted" Masons became the majority. Finally, those who were not operative masons, masons by trade, decided to abandon the operative masonic lodges and form their own gentlemen’s lodges. Thus, Freemasonry was born.
An important figure behind the creation of speculative Freemasonry was Francis Bacon, a Rosicrucian and possibly a son of Queen Elizabeth I. He was highly involved in the tradition of the Knights Templars. Furthermore, Bacon is one of Illuminism’s most important leaders. In his New Atlantis, Instauratio Magna, and some of his other works, he laid out the plan for the New World Order.
Modern-day secret societies and their concomitant conspiracies and occultism may be said to begin in the early eighteenth century with the establishment of modern-day Freemasonry. Modern-day Freemasonry began in 1717 with the union of four London lodges to form the United Grand Lodge of British Freemasons (the Grand Lodge of London). The seven founders were James Anderson (a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and a libertine), Calvert, Theophile Desaguliers, Joseph Elliott, James King, Lumen-Madden, and George Payne. All seven were Gnostics and Magi of the English Rose Croix. Anthony Sayer became the first Grand Master. In 1721, John, the Duke of Montagu, became the GrandMaster; since then, the Grand Master has always been a nobleman. Philip, Duke of Wharton, a prominent Whig politician became Grand Master in 1722. The first person of the royal family to be Grand Master was Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, brother of George III, in 1782. Since 1782, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of York, or the Duke of Sussex has been grand master. Traditionally, a member of the royal family, or someone with close ties to Buckingham Palace, has been Grand Master of the English lodges.
By 1732, the Grand Lodge of London had become the center of English Freemasonry. By 1747, it dominated Freemasonry throughout the world.
The Freemasons modeled the structure of their organization after the craft guilds of the Middle Ages, primarily the French Compagnons and the Vehmgerichts, with degrees of membership. To this structure was added a speculative philosophy acquired from the Cabala. Among the other ancestors of Freemasonry are the ancient Mysteries of Egypt and Greece, Pharisaic Judaism, the Essences of Jerusalem, Hinduism, Gnosticism, the Roman Collegia of Artificers (Roman College of Builders), the Templars, the Steinmetzen of Westphalia, Rosicrucianism, and Theosophy. Of these, Jewish ones predominate and are, by far, the most important.
Fahey describes the relationship between Jews and Freemasonry as follows:
What we see, then, in the years following 1717 is rather the emergence into fuller light of a secret organised Force aiming at enrolling and forming groups of adepts to work for Naturalism, that is, for the denial of the Supernatural Life and the elimination of membership of Christ from society. The Jewish nation is a non-secret organised naturalistic Force, that is to say its naturalistic opposition to the Mystical Body of Christ is openly proclaimed. Freemasonry, the organised naturalistic Force action in subordination to and in conjunction with the Jewish nation is a secret society or group of societies, for its naturalism or anti-supernaturalism is secret or camouflaged.Of the relationship between modern Judaism and Freemasonry, Cahill observed,
(1) That much of the external trappings of Freemasonry, such as its ritual, its terminology, its legends, etc. are of Jewish origin;According to James Anderson, the real aim of Freemasonry was to carry "pure Gnosticism and liberal rationalism throughout the entire world" and that "the secret teachings of the supreme leaders of Freemasonry may be summed up in these words: to establish all the rights of Man." (Masonic Gnosticism goes back at least 200 years before the union of the London lodges.)
(2) that the philosophy or religion of esoteric Freemasonry (that is of the inner circles and controlling power) is practically identical with the doctrines of the Jewish Cabala, which is the religion or philosophy of a certain section of the Jews;
(3) that a certain group of Jews, probably very few in number, but of immense influence and power, are leading Freemasons; and
(4) that a somewhat larger group of very influential Jews pursue the same ends as Freemasons, and use similar means, and are at least in close alliance with them.
Freemasonry soon spread across Europe. In 1721, speculative English Freemasonry first appeared on the Continent in France. In 1725, English nobles and gentry who were supporters of James II, the Jacobites, founded the Grand Lodge of Paris. Charles Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater was its first Grand Master. (Thus, while Illuminists through Freemasonry in England supported the house of Hanover, Illuminists through Freemasonry in France and Scotland supported the house of Stuart.)
After arriving in France, Freemasonry spread rapidly across the continent. It appeared in Spain in 1728, Holland in 1730, Germany in 1730, Russia in 1731, Italy in 1733, Poland in 1735, Portugal in 1735, Sweden in 1735, Switzerland in 1736, Austria in 1742, Hungary in 1742, Denmark in 1743, and Finland in 1756. Monarchs in Spain, Portugal, and Naples opposed Freemasonry. However, in Germany and Austria, the monarchs viewed it favorably.
Freemasonry soon received the opposition of King Louis XV, who forbad his subjects to become Freemasons. Opposition to Freemasonry in France seemed to have been directed against selected individuals rather than Freemasonry per se. Two anti-masonry movements occurred in France: one in 1737 and the other in 1744 and 1745. However, persecution was sporadic and ineffective. Cardinal Andre de Fleury, who lead the first anti-Masonry movement, did not submit the Papal Bull issued in 1738 condemning Freemasonry to the French Parliament. Opposition to Freemasonry was mostly from the Catholic Church; the government showed little concern. Much of it may have been Cardinal Fleury’s attempt to protect himself from a high-ranking aristocrat using Freemasonry against him.
Frederick the Great aided the introduction of Freemasonry into Germany. In 1738, he was initiated into Freemasonry. He became Grand Master, and in 1761, he headed the Scottish Rite. Other rulers of German states followed his lead, as did Francis I of Austria. Frederick used Freemasonry as a cover for his intrigues.
Schisms soon developed within Freemasonry. In Great Britain, Freemasonry divided between the United Grand Lodge of England, which followed the new rules and ceremonies of The Constitutions of the Freemasons that Dr. James Anderson had written, and the Grand Lodges of Scotland and of Ireland, which preferred the old constitutions. Adherents of the new rules and ceremonies were known as the Modernists, and the adherents of the old, as the Antients or Ancient Masons. The Antients supported four Masonic degrees while the Moderns supported only three. Furthermore, while the Moderns had fully de-Christianized Freemasonry, the Antients had not. (Freemasonry did not seek to destroy the established religion so much as to replace it with the religion of Freemasonry.) Furthermore, the new constitutions replaced loyalty to country and patriotism with loyalty to the brotherhood of Freemasons, cosmopolitanism, internationalism, and nebulous mankind. (Freemasonry placed itself above state and country; for practical reasons, it avoided open conflict with the state.) This division remained until 1813 when the rival Grand Masters, George IV’s brothers, Edward Augusta, Duke of Kent and Grand Master of the Antients, and Augusta Frederick, Duke of Sussex and Grand Master of the Moderns, reunited the two factions. The union resulted in the United Grand Lodge of England with the Duke of Sussex as the Grand Master. The Moderns won in de-Christianizing Freemasonry, and the Antients won in having higher degrees and the invocation of the supposedly rediscovered long-lost name of God associated with the higher degrees.
In France a split occurred between followers of the Jacobites, who favored higher degrees (the Scottish Rite), and followers of the Grand Lodge of France (the English Grand Lodge of France), who opposed higher degrees. Masonic lodges that followed the Scottish Rites were known as red masonic lodges. Lodges following the English were known as blue masonic lodges. In 1754, Louis, Prince of Bourbon, Count of Clermont, and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France, began adding higher degrees. (Louis was Grand Master from 1743 until 1771.) In 1756, the Grand Lodge of France declared itself independent of the Grand Lodge of England.
At the urging of Mirabeau, Philippe Egalite, Duke of Chartres, later Duke of Orleans, united the various factions of French Freemasonry in 1773 with himself as Grand Master. Thus, to bring greater coordination and discipline among the red lodges, the Grand Orient of France was founded. Essentially, the union resulted in the Grand Lodge being submerged into the Grand Orient with the masters of the Grand Orient being masters of the new organization. The union was one of force as mush as of mutual agreement. (Even after this union, schisms continued until 1799.)
The Duke of Orleans led the faction that sought to overthrow Louis XVI, his brother-in-law, and put himself on the throne. He used the Grand Orient, which was no social club, to fulfill his ambition. It was in the forefront of revolutionary incitement. As early as 1776, it leadership was instructing the membership in preparation for insurrection.
In Germany a power struggle occurred between the Rosicrucian element and the French element. (French prisoners of war introduced the French element in 1756 and 1757.) Disagreement involved craft practices. The Rosicrucians had adopted the Scottish Rites, which had degrees above the first three. An appeal was made to the Grand Lodge of London, which claimed that to guarantee the purity of Freemasonry, it must instruct and rule on all matters of Freemasonry. It ruled that only three degrees were authentic. German Freemasonry divided into two factions: the Rosaic (Rosicrucian) lodges and lodges adhering to the Grand Lodge of London.
While these two factions squabbled, another Masonic faction rose to become much more important than these two. This was the Order of Strict Observance, which was founded in 1751. Karl Gotthold, Baron von Hund, organized this Order, which was based on the Scottish Rite and the Order of the Gold and Rosy Cross (a Rosicrucian society), and which was a Templar order. Among the members of this Order were Prince Charles (Karl) of Hesse, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick (who became the head of the Order), von Bischoffswerder (the Prussian minister), Christian Bode (the Councillor of Legation in Saxe-Gotha and later a member of the Bavarian Illuminati.), Baron de Wachter, von Haugwitz (foreign minister of Frederick the Great), Baron Adolph von Knigge (Weishaupt’s assistant), Marquis de Chefdebien d’Armisson, and Count Leopold de Kollowrath-Krakowski. Behind this Order were the Unknown Superiors, who remained in the background yet who had supreme control of the Order. Frederick the Great, Voltaire, and Hayyim Samuel Falk were probably among the Unknown Superiors. The Order of Strict Observance eventually gained control of German Freemasonry. Then it was absorbed into the Order of the Illuminati as a result of the Congress of Wilhelmsbad in 1782. Officially, the Order of Strict Observance disappeared after the Congress of Wilhelmsbad. Nevertheless, it seems to have merely changed its name and became the Rectified Scottish Rite.
The Order of Strict Observance spread to France, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, and Russia. The Duke of Sudermania, who later became King Charles XIII of Sweden, presided over the Order in Sweden. In France, Jean-Baptiste Willermoz set up the first lodge in 1774 in Lyon, the year that he joined the Order. However, in 1778, Willermoz made French members of the Strict Observance independent of the Germans.
Besides Freemasonry, other secret societies also played an important role in the development of Illuminism during the eighteenth century. One such society was the Martinists or French Illuminati.
In 1754, Martines de Pasqually (Martinez Paschalis or Pasqualis), a Jew of Portugese origin, who was supposedly a Catholic by faith, founded the Order of the Elected Priest, whose members became known as Martinists and as French Illumines. Pasqually was a Rose Croix Freemason and a Rosicrucian. His Order was centered in Lyon, but it spread as far as Russia. This Order was an important instrument in spreading occultism across France. It emphasized theurgy, the Cabala, magic, divination, alchemy, Gnosticism, and Theosophy. Its goal was to use hedonism, secrecy, terror, and revolution to destroy Christianity and the existing order. From this anarchy would arise a New World Order without God where the Illuminists would hold the sexes and goods in common and mankind would be reduced to a herd of animals. Like all Illuminists, the Martinists had an intense hatred of the God of the Christians—thus, their rampant immorality, which is merely open rebellion against Him. It eventually became the third great Masonic power in France. Its philosophy became the predominant philosophy of Freemasonry.
In 1771, the Martinists and several other rival Masonic orders united and formed the new lodge of the United Friends. Savalette de Lange, a high initiate in Freemasonry and "the man of all conspiracies," founded this lodge. When he founded it, he was the Royal Treasurer, Grand Officer of the Grand Orient. To unite the other lodges into his, he blended sophistic, Martinist, and Masonic systems. Among the members of the United Friends were Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville, Marquis de Chefdebien d’Armisson (he was also a member of the Grand Orient and the Strict Observance), Condorcet (Freemason), Danton, Frederic-Louis de Hesse-Darmstadt Count de Gebelin, Baron de Gleichen (Freemason), William Law (English clergyman), Mirabeau, Louis Claude Saint-Martin, Emmanuel J. Sieyes (Freemason), Viscount of Tavannes, Willermoz, and William IX of Hesse. The United Friends "prosecuted the dark and dangerous work of preparing that reformation of society which in practice became [the French] Revolution."
At the time of the union, Willermoz, who had joined the Martinists in 1767, controlled the Martinist lodges. He remained at Lodge Theodore in Munich until 1784, two years after Weishaupt’s Illuminati formerly united with Freemasonry. Lodge Theodore was the center of the Illuminati.
1. William T. Still, New World Order: The Ancient Plan of Secret Societies (Lafayette, Louisiana: Huntington House Publishers, 1990), p. 47.
2. Jim Marrs, Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids (New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000), p. 228.
3. Norman MacKenzie, ed., Secret Societies (New York, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967), p. 163. K.R, McKilliam, Conspiracy to Destroy the Christian West (London, England: The Board of Anglo-Saxon Celtic Deputies). p. 5.
4. Queenborough, Lady (Edith Starr Miller), Occult Theocracy (Two Volumes. Hawthorne, California: The Christian Book Club of America, 1933), pp. 34, 175. J. S. M. Ward, Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods (London, England: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd., 1921), p. 68.
5. Denis Fahey, Grand Orient: Freemasonry Unmasked as the Secret Power behind Communism through Discovery of Lost Lectures Delivered by Monsignor George F. Dillon, D.D. at Edinburgh, in October 1884 (New and Revised Edition. Metairie, Louisiana: Sons of Liberty, 1950), p. xiii.
6. E. Cahill, Freemasonry and the Anti-Christian Movement (Second edition. Dublin, Ireland: M.H. Gill and Son, Ltd., 1930. Reprinted 1952), p. 77.
7. James W. Wardner, Unholy Alliances: The Secret Plan and the Secret People Who Are Working to Destroy America (James W. Wardner, 1996), p. 81.
8. Ibid., p. 82.
9. Marrs pp. 240, 246-247. Queenborough, p. 350. J.M. Roberts, The Mythology of the Secret Society (New York, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971), pp. 106-107. Nesta H. Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements (Palmdale, California: Omni Publication, 1924), p. 154.
10. Clarence Kelly, Conspiracy Against God and Man: A Study of the Beginnings and Early History of the Great Conspiracy (Belmont, Massachusetts: Western Islands, 1974), p. 72. Webster, pp. 154, 210, 236.
11. Kelly, p. 72. Webster, pp. 157,190.
12. Una Birch, Secret Societies and the French Revolution Together with Some Kindred Studies (New York, New York.: John Lane Co., 1911), p. 31.
13. The Cause of World Unrest (New York, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1920), p. 23. Queenborough, pp. 183, 369. Webster, p. 171.
14. Birch, p. 31.
[Editor's note: The original contains a list of references, which has been omitted.]
Copyright © by Thomas Coley Allen.
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