We have no definite knowledge as to
when the custom of admitting non-operatives to membership in a lodge of
Masons was started. The earliest existing record of a non-operative Member
is a reference to the presence of the Laird of Auchinleck at a meeting of
the Lodge of Edinburgh, Mary's Chapel, on June 8, 1600. Others were to
follow with the passage of years. Most of these apparently occurred in
Scotland. However, this theory may have come about because more records of
Scottish Lodges existed than of those in England during the seventeenth
century. In the minutes of at least five lodges in Scotland during the
period 1650 to 1675, there are references to non-operative
The first actual record in England of
an Accepted or Speculative Mason, as non-operatives are usually called. is
found in the diary of Elias Ashmole, under date of October 16, 1646, when
he and Colonel Mainwaring became members of an operative Lodge held at
Warrington in Lancashire. Some years later, on March 11, 1682, he attended
a Lodge in Freemasons' Hall in London and witnessed the initiation of a
very warm friend and five other gentlemen. In addition, there were present
the Master of the Masons' Company of London and a number of those who were
currently active and prominent in that organization. This fact lends
credence to the supposition that in the Masons' Company was an inner
circle who comprised what was probably a Speculative
It is likely that by the beginning of
the eighteenth century, just prior to the rise of Speculative Freemasonry,
there were only about a score or two of active Lodges in England and
probably no more than double that number in Scotland. It seems obvious
that most of those Lodges, of which reliable records are available, had
been admitting non-operatives to membership for quite a number of years.
For example, the bylaws of the Lodge of Aberdeen (Scotland) in 1670
were signed by 49 members, citing the occupation and rank of each. Of
these, just 12 were trade(operative) masons. The others were: noblemen or
gentlemen - 5, merchants - 9, wrights - 4, ministers - 3, slaters - 3,
wig-makers - 2, surgeons - 2, glaziers - 2, together with a smith, an
armorer, a book-maker, an attorney, a tutor, a professor and a collector
The transition from operative to
non-operative was irregular in its pattern. Some Lodges changed rapidly,
others slowly if at all. The principal and most important event in this
transition period was the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England on
St. John the Baptist's Day, June 24, 1717.
At that time there were at least four
Lodges located in or near London designated by their places of meeting as
- the Goose and Gridiron Ale House
in St. Paul's Church-yard;
- the Crown Ale House in Parker's
Lane near Drury Lane;
- the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles
Street, Covent Garden;
- the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in
Channel Row, Westminster.
Three of them are still in
- Became Antiquity Lodge No. 2;
- Became Fortitude and Old
Cumberland Lodge No. 12 (its number being higher because of a
- Not in existence.
- Became Royal Somerset House and
Inverness Lodge No. 4.
There is no contemporary record of
the founding of this premier Grand Lodge in the world. Dr. James Anderson
gives the principal account in the second edition of his "Constitutions"
published in 1738. According to this account, representatives of the four
Lodges previously enumerated, with some "Old Brothers, " presumably former
members of Lodges no longer active, met at the Apple-Tree Tavern early in
1717. There, they decided to form a Grand Lodge and "revive" the Quarterly
Communication and the Annual Assembly and Feast.
On June 24 of that year they met
again, this time at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House. At that time, they
established the Grand Lodge of England and elected Anthony Sayer,
Gentleman, as Grand Master, with Captain Joseph Elliot and Jacob Lamball,
Carpenter, as Grand Wardens. Anthony Sayer was followed as Grand Master by
George Payne (1718), Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers (1719) and George
Payne again in 1720. Then in 1721 the first of the succession of noblemen,
the Duke of Montagu, assumed that office.
The original intention was to
restrict the jurisdiction of the new Grand Lodge to London and
Westminster, then an area of not more than three square miles. Of the four
Lodges, apparently the one meeting at the Rummer and Grapes in Westminster
had the most influential membership, being composed principally of
Accepted and Speculative Masons.
There is no known record indicating
when the Grand Lodge began to add new Lodges. The consensus seems to be
that there was a lull for several years immediately after the formation.
Likewise, it is uncertain whether the Lodges which joined the Grand Lodge
in the first ten years were Lodges which were already in existence and
active, or were those that had been dormant and were revitalized, or were
established with the purpose of joining in the movement. Probably all
three sources were involved. In any event it is interesting and
significant to note that 12 Lodges were represented in 1721, with 25 on
the list two years later when Dr. Anderson's first "Book of Constitutions"
was approved for printing. In 1725 the records show a total of 64 Lodges,
of which 50 were in London and five or six others adjacent thereto, with
only four at a distance of more than 100 miles.
The "Book of Constitutions" printed
in 1723 with a second edition in 1738, both compiled by Dr. Anderson,
contained a very fanciful history, if it can be called that, together with
the Charges and General Regulations. The history purported to trace
Masonry from Adam through Noah, Moses, Solomon, Roman and early English
sources to more recent kings of England and Scotland. Much of this is
borrowed from The Old Charges. For many years historians accepted this
account at face value and Masons generally believed it to be
The Charges were prefaced by the
injunction that they be read at the admission of a new Brother, although
it required several hours to do so. They contain rules of conduct and are
divided as follows:
"I. Of God and Religion;
II. Of the Civil Magistrate Supreme
III. Of Lodges;
IV. Of Masters, Wardens, Fellows and
V. Of the Management of the Craft in
VI. Of Behavior
- in the Lodge while
- after the Lodge is over and
the Brethren not gone;
- when the Brethren meet without
Strangers; but not in a Lodge formed;
- in the presence of Strangers
- at Home and in your
- towards a strange Brother."
The General Regulations cite the
organization of Freemasonry in its various component parts, name the
officers, indicate their duties, prescribe the method of operation and
designate rules for the conduct of meetings. The manner of constituting a
new Lodge is also included, together with a number of Masonic
Although the original concept of the
Grand Lodge was a limited geographical jurisdiction, its authority quickly
became generally recognized throughout all England. This resulted in a
number of noteworthy changes in the structure, philosophy and character,
The major alterations were:
- The Old Charges were revised to
provide for the transition from operative to speculative Masonry.
- The Craft was systematized into
a more or less unified body with regular meetings and definite rules
under which to operate.
- Membership was opened to men of
all trades, professions and callings, with no preference or precedence
to those associated with the building industry.
- The "time immemorial" method of
creating new Lodges was abandoned and Grand Lodge through its Grand
Master retained authority in this.
- Agreement was reached that the
Grand Master should be a member of the nobility.
- The Christian character of the
fraternity was eliminated, and monotheism was adopted as the
dominating fundamental in religious matters.
- The ritual was improved and
Much uncertainty exists concerning
the ritual. In operative Masonry, it probably consisted of an obligation,
the reading of the charges, and the explanation of certain grips and
At first, the terms Apprentice,
Fellow and Master represented gradations or rank, rather than separate
degrees. Later, it appears that different ceremonies were used for the
Apprentices and the Fellows, and that this system was in vogue when the
Grand Lodge of England was formed.
Within the next few years, the third
degree was added to the ritualistic work. Its substance probably had been
known previously to the fraternity as one of its subsidiary legends and
then was included as an additional degree.
The establishment of the Grand Lodge
of England was followed in due time by a Grand Lodge in the Province of
Munster in Ireland in 1725, the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1730, the Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1731 and the Grand Lodge of Scotland in
In 1751 a new Grand Lodge was formed
in England under the name of Grand Lodge of England "according to the Old
Institutions." This new Grand Lodge was established by six Lodges composed
of Irish Masons, less than one hundred in number, who had not affiliated
with the original Grand Lodge of England. The members of the 1751
organization called themselves Antient York Masons. The name, "York
Masons, " referred to the tradition relating to the supposed Grand
Assembly of Masons at York in the year 926. The word "Antient" was
intended to substantiate the claim that their ritual alone preserved the
ancient customs and usages of the Craft. The members of the, Priginal
Grand Lodge of England, constituted in 1717, were termed "Modern 'Masons"
by these self-styled Antients. These terms "Moderns" and "Antients"
persisted and came into common use.
The Antients were better
propagandists and were more interested in promotional activities, having
as their Grand Secretary, Lawrence Dermott, to whose zeal, resourcefulness
and brilliance much of the success of the Antients was due. He was the
author of the Book of Constitutions for his Grand Lodge modeled somewhat
after that of the Moderns, which he called "Ahiman Rezon", the ancestor of
the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Under his active
leadership, the Antient Grand Lodge grew in strength and importance, was
recognized by, and established relationship with, the Grand Lodges of
Ireland and Scotland, started Lodges in many countries and military
organizations, and in some places eclipsed the premier (Moderns) Grand
For a number of years following
formation of the Antient Grand Lodge, considerable bitterness and
animosity were exhibited on both sides as the two Grand Lodges moved
forward in parallel but by no means harmonious pathways. By the beginning
of the nineteenth century, however, most Members of both organizations
deplored the disunity of English Masonry, saw the desirability of harmony
in the order, and began to work toward that end.
In 1809 the Grand Lodge of the
Moderns rescinded its rule forbidding the admission of Antient Masons in
Modem Lodges. In the following year the Antients made similar concessions
and committees were appointed to devise ways and means of effecting a
complete reconciliation. Shortly afterwards, the Duke of Atholl resigned
as Grand Master of the Antients and was succeeded by the Duke of Kent,
whose brother, the Duke of Sussex, was then Grand Master of the Moderns;
both of these men were sons of King George the Third.
The final ratification of the union
of the two bodies took place on December 27, 1813 at Freemasons' Hall in
London. The two Grand Lodges met in adjoining rooms and, after having
opened in accordance with their own rites and ceremonies, marched into the
main hall, headed by their respective Grand Masters. The procession
composed of the two Grand Lodges marching side by side moved toward the
East where the Grand Masters took seats on each side of the Throne. After
prayer the Act of Union was read, proclaiming the establishment of "The
United Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of England. " A so-called Lodge
of Reconciliation had devised a system of forms, rites and ceremonies.
These were adopted as the universal system for the United Grand Lodge and
were pronounced true and correct. The Duke of Kent then placed his brother
in nomination for Grand Master of the newly formed United Grand Lodge. The
Duke of Sussex was unanimously elected.
In the Articles of Union, both sides
made concessions, involving the sacrifice of some of the various points of
ritualism and procedure, which for more than three-quarters of a century
they had so strenuously upheld. Thus it was that peace and harmony once
more prevailed in English Masonry.
One of the provisions of the Articles
of Union stated that the first Lodges under each Grand Lodge would draw
lots for priority of numbers, the loser to become No. 2, and all other
Lodges to be numbered alternately. Luck was with the Antients and their
Grand Master's Lodge took precedence. The Lodge of Antiquity of the
Moderns, founded prior to the so-called "Rivival" of 1717, was assigned
No. 2 in spite of its much greater age. The second Lodge of the Antients,
Fidelity, became No. 3, and the next Modern Lodge, now called Royal
Somerset House and Inverness, originally meeting at the Rummer and Grapes
Tavern when the premier Grand Lodge was formed, was designated No.
The Lodge of Reconciliation was
organized to consummate the Union of the two Grand Lodges. It continued
its work until 1816, revising the rituals and supervising the instruction
of those who would take the prescribed work to the individual Lodges. It
is generally supposed that the final ritual favored the system of the
Antients to a considerable extent. This is uncertain, however, because no
notes were taken. There was also some difference of opinion among the
participants as to exactly what decisions were reached upon certain points
As a result there are, in the Grand
Lodge of England, a number of workings, all of which are considered as
acceptable and correct, two in particular receiving wide-spread approval:
- That of the Stability Lodge of
Instruction founded in 1817.
- That of Emulation Lodge of
Improvement established in 1823 .
Other popular rituals bear such names
as West End, Oxford, Logic. The Grand Lodge of England insists on strict
adherence to certain essentials and fundamentals, but it permits minor
variations with respect to details.
The conflict between the Moderns and
Antients in England had its counterpart in America. Likewise the Union of
1813 affected materially the Grand Lodges of the United States. In
Pennsylvania, however, the conflict was almost non-existent after the
Revolution, as here Modern Lodges had practically ceased to exist and the
Antients were in complete control.
There seems to be no good reason to
believe that there were Masons among the first Quakers who settled in what
is now the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, nor among the pioneers who
preceded them. However, it was likely that not long thereafter, English,
Irish and Scottish Masons began to arrive. Doubtless they made themselves
known to each other and set up Lodges under what was termed the "time
In those early days of the
Fraternity, there were no lawfully warranted and duly constituted Lodges
established in the American colonies under the authority of a Grand Lodge.
The old customs and regulations of operative Masonry prevailed. They
provided that a given number of Masons might assemble, open a Lodge, and
practice the rites of Freemasonry. The required number is somewhat
uncertain. Some of the old manuscripts specify five, others six, while at
least one says seven or six with the knowledge and consent of a seventh.
In any event, it is safe to say that Masonic meetings of this type were
held in Philadelphia during the early part of the eighteenth century, just
about the time the so-called "Revival" in England in 1717 led to the
formation of the Grand Lodge of England. In fact, in 1715, John Moore,
Collector of the Port of Philadelphia, wrote that he had "spent a few
evenings of Masonic festivity with my Masonic brethren."
For some years, the establishment of
the Grand Lodge of England had little effect upon the craftsmen residing
in the Western Hemisphere. On June 5, 1730, however, the Grand Master of
the Grand Lodge of England, the Duke of Norfolk, deputized Colonel Daniel
Coxe of New Jersey as Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and
Pennsylvania for the two-year period beginning on June 24, 1730. Colonel
Coxe was living at his home in Trenton during much of this
In the meantime, Pennsylvania Masons
had not been inactive. In the issue of The Pennsylvania
Gazette dated December 8, 1730, its editor, Ben jamin Franklin,
not then a Mason, refers to "several Lodges of Free-Masons" having been
"Erected in this Province. " The only record we now have of a Lodge in
Philadelphia at that time is the account book of St. John's Lodge for the
period 1731 to 1738. This record is known as "Liber B" and is in the
library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
This record indicates that, as of
June 24, 1731, there was a Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania with William Allen
as Grand Master and William Pringle as Deputy. Since no other member-Lodge
is mentioned, it seems likely that St. John's Lodge may have merely
superimposed a Grand Lodge upon its own organizational structure and that
the same officers served both bodies. This is very similar to the process
by which the Grand Lodge of Munster, later called the Grand Lodge of
Ireland, came into being in 1725.
On June 24, 1734, Benjamin Franklin
became Grand Master of Penn sylvania. Prior to that time, the Grand Master
of the Grand Lodge of England had, under date of April 30, 1733, appointed
Henry Price of Boston as Provincial Grand Master of New England "and
Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging. " Then in August of the
following year, his deputation and powers were extended over all
The amendment of the original
deputation evidently caused the Pennsylvania Brethren to feel that
possibly their Grand Lodge lacked the authority which it formerly
possessed, and that they should have a charter granted by Brother Price by
virtue of his commission from Britain. A suggestion to that effect was
made by Brother Franklin to Provincial Grand Master Price. Apparently, no
action resulted from this letter and the Grand Master of Pennsylvania
continued to operate as theretofore.
In 1742, Thomas Oxnard of
Massachusetts was appointed as Grand Master for North America by the Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of England. From him, Franklin secured an
appointment dated July 10, 1749 as Provincial Grand Master of
Pennsylvania, in spite of the fact that his former benefactor and sponsor,
William Allen, had again been acting as the head of the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania for several years.
Many of the members assumed that
Franklin's appointment superseded the old self-constituted Grand Lodge.
However, when an appeal was made directly to the Grand Master of London,
William Allen was appointed Provincial Grand Master and assumed that
office at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on March 13, 1750.
This marked the end of the independent Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and its
inception as a Provincial Grand Lodge affiliated with and deriving its
authority from the Grand Lodge of England. At that time Benjamin Franklin
resumed his former position as Deputy Grand Master.
Shortly afterwards the project of
building a Lodge Hall in Philadelphia was undertaken. In 1755 Freemasons'
Hall was erected on the south side of Norris (or Lodge) Alley, which
extends west from Second Street and is parallel to and north of
Walnut Street. This was the first Masonic Hall on the Western Continent.
In the meantime two other Lodges had been established in Philadelphia
(Nos. 2 and 3), both having begun their labors prior to 1759, although the
exact dates are unknown.
The three Lodges in Philadelphia, St.
John's, No. 2 and No. 3, were, of course, affiliated with the premier or
original Grand Lodge of England, commonly called the Moderns. A fourth
Lodge, the last we know to be established by the Moderns, was warranted by
Grand Master Allen in June 1757, meeting in the tavern of Jeremiah Smith
instead of assembling in Freemasons' Hall as did the other three Lodges.
Soon afterwards the rumor spread in Masonic circles that this newly formed
Lodge was working in the Antient way rather than the Modern. On September
13, 1757, members from the older Lodges attended a meeting of Lodge No. 4
and ascertained that the ritualistic work was indeed that of the Antients.
The matter was reported to Grand Lodge and the officers of Lodge No. 4
were summoned to appear before representatives of that body. At that
meeting, they freely admitted that they were Antient Masons and refused to
consider a change in their manner of working. Their Warrant was
immediately withdrawn, but the Lodge continued in operation even though it
was without a Warrant.
To remedy the absence of a Warrant,
Lodge No. 4 petitioned the Grand Lodge of the Antients in London and,
under date of June 7, 1758, was warranted as Lodge No. 1 of Pennsylvania
and No. 69 of England. A short time later, however, the Lodge assumed the
number "2" leaving No. 1 for the Grand
Lodge which was soon to be established. This formed the nucleus from which
our present organization has directly evolved. Lodge No. 2 is still in existence.
Whereas the original Grand Lodge of
Moderns in Pennsylvania had been ultra- conservative and relatively
inactive, the new Grand Lodge of the Antients, under William Ball as Grand
Master, was progressive and quite alert to its opportunities of
disseminating Masonic light and knowledge. During its entire career, the
Modern Grand Lodge never had more than four constituent Lodges at any one
time. On the other hand, from the date of its establishment up to the
beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Antients granted Warrants to
sixteen Lodges. Three were in Philadelphia, four elsewhere in
Pennsylvania, five in Maryland, one in New Jersey, two in Delaware and one
During the Revolution, twenty-seven
other Lodges were warranted. Of these, nine were in Pennsylvania (one of
them in Philadelphia), two in New Jersey, three in Maryland, two in South
Carolina, one in Virginia, two in Delaware, one English Army Lodge and
seven American Army Lodges.
Throughout its early history the
Grand Lodge (Antients) granted Warrants for Lodges in other states and
countries in which no Grand Lodges had been formed. For this reason we
find in the name of our Grand Lodge not only the word "Pennsylvania" but
also the additional expression, "and Masonic jurisdiction Thereunto
Belonging. " The last Warrant for a Lodge outside the boundaries of the
Commonwealth was granted on February 6, 1832 to a Lodge located at Montevideo, Uruguay. Prior to that date,
of the 224 Warrants issued, 68 were for
Lodges outside of Pennsylvania, including nine in a Provincial Grand Lodge of San Domingo.
As, previously noted, there was great
rivalry and considerable friction between Antients and Moderns in
Pennsylvania, as was the case nearly everywhere else. This was intensified
by the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. In this State, the Modern
Lodges, to a considerable degree, were composed of ultra- conservatives
who were inclined to be Loyalists. A large majority of the Members of the
Antients, however, espoused the cause of Independence.
By the end of the Revolutionary War,
the Modern Lodges had practically disintegrated with the result
that in 1813 and thereafter when, in jurisdictions throughout the world,
Moderns and Antients were being reconciled and united, that was
unnecessary here in Pennsylvania where the Antients reigned supreme.
Hence, the ritualistic changes and compromises resulting from the
Reconciliation of 1813 did not affect the work in this State, and
Pennsylvania Masons continued to work in the pure Antient
After the termination of the
Revolution and the advent of peace, the spirit of independence was in the
air. Not only, political and economic independence, but fraternal as well.
At the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, held on
September 25, 1786, a resolution was unanimously adopted to the effect
that the. Grand Lodge ought to be independent of the Grand Lodge of
England. The minutes end with the notation: "This Lodge acting by virtue
of a Warrant from the Grand Lodge of England was closed forever."
On the following day, the
representatives of the various Lodges reconvened and established the Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania on an entirely independent basis with the election,
as Grand Master, of William Adcock who had been Provincial Grand Master.
Of the Lodges affiliated with the Grand Lodge on that momentous occasion,
nine (Nos. 2, 3, 9, 19, 21, 22, 25, 43 and 45) are still in existence
within the jurisdiction. The declaration of Pennsylvania's independence
was accepted in a very gracious and fraternal manner by the Antient Grand
Lodge of England, and the subsequent relationship between the two
coordinate Grand Lodges has always been most friendly and
Here is a recapitulation of the
history of Grand Lodges having jurisdiction over Pennsylvania:
- the independent Grand Lodge of
1731 with William Allen as Grand Master.
- The Grand Lodge headed by
Benjamin Franklin, established by authority of Provincial Grand Master
Oxnard in 1749.
- The Provincial Grand Lodge of
1750 with William Allen again as Grand Master, under the jurisdiction
of the Grand Lodge (Modern) of England.
- The Provincial Grand Lodge
warranted in 1761 by the Antient Grand Lodge of England with William
Ball as Grand Master.
- The independent Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania, our present Grand Lodge, established on September 26,
For forty years Freemasonry in
Pennsylvania made steady progress in numbers, in influence for good, in
benevolence and in the esteem of its contemporaries. This advance came to
a sudden end in the so-called "Morgan Incident, " that led to the
Anti-Masonic agitation during which the opponents of Freemasonry used
every means available in their attempt to wreck the Fraternity. This
antagonism toward the Fraternity was particularly vicious in the
northeastern states, and its detrimental effects were not completely
overcome in some localities for a period of fifteen to twenty
The principal personage in this
tragedy was William Morgan. The scene was Batavia in western New York; the
year 1825. Morgan claimed to be a Mason, having either joined a Lodge or
otherwise obtained considerable Masonic information while employed in
Canada. He was a worthless sort of fellow and reputed to have been drunk
much of the time. He became highly incensed when he was not permitted to
become a charter member of a new Royal Arch Chapter being formed at
Batavia in 1826. Because of his anger and his need of money, he agreed to
furnish a local printer all the information necessary for the publication
of an expose of Freemasonry.
When news of this enterprise became
known, the Masons of the community were greatly excited and much
perturbed. Morgan became concerned by the threats made against him, and
finally agreed to accept a farm in Canada and never return to the United
States. After accepting money in lieu of a farm, Morgan disappeared. The
printer, Miller, and his friends claimed that Morgan had been kidnapped
and murdered by the Masons in order to prevent the betrayal of their
secrets. Many fantastic stories gained circulation and a storm of protest
arose. When at length the Masons wanted to produce Morgan in order to calm
the uproar he was nowhere to be found. The incident was propagandized far
and wide and became commonly known as "The Morgan Affair." The outcry
against Freemasonry became nationwide and was brought into politics, the
churches and practically all kinds of businesses, until Masons were being
harassed in every way possible.
In Pennsylvania, the crest of the
storm came in 1835 when Joseph Ritner, a prominent Cumberland County
Anti-Mason, was elected as, Governor of the Commonwealth on an
Anti-Masonic ticket. Under the leadership of Thaddeus Stevens, a member of
the Pennsylvania legislature, an investigation into Freemasonry and other
so-called secret societies was started. Members such as George M. Dallas,
afterwards Vice-President, former Governor George Wolf, Francis R. Shunk,
later Governor, and numerous other men of unquestioned character and
patriotism defended the Fraternity vigorously and energetically. After a
time the excitement and passions subsided and then
This sad affair took a heavy toll and
by 1845, when the storm was practically over the number of Lodges in
Pennsylvania had been reduced to 45, with less than 2, 000 Members in good
standing. Those who were left were tried and true, and had proven their
loyalty and their zeal. With such Brothers as a nucleus, the Fraternity
has progressed to the present day.
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