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History of Freemasonry
The history of Freemasonry studies the development, evolution and events of the fraternal organization known as Freemasonry. This history is generally separated into two time periods: before and after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Before this time, the facts and origins of Freemasonry are not absolutely known and are therefore frequently explained by theories or legends. After the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, the history of Freemasonry is extremely well documented and can be traced through the creation of hundreds of Grand Lodges that spread rapidly worldwide.
In recent years professional historians have added an entirely new dimension by studying the impact of Freemasonry on the history of Europe and America in the 18th century
- 1 From origin to 18th century Freemasonry
- 1.1 Origin theories of speculative freemasonry
- 1.2 Name origins
- 1.3 From historical foundation to 1717
- 1.4 Creation of the First Grand Lodge in London
- 1.5 Anderson's Constitutions
- 1.6 Creation of the Third Degree
- 1.7 The "Antients" and "Moderns" Grand Lodges
- 1.8 Early Freemasonry in the United States (1733–1799)
- 1.9 Establishment of Prince Hall Freemasonry (1775–1827)
- 2 Role of Freemasonry in 18th century Enlightenment
- 3 19th Century Freemasonry
- 4 20th Century Freemasonry
- 5 Notes
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
From origin to 18th century Freemasonry
Origin theories of speculative freemasonry
In its ritual context, Freemasonry employs an allegorical foundation myth: the foundation of the fraternity by the builders of King Solomon’s Temple.
Beyond myth, there is a distinct absence of documentation as to Freemasonry’s origins, which has led to a great deal of speculation among historians and pseudo-historians alike, both from within and from outside the fraternity. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject. Much of the content of these books is highly speculative, and the precise origins of Freemasonry may very well be permanently lost to history. Some[who?] believe the scant evidence that is available points to the origins of Freemasonry as a fraternity that simply evolved out of the lodges of operative stonemasons of the Middle Ages. Others[who?] have disputed whether stonemasons were ever organized formally into guilds, and have criticized the suggestion that Freemasonry evolved out of such organizations as a trite myth, stemming merely from the fact that the fraternity uses stonemasonry as the core allegory for the organization of its symbolism. In any event, the matter of the origins of Freemasonry continues to puzzle and mystify historians.
The origin of Freemasonry has variously been attributed to: King Solomon and the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Euclid or Pythagoras, Moses, the Essenes, the Culdees, the Druids, the Gypsies, or the Rosicrucians, not to mention the intellectual descendants of Noah. Some of the more popular theories include Freemasonry being an offshoot of the ancient mystery schools, or that it is an institutional outgrowth of the medieval guilds of stonemasons, or that it is a direct descendant of the Knights Templar.
There are other lesser-known theories, such as:
- The construction of the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland (1440–1490) provided the interface between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. Accordingly, the First Degree and Mark Masonry was introduced by William Sinclair, the alleged first Grand Master and founder of Freemasonry.
- Freemasonry is the intellectual descendant of the Roman Collegia.
- Freemasonry is the intellectual descendant of the Comacine masters.
- Freemasonry had its beginnings particularly in the German Steinmetzen, or the French Compagnonage.
- Freemasonry was created by Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, or the Stuart pretenders to the British Crown.
- Freemasonry was a result of Sir Christopher Wren and the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral.
The medieval stonemasons were sometimes known as "freemasons." Historians have suggested several origins of the term:
- From the French term franc Maçon, a mason working in a Lodge that has been granted a franchise by the Church to work on Church property and free from taxation or regulation by the King or the local Municipality.
- From the French frère Maçon literally meaning "brother Mason"
- From Free Men, that is they were not serfs or indentured, and free to travel from one work location to another.
- From working in "freestone," a type of quarry stone, and they were therefore Freestone Masons.
From historical foundation to 1717
The early development of Freemasonry has two distinct growth periods:
- Stage 1. Operative Freemasonry – associated with the craft guilds. Ritual elements are simple and there is no evidence beyond a rudimentary philosophical outlook.
- Stage 2. Freemasonry of the late 16th century and into the 17th century. Surviving Scottish Lodge records, as early as the 1630s, show a gentrification process – a transition from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry – evidenced by increasing non-operative notable gentleman within the membership. Virtually no records of English lodges survive prior to the speculative, Grand Lodge period of 1717 onwards. The purely speculative ritual and lectures of William Preston (1742–1818) demonstrate an increasing use of a ritual infusion of Enlightenment philosophy.
A credible historical source asserting the antiquity of Freemasonry is The Halliwell Manuscript, or Regius Poem – believed to date from ca. 1390. This makes reference to several concepts and phrases similar to those found in Freemasonry. The manuscript itself seems to be an elaboration on an earlier document, to which it refers.
There is also the Cooke Manuscript, an undated manuscript constitution from the mid-15th century, the oldest of the Gothic Constitutions. The first statutory use of the word 'Freemason' in England appears in the Statutes of the Realm enacted in 1495 under Henry VI, although the archaic term "frank mason" had been used fifty years earlier. Prior to that, the earliest use of the term "ffre Masons" was in a 1376 reference to the "Company of ffre Masons," one of the numerous craft guilds of London.
By 1583, the date of the Grand Lodge manuscript, the documentary evidence begins to grow. The Schaw Statutes of 1598–99 are the source used to declare the precedence of Lodge Mother Kilwinning in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland over Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) in Edinburgh. These are described as Head and Principal respectively. As a side note, following a dispute over numbering at the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (GLS) – Kilwinning is numbered as Lodge Mother Kilwinning Number 0 (pronounced 'Nothing'), GLS. Quite soon thereafter, a charter was granted to Sir William St. Clair (later Sinclair) of Roslin (Rosslyn), allowing him to purchase jurisdiction over a number of lodges in Edinburgh and environs. This may be the basis of the Templar myth surrounding Rosslyn Chapel.
The Regius Poem and Cooke manuscript, about 1390 and 1410 respectively, are written in the dialects of the west and southwest of England, and may have been written for the school of masonry associated with Salisbury Cathedral.
Early operative Freemasons, unlike virtually all Europeans except the Clergy, were Free – not bound to the land on which they were born. The various skills required in building complex stone structures, especially churches and cathedrals, allowed skilled masons to travel and find work at will. They were lodged in a temporary structure – either attached to, or near, the main stone building. In this lodge, they ate, slept and received their work assignments from the master of the work. To maintain the freedom they enjoyed required exclusivity of skills, and thus, as an apprentice was trained, his instructor attached moral values to the tools of the trade, binding him to his fellows of the craft.
Freemasonry's transition from a craft guild of operative, working stonemasons into a fraternity of speculative, accepted, gentleman Freemasons began in Scottish lodges during the early 17th century. The earliest record of a person who was not an operative Mason attending a lodge meeting occurs in the records of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), 8 June 1600, where it is shown that John Boswell, Laird of Aucheinleck, was present. However there is no record of Boswell's initiation into the lodge. The meeting of 8 June was not a normal meeting of the lodge (it was a masonic trial of a member), and Boswell may have been present in a capacity other than as a member. The first record of the initiation of a non-operative mason in a lodge is contained in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) for 3 July 1634, when the Right Honourable Lord Alexander was admitted a Fellowcraft. The first record of the Initiation of a non-operative on English soil, was in 1641 when Sir Robert Moray was admitted to the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) at Newcastle.
From the early 17th century references are found to Freemasonry in personal diaries and journals. Elias Ashmole (1617–1692) was made a Mason in 1646 and notes attending several Masonic meetings. There appears to be a general spread of the Craft, between Ashmole's account and 1717, when four English Lodges meeting in London Taverns joined together and founded the Grand Lodge of London (now known as the United Grand Lodge of England). They had held meetings, respectively, at the Cheshire Cheese Tavern, the Apple-Tree Tavern, the Crown Ale-House near Drury Lane, the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Churchyard, and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Westminster.
With the foundation of this first Grand Lodge, Freemasonry shifted from being an obscure, relatively private, institution into the public eye. The years following saw new Grand Lodges open throughout Europe. How much of this growth was the spreading of Freemasonry itself, and how much was due to the public organization of pre-existing private Lodges, is uncertain.
Creation of the First Grand Lodge in London
English Masonic historians place great importance on 24 June 1717 (St. John the Baptist's day) when four London lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St Paul’s churchyard and formed what they called The Grand Lodge of England. Although Freemasonry had existed in England since at least the mid-17th century and in Scotland since The Schaw Statutes were enacted in 1598 and 1599, the establishment of a permanent Grand Lodge in London in 1717 is traditionally considered the formation of organized Freemasonry in its modern sense.
In 1723, James Anderson wrote and published The Constitutions of the Free-Masons, For the Use of the Lodges in London and Westminster. This work was reprinted in Philadelphia in 1734 by Benjamin Franklin, who was that year elected Grand Master of the Masons of Pennsylvania.
In addition to clarifying the rules by which the fraternity was to be governed, Anderson's Constitution contained a History of Freemasonry which claimed that the Craft was very ancient. He traced the fraternity's history from the Medieval guilds of operative stonemasons through various Roman and Greek builders and mathematicians, all the way back to biblical roots. Almost as soon as it was published, more knowledgeable historians began to pick apart Anderson's tale, noting its glaring errors. For example: Anderson states that there was an assembly of Masons at York in A.D. 926, where the English King Athelstan granted them a charter – yet York was under Danish control at that time. Anderson also has Pythagoras living in Egypt at the time of the building of King Solomon's Temple, hundreds of years before he was born.
It is now recognised that Dr. Anderson's Story of the Craft is based on mythical tales and legendary traditions, and is quite untrustworthy. However, Anderson's claim that Freemasonry dates back to ancient times continues to be repeated to this day.
Creation of the Third Degree
Sometime after 1725, a third degree, the Master Mason's degree, began to be worked in London lodges. Its origins are unknown. While it may be older than its recorded appearance indicates, it does not appear in the records of any lodge until April 1727 (its actual conferral does not appear in the records of any lodge until March 1729). Exposures of Masonic ritual, which began to appear in 1723, refer to only two degrees until the publication of Samuel Pritchard's "Masonry Dissected" in 1730, which contained the work for all three degrees. The Master Mason's degree was not official until the Grand Lodge adopted Anderson's revised Constitutions of 1738.
The "Antients" and "Moderns" Grand Lodges
Throughout the early years of the new Grand Lodge there were many lodges that never affiliated with the new Grand Lodge. These unaffiliated Masons and their Lodges were referred to as "Old Masons," or "St. John Masons, and "St. John Lodges".
In 1725 a lodge in York founded the rival "Grand Lodge of All England" as a protest against the growing influence of the Grand Lodge of England in London. During the 1730s and 1740s antipathy increased between the London based Grand Lodge of England (hereafter referred to as the Premier Grand Lodge) and the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland. Irish and Scots Masons visiting and living in London considered the Premier Grand Lodge to have considerably deviated from the ancient practices of the Craft. As a result, these Masons felt a stronger kinship with the unaffiliated London Lodges. The aristocratic nature of the Premier Grand Lodge and its members alienated other Masons of the City causing them also to identify with the unaffiliated Lodges.
On 17 July 1751, representatives of five Lodges gathered at the Turk's Head Tavern, in Greek Street, Soho, London – forming a rival Grand Lodge – The Most Antient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons. They believed that they practiced a more ancient and therefore purer form of Masonry, and called their Grand Lodge The Antients' Grand Lodge. They called those affiliated to the Premier Grand Lodge, by the pejorative epithet The Moderns. These two unofficial names stuck. Laurence Dermott wrote a new constitution for the Ancients, the Ahiman Rezon as an alternative for the Constitution of the Moderns.
An illustration of how deep the division was between the two factions is the case of Benjamin Franklin who was a member of a Moderns' Lodge in Philadelphia. During his stay in France, he became Master of the Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs in 1779, and was re-elected in 1780. Upon returning from France it transpired that his Lodge had changed to (and had received a new warrant from) the Antients Grand Lodge; no longer recognizing him and declining to give him "Masonic Honours" at his funeral.
For many years, "The Great Masonic Schism" was a name applied to the sixty-two year division of English Freemasonry into two separate Grand Lodges. Some even attempted to attribute the division to the changes in passwords made in 1738–39 by the Premier Grand Lodge. Masonic historian Robert F. Gould in his "History of Freemasonry (1885) referred to the Antients Grand Lodge as "schismatics". However, Henry Sadler, Librarian of the UGLE, demonstrated in his 1887 book "Masonic Facts and Fictions" that the Antients Grand Lodge was formed in 1751 primarily by Irish Masons living and working in London, never affiliated with the older Grand Lodge. 72 of the first 100 names on the roll of the new Antients' Grand Lodge were Irish. In 1776, the Grand Secretary of the Moderns' Grand Lodge referred to them as "the Irish Faction (Ye Antient Masons, as they call themselves)". And so the myth of a "Great Masonic Schism" in English Masonry was laid to rest.
Early Freemasonry in the United States (1733–1799)
In 1733, Henry Price, the Provincial Grand Master over all of North America for the London Grand Lodge, granted a charter to a group of Boston Freemasons. This lodge was later named St. John's Lodge and was the first duly constituted lodge in America.
Establishment of Prince Hall Freemasonry (1775–1827)
Role of Freemasonry in 18th century Enlightenment
There is some debate among scholars as to the role of Freemasonry in the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. Some see Freemasonry as playing a significant role, influencing enlightenment thinking, promoting the ideals of the Enlightenment, and helping to diffuse these values across Britain and France and other places. Others disagree, arguing that Freemasonry played little if any role in the Enlightenment.
19th Century Freemasonry
The Union of 1813
The Premier Grand Lodge of England and the Antient Grand Lodge of England were amalgamated into the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) on 27 December 1813 (day of Saint John the Evangelist), by twenty-one articles of "The Articles of Union" – specifying the agreements made regarding the various points of contention. A special lodge, The Lodge of Promulgation, was established by the Moderns in 1809 to promulgate the ancient landmarks of the Order, as well as instructing and negotiating with the members of the two factions to include the discontinuation of any innovations or changes introduced by the Moderns. The Union largely confirmed the Ancients' forms and ceremonies, and therefore considerably revised the Moderns' rituals. One of the most important changes was the reference in Article Two to the Royal Arch Degree as included in the, third, Master Masons' Degree – a practice that had always been peculiar to the Ancients lodges. Following the union in 1813, a Lodge of Reconciliation (1813–1816) was established to complete the rationalisation of the ritual into a form acceptable to both parties forming the newly constituted United Grand Lodge. In 1823 a Emulation Lodge of Improvement was established.
Both the Ancients and the Moderns had daughter Lodges throughout the world, and because many of those Lodges still exist, there is a great deal of variety in the ritual used today, even between UGLE-recognized jurisdictions in amity. Most Private Lodges conduct themselves in accordance with a single Rite.
The Morgan Affair and Decline in American Freemasonry (1826–c.1850)
In 1826, William Morgan disappeared from Batavia, New York, after threatening to expose Freemasonry's secrets, causing some to claim that he had been murdered by Masons. What exactly occurred has never been conclusively proven. However, Morgan's disappearance – and the minimal punishment received by his kidnappers – sparked a series of protests against Freemasons throughout the United States, especially in New York and neighboring states.
Under the leadership of Thurlow Weed, an anti-Masonic and anti-Andrew Jackson (Jackson was a Mason) movement grew to become the political party and made the ballot for the presidency in 1828, while gaining the support of such notable politicians as William H. Seward. Its influence was such that other Jackson rivals, including John Quincy Adams, denounced the Masons. In 1847, Adams wrote a widely distributed book titled "Letters on the Masonic Institution" that was highly critical of the Masons. In 1832, the party fielded William Wirt as its presidential candidate. This was rather ironic because he was, in fact, a Freemason, and even gave a speech at the Anti-Masonic convention defending the organization. The party only received seven electoral votes. Three years later, the party had disbanded in every state save Pennsylvania, as other issues such as slavery had become the focus of national attention.
American Freemasons during the Civil War
The fortunes of American Freemasonry declined sharply following the Morgan Affair, only to rebound as the force of the Anti-Masonic movement sputtered out in the mid 1830s. By the late 1850s, masonry in America was the subject of renewed popular interest and lodge membership, which had bottomed out during the anti-Masonic period began to rise. By the time of the American Civil War, U.S. freemasonry tripled its membership from 66,000 to 200,000 members in over 5000 lodges nationwide. This surge in membership helps explain, at least in part, the many stories of Masonic fraternization during the American Civil War, which include accounts of Masonic soldiers and sailors rescuing enemy combatants who identified themselves as members of the fraternity. Masonic incidents are also recorded involving Freemasons burying their own with Masonic formalities during battle, as well as aid and special treatment given to Masonic POWs.
Freemasons and the Paris Commune
During the 19th century, French Freemasonry became increasingly involved in politics. According to Ernest Belfort Bax, Freemasons were responsible for the last serious attempt at conciliation between Versailles and the Commune on 21 April 1870. They were received coldly by Adolphe Thiers, who assured them that, though Paris was given over to destruction and slaughter, the law should be enforced, and he kept his word. A few days after they decided, in a public meeting, to plant their banner on the ramparts and throw in their lot with the Commune. On the 29th, accordingly, 10,000 of the brethren met (55 lodges being represented), and marched to the Hôtel de Ville, headed by the Grand Masters in full insignia and the banners of the lodges. Amongst them the new banner of Vincennes was conspicuous, bearing the inscription in red letters on a white ground, “Love one another.” A balloon was then sent up, which let fall at intervals, outside Paris, a manifesto of the Freemasons. The procession then wended its way through the boulevards and the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, where the banners were planted at various points along the ramparts. On seeing the white flag on the Porte Maillot the Versaillese ceased firing, and the commander, himself a Freemason, received a deputation of brethren, and suggested a final appeal to Versailles, which was agreed to. The “chief of the executive,” of course, hardly listened to the envoys, and declined to further discuss the question of peace with anyone. This last formal challenge having been made and rejected, the Freemasons definitely took their stand as combatants for the Commune.
The great schism of 1877
A great schism in Freemasonry occurred in the years following 1877, when the Grand Orient de France (GOdF) started unreservedly accepting atheists, and recognized Women's Masonry and Co-Masonry. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) deemed this to be irregular and a violation of the ancient landmarks of the Fraternity. UGLE withdrew its recognition of GOdF. The majority of Grand Lodges around the world, especially those in the English speaking world, followed UGLE's lead. However, a minority, mostly in Europe and South America chose to follow GOdF's example. Thus Freemasonry was split between the Anglo-American concept of Freemasonry and the Continental concept of Freemasonry.
Adding to the tensions between these two systems, French Masons tended to be more willing to discuss religion and politics in their Lodges; unlike the English who banned such discussions outright.
The schism between the two branches was occasionally, (unofficially or partially) breached, especially during the First World War when American Masons overseas wished to visit French Lodges.
Background to the schism
As to religious requirements, the oldest constitution found in Freemasonry – Anderson's Constitutions of the Free-Masons, 1723 – says that a Mason "will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine" if he "rightly understands the Art". The only religious requirement was "that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves".
In 1815, the newly amalgamated UGLE modified Anderson's constitutions to include: "Let a man's religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the Order, provided he believes in the glorious Architect of Heaven and Earth, and practices the sacred duties of morality."
In 1849, France (GOdF) followed the English (UGLE) lead by adopting the "Supreme Being" requirement, but pressure from Latin countries produced by 1875, the alternative phrase "Creative Principle". This was ultimately not enough for the GOdF, and in 1877 it re-adopted the original Anderson document of 1723. They also created an alternative ritual that made no direct reference to any deity, with the attribute of the Great Architect of the Universe. This new Rite did not replace the older ones, but was added as an alternative, as Continental European jurisdictions, generally, tend not to restrict themselves to a single Rite – offering a menu of Rites, from which their lodges may choose.
Between the years 1885 and 1897, Léo Taxil maintained a hoax against both Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church, by making increasingly outlandish claims regarding Freemasonry. On 19 April 1897, Taxil called a press conference at which he claimed he would introduce the "author" of his books to the press. He instead announced that his revelations about the Freemasons were fictitious. Nevertheless, the material is still used on some anti-Masonic websites today.
20th Century Freemasonry
Freemasonry under Totalitarian Regimes (1900– current)
Many twentieth century totalitarian regimes, both Fascist and Communist have treated Freemasonry as a potential source of opposition due to its secret nature and international connections (not to mention its promotion of religious and political tolerance through its symbolism). It has been alleged by Masonic scholars that the language used by the totalitarian regimes is similar to that used by some modern critics of Freemasonry.
- Steven C. Bullock, "Initiating the enlightenment?: recent scholarship on European freemasonry," Eighteenth-Century Life, Volume 20, Number 1, February 1996, pp. 80–92
- Coil, Henry W. (1967). Freemasonry Through Six Centuries. 2 vols., Vol. I, pg. 6. Richmond, Va: Macoy Publ. Co.
- The History of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey, Gramercy Books, 1996.
- Knight, Christopher, and Robert Lomas. The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Christ. London, 1997.
- Redding, Moses W. The Illustrated History of Freemasonry. New York: Redding and Co., 1910. pp. 19–60. Reprinted 2004 by Lushena Books. ISBN 1-930097-71-9.
- Stevenson, David. The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century, 1590–1710. Cambridge, 1990.
- Stewart, Trevor. English Speculative Freemasonry: Some Possible Origins, Themes and Developments. The Prestonian Lecture for 2004 in Ars Quatuor Coronatum 2004 London, 2005.
- Hodapp, Christopher L. "A crash course in Templar history" from Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, 2005. pp. 203–208. sec.
- Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. The Hiram Key. London, 1996.
- Freemasonry and the Roman Collegia by H.L. Haywood, The Builder, 1923 – Freemasonry and the Roman Collegia
- Freemasonry and the Comacine masters by H.L. Haywood, The Builder, 1923 – Freemasonry and the Comacine Masters
- Ridley, Jasper. "The Freemasons." New York. Arcade Publishing. 2001. p. 3.
- Naudon, Paul (1991). Les Origins de la Franc-Maçonnerie: Le Sacré et le Métier. Paris: Éditions Dervy.
- Coil, Henry W. (1961). Article: "Free-Mason; Freemason," pp. 272–273. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia (ref. ed. 1996). Richmond, Va: Macoy Publ. Co.
- English Speculative Freemasonry: Some Possible Origins, Themes and Developments. The Prestonian Lecture for 2004 in Ars Quatuor Coronatum 2004 by Trevor Stewart, pub London 2005
- Stevenson, David (1988). The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century 1590–1710. Cambridge University Press.
- The United Grand Lodge of England – Home Page
- Coil, Henry Wilson; "Gothic Constitutions," pp. 292–297; Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia; publ. 1961, 1996, Richmond Va.
- Coil, Henry Wilson; "Free-Mason," pg. 272; and "Masons Company of London," pg. 410; Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia; publ. 1961,1996, Richmond Va.
- The History Channel, Mysteries of the Freemasons: America, video documentary, 1 August 2006.
- Paper read before the Manchester Association for Masonic Research in May 1924 by Bro. Heiron, author of Ancient Freemasonry and the Dundee Lodge No.18 1722–1920)
- Samuel Pritchard, "Masonry Dissected" (1730), in D. Knoop, G.P. Jones & D. Hamer, The Early Masonic Catechisms (Manchester University Press, 1963).
- Coil, Henry W. (1961). Article: "Degrees; 17. Master Mason," pp. 195–196. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. (rev. ed. 1996). Richmond, Va: Macoy Publ. & Masonic Supply Co. Inc.
- Coil, Henry W. (1961). Two articles: "England, Grand Lodge of, According to the Old Institutions," pp. 237–240; and "Saints John," pp. 589–590. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. (rev. ed. 1996). Richmond, Va: Macoy Publ. & Masonic Supply Co. Inc.
- Jones, Bernard E. (1950). Freemasons' Guide and Compendium, (rev. ed. 1956) London: Harrap Ltd.
- Batham, Cyril N. (1981). "The Grand Lodge of England According to the Old Institutions, otherwise known as The Grand Lodge of the Antients." The Collected Prestonian Lectures, 1975–1987, Vol. Three. London (1988): Lewis Masonic.
- Revolutionary Brotherhood, by Steven C. Bullock, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1996
- Coil, Henry W. (1961) Article: "England, Grand Lodge of, According to the Old Institutions," pp. 237–240. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. (rev. ed. 1996). Richmond, Va: Macoy Publ. & Masonic Supply Co. Inc.
- American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities Mark A. Tabbert, New York University Press, New York: 2005, pp. 33–47.
- Margaret C. Jacob’s seminal work on Enlightenment freemasonry, Margaret C. Jacob, Living the Enlightenment: Free masonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Oxford University Press, 1991) p. 49.
- Robert R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: The struggle (1970) p. 53
- Neil L. York, "Freemasons and the American Revolution," The Historian Volume: 55. Issue: 2. 1993, pp 315+.
- Michael Halleran. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War (Univ. of Alabama Press, 2010), 38, 90, 106, 136.
- The Paris Commune – IX. The Freemasons, the Committee of Public Safety, and Rossel, byE. Belfort Bax. Found at www.marxists.org.
- see Masonic U.S. Recognition of French Grand Lodges in the 20th century, Paul M. Bessel. Accessed 14 November 2005
- Anderson's Constitutions, accessed 14 November 2005.
- "On 10 September 1878, the Grand Orient, moreover, decreed to expunge from the Rituals and the lodge proceedings all allusions to religious dogmas as the symbols of the Grand Architect, the Bible, etc. These measures called out solemn protests from nearly all the Anglo-American and German organs and led to a rupture between the Anglo-American Grand Lodges and the Grand Orient of France. As many freethinking Masons both in America and in Europe sympathize in this struggle with the French, a world-wide breach resulted." from Masonry (Freemasonry) from the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Daniel, James W. Masonic Networks and Connections (2007)
- Harland-Jacobs, Jessica L. Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717–1927 (2009)
- Hoffman, Stefan-Ludwig The Politics of Sociability: Freemasonry and German Civil Society, 1840–1918 (2008)
- MacNulty, W. Kirk Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance (2008)
- Mehigan, Tim; de Burgh, Helene. "'Aufklärung', freemasonry, the public sphere and the question of Enlightenment," Journal of European Studies, March 2008, Vol. 38 Issue 1, pp 5–25. downplays role of Freemasonry in the Enlightenment
- Mirala, Petri. Freemasonry in Ulster, 1733–1813: A Social and Political History of the Masonic Brotherhood in the North of Ireland (2007)
|Wikipedia books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.|
- The Constitutions of the Free-Masons written by James Anderson and published "For the Use of the Lodges" in 1723 in London, and in 1734 by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. Contains a mythical-biblical-historical account of the order, as well as "charges" and general regulations for members and lodges.
- The Web of Hiram at Bradford University, an electronic database of the Masonic material held in many of the University's Special Collections
- Freemasons history of Freemasonry found on the Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry website