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one to be a Master or a Warden in that limit or division where such Lodge is kept, and another to be a Craftsman in the trade of Free Masonry.
“2. That no person hereafter shall be accepted a Free Mason, but such as are of able body, honest parentage, good reputation, and an observer of the laws of the land.
“3. That no person hereafter who shall be accepted a Free Mason, shall be admitted into any Lodge or Assembly, until he has brought a certificate of the time and place of his acceptation from the Lodge that accepted him, unto the Master of that limit or division where such Lodge is kept : And the said Master shall enrol the same in a roll of parchment to be kept for that purpose, and shall give an account of all such acceptations at every General Assembly.
“ 4. That every person who is now a Free Mason shall bring to the Master a note of the time of his acceptation, to the end the same may be enrolled in such priority of place as the Brother deserves ; and that the whole company and Fellows may the better know each other.
“5. That for the future, the said Fraternity of Free Masons shall be regulated and governed by one Grand Master, and as many Wardens as the said Society shall think fit to appoint at every annual General Assembly.
“6. That no person shall be accepted, unless he be twenty-one years old, or more."
[Many of the Fraternity's records of this and the preceding reign were lost. at the revolution ; and not a few were too hastily burnt in our own times by some scrupulous Brothers, from a fear of making discoveries prejudicial to the interests of Masonry.]
OPINION OF MODERN WRITERS.
FREE MASONRY denotes a system of mysteries and secrets peculiar to free and accepted Masons. The origin of its history is no doubt ancient, as I have attempted, and I trust successfully, to show in the foregoing pages, although I have no authentic source from which to date its commencement, or what could have been the reason for the formation of a society under the title of Masons, in preference to any other mechanical profession; from the foregoing pages, and also from Dr. Henry's history, we find the origin of the order attributed to the difficulty in ancient times of procuring a sufficient number of expert workmen to build the multitude of churches, abbeys and other religious edifices. Hence, the Masons were greatly favoured by the Popes, who granted them many privileges, in order to encourage the arts and augment their numbers. In those times it is needless to say, that such encouragement from the heads of the church must have been of great benefit to the fraternity. In confirmation of which, Dr. Henry quotes the following: “The Italians, with some Greek refugees, also some French, Germans, and Flemish, joined into a fraternity of architects; they styled themselves Free Masons, and travelled from one nation to another, as they found edifices to be built. They had regular rules and regulations among themselves, fixing their residence in a camp near the place where they were employed. A Surveyor governed in chief; every tenth man was called a Warden, whose duty was to overlook the other nine. The gentlemen in the neighbourhood, out of regard for their excellent conduct and skill, and the laudable object they had in view in building such edifices, or, perhaps, out of charity or penance, gave the materials. Those who have seen the accounts in records of the charge of the fabrics of some of the cathedrals many centuries old, cannot but have a great esteem for their economy, and admire how soon they erected such lofty structures.
By other accounts, the antiquity of the order is carried farther, even as far back as the building of Solomon's temple. In Great Britain, the introduction of the order has been fixed by some at the year 674, A. C., when glass making was invented, as old records prove that many Gothic buildings were erected by men in companies, who styled themselves free, and who were governed by their own laws and regulations. While others are of opinion that the institution of the order is derived from a combination of people who agreed not to work without an advance of their wages. This is presumed to have been the case in the reign of Edward the Third, who directed the sheriffs to assist in rebuilding and enlarging the castles, as also the church and chapel of St. George, at Windsor. At this time, it is said, Masons agreed on certain tokens to know each other by, and to prevent being impressed, nor to work unless free, and on such terms as they agreed on between themselves.
As already premised, the origin of Masonry is traced from the creation. Brother Preston, in his treatise on the order, published in 1792, says, “Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed its charms, our order has had a being.” He also supposes its introduction in England prior to the Roman invasion. This presumption is strengthened by the existence of the remains of some stupendous works executed by the Britons, much earlier even than the time of the Romans, which display considerable ingenuity. So that there remains not a shadow of doubt of the existence of the order at that early period. The Druids, at that time, also, had many customs similar to those of the Masons, and, it is said, derived their government of Pythagoras. Although, at the present day, we cannot exactly trace any resemblance either to the rules or usages of Masonry.
Cæsar and many other Roman generals encouraged the order, and were appointed Governors of Britain ; and although we know that at this period the members of the order were employed in building many magnificent buildings, nothing can be found on record concerning their lodges and assemblies.
Carausius, a Roman general, patronized the fraternity, and encouraged learning. He also collected the best artificers from many countries, particularly Masons. He appointed Albanus, his steward, the principal superintendent of their meetings. Under his government, lodges began to be introduced, and the business of Masonry regularly carried on. They obtained, through the influence of Albanus, a charter from Carausius to hold a general council, at which Albanus presided and made many new members. This Albanus was the celebrated St. Albans, the first martyr in Britain for the Christian faith.
The progress of Masonry was unfortunately interrupted by the departure of the Romans from Britain, owing to the furious irruptions of the Scots and Pics, which left no time for the cultivation of the arts, and afterwards through the ignorance of the Saxons, whom the Britons had called in as allies, but who soon became their masters. After the introduction of Christianity, the arts received encouragement, and Masonry, as a natural consequence, began to flourish..
In the year 557, A. C., when St. Austin with a number of monks, among whom the arts had been preserved, came to England. By these the principles of Christianity were propagated with such zeal, that a number of Kings were converted. St. Austin then became the patron of the order, and by the aid of foreigners introduced the Gothic style of building. He appeared at the head of the fraternity in founding the old Cathedral of Canterbury, in the year 600 ; that of Rochester in 602 ; St. Paul's, in London, in 604 ; St. Peter's, in Westminster, in 605; as well as many others.
In 640, a few expert brethren arrived from France, and formed themselves into a lodge under the direction of Bennet, Abbot of Wirral; whom Kenred, King of Mercia, appointed Inspector of Lodges and Superintendant of Masons. Under the patronage of St. Swithin, in 856, whom Ethelwolf employed to repair some churches, the order improved ; when in the year 872 they found a great protector in Alfred the Great, who patronized the arts; appropriating one seventh part of his revenue for maintaining a number of workmen whom he employed in repairing the ruins caused by the Danes. He was succeeded by Edward. Masons then held their lodges under the sanction of Ethred, husband to the king's sister, and Ethelward, his brother, to whom the care of the fraternity was entrusted. The latter founded the university of Cambridge.
The positive establishment of the order in Engiand, can be traced to King Athelstane, in the year 926. There is still extant a lodge of Masons in York, who trace their existence from this period, and which is the most ancient lodge in England. This lodge was founded by Edwin, the king's brother, who obtained a charter from Athelstane, and became Grand Master himself. By virtue of that charter all Masons in the kingdom were assembled, and for the first time a Grand Lodge was established for their future government. Under its patronage the fraternity increased. Kings, Princes, and nobles, who had been initiated into its mysteries, paid due allegiance to the assembly. Hence originated the appellation of Ancient York Masons,