THE SPURIOUSNESS OF

THE SO-CALLED CONSTITUTIONS, ETC., OF 1786 OF THE

ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE

Declaration of the Grande Lodge of the 3 Globes at Berlin

 

These Statutes, Regulations, etc., (of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33 degree) as translated by Albert Pike, in our opinion, bear internal evidence of their spuriousness, and we have on all proper occasions denied their authenticity. The last steamer from Europe brought us the result of the investigations of the Grand Lodge of the "3 Globes" as contained in its Protocol of Dec. 19th, 1861, which fully sustains us.

The Protocol as translated, is as follows:

"The Grand Master stated that W. Bro. Merzdorf of Oldenburg, the highly estimated honorary member of the Grand Lodge, had sent to the "Directory of the Order" (Bundes-Directorium) a lengthy critical examination of the Constitution and Statutes of the system of the 33 degrees.

"The collection of these Constitutions, etc., has the title "Statutes and Regulations, Institutes, Laws and Grand Constitutions of the Ancient and Ace. Scottish Rite, compiled with notes from authentic documents for the use of the Order. By Albert Pike etc. New York 1859."

"The Grand Master then gave the principal contents of the historico-critical examination of Bro Merzdorf, and mentioned particularly that the above named Constitutions and Laws, which formed at present a basis of a system of high degrees in America, France and England were attributed to King Frederick the Great, who is said not to have issued them himself, but to have approved and signed them at the Grand Orient of Berlin, on the 25th day of the 7th moth of the year 1762, and in May 1786. These documents are in the Latin, French, and English languages. The last of them, May 1, 1786, begins with the following introduction: "Nos Fredericus Dei Gratia-fecerunt" &c. The Constitutions have the following introduction: "Probante praesente. sanctiente-deli-beraverunt" &c and closes with "Deliberatum, actum sancitum in Magno et Supremo Concilio", &c.

"According to the contents of these documents, Frederick the Great is said to have revised, reorganized, and increased from 25 to 33 degrees the system of High degrees in a Supreme Council held at Berlin, and which have often been the subject of critical examination, in consequence of the doubts of their authenticity which have always been uttered."

"Bro Le Blanc de Marconnay directed a letter about this subject, dated May 25th 1833 from New-York to the Directory of the Grand National Mother Lodge of the 3 Globes. He wrote as follows. "The highest tribunal of 33d and last degree of the Ancient and Ace. Scottish Rite (a Masonic authority which has extended its jurisdiction over Europe principally France) claims to have its authority from Frederick If., King of Prussia, the said monarch having, on the 1st of May, 1786, revised the Masonic Constitutions and Statuts of the High degrees, for which he had himself given the reglementes? " etc. Are these historical traditions Founded on truth? Is there any trace to be found of such a fact? Is there any probability for their being a reality?

"The answer which the Directory returned, on the 17th August 1833, says: "The Grand National Mother Lodge of the Three Globes -was founded on the 13th September, 1740, under the authority of Frederick the Great, who was its first Grand Master. He never had anything to do with the organization and legislation of the Grand Lodge. All that has been related of his having, in 1786, originated a high Masonic Senate, etc., has no historical basis."

"Kloss attends to this subject in a long examination in his "History, of Freemasonry in France" (page 409) and stamps the Constitutions .and Statutes of the Ancient and Ace. Rite as "the grand lie of the Order."

"As harsh as this judgment may appear at a first glance, the Directory of the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes, after repeated researches in the archives and historical collections, cannot help sustaining it, by declaring the Constitutions and Statutes entirely false (apokryph), because

(I) King Frederick the Great attended to Masonic affairs for only seven years (from his initiation in 1738 to 1744) and was never engaged in them afterwards. He kept himself aloof from every direct participation in them, devoting himself, with almost superhuman exertions, exclusively to the troubles and cares of government and in the command of his army

(2) In the year 1762 the third Silesian campaign engaged the whole of the time and activity of the King, and on the 1st of May, 1786 - (the last of his life) indeed a few months only before his death (17th August 1786) he resided, a martyr to the gout, decrepit and weary of life, in his castle of Sans-Souci, near Potsdam, not in Berlin. According to the most reliable information, the King arrived in Berlin, September 9th, 1785, visited his sister, the Princess Amelia, inspected his public works, and spent the night at the mineral springs to attend on the next day (September 10th, 1785) the manoeuvres of his artillery. From the place of review the King returned to Potsdam. He never again came afterwards to Berlin; for, after having passed the winter in great suffering, his approaching end became no longer doubtful to his physicians in 1786, and the suffering monarch moved, on the 17th April 1786, to the castle of Sans-Souci, where lie through four months suffered :and died a hero.

(3) It is, therefore, a falsehood that King Frederick the Great had convoked on the 1st May, 1786, in his residence at Berlin, a Grand Council for regulating the High degrees. It does not correspond
at all to the manner of thinking and acting of the sublime Sovereign, to have occupied himself near the end of his earthly career with things which he had characterized as idle, valueless and play-work.

(4) The documents kept from time to time in the archives of the Grand National Mother Lodge do riot show the slightest trace of the above mentioned documents or of the existence of a Grand Council in Berlin.

(5) Of the persons who are said to have signed those documents, only Stark and Woellner are here known, the others are entirely unknown, nowhere mentioned in any of the numerous Masonic books or writings collected here.

But Stark could not have signed the documents Of 1762 and 1786, for he was from 1760 to 1765 well known in England and France,
and in Paris was the expounder of the Oriental manuscripts of the
library, Ill 1766, he returned to Germany, and became Conrector at
Wismar. Ill 1767 he was appointed Professor of Oriental languages at
Konigsberg in Prussia, whence lie went, in 1781, as first preacher of the Court to Darmstadt. Stark declares in his book "The Accusations against Dr. Stark and his Defense: Frankfort and Leipzig, 9, 1787, P. 83 and 245, that lie had renounced, since 1777, all his Masonic connections, had not participated in any way afterwards with Masonic matters, and had been very indifferent that he did not want to answer letters of his former friends who wrote on such subjects.

Woellner had been elected in 1775 Altschottischer Obermeister and held this office until the year 1791, when lie was elected National Grand Master Nowhere in the archives can be found evidence that h c took an interest in the high degrees. A letter sent to him by des Philalethes Chefs legitimes du regime Maconnique de la R. loge des amis reunis a I'Orient de Paris, kept in the archives of the National Mother Grand Lodge, touches the meeting of a convention in Paris on the 15th June, 1786. It is signed by Bro Lavalette des Langes. T h c purpose of the Convention was to be, to confer upon Masonic Doctrine, and by the concentration of lights and the comparison of opinions, to clear up the most important points relating to the principles, dogmas advantapes and the true aim of Freemasonry, viewed only as a science.

A later letter from Bro Lavalettes de Langes, received February 9th, 1787, shows that the meeting of the convention had been put off to
the 21St February 1787. On this letter is a remark that it had not been answered.

The Grand Lodge resolves to insert this report of the Directory into the Protocol, and so promulgated it to all the Lodges."

 


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