The concise history of freemasonry
Excerpt from the introduction:
I must here claim your attention the more because before you I freely express my opinion as to the best. My difficulty here is in each case to place the things before you in their right light, or in that light of which I am convinced it is the true one, but I hope I shall succeed if you will give me your undivided attention. — B. G. Niebuhr: Lectures on Ancient History.
Since the publication of my original History of Freemasonry, the first half- volume of which appeared in 1882 and the last in 1887, there has been a demand for an abridged edition, or for a History of the Society conducted on the same lines, but in a more compendious form. In the meantime, moreover, the boundaries of the historic domain embraced in my own Work have been greatly enlarged
Learned books have been written on English, Irish, Scottish, German, American, and Canadian Freemasonry; and valuable monographs on the Manuscript Constitutions or written traditions of the Society, the old and new degrees of the Fraternity, the customs of the German "Steinmetzen" and the French "Companions," the Masons' Company of London, Masons' Marks, the Religion of Freemasonry, and the Engraved, Printed, and Manuscript Lists of the English Lodges.
The Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge are a perennial fount of information, and among the Essays of enduring value to be found there may be named the highly instructive papers on Masons' Marks, Masters' Lodges, The Proper Names of Masonic Tradition (a Philological Study), and The Com- patronage — by the late Professor Hayter Lewis and Mr John Lane, the Rev. C. J. Ball, and Mr W. H. Rylands respectively — all of which may be said to have at once become the leading authorities on the subjects to which they relate.
Nor can I leave unnoticed the interesting contributions of Mr W. J. Hughan and Dr W. Begemann, who have fully maintained their preeminence as expositors of the Old Scrolls of the Fraternity. In the preparation of the present volume, therefore, my object has been to reconsider those portions of the original Work which have been criticized by careful writers since its publication, to illustrate and elucidate some passages which were imperfectly or obscurely treated, to incorporate the results of the latest discoveries, and to acknowledge with candour my own mistakes.
At the request of the Publishers, I have brought the Concise History up to date and made certain alterations in the body of the Work.
The alterations are mostly in the way of condensing the matter of the earlier chapters, which was often in danger of becoming tedious and irrelevant, but the principal change I have made is to re-write the first part of Chapter VII. Since Mr Sadler made his most valuable research in the archives of Grand Lodge and elsewhere, it has become clear to all students of our history that his view of the Irish origin of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients is the correct one, and I feel sure I shall be supported by all lovers of truth in the changes I have made. In regard to the "Higher" or "Additional" degrees, the notices of them are so meagre and so scattered that I have thought it advisable to add Chapter VIIa, giving a compact summary of the degrees usually worked in Europe and America and the Dominions and Colonies.
My thanks are due to the Board of General Purposes for their kind permission to reproduce the Grant of Arms, and other documents in the Grand Lodge Library; to the Grand Secretary Mr P. Golville Smith, and Dr Hammond the Grand Librarian, for valuable assistance; also Mr H. H. Sadler for permission to copy the plate of Enghsh and Irish Grand Lodge seals from his father's book, Masonic Facts and Fictions. I trust the bringing up to date of statistics and other information will render the book as serviceable to present-day readers as it has been to others in the past.
the book details :
Download The concise history of freemasonry - 9.9 MB