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The curious subject of freemasonry has unfortunately been treated only by panegyrists or calumniators, both equally mendacious.”
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Gothic architecture and Freemasonry
The Gothic species of architecture is thought by most to have reached its perfection, considered as an object of taste, by the middle or perhaps the close of the fourteenth century, or at least, to have lost something of its excellence by the corresponding part of the next age ; an effect of its early and rapid cultivation, since arts appear to have, like individuals, their natural progress and decay. The mechanical execution, however, continued to improve, and is so far beyond the apparent intellectual powers of those times, that some have ascribed the principal ecclesiastical structures to the fraternity of freemasons, depositaries of a concealed and traditionary science. There is probably some ground for this opinion; and the earlier archives of that mysterious association, if they existed, might illustrate the progress of Gothic architecture, and perhaps reveal its origin. The remarkable change into this new style, that was almost contemporaneous in every part of Europe, cannot be explained by any local circumstances, or the capricious taste of a single nation.1
1.The curious subject of freemasonry has unfortunately been treated only by panegyrists or calumniators, both equally mendacious. I do not wish to pry into the mysteries of the craft; but it would be interesting to know more of their history during the period when they were literally architects. They are charged by an act of parliament. 3 II. VI. c. i., with fixing the price of their labor in their annual chapters, contrary to the statute of laborers, and such chapters are consequently prohibited. This is their first persecution ; they have since undergone others, and are perhaps reserved for still more. It is remarkable, that masons were never legally incorporated, like other traders ; their bond of union being stronger than any charter. The article Masonry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica is worth reading.

Henry Hallam, View of the State of Europe During the Middle Ages. vol iii. New York : W. J. Widdleton, Publisher, 1872. p. 339.


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