The Ancient RECORDS of LODGES
beyond Sea, and of those in England, Scotland,
and Ireland, for the Use of the Lodges in
TO BE READ
At The Making of N
RETHREN, or when the
MASTER shall order it.
The General Heads, VIZ
I.||Of GOD and RELIGION.
II.||Of the CIVIL
supreme and subordinate.
IV.||Of MASTERS, Wardens, Fellows, and Apprentices.
V. ||Of the Management of the Craft in working.
VI. ||Of BEHAVIOUR, viz.
1. In the Lodge while constituted.
2. After the Lodge is over and the Brethren not gone.
3. When Brethren meet without Strangers, but not in a Lodge.
4. In Presence of Strangers not Masons.
5. At Home and in the Neighbourhood.
6. Towards a strange Brother.
I. Concerning GOD and R
A Mason is oblig'd by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly
understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious
Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every Country
to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis
now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all
Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be
good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations
or Persuasions they may be distinguish'd; whereby Masonry becomes the Center
of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that
must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance.
II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES supreme and subordinate.
A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or
works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the
Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to
inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War,
Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much
dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and
Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries,
and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of
Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State he is not to
be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy
Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the loyal Brotherhood must
and ought to disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political
Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from
the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.
III. Of LODGES.
A LODGE is a place where Masons assemble and work: Hence that Assembly, or
duly organiz'd Society of Masons, is call'd a LODGE, and every Brother ought
to belong to one, and to be subject to its By-Laws and the GENERAL
REGULATIONS.It is either particular or general, and will be best understood by attending it, and by the Regulations of the General or Grand Lodge hereunto annex'd.
In ancient Times, no Master or Fellow could be absent from it especially when warn'd to appear at it, without incurring a sever Censure, until it appear'd to the Master and Wardens that pure Necessity hinder'd him.|
The persons admitted Members of a Lodge must be good and true Men, free-born,
and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondmen no Women, no immoral or
scandalous men, but of good Report.
IV. Of Masters, WARDENS, Fellows and Apprentices.
All preferment among Masons is grounded upon real Worth and personal Merit
only; that so the Lords may be well served, the Brethren not put to Shame,
nor the Royal Craft despis'd: Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by
Seniority, but for his Merit. It is impossible to describe these things in
Writing, and every Brother must attend in his Place, and learn them in a way
peculiar to this Fraternity: Only Candidates may know that no Master should
take an Apprentice unless he has sufficient Imployment for him, and unless
he be a perfect Youth having no Maim or Defect in his Body that may render
him uncapable of learning the Art of serving his Master's LORD, and of being
made a Brother, and then a Fellow-Craft in due time, even after he has
served such a Term of Years as the Custom of the Country directs; and that
he should be descended of honest Parents; that so, when otherwise qualify'd
he may arrive to the Honour of being the WARDEN, and then the Master of the
Lodge, the Grand Warden, and at length the GRAND MASTER of all the Lodges,
according to his Merit.
No Brother can be a WARDEN until he has pass'd the part of a Fellow-Craft;
nor a MASTER until he has acted as a Warden, nor GRAND WARDEN until he has
been Master of a Lodge, nor Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow-Craft
before his Election, who is also to be nobly born, or a Gentleman of the
best Fashion, or some eminent Scholar, or some curious Architect, or other
Artist, descended of honest Parents, and who is of similar great Merit in
the Opinion of the Lodges. And for the better, and easier, and more honourable Discharge of his Office, the Grand-Master has a Power to chuse his own DEPUTY GRAND-MASTER, who must be then, or must have been formerly, the Master of a particular Lodge, and has the Privilege of acting whatever the GRAND MASTER, his Principal, should act, unless the said Principal be present, or interpose his Authority by a Letter
These Rulers and Governors, supreme and subordinate, of the ancient Lodge,
are to be obey'd in their respective Stations by all the Brethren, according
to the old Charges and Regulations, with all Humility, Reverence, Love and
V. Of the Management of the CRAFT in working.
All Masons shall work honestly on working Days, that they may live
creditably on holy Days; and the time appointed by the Law of the Land or
confirm'd by Custom, shall be observ'd.
The most expert of the
Fellow-Craftsmen shall be chosen or appointed the Master or Overseer of the
Lord's Work; who is to be call'd MASTER by those that work under him. The
Craftsmen are to avoid all ill Language, and to call each other by no
disobliging Name, but Brother or Fellow; and to behave themselves
courteously within and without the Lodge.
The Master, knowing himself to be able of Cunning, shall undertake the
Lord's Work as reasonably as possible, and truly dispend his Goods as if
they were his own; nor to give more Wages to any Brother or Apprentice than
he really may deserve.
Both the Master and the Masons receiving their Wages justly, shall be
faithful to the Lord and honestly finish their Work, whether Task or
journey; nor put the work to Task that hath been accustomed to Journey.
None shall discover Envy at the Prosperity of a Brother, nor supplant him,
or put him out of his Work, if he be capable to finish the same; for no Man
can finish another's Work so much to the Lord's Profit, unless he be
thoroughly acquainted with the Designs and Draughts of him that began it.
When a Fellow-Craftsman is chosen Warden of the Work under the Master, he
shall be true both to Master and Fellows, shall carefully oversee the Work
in the Master's Absence to the Lord's profit; and his Brethren shall obey
All Masons employed shall meekly receive their Wages without Murmuring or
Mutiny, and not desert the Master till the Work is finish'd.
A younger Brother shall be instructed in working, to prevent spoiling the
Materials for want of Judgment, and for increasing and continuing of Brotherly Love.
All the Tools used in working shall be approved by the Grand Lodge.
No Labourer shall be employ'd in the proper Work of Masonry; nor shall Free
Masons work with those that are not free, without an urgent Necessity; nor
shall they teach Labourers and unaccepted Masons as they should teach a
Brother or Fellow.
VI. Of BEHAVIOUR, VIZ.
1. In the Lodge while constituted.
You are not to hold private Committees, or separate Conversation without
Leave from the Master, nor to talk of anything impertinent or unseemly, nor
interrupt the Master or Wardens, or any Brother speaking to the Master: Nor
behave yourself ludicrously or jestingly while the Lodge is engaged in what
is serious and solemn; nor use any unbecoming Language upon any Pretense
whatsoever; but to pay due Reverence to your Master, Wardens, and Fellows,
and put them to worship.
If any Complaint be brought, the Brother found guilty shall stand to the
Award and Determination of the Lodge, who are the proper and competent
Judges of all such Controversies (unless you carry it by Appeal to the GRAND
LODGE), and to whom they ought to be referr'd, unless a Lord's Work be
hinder'd the mean while, in which Case a particular Reference may be made;
but you must never go to Law about what concerneth Masonry, without an
absolute necessity apparent to the Lodge.
2. Behaviour after the LODGE is over and the Brethren not gone.
You may enjoy yourself with innocent Mirth, treating one another according
to Ability, but avoiding all Excess, or forcing any Brother to eat or drink
beyond his Inclination, or hindering him from going when his Occasions call
him, or doing or saying anything offensive, or that may forbid an easy and
free Conversation, for that would blast our Harmony, and defeat our laudable
Purposes. Therefore no private Piques or Quarrels must be brought within the
Door of the Lodge, far less any Quarrels about Religion, or Nations, or
State Policy, we being only, as Masons, of the Catholick Religion above
mention'd, we are also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages, and
are resolv'd against all Politics, as what never yet conduct'd to the
Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will. This Charge has been always strictly enjoin'd and observ'd; but especially ever since the Reformation in BRITAIN, or the Dissent and Secession of these Nations from the Communion of ROME.
3. Behaviour when Brethren meet without Strangers, but not in a Lodge form'd.
You are to salute one another in a courteous Manner, as you will be
instructed, calling each other Brother, freely giving mutual instruction as
shall be thought expedient, without being ever seen or overheard, and
without encroaching upon each other, or derogating from that Respect which
is due to any Brother, were he not Mason: For though all Masons are as
Brethren upon the same Level, yet Masonry takes no Honour from a man that he
had before; nay, rather it adds to his Honour, especially if he has deserv'd
well of the Brotherhood, who must give Honour to whom it is due, and avoid
4. Behaviour in Presence of Strangers not Masons.
You shall be cautious in your Words and Carriage, that the most penetrating
Stranger shall not be able to discover or find out what is not proper to be
intimated, and sometimes you shall divert a Discourse, and manage it
prudently for the Honour of the worshipful Fraternity.
5. Behaviour at Home, and in your Neighbourhood.
You are to act as becomes a moral and wise Man; particularly not to let your
Family, Friends and Neighbors know the Concern of the Lodge, &c., but wisely
to consult your own Honour, and that of the ancient Brotherhood, for reasons
not to be mention'd here You must also consult your Health, by not
continuing together too late, or too long from Home, after Lodge Hours are
past; and by avoiding of Gluttony or Drunkenness, that your Families be not
neglected or injured, nor you disabled from working.
6. Behaviour towards a strange Brother.
You are cautiously to examine him, in such a Method as Prudence shall direct
you, that you may not be impos'd upon by an ignorant, false Pretender, whom
you are to reject with Contempt and Derision, and beware of giving him any
Hints of Knowledge.
But if you discover him to be a true and genuine Brother, you are to respect
him accordingly; and if he is in want, you must relieve him if you can, or
else direct him how he may be reliev'd: you must employ him some days, or
else recommend him to be employ'd. But you are not charged to do beyond your
Ability, only to prefer a poor Brother, that is a good Man and true before
any other poor People in the same Circumstance.
Finally, All these Charges you are to observe, and also those that shall be
recommended to you in another Way; cultivating BROTHERLY-LOVE, the
Foundation and Cape-stone, the Cement and Glory of this Ancient Fraternity,
avoiding all Wrangling and Quarreling, all Slander and Backbiting, nor
permitting others to slander any honest Brother, but defending his
Character, and doing him all good Offices, as far as is consistent with your
Honour and Safety, and no farther. And if any of them do you Injury, you must
apply to your own or his Lodge, and from thence you may appeal to the Grand
Lodge, at the Quarterly Communication, and from thence to the annual GRAND LODGE, as has been the ancient laudable Conduct of our Fore-fathers in every Nation; never taking a legal Course but when the Case cannot be
otherwise decided, and patiently listening to the honest and friendly Advice
of Master and Fellows, when they would prevent your going to Law with
Strangers, or would excite you to put a speedy Period to all Law-Suits, so
that you may mind the Affair of MASONRY with the more Alacrity and Success;
but with respect to Brothers or Fellows at Law, the Master and Brethren
should kindly offer their Mediation, which ought to be thankfully submitted
to by the contending Brethren; and if that submission is impracticable, they
must, however, carry on their Process, or Law-Suit, without Wrath and Rancor
(not in the common way) saying or doing nothing which may hinder Brotherly
Love, and good Offices to be renew'd and continu'd; that all may see the
benign Influence of MASONRY, as all true Masons have done from the beginning
of the World, and will do to the End of Time.
Amen so mote it be.
Reprinted from "The Constitutions of the Free-Masons. Containing the History, Charges, Regulations, &c. of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the Use of the Lodges." London: Printed by William Hunter, for John Senex at the Globe, and John Hooke at the Flower-de-luce over-against St. Dunstans Church, in Fleet-street. In the Year of Masonry 5723. Anno Domini 1723|
[92 pages plus dedication by J.T. Desaguliers and frontispiece engraved by John Pine in Aldersgate Street London. page size: 7 1/4 x 9 3/4"]
NOTE: This is a faithful reproduction taken from an original copy in the Library of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. The long s has been replaced for readability with the conventional s. The usage of italics and small caps has been followed, black font is indicated by boldface. Transcribed by Trevor W. McKeown.
Anderson's Constitutions has been reprinted many times with a number of changes. For example, a new edition, revised, enlarged and brought down to the year 1784, under the direction of the Hall Committee, by John Noorthouk, and printed by J. Rozea. Printer to the Society, No. 91, Wardour Street, Soho, was retitled, "Constitutions of the Antient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons: Containing Their History, Charges, Regulations, &c., First Compiled by Order of the Grand Lodge, From their old Records, and Traditions, By James Anderson, D.D.", while the Charges were retitled: "Constitutions of the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. Part V. Containing the Antient Charges, General Regulations of the Fraternity, Necessary Tables, &c.". The table of contents was omitted. The use of black font and most small caps was also omitted. A new frontispiece illustration featuring a trestleboard was inserted.
Wherever "ancient" appeared in Andersons original, Noorthouck substituted "antient". Noorthouk also removed most abbreviations. The following differences occur between the two editions:
must otherwise have remained
must have remained
ought to belong to one, and ought to be subject
ought to belong to one, and be subject
unless he has sufficient employment for him
unless he has sufficient Imployment for him
a fellowcraft in due time, after he has served
a fellowcraft in due time, even after he has served
No brother can be a warden, until he has passed the degree of a master mason; nor a master, until he has acted as a warden; nor grand warden, until he has been master of a lodge, and served the office of steward at a grand feast; nor deputy grand master, until he has served the office of grand warden; nor grand master, unless he has been a master of a regular lodge before his election,
No brother can be a warden, until he has passed the part of a Fellow-Craft; nor a Master until he has acted as a Warden, nor Grand-Warden until he has been Master of a Lodge, nor Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow-Craft before his Election,
without Wrath and Rancor
Other editions will have their own idiocentricities. Some contemporary editions will omit the reference to "catholic religion"; note that "catholic" in its original sense meant "universal" and did not refer to Rome. Other versions will attempt to update the spelling and language, but all have maintained the sense and spirit of the original.
Book of Constitutions.-- The first official issue of this book is Andersons and Désagulierss edition in 1723. There was in 1722 an informal issue of the old regulations, in a copy of a MS. Constitution.* The word "Constitution" probably refers to the old MS. rolls or books which the Lodges seem to have possessed, and to which Plot alludes and also the writer of Ashmoles biography. There was a reissue of the Constitutions in 1738, another in 1746, though only with a new title page apparently, another by Entick in 1756, and again with his name, though under a committee, in 1767. In 1776 a reissue of the 1767 edition took place with an appendix. In 1784 another edition was issued by John Noorthouck, another edition in 1815 by Bro. Williams, a corrected one in 1819, another in 1827, and another in 1841. The present book is substantially that of Williams without the historical portion, which has not been reprinted since 1784.
Kennings Masonic Cyclopaedia and Handbook of Masonic Archaeology, History and Biography. A.F.A. Woodford, ed. George Kenning, London: 1878. p. 75. * Possibly refering to Roberts' Constitution of which there only two extant copies.