Rare! Two French masonic manuscripts

I must say, I’ve always been curious about freemasonery. Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century, and which now exists in various forms all over the world. All so-called lodges share moral and metaphysical ideals, which include, in most cases, a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasonery could be circumscribed as a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. A while ago c24franc1I noticed some French freemasons were good manuscipt writers too, so I guess I couldn’t resist the temptation to write this post about another opportunity we all missed, having not bought these two unique documents.

The first item is an authentic eighteenth century masonic manuscript (1789) containing 59 pages with remarkable information, written in french by an anonymous author, and bearing the title The Grade S. -. P. -. R.-C. It describes the seven steps of the candidates (of which the third stage requires absolute secrecy on the Scottish Rite), explains a complex ritual, deals with signs, words and touching, and so on… Writings on the higher grades in French masonery are rare and few are dated, which makes the historical study of the branch of grades in Masonry very difficult. This manuscript, precisely dated, is an important piece of the puzzle in reconstructing the development of French freemasonry. This treasure was sold for USD 1350.

The second item is a rare and very interesting manuscript, the full title of which is Speech on the origin and progress of French Freemasonry declared at the lodge of O .-. C. -. at … (1785). c26fran1-1It’s a critical discourse on the origins of freemasonry which discusses the relationship with the Old Testament and the figure of Noah in particular. The author states f.e. that freedom, symbolized by the renovation of the temple of Solomon, needs unclear origins, but at the same time must also be rooted in a more historical legacy. Freemasonry was imported in France around 1925, but one has always added to these historical origins an older, legendary past. The first Freemasons placed this mythical origin symbolically at the origins of masonry (understanding the origins of the art of building), at the time of Adam (the first man, according to the design of the time), at the time of Noah (construction of the first arch and religion) or, more frequently, at the time of the construction of the temple of Solomon by the architect Hiram Abi. In 1736 Chevalier de Ramsay relates freemasonry to the crusaders, as does our researcher here who adds a strong influence of the Knights of Palestine. This unique piece of writing was sold for USD 1200.

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