Rose Croix, Prince Of
This in French, Souverain Prince Rose Croiz, and in German, Prinz vom Rosenkruz. This important degree is, of all the advanced grades, the most widely diffused, being found in numerous Rites. It is the Eighteenth of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Seventh of the French or Modern, the Eighteenth of the Council of Emperors of the East and West, the Third of the Royal Order of Scotland, the Twelfth of the Elect of Truth, and the Seventh of the Philalethes. It was also given, formerly, in some Encampments of Knights Templar, and was the Sixth of the Degrees conferred by the Encampment of Baldwyn at Bristol, in England. It must not, however, be confounded with the Rosicrucians, who, however, similar in name, were only a Hermetie and mystical Order.
The degree is known by various names: sometimes its possessors are called Sovereign Princes of Rose Croix, sometimes Princes of Rose Croix de Heroden, and sometimes Knights of the Eagle and Pelican. In relation to its origin, Masonic writers have made many conflicting statements, some giving it a much higher antiquity than others; but all agreeing in supposing it to be one of the earliest of the advances Degrees.
The name has, undoubtedly, been the cause of much of this confusion in relation to its history; and the blasonic Degree of Rose Croix has, perhaps, often been confounded with the Cabalistical and alchemical sect of Rosierueians, or Brothers of the Rosy Cross, among whose adepts the names of such men as Roger Bacon, Paracelsus, and Elias Ashmole, the celebrated antiquary, are to be found. Notwithstanding the invidious attempts of Barruel and other foes of Freemasonry to confound the two Orders, there is a great distinction between them. Even their names, although somewhat similar in sound, are totally different in signification.. The Rosicrucians, who were alchemists, did not derive their name, like the Rose Croix Freemasons, from the emblems of the rose and cross--for they had nothing to do with the rose--but from the Latin ros, Signifying dew, which was supposed to be of all natural bodies the most powerful solvent of gold, and crux, the cross, a chemical hieroglyphic of light.
Baron de Westerode, who wrote in 1784, in the Acta Latomorum (i, page 336), gives the earliest origin of any Masonic writer to the Degree of Rose Croix. He supposes that it was instituted among the Knights Templar in Palestine, in the year 1188, and he adds that Prince Edward, the son of Henry III of England, was admitted into the Order by Raymond Lully in 1296. De Westerode names Ormesius, an Egyptian priest, who had been converted to Christianity, as its founder. Some have sought to find its origin in the labors of Valentine Andrea the reputed founder of the Rosicrucian fraternity But the Rose Croix of Freemasonry and the Hermetic Rosicrucianism of Andre were two entirely different things; and it would be difficult to trace any connection between them, at least any such connection as would make one the legitimate successor of the other. J. G. Buhle, in a work published in Gttingen in 1804, under the title of Ueber den Ursprung und die vornehmsten Schicksale per Orden der Rosenkreutzer und Freimaurer, on the Origin and Principal Purpose of the Order of Rosicrucians and the Freemason, reverses this theory, and supposes the Rosicrucians to be a branch of the Freemasons.
Godfrey Higgins, in his Anacalypsis (ii, page 388), thinks that the "modern Templars, the Rosicrucians, and the Freemasons are little more than different dodges of one Order," all of which is only a confusion of history in consequence of a confounding of names. It is thus that Inge has written an elaborate essay on the Origine de la Rose Croix (Globe, volume iii); but as he has, with true Gallic insouciance (indifference) of names, spoken indiscriminately of Rose Croix Freemasons and the Rosicrucian Adepts, his statements supply no facts available for history. The Baron de Gleichen, who was, in 1785, the German Secretary of the Philalethan Congress at Paris, says that the Rose Croix and the Freemasons here united in England under King Arthur (Acta Latomorum i, page 336).
But he has, undoubtedly, mixed up Rosicrucianism, with the Masonic legends of the Knights of the Round Table, and his assertions must go for nothing. Others, again, have looked for the origin of the Rose Croix Degree, or, at least, of its emblems, in the ,Symbola divina et humana pontifical, imperatorum, regum of James Typot, or Typotius, the Historiographer of the emperor Rudolph II, a work which was published in 1601; and it is particularly in that part of it which is devoted to the Symbol of the Holy Cross that the allusions are supposed to be found which would seem to indicate the author's knowledge of this Degree. But Ragon refutes the idea of any connection between the symbols of Typotius and those of the Rose Croix. Rohison (Proofs of a Conspiracy, page 72) also charges Von Hund with borrowing his symbols from the same work, in which, however, he declares "there is not the least trace of Masonry or Templars."
Clavel, with his usual boldness of assertion, which is too often independent of facts, declares that the Degree was invented by the Jesuits for the purpose of eountermining the insidious attacks of the freethinkers upon the Roman Catholic religion, but that the philosophers parried the attempt by seizing upon the Degree and giving to all its symbols an astronomical signification.. Clavel's opinion is probably derived from one of those sweeping charges of Professor Robison, in which that systematic enemy of our Institution declares that, about the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Jesults interfered considerably with Freemasonry, "insinuating themselves into the Lodges, and contributing to increase that religious mysticism that is to be observed in all the ceremonies of the Order."
But there is no better evidence than these mere vague assertions of the connection of the Jesuits with the Rose Croix Degree. Brother Oliver (Landmarks ii, page 81) says that the earliest notice that he finds of this Degree is in a publication of 1613, entitled La Rforzeation universelle do monde entier at~ec la fama fraSerrtilatis de l'Qrdre respectable de la Rose Croix, Universal Reformation of the Whole World with the famous Fraternity of the Respectable Order of the Rose Croix. But he adds, that "it was known much sooner, although not probably as a Degree in Masonry; for it existed as a cabalistic science from the earliest times in Egypt, Grecee, and Rome, as well as amongst the Jews and Moors in times more recent." Doctor Oliver, however, undoubtedly, is the latter part of this paragraph, confounds the Masonic Rose Croix with the alchemical Rosicrucians; and the former is singularly inconsistent with the details that he gives in reference to the Rosy Cross of the Royal Order of Scotland. There is a tradition, into whose authenticity we shall not stop to inquire, that after the dls.solution of the Order, many of the Knights repaired to Seotland and placed themselves under the protection of Robert Bruce; and that after the hat.tle of Bannoskburn, which took place on Saint John the Baptist's Day, in the year 1314, this monarch instituted the Royal Order of Heredom and Knight of the Rosy Cross, and established the chief seat of the Order at Kilwinning. From that Order, it seems to us by no means improbable that the present Degree of Rose Croix de Heroden may have taken its origin.
In two respects, at least, there seems to be a very elose connection between the two systems: they both claim the kingdom of Scotland and the Abbey of Kilwinning as having been at one time their chief seat of government, and they both seem to have been instituted to give a Christian explanation to Ancient Craft Masonry. There is, besides, a similarity in the names of the Degrees of Rose Croiz de Heroden, and Heredom and Rosy Cross, amounting almost to an identity, which appears to indicate a very intimate relation of one to the other.
The subject, however, is in a state of inextricable confusion, and Doctor Mackey confessed that, after all his researches, he was still unable distinetly to point to the period when, and to the place where, the present Degree of Rose Croix received its organization as a Masonic grade. We have this much of history to guide us. In the year, 1747, the Pretender, Prince Charles Edward, is said to have established a Chapter in the town of Arras, in France, with the title of the Chapitre Primordial de Rose Croix. The Charter of this Body is now extant in an authenticated copy deposited in the departmental archives of Arras. In it the Pretender styles himself "King of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, and, by virtue of this, Sovereign Grand Master of the Chapter of H. known under the title of the Eagle and Pelican, and, since our sorrows and misfortunes, under that of Rose Croix."
From this we may infer that the title of Rose Croiz was first known in 1747; and that the Degree had been formerly known as Knight of the Eagle and Pelican, a title which it still retains. Hence it is probable that the Rose Croix Degree has been borrowed from the Rosy Cross of the Scottish Royal Order of Heredom, but in passing from Scotland to France it greatly changed its form and organization, as it resembles in no respect its archetype, except that both are eminently Christian in their design. But in its adoption by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, its organization has been so changed that, by a more liberal interpretation of its symbolism, it has been rendered less sectarian and more tolerant in its design. For while the Christian reference is preserved, no peculiar theological dogma is retained, and the Degree is made cosmopolite in its character.
It was, indeed, on its first inception an attempt to Christianize Freemasonry, to apply the rites, and symbols, and traditions of Ancient Craft Masonry to the last and greatest Dispensation; to add to the first Temple of Solomon and the second of Zerubbabel a third, that to which Christ alluded when He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days will I raise it up."
The great discovery which was made in the Royal Arch ceases to be of value in this Degree; for it another is substituted of more Christian application; the Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty which supported the ancient Temple are replaced by the Christian pillars of Faith, Hope and Charity; the Great Lights, of course, remain, because they are of the very essenee of Freemasonry; but the three lesser give way to the thirty-three, which allude to the years of the Messiah's sojourning on earth. Everything, in short, about the Degree, is Christian; but, as we have already said, the Christian teachings of the Degree have been applied to the sublime principles of a universal system, and an interpretation and illustration of the doctrines of the Master of Nazareth, so adapted to the Masonic dogma of tolerance, that men of every faith may embrace and respect them. It thus performs a noble mission. It obliterates, alike, the intolerance of those Christians who sought to erect an impassable barrier around the sheepfold, and the equal intolerance of those of other religions who would be ready to exclaim, "Can any good thing come out of -Nazareth?"
In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, whence the Rose Croix Freemasons of the United States have received the Degree, it is placed as the eighteenth on the list. It is conferred in a Body called a Chapter, which derives its authority immediately from the Suprelne Couneil of the Thirty-third, and w hieht confers with it only one other and inferior Degree, that of Knights of the East and West. Its principal officers are a Most Wise Master and two Wardens. Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday are two obligatory days of meeting. The aspirant for the Degree makes the usual application duly recommended; and if accepted, is required, before initiation, to make certain declarations which shall show his competency for the honor which he seeks, and at the same time prove the high estimation entertained of the Degree by those who already possess it.
The jewel of the Rose Croix is the golden compasses, extended to an arc to the sixteenth part of a circle, or twenty-two and a half Degrees. The head of the compasses is surmounted by a triple crown, having three series of points arranged by three, five and seven.
Between the legs of the compasses there is a cross resting on the arc; its center is occupied by a full-blown rose whose stem twines around the lower limb of the cross; at the foot of the cross, on the same side on which the rose is exhibited, is the figure of a pelican wounding its breast to feed its young which are in a nest surrounding it, while on the other side of the jewel is the figure of an eagle with wings displayed. On the arc of the circle, the P .. W .. of the Degree is engraved in the cipher of the Order. In this jewel are included the most important symbols of the Degree. The Cross, the Rose, the Pelican, and the Eagle are all important symbols, the explanations of which will go far to a comprehension of what is the true design of the Rose Croix Order. They may be seen in this work under their respective titles.
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