Origin of Freemasonry
The origin and source whence first sprang the institution of Freemasonry, such as we now have it, has given rise to more difference of opinion and discussion among Masonic scholars than any other topic in the literature of the Institution. Writers on the history of Freemasonry have, at different times, attributed its origin to the following sources:
1 The Patriarchal religion. 2 The Ancient Pagan Mysteries. 3. The Temple of King Solomon 4. The Crusaders. 5. The Knights Templar. 6 The Roman Colleges of Artificers 7 The Operative Masons of the Middle Ages. 8. The Rosicrucians of the sixteenth century 9. Oliver Cromwell, for the advancement of his political schemes. 10. The Pretender, for the restoration of the Eouse of Stuart to the British throne. 11. Sir Christopher Wren at the building of Sailt Paul's Cathedral.12. Doctor Desaguliers and his associates in the year 1717.
Each of these twelve theories has been from time to time, and the twelfth within a recent period. sustained with much zeal, if not always with much judgment, by their advocates. A few of them, hon~ever, have long since been abandoned, but the others still attract attention and find defenders. Doetor Mackey had his own views of the subject in his boots History of Freemasonry, to which the reader is referred (see Antiquity of Freemasonry Egyptians Mysteries; Roman College Artificers; Como; Comacine Masters; Traveling Masons; Stone- Masons of Middle Ages; Four Old Lodges; Revival; Speculative Freemasonry).
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