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Manuscripts

Anderson tells us, in the second edition of his Constitutions, that in the year 1717 Grand Master Payne "desired any Brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings and records concerning Masons and Masonry, in order to show the usages of ancient times, and several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated" (constitutions 1738, page 110); but in consequence of a jealous supposition that it would be wrong to commit anything to print which related to Freemasonry, an act of Masonic vandalism was perpetrated.

For Anderson further informs us (page 111D, that in 1720, "at some private Lodges, several very valuable manuscripts, for they had nothing yet in print, concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usa yes, particularly one written by Mr. Nicholas Stone, the Warden of Inigo Jones, were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers, that those papers might not fall into strange hands." The recent labors of Masonic scholars in England, among whom the late William James Hughan deserves especial notice, have succeeded in rescuing many of the old Masonic manuscripts from oblivion, and we are now actually in possession of more of these heretofore unpublished treasures of the Craft than were probably accessible to Anderson and his contemporaries (see Records, Old, and Manuscripts, Old).

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