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Laws of Freemasonry

The Laws of Freemasonry, or those rules of action by which the Institution is governed, are very properly divided into three classes: 1. Landmarks. 2. General Laws or Regulations. 3. Local Laws or Regulations.

1. Landmarks. These are the unwritten laws of the Order, derived from those ancient and universal customs which date at so remote a period that we have no record of their origin.

2. General Laws. These are all those Regulations that have been enacted by such Bodies as had at the time universal jurisdiction. They operate, therefore, over the Craft wheresoever dispersed; and as the paramount Bodies which enacted them have long ceased to exist, it would seem that they are unrepealable. It is generally agreed that these General or Universal Laws are to be found in the old Constitutions and Charges, so far as they were recognized and accepted by the Grand Lodge of England at the revival in 1717, and adopted previous to the year 1721.

3. Local Laws. These are the Regulations which, since 1721, have been and continue to be enacted by Grand Lodges. They are of force only in those Jurisdictions which have adopted them, and are repealable by the Bodies which have enacted them. They must, to be valid, be not repugnant to the Landmarks or the General Laws, which are of paramount authority.

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