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Hummell, Johann Nepomu

German composer. Born on November l4, 1778, at Pressburg, Hungary, and died at Weimar, Germany, in 1837. Member of the Lodge Amalia at Weimar and a pupil of Mozart's. Sesame celebrated pianoforte player and composer and in the music hook published by the Lodge where he was initiated, 1820, there are two songs by him.



Carl Gotthelf, Baron von Hund, was born in Oberlausitz, in Germany, on September ll, 1722. He was a nobleman and hereditary landed proprietor in the Lautsitz. He is said to have been upright in his conduct, although beset by vanity and a love of adventure. But Findel if scarcely correct in characterizing him as a man of moderate understanding, since the position which he took among his Masonic contemporaries many of whom were of acknowledged talent and the ability with which he defended and maintained his opinions, would indicate the possession of very respectable intelligence. In religious faith he was a Protestant. That rare work, the Anti-Saint-Nicaise, contains in its first volume a brief biography of Brother von Hund, from which some details of his personal appearance and character may be obtained he was of middling stature, but well formed; never dressed sumptuously, but always with taste and neatness; and although himself a moderate liver, was distinguished for his hospitality , and his table was always well supplied for the entertainment of friends and visitors. The record that his servants were never changed, but that those who were employed in his domestic service constantly remained with him, is a simple but conclusive testimony to the amiability of his character

The scanty details of the life of Hund, which are supplied by Clavel in his Histoire Pittoresque; by Thory, in tile ilda Lalornor1xrn; by Ragon, in his Orlhorlozie Mtl4nnniqur; by RotiHon, in his Proofs of Conspiracy; tvy Lenning and licke, in the Encyclopedia of huh; by Oliver, in his Historical Lanelmarks, and by Findel, in his l-lialorty, vary so much in dates and in the record of events that he who should depend on their conflicting authority for information would be involved in almost inextricable confusion in attempting to follow any connected thread of a narrative.

AH Thory, however, writes as an annalist, in chronological order, it may he presumed that his dates are more to be depended on than those of the looser compilers of historical essays. He, therefore will furnish Liz with at least an outline of the principal Masonic events in the life of Hund, while from other writers we may derive the material facts which the brevity of Thory does not provide. But even Thory must sometimes be abandoned, where he has evidently neglected to note a particular circumstance, and his omission must be supplied from come other source. On the 20th of March, 1742, when still lacking some months of being twenty years of age, he was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry, in the Lodge of the Three Thistles at Frankfort-on-the Main. Findel places the date of his initiation in the year 1741; but, for the reason already assigned, Brother Mackey preferred the authority of Thory, with whom Lenning concurs. The First and Second Degrees were conferred on the same day, and in due time his initiation into the Symbolic Degrees was completed.

Soon after his initiation, the Baron von Hund traveled through England and Holland, and paid a visit to Paris. Robison, who speaks of the Baron as "a gentleman of honorable character," and whose own reputation secures him from the imputation of wilful falsehood, although it could not preserve him from the effects of prejudice, says that Hund, while in Paris, became acquainted with the Earl of Kilmarnock and some other gentlemen, who were adherents of the Pretender, and received from them the new Degrees, which had been invented, it is said, for political purposes by the followers of the exiled house of Stuart. Gadicke states that while there he also received the Order of the Mopses, which he afterward attempted, but without success, to introduce into Germany. This must, however, be an error; for the Order of the Mopses, an androgynous institution, which subsequently gave birth to the French Lodges of Adoption, was not established until 1776, long after the return of Hund to his native country.

This entire article is by Brother Mackey except where otherwise plainly indicated and here we may insert a comment by Brother Hawkins who says the Order of the Mopses was established in 1738 (see Mopses).

While he resided in Paris he received, says Findel, some intimations of the existence of the Order of Knights Templar in Scotland. The legend, which it is necessary to say has been deemed fabulous, is given to us by Clavel (Histoire Pittoresque, page 184), who tells us that, after the execution of Jacques de Molay, Pierre d'Aumont, the Provincial Grand Master of Auvergne, accompanied by two Commanders and five Knights, escaped to Scotland, assuming during their journey, for the purpose of concealment, the costume of Operative Masons. Having landed on one of the Scottish Islands, they met several other companions, Scottish Knights, with whom they resolved to continue the existence of their Order, whose abolition had been determined by the Pope and the King of France. At a Chapter held on Saint John's Day, 1313, Aumont was elected Grand Master, and the Knights, to avoid in future the persecutions to which they had been subjected, professed to be Freemasons, and adopted the symbols of that Order. In 1361, the Grand Master transported his See to the city of Aberdeen, and from that time the Order of the Temple spread, under the guise of Freemasonry, throughout the British Islands and the Continent.

The question now is not as to the truth or even the probability of this legend. It is sufficient for our present purpose to say, that the Baron von Hund accepted it as a veritable historical fact. He was admitted, at Paris, to the Order of Knights Templar, Clavel says, by the Pretender, Charles Edward, who was the Grand Master of the Order. Of this we have no other evidence than the rather doubtful authority of Clavel. Robison intimates that he was inducted by the Earl of Kilmarnock, whose signature was attached to his diploma. Gadicke says that he traveled over Brabant to the French army, and was there made a Templar by high chiefs of the Order. And this statement might be reconciled with that of Robison, for the high chiefs, hohe Obere, of Gdicke were possibly the followers of the Pretender, some of whom were likely to have been with the French army. The point is not, however, worth the trouble of an investigation.

Two things have been well settled, namely: That in 1743 von Hund was initiated as a Knights Templar, and that at the same time he received the appointment of a Provincial Grand Master, with ample powers to propagate the Order in Germany. He returned to his native country, but does not appear to have been very active at first as a missionary of Templarism, although he continued to exhibit his strong attachment to Ancient Craft Freemasonry. In the year 1749 he erected, at his own expense, a Lodge on his estates at Kittlitz, near Lobau, to which he gave the name of the lodge of the Three Pillars. At the same time he built there a Protestant church, the corner-stone of which was laid by the Brethren, with the usual Masonic ceremonies.

We are compelled to suppose, from incidents in his life which subsequently occurred, that Hund must have visited Paris a second time, and that he was there in the year 1754. On November 24, in that year, the Chevalier de Bonneville, supported by some of the most distinguished Freemasons of Paris, instituted a Chapter of the High Degrees, which received the name of the Chapter of Clermont, and into which he introduced the Templar system, that is, the system which finds the origin of Freemasonry in Templarism. In this Chapter Baron von Hund, who was then in Paris, received the Degrees of the Clermont system, and there, says Thory, he learned the doctrine upon which he subsequently founded his new Rite of Strict Observance. This doctrine was, that Freemasonry owes its existence to Knights Templarism, of which it is the natural successor; and, therefore, that every Freemason is a Templar, although not entitled to all the privileges of the Order until he has attained the highest Degree.

Von Hund returned to Germany possessed of powers, or a Deputation granted to him in Paris by which he was authorized to disseminate the advanced Degrees in that country. He was not slow to exhibit these documents, and soon collected around him a band of adherents. He then attempted what he termed a reform in primitive Freemasonry or the simple English system of the three Symbolic Degrees, which alone most of the German Lodges recognized. The result was the establishment of a new system, well known as the Rite of Strict Observance.

But here we again encounter the embarrassments of conflicting authorities. The distinctive feature of the Rite of Strict Observance was, that Freemasonry is the successor of Templarism; the legend of Aumont being unhesitatingly accepted as authentic. The author of Anti-Saint-Nicaise, the book already referred to, asserted that between the years 1730 and 1740, there was already in Lusatia a Chapter of Templars; that he knew one, at least, who had been there initiated before the innovation of the Baron von Hund; and that the dignities of Prior, Sub-Prior, Prefect, and Commander, which he professed to introduce into Germany for the first time, had been known there at a long antecedent period. Ragon also asserts that the Templar system of Ramsay was known in Germany before the foundation of the Chapter of Clermont, whence von Hund derived his information and his powers; that it consisted of six Degrees, to which Hund added a seventh; and that at the time of von Hund's arrival in Germany this regime had Baron von Marshall as its head, to whom Hund's superiors in Paris had referred him. This seems to be the correct version of the affair; and so the Rite of Strict Observance was not actually established, but only reformed and put into more active operation, by von Hund.

One of the peculiarities of this Rite was, that every member was called a Knight, or Eques; the classical Latin for a Roman knight being, by a strange inconsistency, adopted by these professed Templars, instead of the medieval word Miles, which had been always appropriated to the military knights of chivalry. To this word was appended another, and the title thus formed was called the characteristic name. Lists of these characteristic names, and of the persons whom they represented, are given in all the registers and lists of the Rite. Von Hund selected for himself the title of Eques ab Ense, or Knight of the Sword, and, to show the mixed military and Masonic character of his regime, chose for his seal a square and sword crossed, or, in heraldic language, saltierwise. Von Hund divided Europe into nine provinces, and called himself the Grand Master of the Seventh Province, which embraced Lower Saxony, Prussian Poland, Livonia, and Courland. He succeeded in getting the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick to place himself at the head of the Rite, and secured its adoption bv most of the Lodges of Berlin and of other parts of Prussia. After this he retired into comparative inactivity, and left the Lodges of his Rite to take care of themselves.

But in 1763 he was aroused by the appearance of one, Johnson, on the Masonic stage. This man, whose real name was Leucht, was a Jew, and had formerly been the secretary of the Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg, under the assumed name of Becker. But, changing his name again to that of Johnson, he visited the city of Jena, and proclaimed himself to the Freemasons there as possessed of powers far more extensive than those of von Hund, which he pretended to have received from "Unknown Superiors" at Aberdeen, Scotland, the supposed seat of the Templar Order, which had been revived by Aumont. Von Hund at first admitted the claims of Johnson, and recognized him as the Grand Prior of the Order.

Ragon says that this recognition was a fraud on the part of von Hund, who had really selected Johnson as his agent, to give greater strength to his Rite. I am reluctant to admit the truth of this charge, and am rather disposed to believe that the enthusiasm and credulity of von Hund had made him for a time the victim of Johnson's ostentatious pretensions. If this be so, he was soon undeceived, and, discovering the true character as well as the dangerous designs of Johnson, he proclaimed him to be an adventurer. He denied that Johnson had been sent as a delegate from Scotland, and asserted anew that he alone was the Grand Master of the Order in Germany, with the power to confer the high Degrees. Johnson, accused of abstracting the papers of a Lord of Courland, in whose service he had been, and of the forgery of documents, was arrested at Magdeburg through the influence of von Hund, on the further charges of larceny and counterfeiting money, and died in 1775 in prison.

Von Hund now renewed his activity as a Freemason, and assembled a Congress of the Rite at Altenberg, Where he was recognized as Grand Master of the Templars, and augmented his strength by numerous important initiations. His reappearance among the Brethren exerted as much surprise as joy, and its good effects were speedily seen in a large increase of Chapters; and the Rite of Strict Observance soon became the predominating system in Germany. But dissatisfaction began to appear as a consequence of the high claims of the members of the Rite to the possession of superior knowledge. The Knights looked haughtily upon the Freemasons who had been invested only with the primitive Degrees, and these were offended at the superciliousness with which they were treated. A Mother Lodge was established at Frankfort, which recognized and worked only the three Degrees. Other systems of advanced Degrees also arose as rivals of the Rite, and von Hund's regime began to feel sensibly the effects of this compound antagonism. Hitherto the Rite of Strict Observance had been cosmopolitan in its constitution, admitting the believers in all creeds to its bosom, and professing to revive only the military and chivalric character of the ancient Templars, without any reference to their religious condition. But in 1767, von Starck, the Rector at Wismar, proposed to engraft upon the Rite a new branch, to be called the clerical system of Knights Templar. This was to be nominally spiritual in character; and, while announcing that it was in possession of secrets not known to the chivalric branch of the Order, demanded as preliminary to admission, that every candidate should be a Roman Catholic, and have previously received the Degrees of the Strict Observance. Starck wrote to von Hund, proposing a fusion of the two branches; and he, "because," to borrow the language of Findel (History of Freemasonry, page 279), "himself helpless and lacking expedients, eagerly stretched out his hand to grasp the offered assistance, and entered into connection with the so-called clergy." He even, it is said, renounced Protestantism and became a Catholic, so as to qualify himself for admission.

In 1774, a Congress assembled at Kohlo, the object of which was to reconcile the difference between these two branches of the Rite. Here von Lund appears to have been divested of some portion of his digmties, for he was appointed only Provincial Superior of Upper and Lower Alsace,.of Denmark and of Courland, while the Grand Mastership of the Rite was conferred on Frederick, Duke of Brunswick.

Another Congress was held in 1775, at Brunswick, where Hund again appeared. Here Findel, who seems to have no friendly disposition toward von Hund, charges him with "indulgence in his love of outward pomp and show," a charge that is not consistent with the character given him by other writers, who speak of his modesty of demeanor. The question of the Superiores Incogniti, or Unknown Superiors, from whom von Hund professed to derive his powers, came under consideration. He denied that he was bound to give any explanations at all, and asserted that his oath precluded him from saying anything more. Confidence in him now declined, and the Rite to which he was so much attached, and of which he had been the founder and the chief supporter, began to lose its influence. The clerical branch of the Rite seceded, and formed an independent Order, and the Lodges of Strict Observance thenceforward called themselves the United German Lodges.

With his failure at Brunswick, the functions of von Hund ceased. He retired altogether from the field of Masonic labor, and died in the fifty-fifth year of his life, on November, 1776, at Meiningen, in Prussia.

The members of the Lodge Minerva, at Leipsic, struck a medal in commemoration of him, which contains on the obverse an urn encircled by a serpent, the symbol of immortality and on the reverse a likeness of him, which is said to be exceedingly accurate.

A copy of it may be found in the Taschenbuche der Freimaurerei, and in the American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry. For this amiable enthusiast, as he certainly was credulous but untiring in his devotion to Freemasonry; deceived but enthusiastic; generous and kind in his disposition; whose heart was better than his head we may not entertain the profoundest generation; but we cannot but feel an emotion of sympathy. We know not how much the antagonism and contest of years, and final defeat and failure, may have embittered his days or destroyed his energy; but we do know that he ceased the warfare of life while still there ought to have been the promise of many years of strength and vigor.

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