The Abb, Larudan published at Amsterdarn, in 1746, a book entitled Les Francs Maons Ecrass, meaning the Freemasons Crushed, of which Klos says in his Bibliographie der Freimaurerei No. 1874, that it is the armory from which all the abuse of Freemasonry by its enemies has been derived.
Larudan was the first to advance in this book the theory that 01iver Cromwell was the founder of Freemasonry. He says that Cromwell established the Order for the furtherance of his political designs; adopting with this view, as its governing principles, the doctrines of liberty and equality, and bestowed upon its members the title of Freemasons, because his object was to engage them in the building of a new edifice, that is to say, to reform the human race by the extermination of kings and all regal powers. He selected for this purpose the design of rebuilding the Temple of Solomon. This Temple, erected by Divine command, had been the sanctuary of religion. After years of glory and magnificence, it had been destroyed by a formidable army. The people who there worshiped had been conveyed to Babylon, whence, after enduring a rigorous captivity, they had been permitted to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. This history of the Solomonic Temple Cromwell adopted, says Larudan, as an allegory on which to found his new Order. The Temple in its original magnificence was man in his primeval state of purity; its destruction and the captivity of its worshipers typified pride and ambition, which have abolished equality and introduced dependence among men; and the Chaldean destroyers of the glorious edifice are the kings who have trodden on an oppressed people.
It was, continues the Abb, in the year 1648 that Cromwell, at an entertainment given by him to some of .his friends, proposed to them, in guarded terms, the establishment of a new society, which should secure a true worship of God, and the deliverance of man from oppression and tyranny. The proposition was received with unanimous favor; and a few days after, at a house in King Street, and at six o'clock in the evening, for the Abb is particular as to time and place, the Order of Freemasonry was organized, its Degrees established, its ceremonies and ritual prescribed, and several of the adherents of the future Protector initiated.
The Institution was used by Cromwell for the advancement of his projects, for the union of the contending parties in England, for the extirpation of the monarchy, and his own subsequent elevation to supreme power. It extended from England into other countries, but was always careful to preserve the same doctrines of equality and liberty among men, and opposition to all monarchical government.
Such is the theory of the Abb Larudan, who, although a bitter enemy of Freemasonry, writes with seeming farness and mildness. But it is hardly necessary to say that this theory of the origin of Freemasonry- finds no support either in the legends of the Institution, or in the authentic history that is connected with its rise and progress.
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