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Constitutions of 1762

This is the name of one of that series of Constitutions, or Regulations, which have always been deemed of importance in the history of the Ancient and accepted Scottish Rite; although the Constitutions of 1762 have really nothing to do with that Rite, having been adopted long before its establishment. In the year 1758, there was founded at Paris a Masonic Body which assumed the title of the Chapter or Council, of Emperors of the East and West, and which organized a Rite known as the Rite of Perfection, consisting of twenty-five Degrees, and in the same year the Rite was carried to Berlin by the Marquis de Bernez. In the following year, a Council of Princes of the Royal Secret, the highest Degree conferred in the Rite, was established at Bordeaux. On September 21, 1762, nine Commissioners met and drew up Constitutions for the government of the Rite of Perfection, which have been since known as the Constitutions of 1762. Of the place where the Commissioners met, there is some doubt. Of the two copies, hereafter to be noticed, which are in the archives of the Southern Supreme Council, that of Delahogue refers to the Orients of Paris and Berlin, while that of Aveilh, says that they were made at the Grand Orient of Bordeaux.

Thory also (Acta Latomorum, 1, 79), names Bordeaux as the place of their enactment, and so does Ragon (Orthodoxie Maonnique, 133); although he doubts their authenticity, and says that there is no trace of any such document at Bordeaux, nor any recollection there of the Consistory which is said to have drawn up the Constitutions.

To this it may be answered, that in the Archives of the Mother Supreme Council at Charleston there are two manuscript copies of these Constitutions--one written by Jean Baptiste Marie Delahogue in 1798, which is authenticated by Count de Grasse, under the seal of the Grand Council of the Princes of the Royal secret, then sitting at Charleston; and another, written by Jean Baptiste Aveilh in 1797.

This copy is authenticated by Long, Delahogue, De Grasse, and others. Both documents are written in French, and are almost substantially the same. The translated tittle of Delahogue's copy is as follows :

Constitutions and Regulations drawn up by nine Commissioners appointed by the Grand Council of the Sovereign- Princes of the Royal Secret at the Grand Orients of Paris and Berlin, by virtue of the deliberation of the fifth day of the third week of the seventh Month of the Hebrew Era, 1662, and of the Christian Era, 1762. To be ratified and observed by the Grand Councils of the sublime Knights and Princes of Masonry as well as by the particular Councils and Grand Inspectors regularly constituted in the two Hemispheres.

The title of Aveilh's manuscript differs in this, that it says the Constitutions were enacted "at the Grand Orient of Bordeaux, " and that they were "transmitted to our Brother Stephen Morin, Grand Inspector of all the Lodges in the New World." Probably this is a correct record, and the Constitutions were prepared at Bordeaux. The Constitutions of 1762 consist of thirty- five articles, and are principally occupied in providing for the government of the Rite established by the Council of Emperors of the East and West and of the Bodies under it.

The Constitutions of 1762 were published at Paris, in 1832, in the Recueil des Actes du Conscil Suprme de France or Collected Proceedings of the Supreme Council of France. They were also published, in 1859, in America; but the best printed exemplar of them is that published in French and English in the Book of Grand Constitutions, edited by Brother Albert Pike, which is illustrated with copious and valuable annotations by the editor, who was the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Supreme Council.

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