South Carolina York Rite History by Sir Knight Theodore S. Gourdin, S.P.R.S. in 1855
Courtesy of Ill. Bro. Don Burbidge
ORDER OF KNIGHTS TEMPLAR.
The South-Carolina Encampment, No. 1,
OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS.
AND THE APPENDANT ORDERS,
AT CHARLESTON, S. C. ON MARCH 23rd, A D
THEODORE S. GOURDIN, S. P. R. S.
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST OF THE ENCAMPMENT.
CHARLESTON, S. C.
WALKER & EVANS BOOK AND PRINTERS.
THE GENERAL GRAND ENCAMPMENT
OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS,
AND THE APPENDANT ORDERS
FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
OF THE PRINCIPLES OF
IN THE NEW WORLD,
THESE REMARKS ARE
BY THE AUTHOR.
ALPHABETICAL LIST OF AUTHORITIES CITED.
Acta Latomorum ou Chronologic de Phistoire de la Franche- Maconneric Frabcaise et Etrangene, &c., &c., a Paris: Chez Pierre – Elie Dufort, Libraire, Quai Voltaire, No. 19. De Pimprimerie de Nouzon, Rue de Clery, no. 9, 1815.
Bible, (the holy), containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the original tongues, &c., &c., Oxford: Printed at the University, &c., 1847. Cumprivilegio.
Constitutions, (the), of the ancient and honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, &c., &c. By James Anderson, D. D., and carefully revised, continued and charged by John Entick, M. A., &c., &c., London: Printed for Brother W. Johnston in Ludgate-street, 1767.
East and West, (Knight of the), 17th degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, Pamphlet, - MS.
Encyclopedia Heraldica, by William Berry, London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper.
Freemason’s Library, (the), and general Ahiman Rezon, &c. By Samuel Cole. Second edition revised and corrected by B. Edes, Baltimore: Published by Cushing and Jewett, no. 6 north Howard-street: Benjamin Edes, Printer, 1826.
Freemasons’ Monitor, (the), or Illustrations of Masonry: In two parts. By Thomas Smith Webb, &c. A new and improved edition. Cushing & Appleton, Salem. Henry Cushing. Providence. John Cushing, Printer, No. 79 State-street, Boston 1808.
Freemasons’ Monthly Magazine, (the). By Charles W. Moore, &c., volume 1, Boston: Printed by Tuttle & Dennett, 1842.
Grammer of British Heraldry, (a), consisting of Blazon and Marshaling; with an introduction on the rise and progress of symbols and ensigns. By W. Sloane Sloane-Evans, &c., second edition. London: John Russell Smith, 36 Soho square, 1854.
History of the Knights of Malta, (the), by Mons. Pabbe de Vertot. Illustrated in two volumes. London: Printed for G. Stratha, in Cornhill, &c. &c., 1728.
Histoire de l’Abolition de l’Ordre des Templars. A Paris, Chez Belin Libraire, Rue Saint Jacques, en face de celle du Platre, 1779. Avec approbation et privilege du roi.
History of the Knights Templars, (the), the Temple Church and the temple. By C. G. Addison, Esq., of the Inner Temple. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, Paternoster Row, 1842.
History of the Inquisition of Spain, (the), from the time of its establishment to the reign of Ferdinand VIII., &c. &c. Abridged and translated from the original work of D. Juan Antonio Llorente, formerly Secretary of the Inquisition, &c., &c. Philadelphia: James M. Campbell & Co., 98 Church-street, Saxton & Miles, 205 Broadway, New York. Stereotyped by L. Johnson, 1843.
Historical Landmarks, (the), and other evidences of Free masonry, &c., by the Rev. G. Oliver, D. D., &c., London: Richard Spencer, 314 high Holborn, 1845.
History of Free Masonry, (the), drawn from authentic sources of information, &c., &c., &c.. Edingburg: Printed by Alex. Lawrie & Co. for Alex. Lawrie, &c., No. 24 Parliament square; and Longman and Rees, London, 1804.
Histoire Generale de la Franc-Maconnerie, base sur ses anciens documents et les mounuments cleves par elle, &c. Par Emmanuel Rebold &c., a Paris, A. Franck, Libraire, 67 Rue de Richelieu, 1851.
Illustrations of Masonry. By William Preston, &c. The first American, from the tenth London edition. Alexandria: Printed by Cotton & Stewart, 1804.
Kadosh (Grand Inspecteur ou Gd. Elu Parft. Et sublime Chevalier de) ou de l’aigle blame et noir, Nec plus ultra. 24me Grade. 7me Classe. Pamphlet, MS. Certified to by Ju. Bte. M. de la Hogue., K. H. P. R. S. Ex Soverain Grand Insp. Gr. Du 33me Degree, Lieutenant Grand Commandeur pour les Isles occidentals francaise du vent et sous le vent.
Letter, from Davyd W. Nash, Esq., Barrister at Law, Sov. Gr. Ins. Genl. Of 33d degree, Sec. Gen. Of II-E- for England and Wales, to T. S. Gourdin. Dated Bristol, (England), September 29th, 1853. MS.
Letter, from Hon. William B. Hubbard, G. G. Master of the G. G. Encampment for the United States of America, to T. S. Gourdin. Dated Columbus, Ohio, March 16th, 1855. MS.
Letter, from B. B. French, Esq., G. G. Recorder of the G. G. Encampment for the United States of America, to T. S. Gourdin. Dated City of Washington, March 13th, 1855. MS.
Letter from Rev. E. B. Hort, G. Chaplain of the M W G Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina, to T. S. Gourdin.
Lexicon of Freemasonry, (a), &c., by Albert G. Mackey, M. D., &c. Third edition enlarged and improved by the author. Philadelphia: Moss & Brother, 12 South Fourth st., 1855.
Maconnerie, (la), Consideree Comme le Resultat des religions Egyptinnes, Juives et Chretiennes par le F M R de S. Paris: a la libraire de J. P. Aillaud, 11, Quai Voltarie, 1842.
Manuel des Chevaliers de L’Ordre du Temple. A Paris: Chez le Chevalier A. Guyot, Imprimeur de la Milice du Temple. Rue de Mignon No. 2. 707-1825.
Masonic Manuel,(the), &c., comiled and arranged by Robert Macoy &c. Second edition. New-York: Clark, Austin and Smith, 3 Park Row and 3 Ann st., 1853.
Œuvres Maconniques de N. C. Des Estangs, &c., Mises en odre, annotees et precedes d’une notice historique sur l’auteur, par F. D. Pillot, Paris: A. Berlandier, Editeur, 41. Rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, 1828.
Orations, (an), delivered in the Sublime Grand Lodge of South Carolina, in Charleston, on the 21st of March, A. L., 5807. A. D. 1803, &c., &c., to which is added an Appendix, &c., by Brother Frederick Dalcho, &c., &c. Charleston: Printed by T. B. Bowen, No. 3 Bedon’s Alley.
Orthodoxie Maconnique, par J. M. Ragon, &c. Paris: E. Dentu, Librarie-editeur. Palais Royal, galerie Vitree, 13 Aout 1853.
Proceedings of the General Grand Encampment of Knights Templars for the United States of America, begun and held in the city of Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday, the 13th day of September, 1853; together with the Constitution: Printed by Lemuel Towers, 1853. Pamphlet.
Records of the South-Carolina Encampment, No. 1, of Knights Templars and the Appendant Orders, at Charleston, S. C. MS.
Regulations (General) for the government of the Order of Royal Arch Masons of Scotland. Edinburgh: A. D. 1845.
Statutes at Large of South-Carolina, (the); edited under authority of the Legislature, by David J. McCord, vol. Viii. Columbia, S. C. Printed by A. S. Johnston, 1840.
Statutes of the Royal Exalted, Religious and Military Order of H. R. D. M. Grand Elected Masonic Knights Templar K. D. S. H. of St. john of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes, &c.: printed by command of the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Masonic Knights Templar in England and Wales. August, 1846. London, 1846. (Pamphlet).
Symbolic Colours, (an essay on,) in antiquity, the middle ages and modern times. From French of “Le Baron Frederick Portal,” &c., with notes by W. S. Inman, &c. London: John Weale, 59. High Holborn, 1845.
Templar’s Chart, (the), or Hieroglyphic Monitor, &c., &c. By Jeremy L. Cross, &c.; Second edition, with improvements. Published and sold by the author, New-York, 1845.
ORDER OF KNIGHTS TEMPLAR.
On the 11th March, 542 years ago, the last Grand Master of the whole Order of the Temple breathed his last; and our noble brotherhood ceased publicly to exist as a great religio-military institution. The anniversary of his martyrdom should ever be held in sacred remembrance by all Knights Templars, whether they follow the banner of the Cross and Serpent, that of the Black Eagle, or that of the Blood-red Cross.
Prompted by these holy emotions, your committee requested me to address you on that occasion. The honorable position which I hold, in consequence of your partiality, would not permit me to suffer your desire to pass unheeded.
It having been however, subsequently deemed expedient to postpone the commemoration of that event, we are assembled, this evening, for the purpose of paying a proper tribute of respect to the memory of James de Molay. And, what more suitable tribute of respect can we offer to the memory of the martyr than to review the career of an Order for whose sake he languished in a dungeon for more than five years, and for which he nobly sacrificed his life?
I shall not attempt, at present, to trace the origin and antiquity of our symbols, nor the connection which exists between Freemasonry and Templarism. But, I shall endeavor to give, so far as the brief period allowed me will permit, a historical sketch of our illustrious Order from its foundation to the present day.
After the capture of Jerusalem (A. D. 1099) by the Crusaders, “the zeal of pilgrimage blazed forth with increased fierceness.” Persons of both sexes, the old and the young, hastened to pay their devotions at the Holy Shrine. The wealthy mortgaged or sold their possessions to lay the proceeds on the alter of some favorite saint, or to distribute them among the poor in Eastern lands, hoping thereby to obtain from heaven forgiveness for a mis-spent life. Many, however, even of the gentler sex, were, from their poverty, forced to perform the long journey from the West of Europe to the Holy Land on foot. These were supported, “en route,” by the alms of the opulent through whose estates they passed.
The Knights Hugh de Payens, sometimes styled Hugo de Paganis and Geoffry of St. Aldemar or St. Omer, otherwise called Godfry Adelman who had greatly distinguished themselves at the siege of Jerusalem, together with seven others, formed a brotherhood in arms, for the noble purpose of “clearing the highways of infidels and robbers, and of protecting the pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains to the Holy City. They called themselves the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ. In the Church of the Resurrection, between the hands of garimont, Patriach of Jerusalem, “they embraced vows of perpetual chastity, obedience and poverty, after the manner of Monks.” The kind of poverty adopted by these brethren, was that termed “media.” It “forbade the possession of individual property, but sanctioned any amount of wealth when shared by a fraternity in common.”
In consequence of the services to the Christians performed by the Poor Fellow-Soldiers, Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, gave them for a habitation, for hitherto they seem to have had no fixed place of abode, “the place or royal house to the South of the Temple of the Lord, vulgarly called the Temple of Solomon,” This place or royal house was “within the sacred inclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah.” The large Court between the Temple of Solomon was also conceded to them. They were, henceforth, termed The Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon,” and sometimes, as in the Rule of St. Bernard, “The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.”
Such is the commonly received opinion concerning the origin of the name of our Order. But, the learned Reghellini has assigned a different reason. “It was,” says he, “through gratitude for having been admitted to the labors of the mystical temple, that the Knights Hospitallers” (he should have said, “the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ”) “requested of Pope Eugenius II. The confirmation of the privileges of their Order, and moreover to be particularly and specially invested with the title of Knights of the Temple, instead of Knights Hospitallers. Pope Eugenius, believing that this name referred to the Temple of Jerusalem and to Christ, granted their demand; since then, they have always been known by the name Knights Templars, or Holy Knights, in Hebrew, Kadosh.” This may account for the fact, that, in England, in their oldest records, as well as at the present day, the style or title of Knights Templar is given with the addition of K. H. It may also explain why the degrees, in various rites, called Kadosh, are more or less connected with the history of the Templars. But, be the origin of the term Knights Templar what it may, our Order has continued to bear that name from the period when it was first adopted to the present time.
Hugh de Payens was (A. D. 1118) the first “Master of the Temple.” It was during this year that, according to a Sweedish Legend, “the rose Croix came from the Easy into Europe, to propagate the doctrine of Jesus: Three of them founded in Europe, the Order of Masons of the East,” (our Knight of the Red Cross is probably derived from this degree,) to serve as a preparatory seminary for those pupils whom they intended to instruct in the most sublime sciences.” The foundation of the Order of Rose Croix is attributed to Ormesius or Ormus, a Seraphic Priest of Alexandria in Egypt, who, with six of his brethren, embraced Christianity at the solicitation of St. Mark, the Evangelist, A. D. 46. This tradition is perfectly reconcilable with that of the establishment of the Templars, henceafter to notice, and with the theory adopted by the Order of the Temple in Paris, which expressly declares that “the Order of the East gave birth to the Order of the Temple; that, in ancient Egypt, we find the cradle of the Order of the East.” Moreover, “the Sweedish brethren,” as Reghellini observes, “have always enjoyed, in the Order, a very brilliant reputation for their learning: the proof of which is that all nations have adopted, in the Master’s degree, the distress sign as it was established in the catechism of their symbolic degrees.” But, it is irreconcilable with that which ascribes the origin of the Rose Croix to the admission into the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of 27,000 Scottish Masons, who had aided the Christian Princes during the first crusade. In fact, it is highly probable that, at this time, the latter Order was not a military institution.
Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, exerted himself to extend the Order of Templars throughout Europe. St. Bernard was enlisted in their favor; and he gave them (A. D. 1128) a code, or set of rules, for their government, which was afterwards confirmed by a Papal bull. These rules probably fell into disuse at the period when the Order ceased to be a military institution. They are, however, curious, as tending to show the peculiar feelings of the age in which they were formed; and are, therefore, well worthy of the perusal of the student.
The Order soon increased in numbers and in reputation. In consequence of a visit to Normandy, England and Scotland by Hugh de Payens, (A. D. 1128,) large grants of land, as well as of money, were made to the Templars. A tradition of this visit has been preserved, according to Reghellini, as follows:
“Eighty-one Masons, under the conduct of Garimont, Patriarch of Jerusalem, crossed over into Europe, in 1150,’ “ (the date is evidently erroneous.) “ ‘ They went to the Bishop of Upsal, who received them very favorably, and by this means, the Bishop was initiated into the mysteries brought from the Copts; afterwards they entrusted to him the sacred depot of these doctrines, rites and mysteries. The Bishop of Upsal took care to conceal them in the subterranean vault of the tower of the four crowns, which, at that time, was the treasure-house of the King of Sweeden. Nine of these Masons, amongst whom was Hugh de Payens, established in Europe the Order of the Templars; they, afterwards, received from the Bishop of Upsal the depot which had been confided to him, and which contained the dogmas, mysteries and doctrines of the Coptic Priests.’ It was by this act, adds Reghellini, “that the Templars subsequently became the conservations and guardians of the mysteries, rites and ceremonies brought from the East by the Masons and the Levites of the true light.”
Hugh of the Temple, as he is sometimes called, before his departure, established the Order in England, and appointed a Prior to govern. So great was the enthusiasm in favor of the Templars, which prevailed in Europe at this time, that the King of Navarre bequeathed his kingdom to them. But, although most of the barons of Navarre and Arragon ratified the act, yet the claims of the Templars were afterwards successfully resisted. The Master, having laid the foundations of our Order, returned to Jerusalem, where he was received (A. D. 1129) with great distinction, and a grand council of war was called. But, shortly afterwards he died.
Robert de Craon, surnamed the Burgundian, son-in-law of Ansehn. Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeded him, A. D. 1136. He became a Templar after the death of his wife, and “was a valiant and skillful general.” Zenghis and Noureddin defeated the Templars in several battles, The latter lost several towns, the principal of which was Edessa. The Pope, having been applied to for assistance by the Oriental Clergy, commissioned St. Bernard to preach the second crusade. Everard des Barres or de Barri, who succeeded (A. D. 1146) the Lord Robert, convened a general Chapter at Paris, where the second crusade was arranged. Pope Eugenius III. Permitted the Templars to wear the Red Cross. In 1148, the red-cross banner was first unfurled in the field of battle, probably at the siege of Damascus. It “was a white standard made of woolen stuff, having in the center of it the blood-red-cross” the symbol of martyrdom. Reghellini, however, supposes the origin of this symbol to be of the highest antiquity. The Master, after the failure of the second crusade, returned to Paris with king Louis. To recover the province of Antioch, which had been invaded by the infidels, the Templars could collect only 120 Knights and 1,000 serving brethren. The Master abdicated, and passed the remainder of his life in the Monastery of Clairvaux.
Bernard de Tremelay, “ a nobleman of an illustrious family of Burgundy, in France, and a valiant and experienced soldier,” was elected (A. D. 1151) the Master. The infidels, who had advanced within sight of Jerusalem, were defeated (A. D. 1152) in a night attack, and pursued to the Jordan, “five thousand of their number being left dead on the plain.” The Master and his Knights attempted (A. D. 1153) to take the city of Ascalon by storm. They penetrated, at dawn of day, through a breach in the wall, reached the center of the town, were surrounded by the infidels, and slain to a man.” Their bodied were exposed in triumph from the walls.
Bertrand de Blanquefort, of a noble family of Guienne, “a pious and God-fearing man,” became the Master, A. D. 1154. He was captured by the enemy, (A.D.1156,) with Otho, the Marshal, and eighty-five others, in an ambuscade near, Tiberias. But, “shortly afterwards, thirty Knights Templars put to flight, slaughtered and captured two hundred infidels. The Master was liberated (A. D. 1158) at the instance of Manuel Comnenus, Emperor of Constantinople.
Phillip of Naplous was (A. D. 1167) “the first Master of the temple who had been born in Palestine. He had been Lord of the fortresses of Krak and Montreal in Arabia Petræa, and took the vows and the habit of the Order of the Temple after the death of his wife.” In consequence of the refusal of the Master to invade Egypt in violation of certain treaties, Gilbert d’Assalit, the Guarduan of the Hospital, the friend and confident of Ahmaric, King of Jerusalem, armed the Hospitallers (A. D. 1168) as a great military society, in imitation of the Templars.”
In 1170, Phillip of Naplous resigned, and was succeeded by Odo de St. Amand, “ a proud and fiery warrior of undaunted courage and resolution, having, according to William, Archbishop of tyre, the fear neither of God nor of man before his eyes.”
In consequence of the unjustifiable invasion of Egypt, Saladin crossed the desert with 40,000, horse and foot, ravaged the borders of Palestine, and besieged Gaza, the key of that region towards Egypt, but was forced by the Templars to retire into the latter country. The bull of Pope Alexander, omne datum optimum,” confirming the privileges of the Templars and granting them new ones, was published in England, in 1172. Among other things, it permits the Templars to admit into their fraternity “honest and Godly clergymen and priests,” but exacts a probation of one year; and requires that, on their admission, an oath be administered, “the book in which these things are contained being placed upon the altar.” It styles Odo “their Master and Bishop.”
The Templars and the Hospitallers were the guardians of the true cross the former marched on the right, and the latter on the left of the sacred emblem.
The punishment inflicted on a Templar for cowardice was to be deprived of his white mantle and cross, to be cast out from among the brethren, and to be “compelled to eat on the ground, without a napkin or table cloth, for the space of one year; and, the dogs, who gather around him and torment him, he is not permitted to drive away.” But, if truly penitent, he is, at the expiration of the year, again restored to fellowship in the Order.
In 1172, the Templars conquered the Assassins, and forced their chief, “the old man of the mountain,” to purchase peace. In the battle near Ascalon, (Nov. 1, 1177,) in which the infidels were defeated, Odo, with eighty Knights, broke through the famous guard of Mamlooks, slew their commander, and forced Saladin to fly, almost naked, on a fleet dromedary. In the following year, at the battle of Jacob’s Ford, where there was much hard fighting, the Master of the Hospital having fled, covered with wounds, and the Count of Tripoli also, the Templars “were all killed or taken prisoners and the Master Odo de St. Amand fell alive into the hands of the enemy.” Saladin burned down the fortress, and all the Templars taken in the place were sawn in two, except the most distinguished.
“Saladin,” says Addison, “offered Odo de St. Amand his liberty in exchange for freedom of his own nephew, who was a prisoner in the hands of the Templars; but the Master of the Temple haughtily replied, that he would never, by his example, encourage any of his Knights to surrender, that a Templar ought either to vanquish or to die, and that he had nothing to give for his ransom but his girdle and his knife. The proud spirit of Odo de St. Amand could but ill-brook confinement; he languished and died in the dungeons of Damascus.”
In 1179, the Templars were reprimanded by the general council of the church, the third of Lateran, for exercising or abusing powers previously granted to them.
Arnold de Torroge or de Troy, “who had filled some of the chief situations of the Order in Europe” succeeded de St. Amand, A. D. 1180. In the list of Baron Hund, he is styled “the Chief Preceptor of the Order,” and is regarded, not as a Grand Master, but, as having temporarily directed the Order during the imprisonment of the Grand Master. De St. Amand.
The affairs of the Latin Christians were, at this period, in a deplorable situation. Saladin encamped near Tiberias, and extended his ravages into every part of Palestine;” but, after he had burnt Naplous, and depopulated the whole country, he was compelled to retreat to Damascus. A truce was agreed upon (A. D. 1184) for four years, in consideration of the payment of a large sum of money by the Christians. The Master of the Temple, who had undertaken a journey to Europe, to obtain assistance from Henry II of England, sickened and died (A. D. 1185) at Verona. The annual income of the Order of Europe, has been roughly estimated at six millions sterling. At this period, the Temple at London was often used as “a storehouse of Treasure.”
General de Riderfort was made Grand Master in 1185. In consequence of the severity with which he ruled the nobles, and of his having raised to the throne of Jerusalem, Sibylla, mother of Baldwin V. and her husband Guy de Lusignan, great dissension was produced at a time when union was most needed. At the battle near the brook Kishon, (A. D. 1187) the Grand Master, with two Knights, alone, escaped. On the 4th July, 1187, the great battle of Tiberias, which decided the fate of Jerusalem, was fought. All the Templars who were made prisoners, except the Grand Master, were decapitated by order of Saladin. Jerusalem surrendered (Oct. 2, 1187) to the infidels, after a siege of twelve days. The seat of our Order was transferred to Antioch. Tyre was successfully defended against Saladin. The Grand Master was released from captivity, (A. D. 1188,) eleven of the most important cities and castles having been given as a ransom. De Riderfort pieced with arrows, fell, at the siege of Acre, (4th Oct. 1189,) at the head of Knights.
He was succeeded (A. D. 1189) by brother Walter. During the first year of the siege of Acre, 100,000 Christians are computed to have perished; and among them, the Patriarch Heraclius. In 1191, the third crusade was preached by William Archbishop of Tyre; and Richard Cœur de Lion, and King Phillip Augustus, of France, arrived in the bay of Acre.
Robert de Sable or Sabloil, “a valiant Knight of the Order, who had commanded a division of the English fleet on the voyage out,” succeeded (A. D. 1191) Walter, who had died. Secular Knights were, at this time, permitted to wear the red cross while fighting in the ranks. During the march to Ascalon, the Templars usually led the van of the army, and it is recorded that there were among them some who would march calmly on with “ten darts sticking in heir backs.” The great battle of Ramleh was (A. D. 1191) gained by the Templars; and the city of Gaza, was, also, captured by them. Though forced (A. D. 1192) to abandon the expedition to Jerusalem, yet a treaty was made whereby the Christians were permitted to visit that city as pilgrims, and “Tyre, Acre, and Jaffa, with all the sea-coast between them, were yielded to the Latins.” King Richard Cœur de Lion, in the guise of a Templar, left the Holly Land, 25 Oct. 1192.
The Templars, in England, owned large possessions. About this period, three Encampments, termed Encampments of Baldwin, are said to have been established at Bristol, Bath, and York. These three Encampments have survived all the other original Encampments in that country. Those at Bath and York were in existence in the early part of the present century; while that at Bristol is still in active operation. Brother Richard John Bridges enjoyed, in 1853, the distinguished honor of being the Eminent Commander of this ancient and venerable body, which is probably, the oldest Encampment of Knights Templars in the world.
Gilbert Horal or Erail, who had previously filled the office of Grand Preceptor of France; was elected Grand Master in 1195. Many strong fortifications were erected; the most celebrated of which was the Pilgrim’s Castle, which was completed. It could contain a garrison of 4,000 men.
Phillip Duplesseis or De Plesseis succeeded, (A. D. 1201,) to the Grand Mastership. King John of England, who conferred several large grants and many privileges on the Order, frequently resided at the Temple in London. He was a resident there when he resigned England and Ireland “to his Lord Pope Innocent the Third,” and when compelled to sign “Magna Charta.”
In 1217, William de Chartres became Grand Master. The power of the infidels was never so low as at this time. The Grand Master died, at the siege of Damietta, of a pestilence which prevailed in the Christian camp; and was succeeded (A. D. 1218) by “the veteran warrior” Peter de Montaigu, Grand Preceptor of Spain. He was compelled (A. D. 1222) to surrender Damietta to the infidels, together with the prisoners in Tyre and Acre, and obtained in return “the wood of the true Cross,” and the Christian prisoners at Cairo and Damascus; whereupon the Sultan granted a truce for eight years. In consequence of the complaints of Henry III. Of England, the Pope issued (A.D. 1223) his bull “De Insolentia Templariorum Reprimenda;” but these difficulties were soon reconciled.
Hermann de Perigod succeeded (A. D. 1236) to the office of Grand Master. His administration “is celebrated for the treaty entered into with the infidels, whereby the holy city was again surrendered to the Christians” (A. D. 1242). In 1243, the Templars rebuilt the ‘formidable castle of Saphet. The Grand Master was slain in a great battle (A. D. 1243) near Gaza, with the Carizmians, a pastoral tribe of tartans, which lasted two days; and from which only 33 Templars and 26 Hospitallers escaped. Pope Innocent IV. Ordered a new crusade to be preached; but very little assistance was obtained.
The Templars were, in consequence of a temporary alliance with the Syrians to oppose the Sultan of Egypt, accused (A. D. 1244) by Frederick II., King of Jerusalem, of receiving the Syrian Sultans and their trains with pompous alacrity within the gates of the houses of the Temple, and of suffering them to perform within them their superstitious rites and ceremonies with invocations of Mahomet, and to indulge in secular delights. If the Templars were at that time, as many suppose, Free-masons, it may be that they admitted, during a truce, to some of their meetings those Syrians who were also Masons; but it cannot be credited that the Syrians, while there, were permitted to invoke Mahomet; and the discipline of the Temple was too severe to suffer either the brethren or their guests to indulge in secular delights.
William de Sonnae, “a veteran warrior,” was (A. D. 1245) elected Grand Master. He summoned the brethren in the Western preceptories to Palestine. The Carizmians were (A. D., 1247) annihilated. The Grand Master presented to Henry III. “a magnificent crystal vase containing a portion of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Templars, with Louis IX. Of France, took Damietta in 1240. In 1250, the Grand Master, in a battle at a ford across the Tanitic branch of the Nile, on Shrove-Tuesday, lost one eye, but cut his way through the enemy, accompanied by only two Knights; but, on the first Friday in Lent, De Sonnac lost his other eye and life. Reginald de Vichier, Grand Marshall, was made (A. D. 1252) grand Master. King Louis, after his release from captivity, assisted the Templars in putting Palestine in a defensible state. It was usual, at this time, for the Knights sumptuously to entertain foreign ambassadors, and even kings, at their houses.
Thomas Berard was elected Grand Master in 1256. The Holy Land was in a miserable condition. It had been invaded (1262) by Bibars, or Benocdar, Sultan of Egypt, with an army of 30,000 cavalry. After several years’ warfare, the infidels took all the strongholds of the Christians, with the exception of the Pilgrim’s Castle and Acre. Benocdar, on the capitulation of the Castle of Saphet, (A. D. 1266,) put the whole garrison to death, because they refused to embrace Mahometanism. But, Edward, Prince of Wales, (afterwards King Henry III.,) in 1268, drove the infidels back to Egypt; and a ten years’ truce was agreed upon. King Henry III. Was a great benefactor to the Templars.”
William de Beaujeu was elected Grand Master on the 13th May, 1273. The Pope endeavored to get another crusade, but he “died in the midst of his exertions, and with him expired all the hopes of effectual assistance from Europe.” In 1291, the fortress of Margat and city of Tripoli were taken by the infidels; and in the third year from the recommencement of the war, the Christians possessed only Acre and the Pilgrim’s Castle. On the 4th of April, in the same year, Acre was besieged by the infidels under the Sultan Khalil, with 60,000 horse and 140,000 foot, while the place was defended by a garrison of only 12,000 men, under the command of the Grand Master, “exclusive of the forces of the Temple and the Hospital, and a body of 500 foot and 200 horses, under the command of the King of Cyprus.” The defence of Acre by the Templars, during a siege of six weeks, is one of the most heroic acts on record in the annals of history.
After the death of De Beaujeu, who was “struck down by the darts and the arrows of the enemy” on the 18th May, 1291, the three hundred knights who had fought their way to the Temple, appointed Theobald de Gaudini Grand Master. He, however, with a few companions, the treasure of the Order and the ornaments of the Church, on the night of the 19th May, escaped through a secret postern, and arrived safely in Cyprus. The rest of the knights were buried beneath the ruins of the large tower called “The Tower of the Master,” when it fell, victims to their resolution to protect, at all hazards, the Christian women from insult and violation by the ruthless infidels, and to their zealous devotion to the religion of the Cross.
With the destruction of the strong city of Acre, the power of the Latin Church in the East was extinguished. Limisso in Cyprus became the chief seat of the Order.
James de Molay, Preceptor of England, was chosen Grand Master, by a general Chapter of the Fraternity, in 1297. A French writer, an enemy of our Order, thus describes him: “Molay was the younger brother of one of the most distinguished houses of the ‘Comte’ of Burgundy. His elder brother possessed, in that country, a large property, and had a high position. From his youth, Molay had been a member of the Order; in it, he had acquired a great reputation; he had passed through all the degrees, and had become a Grand Prior. He was a lord of true merit, brave, of high intellect, of a mild and amiable character; his morals were pure, and his conduct without reproach. He had always appeared with distinction at the Court of France, and had been fortunate enough to merit the favour of the king, who, in 1297, had selected him to hold at the baptismal font M. Robert, his fourth son. He was still held in such high esteem, when all the lords of the Court, who were yet ignorant of the hatred of the king, and his fatal determination against the Order, concerning which he preserved the most profound secrecy, aided in the election of Molay, even believing that they were affording a pleasure to that prince.”
In 1302, the Grand Master endeavourer to recover Palestine, but “was defeated by the Sultan of Egypt, with the loss of one hundred and twenty of his brethren.”
We now come to the dark page in the history of our Order. I would that I could pass it by unnoticed! The zeal for the crusades had cooled. Large possessions had, from time to time, during the holy wars, been granted in most of the European States to the Templars. The Order had grown rich and powerful. The nobles had become impoverished by the pious liberality of their ancestors. The exchequers of the princes of Europe were nearly exhausted. Christendom had no longer any use for her valiant defenders. She became jealous of them. Disputes arose between the clergy and the Order; and the Pope was compelled, on several occasions, to interfere in behalf of the latter. The Templars had gained the hatred of Phillip the Fair, a talented but needy and avaricious prince, whom Dante justly terms “the curse of France.” During the difficulties between him and Boniface VIII., the Templars espoused the cause of the latter. Moreover, his Majesty, on a certain occasion, caused coin to be issued below the legitimate standard. A rebellion ensued, and the Templars, whose rents were immense, were supposed to be the principle instigators of the existing disaffection. Phillip determined to be revenged; and he was not long in finding an opportunity. A creature was obtained well suited to his purpose. The evidence of the condemned criminal, given to obtain the royal pardon, was of the kind termed “hearsay;” but it was corroborated by that of two apostates, who had been expelled from the Order, and condemned to imprisonment for life for their crimes. Phillip treasured up the precious information, thus obtained. He well knew how to make use of it at the proper time.
An ambitious weak, and unprincipled pontiff, who had, in order to attain the summit of is
desire, previously pledged himself on the holy sacrament to perform a condition, of
which he was then ignorant, became the tool of a crafty and vindictive monarch. The
Templars were condemned without a hearing. The Order, whose members for one
hundred and seventy years had shed their blood and lavished their treasure in defence of
the Cross, against the Crescent, was declared heretical. The knights, who had solemnly
sworn never to fly in the presence of three enemies, if they be infidels, were
denounced as heretics and apostates. They were accused of the blackest crimes, of
crimes at the mere thought of which every upright man must shudder of crimes
subversive of religion, government and social organization of crimes contrary to the
physical and psychological laws whereby the Grand Architect governs the universe, and
which are, therefore, impossible.
In one night (13th October, 1307) all the Templars in the French dominions were
simultaneously arrested and thrown into prison. The rack and the torture were
unsparingly applied. Some confessed all the horrible crimes and absurdities imputed to
them, in hopes of obtaining pardon. Most of these, on being restored to liberty, withdrew
their confessions, and solemnly declared that the excessive torments to which they had
been subjected alone induced them to make acknowledgements which they knew to be
false. They were treated as relapsed heretics, and were cast into the flames. Those who
persisted in denying the guilt of the Order were subjected to the torture. Neither age nor
rank could save them. Many died under it. Some languished in loathsome dungeons for
many years, and perished from neglect, disease and starvation. Others, of more robust
frames, were, in time, restored to liberty, to wander about the world, with mutilated
limbs, to earn their bread as best they might.
All this was done in a Christian country, by a Christian king, and by the Vicegerent of
God on earth! All this was done in the name of him who hath said, Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you,”
The rest of Christendom were not tardy in following the pious example set forth by his
Christian majesty, Phillip the Fair, and Clement v. But, the other sovereigns of Europe
were rather more merciful. They were satisfied with attaining the rank of robbers,
without aspiring to that of murderers also; for, be it said to their honor, if honor they
deserved, that “in no place situate beyond the influence of the King of France and his
creature, the Pope, was a single Templar condemned to death.
The last scene in this dreadful tragedy was yet to be enacted. The four most noble victims
were reserved for the last. James de Molay, the Grand Master, Guy, the Grand
Preceptor, Hugh de Peralt or Peraldes, the Visitor General, and Bazile de
Menoncourt, who had returned from the East (1307) when summoned by the Pope, and who
had languished in prison for five years and a half, were (11th March, 1313,) led out to a scaffold
which had been erected in front of Notre-Dame, publicly to avow confessions which the Grand-
Master had declared were forged. The confessions were read, their assent was requires. Two
were silent, and were condemned to be incarcerated for life. “But, the Grand-Master, raising
his arms bound with chains towards heaven, and advancing to the edge of the scaffold, declared
in a loud voice, that to say that which was untrue was a crime, both in the sight of God and man.
‘I do,’ said he, confess my guilt, which consists in having to my shame and dishonour, suffered
myself, through the pain of torture and the fear of death, to give utterance to falsehoods,
imputing scandalous sins and inequities to an illustrious Order, which hath nobly served the
cause of Christianity. I disdain to seek a wretched and disgraceful existence be engrafting
another lie upon the original falsehood.’ He was here interrupted by the Provost and his Officers,
and Guy, the Grand-Preceptor, having commenced with a strong asseverations of his innocence,
they were both hurried back to prison.”
King Phillip, having been informed of what had occurred, ordered their instant execution. At
four o’clock of the same day, they were conducted to the “Isle de la Cite,” where a funeral pile
was in procession of erection, near the spot where now stands the equestrian statue of Henri
IV. While the pile was being completed, the Grand Master, after having again solemnly declared the innocence of his brethren, invoked the benignant Father of the Universe as follows:
“Permit us, O God! To remember the torments which Jesus Christ suffered to ransom us, and to imitate the example which he set us in enduring, without a murmur, the persecutions and the tortures which injustice and blindness prepared for him. Pardon, O my God! The false accusations which has caused the total destruction of the Order of which Providence appointed me the head. And, if thou wilt deign to hear the supplication which we now offer thee, grant that the deceived world may, at some future day, better know those who have endeavourer to live for thee. We hope to receive, from thy goodness and mercy, the reward for the torments and the death which we are about to suffer, to enjoy thy divine presence in the realms of bliss.”
The King’s myrmidons, fearful of an insurrection among the population, hurried them off to the stake; and bound them fast. Their bodies were slowly consumed by small charcoal fires kindled under their feet. They endured this hellish torture with the utmost fortitude and resignation, without cries or groans, imploring the mercy of God and maintaining the innocence and purity of their beloved Order to the last. At length, De Molay, when his body was almost consumed, having yet command of his tongue, looking at the crowd before him, exclaimed:
“You who behold us perishing in the flames, shall decide on our innocence! I summon Pope Clement V. to appear in forty days, and Phillip the Fair in twelve months before the just and terrible throne of the ever living God, to render an account of the blood which they have unjustly and wickedly shed!”
The fires burned lower, and lower, and in time became extinguished! The mortal parts of James de Molay and Guy had been reduced to ashes, their spirits had returned to their Creator!
The prediction of the martyr was accomplished. The Pope and the King both died within the time prescribed. Moreover, “history attests that all those who were foremost in the persecution of the Templars came to an untimely and miserable death.”
Thus perished the Grand Master and Grand Preceptor of the Templars. Their enemies thought that they had destroyed the Order forever. But the Eagle of St. John was merely scorched and not killed! From the ashes of the martyrs have risen other valiant Knights, who, clad in the armor of Integrity, and armed with the sword of Knowledge, have waged, are still waging, and will ever wage eternal war against the three ancient enemies of the human race, Falsehood, Fanaticism, and Superstition! May “the will of God” be accomplished!
The Knights Templars, after the death of De Molay, seem to have had no common head. Their possessions confiscated, their leaders incarcerated for life, or put to death, the brethren persecuted in every way, the survivors of that once powerful Order were compelled, for the sake of concealment, to leave their homes, cast off the garb of the Temple, and to mingle again with the world.
Some endeavoured, alone and unaided, secretly to preserve their beloved Order, according to the rules by which, in its day of glory, it was governed. Some sought refuge in the Society of Free and Accepted Masons, in order that they might there enjoy, with impunity, the religious dogmas which they had brought with them from the East, the liberal sentiments of the Johannite Christians, the pure doctrines of the primitive Christian Church. Others were forced, when a portion of their lands were granted to the Knights Hospitallers to enter the preceptories of that Order. It was probably in commemoration of this latter circumstance that the so-called degree of Knights of Malta was introduced into our Encampments. This degree, as it has been erroneously termed, for it consists of nothing but a few insignificant signs and passwords, and three passages of Scripture, has nothing to do with Free-Masonry. The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, sometimes called the Knights Hospitallers and the Knights of Malta, were not Freemasons. On the contrary, they see to have been inimical to Freemasonry, for, in 1740, the Grand Master of the Order of Malta caused the bull of Clement XI. To be published in that island, and forbid the meetings of the Freemasons. On this occasion several knights and many citizens left the island. And, in 1741, the inquisition pursued the Freemasons at Malta. The Grand Master proscribed their assemblies under severe penalties, and six knights were banished from the island, in perpetuity, for having assisted at a meeting. In fact, unlike the Templars, they had not even a secret form of reception. Reghellini says that he was unable to procure a copy of the secret ritual of Knights of Malta. The reason is obvious, there is none!
From ignorance of the true causes which forced some of the Templars to enter the Order of Malta, has risen the highly reprehensible practice of dubbing the candidate “a Knight of the Most valiant and Magnanimous Order of knights Templars and Knights of Malta of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.” It is an absurdity to create a man, at one and the same time, a Knight of two Orders which had nothing in common, and never sympathized with each other. By doing so, our Commanders imitate the example of those who used every exertion to annihilate the Templars. The candidate should be “dubbed a Knight of the Most Valiant and magnanimous Order of Knights Templars, and instructed in secrets of Malta.” This was expression used in The South-Carolina Encampment of Knights Templars No. 1, in 1823, and I have no doubt that it could be traced back to the period when that body was first organized, if our old records had not been destroyed. Common sense teaches that it is the correct one!
It seems, from our traditions, that, after the death of De Molay, in 1313, the Brethren of the Temple were divided into, at least, four parties, viz:
1st. The Templars in Portugal and Italy, who were afterwards known as Knights of the Order of Christ.
2nd. Those who recognized Peter d’Aumout as the successor of De Molay.
3rd. Those who asserted that John Larmenius was the successor of De Molay.
4th. Those Knights who did not acknowledge the authority of either Larmenius or of D’Aumont.
As we claim to be the descendants of the fourth party, I shall refer to the first three very briefly.
1st. The Order of Christ. Upon the suppression of the Order of Templars in Portugal, their estates were given to this equestrian militia. The name of the Order was changed to that of the Order of Christ. The Templars in Portugal suffered comparatively little persecution, and the Order of Christ, since its foundation in 1317, has always been protected by the sovereigns of that country, and also by the Popes of Rome. Their costume is “a long and ample black mantle, turned up with ermine, and thereupon the crosses.” Their motto: “Christiana Militia.” Thory says that “ a Portuguese Mason founded at Paris, in 1807, in a Lodge, a Chapter of this Order; he applied the formulas of reception to those of Freemasonry. It was the Templar system. He pretended to have received from Portugal the power to create Knights.” The Order of Christ of Italy was the same Order, except that Pope John XXII. Reserved the right of nominating those members called Pontifical Knights.
2d. The D’Aumont Templars. They are professors of the system of Strict Observance, a system which is said by its opponents to have been organized in Prussia by Baron Hund who acquired a knowledge of its doctrines in the Chapter of Clermont, at Paris, of which he was a member about 1754. I believe that it is exclusively adopted in Germany, and is followed in Sweden. They produce a long list of Grand Masters, who are said to have succeeded DeMolay, the first of whom is Peter D’Armont, who is said to have been elected, in an island of Scotland, on the 27th December, 1313. It is believed in Sweden that the Grand Chapter at Stockholm possesses the last will and testament of DeMolay, and that Beaujean, his nephew, collected his ashes, interred them, and erected a monument with a suitable inscription.
3d. The Larmenius Templars state that James DeMolay, foreseeing the evils which threaten the Order, designated for his successor Brother John Mark Larmenius, of Jerusalem, whom he invested with the plenitude of Patriarchal Apostolic power. This last Grand Master transmitted the sovereign power to Brother Thibault, of Alexandria, in 1324.” The Order of the Temple in Paris profess to produce the charter of transmission signed by Larmenius and the other Grand masters who succeeded him, down to the present day. They also pretend to possess the original statues of the year of the Order 587, in manuscript, and several relics which formerly belonged to the martyrs. A troop of these Templars was sent out to Greece, in 1826, to fight against the Turks, as in days of yore.
Many intelligent brethren have denied the truth of the legends of D’Aumont, of Beaujeu, and of Larmenius, and the authenticity f these relics, while others, equally as intelligent, have, after careful examination, pronounced them to be authentic. High minded, honorable and learned brethren are to be found in the ranks of either party. Others assert that De Molay appointed “four Grand Chiefs of the Order, in Europe: in the North, in the South, in the East and in the West, at Stockholm, Paris, Naples, and Edinburgh.” But without, however, presuming to decide these mooted points, I would suggest that it is immaterial whether De Molay appointed one successor or a dozen. According to the Rules of the Order, then of force, the office of Grand Master was an elective one; and, therefore, no one appointed by De Molay could lawfully claim to be the Grand Master, unless recognized as such by the Order at large.
4th. The Templars who did not recognize the authority of either D’Aumont, Larmenius or Beaujean, may be divided into two classes: the Scotch and the English.
1st. The Scotch Templars. These may again be subdivided into two classes: 1st. Those who fought for Robert Bruce; 2d. Those who entered the Order of Knights Hospitallers.1st. Those who fought for Bruce: The Templars in Scotland were compelled to join Bruce, in consequence of the hostility of King Edward, who had debarred them from taking refuge either in England or Ireland, and who attempted to force them, as he had done their brethren in those countries, to enter the preceptories of Knights of St. John. In consequence of the assistance rendered him at the battle of Bannockburn, by the Scotch Masons, King Robert Bruce created, 24th June, (1314,) the Order of St. Andrew du Chardon, to which was afterwards united that of Heredom (II.D.M.) He reserved to himself to his successors forever the title of Grand Master; and founded the Royal Lodge of the Order of H. D. M., at Kilwinning. He also granted a charter of lands to Walter de Cliffton, the Grand Master of the Templars, for the assistance which they rendered him on that occasion. But, it is said that these Scotch Templars were, in consequence of their having assisted Bruce, and of having joined the Order of H. R. D. m., expelled, in 1324, by Larmenius, who invented different signs and words to exclude them from the Order of which he was the chief. It is supposed that the “Ancient and Accepted Rite,” probably, sprung from this Royal Order. The preservation of a remnant of the Templars in Scotland is chiefly to be attributed to the wars between Robert Bruce and Edward of England. The 25 degrees of Heredom were practised at York, in 1784, by the “College of Heredom Templars, being No. 1, under the Constitutions of the Ancient Lodge at York, South of the river Trent, sitting at York.” In 1785, the Order of H. R. D. M. resumed its functions at Edinburgh. The presiding officer was styled Wisdom. The body at Edinburgh established a Chapter at Rouen in 1786. On the 4th January, 1787, a Chapter of Harodim was opened at London; but I know not whether this was a branch of the Royal Order. About the beginning of the present century there was a Consistory at Hull, and another at Grimsby.
For the manner in which the Ancient and Accepted Rite was introduced into North America, I refer you to the Report of the Committee of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree, at Charleston, S. C. dated 4th Dec. 1802.
Rebold states that the Grand Lodge of Heredom of Kilwinning united itself, in 1807, with all its subordinates, to the Grand Lodge of St. John of Edinburgh.
2d. Those who entered the Order of Knights Hospitallers. It is clear that in Scotland, as well as in England and Ireland, some of the Templars entered the Order of the Knights of St. John. The Knights of both Orders resided amicably in the same preceptories as far back as the end of the fourteenth or the beginning of the fifteenth centuries; and continued to do so until the Reformation. Some of their lands, however, were not in common. Many of both Orders, at the Reformation, embraced Protestantism, and fraternization with the Freemasons. The Preceptor in Scotland, having become a Protestant, resigned the whole property, both of the Hospital and the Temple, and received the same from the Crown, under the title of Lord Torphichen. The Roman Catholic Knights placed themselves under David Seaton. The Grand Master Viscount Dundee was slain at Killikrankie. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who was admitted at Holyrood, Sept. 24, 1745, became the Grand Master. At his death, Mr. Oliphant, of Bachiltar, succeeded him. He died in 1795.
It is supposed, however, that we are chiefly indebted to the Masonic branch of the Order for the preservation of the ceremonies employed at a reception. The Sterling Ancient Lodge conferred the degrees of Royal Arch, Red Cross or Ark, the Sepulchre, Knights of Malta, and Knights Templar, until the beginning of the last century, when two Lodges were formed. The Ancient Lodge joined the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736, and the new one called the Royal Arch, in 1739, when another division took place. And these degrees were conferred in an Encampment until 1811, when the Supreme Encampment of Masonic Knights Templars were formed in Scotland. Several Encampments in Scotland, however, obtained, about 1795, charters from Ireland, with the privilege of conferring the Royal Arch degrees, though the Encampments in the latter country were merely private bodies.
2d. The English Templars. The Encampments in England and in the United States of America are, with the exception of the Encampment of Observance, all supposed to owe their origin to the three original Encampments of Baldwin, at Bristol, Bath, and York already mentioned. “In England and Ireland,” says the Rev. Dr. Oliver, “as the Conciliæ Magnae Britanicæ shew, the Templars were put down, and the Knights compelled to enter the preceptories of their opponents, the Knights of St. John, as dependants.” Their lands were confiscated, and were given to the latter Order. But, in treating of the manner in which a remnant of our Order was preserved in England, I must avail myself of information kindly furnished me by an eminent brother who resides in Bristol. It would be gross injustice to him to use any other language than his own. He writes as follows:
“The Order of Knights Templars has existed in Bristol from time immemorial. The Templars held large possessions in this ancient city, and, with their House or Preceptory, and the men of the Temple, are mentioned in many old charters and documents. The Temple church and Parish of Temple point out the locality of their residence. About fifty years ago, an active and respected member of the Craft, Brother Henry Smith, now deceased, introduced, from France, three degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, which, with the degree of the R. C., long before that time connected with the Knights Templars, were united into an order or community, called the Royal Orders of Knighthood. These were the degrees of the Knights of the Nine Elect, the 9th degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, the Knights Grand Architects of Kilwinning, the 14th degree of that Rite, and the Knights of the East, Sword and Eagle answering to the 15th degree, and, with the Knights R. C. or 18th degree, were, together with the Order of the Knights Templars, held and practised under one authority. In our oldest records the style or title of Knights Templars is given, with the addition of K-H., but that degree was, as far as I know, never given, and even the meaning of the title had fallen into oblivion.
“A candidate for admission into any o9ne of the five degrees before mentioned, must be a Royal Arch Mason. He may however, take any one of the five degrees first, which may happen to be about to be given, at the time he seeks admission, as one general payment to be fund of the United Orders, entitles him to admission to all. An attempt was made to enforce the proper progression through the five degrees, but failed.
“Nothing is known here of the Order of the Temple of Paris, but that is the real source of the present Grand Conclave of England, the late Grand Master, the Duke of Sussex, having been created at Paris in that body.
“I will shortly endeavour to explain the difference between the Encampment of Baldwyn and the Grand Conclave.
“The Duke of Sussex having been installed a Knight Templar at Paris, I believe by Sir Sydney Smith, then Grand Master, was created Grand Master of the Knights Templars in England. From some cause or other, he never would countenance the Christian degrees connected with Masonry, and would not permit a badge of one of these degrees to be worn in a Craft Lodge. In London, of course, he ruled supreme, and the meetings of Knights Templars there, if they continued at all, were degraded to the mere level of public house meetings. A true descendant of the Knights of St. John of the Hospital was held, with all circumstances of ribaldry, at St. John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, and the degrees conferred at a weekly convivial meeting for the sum of 5s. On the death of the Duke of Sussex, it was resolved to rescue the Order from its degraded position, and the Grand Conclave of England was formed, some of the officers of the Duke of Sussex’s original Encampment, which he held once, and I believe once only, being the alive.
“In the meantime, of the three original Encampments of England, the genuine representative of the old Knights of the Temple, two had expired, those of Bath and York, leaving Bristol the sole relic of the Order, with the exception of those Encampments which had been created in various parts of the country, not holding under any legitimate authority, but raised by Knights who had, I believe, without exception, been created in the Encampment of Baldwyn, at Bristol.
“Under these circumstances, the Knights of Baldwyn felt that their place was at the head of the Order, and though willing, for the common good, to submit to the authority of Col. Tynte, or duly elected Grand Master, they could not yield precedence to the Encampment of Observance, (the original Encampment of the Duke of Sussex,) derived from a foreign and spurious source, the so-called Order of the Temple in Paris, nor could they consent to forego the privileges which they held from an immemorial period, or to permit their ancient and well-established ceremonies, costumes and laws to be revised by persons for whose knowledge and judgment they entertained a very reasonable and well-grounded want of respect. The Encampment of Baldwyn, therefore, refused to send representatives to the Grand Conclave of England, or to acknowledge its authority in Bristol, until such time as its claims should be treated with the consideration it is believed they deserve. I am, however, in hope that an arrangement will shortly be effected, and all the Templars in England united under one head.”
While we approve of the noble conduct of the Encampment of Baldwyn, and trust that it may soon attain the eminent position to which it is entitled as the sole surviving preserver of our ancient mysteries in England, during many ceremonies of trial and adversity, we heartily concur in the wish expressed by our gifted brother, may more! We wish that all the Templars in the world were united under one Grand Master! Then would we form, as in days of yore, one noble brotherhood, united by the sacred tie of love, sustained by the hallowed remembrance of the past, and sworn to propagate the knowledge of Truth, and to protect mankind from the direful attacks of mental darkness, deception and tyranny.
I have been unable to ascertain at which period, by what authority, and under what particular circumstances, the first Encampment was established in our country. But, during the latter part of the past century and the beginning of the present, several attempts were made to form a General Grand Encampment for the United States, which seem to have failed. And, the present general Grand Encampment was not formed until the 21st June, 1816, at New York, which DeWitt Clinton was elected Grand Master. That body has continued gradually to increase in strength from that time until the present. There were, in 1853, under its jurisdiction the Grand Encampment of eight States, besides thirty-nine subordinate Encampments dispersed throughout twenty other States. It may be said to be now securely seated in the affections of the Knights Templars throughout the greater part of this vast republic; and, while under the auspices of its distinguished and enthusiastic Grand Master, the Hon. William B. Hubbard, of Columbus, Ohio, assisted by his efficient corps of officers, it is destined to extend the pure doctrines of our Order to the most remote parts of our common country.
In conclusion, a few remarks concerning the Order in our own State may not be inappropriate.
The South-Carolina Encampment, No. 1, of Knights Templars and the Appendant Orders was established in 1780, as is evident from the old seal in our archives. But, it does not appear from what source our ancestors derived their first charter, all of our records previous to Nov. 7th, 1823, having been lost or consumed by fire. It is clear, however, that this Encampment was in active operation in 1803, and continued so until long after the date of our oldest record, for, on December 29th, 1824, it was “Resolved that, in consideration of the long and faithful services of our Most Eminet Past Grand Commander, Francis Sylvester Curtis, who regularly paid his arrears to this Encampment for more than twenty years, he is considered a life-member of this Encampment, and that his life-membership take date from November, 1823.” In a “list of various Masonic degrees,” in Cole’s Ahiman Rezon, extracted from a publication in 1816, the Knight of the Red Cross is termed the 9th degree, the Knight of Malta the 10th, and the Knight Templar the 13th; and they are said to be conferred in the Sublime Grand Lodges in Charleston, S. C., in the city of New-York, and in Newport, R. I. On November 7th, 1823, our Encampment, which was then regularly working at Sir Knight Roche’s Asylum, under the Command of the M. E. Sir Moses Holbrook, M. D., Grand Commander, received “the authority from the G. G. E.” to work. At the following meeting, (Nov. 15,) Moses Holbrook was re-elected to the office which he then held. John Barker was elected an honorary member, January 16th, 1824. It was, at this time, the practice to introduce the candidates separately in both degrees. On January 18th, 1824, James Eyland was created a Templar. The Encampment met, January 30th, 1824, at Sir Knights H. G. Street’s Asylum, and the meetings, which had hitherto taken place on every Friday evening, were changed, February 15, 1824, to the last Wednesday in each month; and the last Wednesday in November was fixed for the annual election. March 31st, 1824, our Encampment “voted to recommend our Ill. Sir John Barker to be Grand Visitor for the Southern States.”
A charter was granted at Boston, June 24th, 1824, by the m. E. and M. W. Henry Fowle, Deputy General Grand Master of the G. G. Encampment of the United States of America, countersigned by John G. Loring G. G. Recorder to Benjamin Thomas Ehmore, and eleven others, to form, open and hold Columbia Encampment No. 2. Brother Ehmore was appointed the first Grand Commander, E. H. Maxey, Generalissmo, and John Bryce, Captain General. The charter is in the archives of Richland Lodge No. 39, A\F\M\, at Columbia, S. C., with some “rough sketches of their meetings,” which were held in the hall of that Lodge.
“Since writing the above,” observes the Rev’d. Brother to whom I am indebted for this information, “I am able only to add that the number of members increased to 30 or more, their meetings continued about four years, and, from some cause or causes not remembered, it ceased to exist as a body, and I cannot find, at present, any other record than above alluded to.”
February 23rd, 1825, the Encampment was informed that the three first officers had, in accordance with a previous resolution giving them discretionary power in that matter, recommended Georgetown Encampment to the G. G. Encampment for a charter. It was then determined to remove our Encampment to Sir Kn’t. S. Seyle’s Asylum. It seems, from this circumstance, that there was no Grand Encampment in our State at that time.
I find the following entry:
“The members of South-Carolina Encampment, No. 1, were summoned to meet at Sir H. G. Street’s, on the 16th of March, 1825, to wait on General La Fayette, agreeably to a previous arrangement with him. The following officers and members attended precisely at half-past 2 o’clock.”
In consequence of a gap in the minutes from this time until 26th January, 1827, we are unable to obtain further information concerning this highly interesting meeting. On the 18th September, 1826, the Grand Encampment of the State of South-Carolina was represented in the G. G. Encampment, at New-York, by Sir John Barker, proxy for M. E. Moses Holbrook, Grand Master, and Sir William H. Jones, proxy for the M. E. Sir William E. Lathrop, G. Capt. Gen’l.; and the Committee, to whom were “referred the proceedings of the officers of the G. G. Encampment since the last meeting,” (16th Sept., 1819,) reported, “That there have been established, with the approbation of the G. G. Officers, Grand Encampment in the following States, to wit: New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia.”
Beaufort Encampment was established during this year. Four or five years afterwards it ceased to exist. Its records were destroyed by fire.
Jos. McCosh, now an I. G. of the 33d., resigned November 28, 1827. He was the Recorder, November 7, 1823. During the year 1828, Sir James Eyland was Grand Commander. There were many resignations; and, on December 31, it was resolved to dispense with refreshments, in order to lessen the expense of the room, as much as possible. On 24th June, 1829, a motion was introduced to meet in future at the Grand Lodge Room in Meeting-street; and, on December 30th, a Committee was appointed to ascertain the terms of the Grand Lodge.
In 1829, the Grand Encampment of South-Carolina was represented in the G. G. Encampment by Sir James Eyland, G. Master, who was that year elected G. G. Capt. General; and in 1832, he was elected G. G. Generalissimo.
At this time, the meetings of our Encampment were very badly attended. On May 12th, 1830, there was no quorum, nor at the next meeting, October 11, 1830, so the Encampment was adjourned to the stated meeting in December. We find the following note:
“I certify that no quorum ever after assembled, I met one or two only after the above note of an attempted meeting. Sir J. W. Rouse handed me over the books and papers all for me to deliver up to this Encampment, sometime in 1832, with a letter of resignation at the same time. The Books and Papers of the Grand Encampment of S. C. and all were flooded when Sir John May’s workshop was burned. I received the remains in January, 1840.
(Sign.) MOSES HOLBROOK, P. Gr. Commander.
Past Gr. M. of Gr. Encampment of South-Carolina.
(J. W. Rouse died 23d April, 1834.)
In 1835, resolutions of respect for the memory of Sir James Eyland were adopted by the G. G. Encampment. Sir Joe; R. Poinsett was elected G. G. Capt. G., but it does not appear that he was present. The record of the G. G. Encampment does not shew any representation from the G. Encampment of South-Carolina subsequent to 1829.
On the 14th October, 1841, seven of the former members of South-Carolina Encampment, among whom was the Grand Commander, J. S. Burges, met at Rame’s hall, in Meeting-street, for the purpose of reviving it, after its long nap of 11 years, 7 months and 5 days.
On 27th January, 1842, it was Resolved that the degree of Red Cross should be conferred on Sir Kn’t Benjamin Greer, on his paying $5. with the condition of his becoming a member of this Encampment, he having received the other degrees before n Europe.”
Sir J. K. Stapleton, D. G. G. Master, 17th May, 1843, issued his dispensation to our Encampment to continue its labours, it having lost its warrant by fire; but this instrument seems not to have been brought to the notice of the Encampment until the 19th October, 1843, by Rev. A. Case, the G. G. In 1844, the G. C., Sir A. Case, represented South-Carolina Encampment, in the G. G. Encampment, and, during this session, a charter was ordered to that Encampment free of charge, in consequence of the loss by fire of a former one. This charter was reported at the meeting on March 15, 1845, by the G. G., to have been received. On February 9, 1853, Joseph Hunter, P. D. G. M., Savannah, Ga., was made a K. R. C. and K. T., and, in token of respect, his fees were returned to him, and he was elected a life member.
In 1853, M\E\A. G. Mackey, as proxy for the G. C., represented our Encampment in the G. G. E; and was elected G. G. Warder.
During the year 1854, our Encampment lost, by the death of M. E. Sir Baker, P. G. C., one of the best officers which it has ever had. Those who knew him, as his brethren did, must ever fondly cherish his memory!
On 24th November, 1854, the Encampment passed a vote of thanks to the Grand Lodge for having recollected our Order when they repainted the Hall. The Recorder reported that we number 32 members, two of whom are life members.
On the 27th December, 1854, the Encampment acted as an escort to the Grand Lodge on the occasion of the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the formation of a Prov. Grand Lodge in South-Carolina.
The South-Carolina Encampment is the only one now in existence in this state.
I have, thus, my brethren! Endeavored to afford you a historical outline of the Order of Knights Templar, concluding with a short notice of Templary in South-Carolina. For an account of the military exploits of the Templars, I am much indebted to the valuable work of C. G. Addison, Esq., of the Inner Temple. But, Addison was not a Masonic Templar. His work is, therefore, imperfect in many respects. The true history of our Order can be written by none but a Freemason. I am not aware that this has ever been done. You may imagine, then, the difficulties which I have had to encounter, especially in attempting to trace the history of our Order subsequent to the death of DeMolay. From a mass of traditions existing in different countries, and of confused, and oftentimes contradictory, statements by various authors, I have had to collate, arrange and digest, rejecting some and adopting those only which I deemed worthy of credit. I lacked facts supported be dates. I have, too, in many instances, sought for “more light,” without being able to obtain it. Under these disadvantageous circumstances, there must, necessarily, be many errors and deficiencies in this production. I pray you, therefore, to be lenient in your criticism.
The History of our Order remains yet to be written. But it cannot be attempted by an American, alone and unaided. In fact, it cannot be written at all in this country; for we have not the materials. But this great work can and ought to be undertaken by the Templars of the United States. Let, therefore, the General Grand Encampment take this matter under their special protection, let them impose, for two years, a capitation tax of $2 per annum on each Templar under their jurisdiction, and the mighty work will be accomplished. Let them select a Brother who, from his great learning and his through knowledge of the principal modern languages, as well as the dead, is fully qualified for the work; let them send him to Europe, for two years, to ransack the immense libraries which have, in many places, been accumulating for ages; let them devote one half of the amount of money so raised to compensate this Brother for his personal services, and let the balance be appropriated to defraying his necessary traveling expense, and to procuring rare works, and copies of old manuscripts and medals which tend to throw light on this subject. Then would a history be written worthy of our illustrious Order, and the distinguished body which governs it in this country! The author of such a work would earn for himself an immortal reputation, and each individual Brother who contributed his mite would enjoy the delightful consciousness that the Masonic world was, in a measure, indebted to him for a work which would prove the great desideratum of the age.
Special Thanks to Dr. Glenys A. Waldman, Librarian of The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania (Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania) for a copy of this important paper.
(Re-typing this has been a labour of love. If there are any errors found, please let me know, and they will be corrected in a timely manner. Illustrious Brother Don Burbidge, 33º)
Return to Burbidge Web Page
Nothing from this website may be copied or reproduced, in part or whole, or in any manner, without the express written approval of the owner of this website or the author of the particular work. This includes, but is not limited to, all photos, stories, graphics, and information on this website.