Skip to content

Some remarks

Here is an example of Farwerck as Masonic historian. Farwerck published texts in a periodical called Bouwsteenen which was made available by two of his Masonic brothers. Later the subtitle was changed and another editor turned the periodical in a much less Masonic publication. Farwerck contributed but one text to this second version, a reaction to a text written by the new editor himself. Farwerck shows himself a well-read and critical writer.

I have again thrown my PDFs through an online OCR editor and translated it with the help of Google.

Within the text, a little leave is printed on several places. Perhaps where he would have liked a new alinea to start? I can’t reproduce that here, so I just show you the image.


BY B.J. v. d. ZUYLEN

In the June issue of “Bouwsteenen” of this year, the article “Some remarks about the Rosicrucians” points to the incorrect opinion that Freemasonry was created in 1717 and that there had been no Masonic lodges before. It was a good thing that this was stressed again, because 1717 is so well known as the year in which the first English Grand Lodge was founded, that many people feel that we are here at the beginning of Freemasonry. The year nor the Grand Lodge are the beginning of Freemasonry and the author rightly thinks that for that reason the English Grand Lodge cannot claim the veneration that is often cherished for it. But on the other hand it was the first organization to include a number of Masonic Lodges and to govern them according to established rules, and for that reason it certainly has the right to a very important place among the other Grand Lodges, Great Orients and Supreme Councils. So the year 1717 was not the beginning of Freemasonry and the author points out that before that, Masonic Lodges existed, not only in England, but also on the mainland. And he substantiates his claims by referring to Lantoine’s book: “La Franc-Maçonnerie Ecossaise en France“. Not only would Lantoine have shown that there were Lodges in France before 1717, but he would also have dealt with the fairy tale that Frederick the Great was the founder of the “Ancient and Adopted Scottish Rite”. Regarding the latter, Lantoine kicked in an open door here, because this had been done earlier and much more thoroughly by Begemann in his book: “Der Alte und Angenommene Schottische Ritus und Friedrich der Grosze“. Those who did not pay attention to it, will certainly not let Lantoine convince them, all the more where the latter also relies, among other things, on the very appreciated Begemann. The author also states that Lantoine shows that Ecossism, that is, Freemasonry, which has degrees above the first three, was brought from Scotland to France by followers of the Stuarts in 1689 when Jacob II fled to this country, on the run for Stadholder Willem III, who then ascended the English throne. This Ecossism was the basis for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the names of the degrees would still recall the history of the Stuarts. The author will not blame us if we notice that in the work of Lantoine he has read more than it says, and also that Lantoine claims more than he can prove. It is entirely our approval if one cleans up among legends such as the formation of the Scottish Rite by Frederick the Great or by the Jesuits, but one must not substitute one unproven hypothesis for another as a truth. Here the author of the article plus royaliste que le roi [seems uncertain], because Lantoine himself says of his assumption: “It seems to be certain that Ecossism. . . originated in our country. We say “it seems” because the fact remains debatable. ” (Page 4) Just as Lantoine does not prove that Ecossism originated in France, he does not show that Stuart’s followers were the founders or transferors. He cannot do this either, because the data is far too scarce for that. Data from before 1745 is almost completely missing. It was probably Thory who in 1812 hypothesized that Ramsay was the inventor of the higher degrees, and this legend has been repeated for decades, so that many considered it a historical fact. With Begemann, Gould and Le Forestier, to name but a few of the most astute researchers, Lantoine denies this hypothesis. But he holds on to the idea that Stuart’s supporters were the founders for political reasons. In the first place, he bases this on the following fact. A Masonic Lodge already existed in St. Germain-en-Laye in 1688. This town near Paris has been the home of the Pretender since 1689. The fact that the Pretender and his Scotsmen came when the Lodge had existed for at least a year, Lantoine easily steps over, and he also points out that many followers of the Pretender are mentioned (where?) as founders of Rites and Lodges and that Karel Eduard’s name (rightly or wrongly) appeared on many diplomas. But Karel Eduard lived from 1720-1788, so relatively late for our subject and Lantoine admits that his name on the diplomas is quite disputable. “Yes,” says Lantoine, “after having studied the issue for a long time, I am one of those who believe in the Jacobite origin of Ecossism” (p. 6), and he substantiates this mainly by the following: Already in 1739 an author had attributed French Freemasonry to James II. That view was later shared by several others, among others by the Grand Orator of the Supreme Council in 1875 and by Quartier-La-Tente in 1915. But such views are not proof to a serious investigator. Furthermore, Lantoine points out that already in 1788 Bonneville saw in the history of Charles I the legend of the third degree. This idea was adopted by many people. In 1824, the then Grandmaster associated some terms of the third degree with the death of Charles I, as did Thory in 1815 and Rebold in 1864. Were they right? Lantoine asks. He does not consider it impossible that the Hiram myth was explained in the higher degrees in this manner. But it is only an assumption and he does not provide any evidence. By the way, he himself believes that Bonneville’s view is debatable (Page 8). As further evidence, he quotes Gould ascertaining that in 1733 there was a Lodge of “Scottish Masters” in England. This is quite correct, but how does this prove the founding of higher degrees in France by Scots in 1689 or at least before 1717? Not at all. Furthermore, Lantoine considers it likely that English Freemasonry has borrowed from French Ecossism (Page 58). But nothing is known of that French Ecossism with certainty before 1745 and then it is only a guess to its existence, yet not as to form or content. It is again a bare assumption without any proof. He then assumes that the third degree arose in France, more or less inspired by the history of the Stuarts and that it was adopted in England, where it did not exist. Anyone who knows the Mysteries of Antiquity and the related myths will admit that the connection with the third degree and the Hiram myth can be found much sooner than in the history of the unfortunate Charles I. And if the third degree did not exist in England before 1724 is an open issue, just as the possible Irish origin. The very vague indications are nevertheless sufficient for Lantoine to say that the non-existence of the third degree in England allows us to believe that it came into being with the Scots in France (p. 6o) to continue without further proof to say two pages further: this is how it is and not otherwise. It is not our intention to criticize Lantoine’s proof in its entirety in detail. This would make a book as large as his. What makes Lantoine plausible is that there were already Loges in France before 1717, just as this was the case in Great Britain. And furthermore, that followers of Charles I were Freemasons. But one must look very critically at Lantoine’s fascinating line of argument in order to not accept his assumptions as proven facts. He does not prove that Freemasonry, which brought to France by the Scots, was different from the English version. He also does not prove that these Scots had higher degrees, nor that the foundations of the Ancient and Adopted Scottish Rites (as Rite of Perfection, as Empereurs de l’orient et de l’accident or whatever) were laid by the followers of the Stuarts.


2 thoughts on “Some remarks”

  1. Peter van Dortmondt

    Hartelijk dank voor deze zeer uitgebreide website over het leven van een heel bijzondere Broeder.
    Als Vrijmetselaar en geïnteresseerde in de geschiedenis van de vrijmetselarij, ben ik zeer aangenaam verrast door het boek van Farwerck: “ De Noordeuropese Mysteriën”.
    Ook uw website heeft mij al menig uurtje leesplezier gegeven. Waarvoor dank.

    Met een hartelijke en indien toepasbaar Broederlijke groet,

    Peter v.D.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *