Ref :



We have seen, in the preceding chapter, that Nicolai had sought to

trace the origin of Freemasonry to a society organized in 1646 by

a sect of philosophers who were contemporary with, but entirely

distinct from, those who founded the Royal Society.  Though he does

not explicitly state the fact,  yet, from the names of the persons

to whom he refers, there can be no doubt that he alluded to the

Astrologers, who at that time were very popular in England.


Judicial astrology, or the divination of the future by the stars,

was, of all the delusions to which the superstition of the Middle

Ages gave birth, the most popular.  It prevailed over all Europe,

so that it was practiced by the most learned, and the predictions

of its professors were sought with avidity and believed with

confidence by the most wealthy and most powerful. Astrologers often

formed a part of the household of princes, who followed their

counsels in the most important matters relating to the future,

while men and women of every rank sought these charlatans that they

might have their nativities cast and secure the aid of their occult

art in the recovery of stolen goods or the prognostications of

happy marriages or of successful journeys.


Astrology was called the Daughter of Astronomy, and the scholars

who devoted themselves to the study of the heavenly bodies for the

purposes of pure science were often called upon to use their

knowledge of the stars for the degrading purpose of astrological

predictions.  Kepler, the greatest astronomer of that age, was

compelled against his will to pander to the popular superstition,

that he might thus gain a livelihood and be enabled to pursue his

nobler studies.  In one of his works he complains that the scanty

reward of an astronomer would not provide him with bread, if men

did not entertain hopes of reading the future in the heavens. And

so he tampered with the science that he loved and adorned, and made

predictions for inquisitive consulters, although, at the same time,

he declared to his friends that "they were nothing but worthless



Cornelius Agrippa, though he cultivated alchemy, a delusion but

little more respectable than that of astrology, when commanded by

his patroness, the Queen mother of France, to practice the latter,

expressed his annoyance  at the task.  Of the Astrologers he said,

in his great work on the Vanity of the Arts and Sciences, "these

fortune tellers do find entertainment among princes and

magistrates, from whom they receive large salaries; but, indeed,

there is no class of men who are more pernicious to a commonwealth.

For, as their skill lies in the adaptation of ambigu ous

predictions to events after they have happened, so it happens that

a man who lives by falsehood shall by one accidental truth obtain

more credit than he will lose by a hundred manifest errors."


The 16th and 17th centuries were the golden age of astrology in

England. We know all that is needed of this charlatanism and of the

character of its professors from the autobiography of William

Lilly, himself an English astrologer of no mean note; perhaps,

indeed, the best-educated and the most honest of those who

practiced this delusion in England in the 17th century, and who is

one of those to whom Nicolai ascribes the formation of that secret

society, in 1646, which invented Freemasonry.


It will be remembered that Nicolai says that of the society of

learned men who established Freemasonry, the first members were

Elias Ashmole, the skillful antiquary, who was also a student of

astrology, William Lilly, a famous astrologer, George Wharton,

likewise an astrologer, William Oughtred, a mathematician, and some

others.  He also says that the annual festival of the Astrologers

gave rise to this association. "It had previously held ," says

Nicolai, "one meeting at Warrington, in Lancashire, but it was

first firmly established at London."


Their meetings, the same writer asserts, were held at Masons' Hall,

in Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street.  Many of them were members of

the Masons' Company, and they all entered it and assumed the title

of Free and Accepted Masons, adopting, besides, all its external

marks of distinction.


Such is the theory which makes the Astrologers, incorporating

themselves with the Operative Masons, who met at their Hall in

Basinghall  Street, the founders of the Speculative Order of Free

and Accepted Masons  as they exist at the present day.


It is surprising that in a question of history a man of letters of

the reputation of Nicolai should have indulged in such bold

assumptions and in statements so wholly bare of authority.  But

unfortunately it is thus that Masonic history has always been



I shall strive to eliminate the truth from the fiction in this

narrative.  The task will be a laborious one, for, as Goethe has

well said in one of his maxims " It is much easier to perceive

error than to find truth.  The former lies on the surface, so that

it is easily reached ; the latter lies in the depth, which it is

not every man's business to search for."


The Astrologers, to whose meeting in the Masons' Hall is ascribed

the origin of the Freemasons, were not a class of persons who would

have been likely to have united in such an attempt, which showed at

least a desire for some intellectual progress.  Lilly, perhaps the

best-educated and the most honest of these charlatans, has in the

narrative of his life, written by himself, given us some notion of

the character of many of them who lived in London when he practiced

the art in that city. (1)


Of Evans, who was his first teacher, he tells us that he was a

clergyman - of Staffordshire, whence he " had been in a manner

enforced to fly for some offences very scandalous committed by him

" ; of another astrologer, Alexander Hart, he says " he was but a

cheat." Jeffry Neve he calls, a smatterer; William Poole was a

frequenter of taverns with  lewd people and fled on one occasion

from London under the suspicion of complicity in  theft; John

Booker, though honest was ignorant of his profession ; William

Hodges dealt with angels, but " his life answered not in holiness

and sanctity to what it should," for he was addicted to profanity;

and John A Windsor was given to debauchery.


Men of such habits of life were not likely to interest themselves

in the advancement of science or in the establishment of a society

of speculative  philosophers.  It is true that these charlatans

lived at an earlier period than  that ascribed by Nicolai to the



(1) "The Life of William Lilly, Student in Astology, wrote by

himself in the 66th year of his Age, at Hersham, in the Parish of

Walton upon Thames, in the County of Surrey, Propria Manu."


of the society in Masons' Hall, but in the few years that elapsed

it is not probable that the disciples of astrology had much

improved in their moral or intellectual condition.


Of certain of the men named by Nicolai as having organized the

Society of Freemasons in 1646, we have some knowledge.  Elias

Ashmole, the celebrated antiquary, and founder of the Ashmolean

Museum in the University of Oxford, is an historical character.  He

wrote his own life, in the form of a most minute diary, extending

from July 2, 1633, to October 9, 1687. In this diary, in which he

registers the most trivial as well as the most important events of

his life-recording even the cutting of his wisdom teeth, or the

taking of a sudorific-he does not make the slightest allusion to

the transaction referred to by Nicolai.  The silence of so babbling

a chronicler as to such an important event is itself sufficient

proof that it did not occur. What Ashmole has said about

Freemasonry will be presently seen.


Lilly, another supposed actor in this scene, also wrote his life

with great minuteness.  His complete silence on the subject is

equally suggestive. Nicolai says that the persons he cites were

either already members of the Company of Masons or at once became

so.  Now, Lilly was a member of the Salter's Company, one of the

twelve great livery companies, and would not have left it to join

a minor company, which the Masons was.


Oughtred could not have been united with Ashmole in organizing a

society in 1646, for the latter, in a note to Lilly's life, traces

his acquaintance with him to the residence of both as neighbors in

Surrey.  Now, Ashmole did not remove to Surrey until the year 1675,

twenty nine years after his supposed meeting with Oughtred at the

Masons Hall.


Between Wharton and Lilly, who were rival almanac-makers, there

was, in 1646, a bitter feud, which was not reconciled until years

afterward.  In an almanac which Wharton published in 1645 he had

called Lilly " an impudent, senseless fellow, and by name William

Lilly." It is not likely that they would have been engaged in the

fraternal task of organizing a great society at that very time.


Dr. Pearson, another one of the supposed founders, is celebrated in

literary and theological history as the author of an Exposition of

the Creed.  Of  a  man  so  prominent  as  to  have  been  the

Master  of  Jesus College, Cambridge, and afterward Bishop of

Chester, Ashmole makes no mention in his diary.  If he had ever met

him or been engaged with him in so important an affair, this

silence in so minute a journal of the transactions of his every-day

life would be inexplicable.


But enough has been said to show the improbability of any such

meeting as Nicolai records. Even Ashmole and Lilly, the two

leaders, were unknown to each other until the close of the year

1646.  Ashmole says in his diary of that year: Mr. Jonas Moore

brought and acquainted me with Mr. William Lilly: it was on a

Friday night, and I think on the 20th Nov. (1646)."


That there was an association, or a club or society, of Astrologers

about that time in London is very probable.  Pepys, in his memoirs,

says that in October, 166o, he went to Mr. Lilly's, "there being a

club that night among his friends." There he met Esquire Ashmole

and went home accompanied by Mr. Booker, who, he says, " did tell

me a great many fooleries, which may be done by nativities, and

blaming Mr. Lilly for writing to please his friends, and not

according to the rules of art, by which he could not well eue as he

had done" The club, we may well suppose, was that of the

Astrologers, held at the house of the chief member of the

profession.  That it was not a secret society we conclude from the

fact that Pepys, who was no astrologer, was permitted to be

present.  We know also from Ashmole's diary that the Astrologers

held an annual feast, generally in August, sometimes in March,

July, or November, but never on a Masonic festival.  Ashmole

regularly attended it from 1649 to 1658, when it was suspended, but

afterward revived, in 1682.  In 1650 he was elected a steward for

the following year he mentions the place of meeting only three

times, twice at Painters' Hall, which was probably the usual place,

and once at the Three Cranes, in Chancery Lane. Had the Astrologers

and the Masons been connected, Masons' Hall, in  Basinghall Street,

would certainly have been the place for holding their feast.


Again, it is said by Nicolai that the object of this secret society

which organized the Freemasons was to advance the restoration of

the King.  But Lilly had made, in 1645, the year before the

meeting, this declaration: "Before that time, I was more Cavalier

than Roundbead, but after that I engaged body and soul the cause of

Parliament." He still expressed, it is  true, his attachment to

monarchy; but his life during the Commonwealth showed his devotion

to Cromwell, of whom he was a particular favorite.  After the

Restoration he had to sue out a pardon, which was obtained by the

influence of his friends, but which would hardly have been

necessary if he had been engaged in a secret society the object of

which was to restore Charles II to the throne.


But Charles I was not beheaded until 1649, so that a society could

not have been organized in 1646 for the restoration of his son.

But it may be said that the Restoration alluded to was of the

monarchy, which at that time was virtually at an end.  So this

objection may pass without further comment.


But the fact is that the whole of this fiction of the organization,

1646, of a secret society by a set of philosophers or astrologers,

or both, which resulted in the establishment of Freemasonry, arose

out of a misconception or a misrepresentation-whether willful or

not, I will not say-of two passages in the diary of Elias Ashmole.

Of these two passages, and they are the only ones in his minute

diary of fifty-four years in which there is any mention of

Freemasonry, the first is as follows :


"1646, Octob. 16- 4 Hor. 30 minutes post merid.  I was made a Free-

Mason at Warrington in Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwarring

of Karticham in Cheshire; the names of those that were then at the

lodge, Mr. Richard Penket Warden, Mr. James Collier, Mr. Richard

Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, and Hugh Brewer."


And then, after an interval of thirty-five years, during which

there is no further allusion to Masonry, we find the following

memoranda: " 1682, Mar. 10.  About 5 Hor. Post merid.  I received

a summons to appear at a lodge to be held the next day at Masons

Hall, London.


II. Accordingly I went, and about noon was admitted into the

fellowship of Freemasons, by Sir William Wilson Knight, Captain

Richard Borthwick, Mr. William Wodman, Mr. William Grey, Mr. Samuel

Taylour, and Mr. William Wise.


" I was the senior fellow among them (it being thirty-five years

since I was admitted) there was present besides myself, the fellows

after mentioned. Mr. Thomas Wise, Master of the Masons Company,

this present year; Mr. Thomas Shorthose, Mr. Thomas Shadbolt,

Wardsford, Esq; Mr. Nicholas Young, Mr. John Shorthose, Mr. William

Hamon, Mr. John Thompson, and Mr. William Stanton. We all dined at

the Half-Moon-Tavern, in Cheapside, at a noble dinner prepared at

the charge of the new accepted Masons."


Without the slightest show of reason or semblance of authority,

Nicolai transmutes the Lodge at Warrington, in which Ashmole was

made a Freemason, into an annual feast of the Astrologers.  The

Society of Astrologers, he says, "had previously held one meeting

at Warrington, in Lancashire, but it was first firmly established

at London." And he cites as His authority for this statement the

very passage from Ashinole's diary in which that antiquary records

his reception in a Masonic Lodge.


These events in the life of Ashmole, which connect him with the

Masonic fraternity, have given considerable embarrassment to

Masonic scholars who have been unable to comprehend the two

apparently conflicting statements that he was made a Freemason at

Warrington in 1646 and afterward received into the fellowship of

the Freemasons, in 1682, at London.  The embarrassment and

misapprehension arose from the fact that we have unfortunately no

records of the meetings of the Operative Lodges of England in the

17th century, and nothing but traditional and generally mythical

accounts of their usages during that period.


The sister kingdom of Scotland has been more fortunate in this

respect, and the valuable work of Brother Lyon, on the History of

the Lodge of Edinborough, has supplied us with authentic records of

the Scottish Lodges at a much earlier date.  These records will

furnish us with some information in respect to the contemporaneous

English Lodges which was have every reason to suppose were governed

by usages not very different from those of the Lodges in the

adjacent kingdom. Mr. Lyon has on this subject the following

remarks, which may be opportunely quoted on the present occasion.


" The earliest date at which non-professionals are known to have

been received into an English Lodge is 1646.  The evidence of this

is derived from the diary of one of the persons so admitted ; but

the preceding minutes (1) afford authentic instances of Speculative

Masons having been admitted to the fellowship of the Lodge of 


(1) Minutes of the Lodge of Cannongate, Kilwinning, for 1635,

quoted by him in a precedding page.


Edinburgh twelve years prior to the reception of Colonel Main

warring and Elias Ashmole in the Lodge of Warrington and thirty-

eight years before the date at which the presence of Gentleman

Masons is first discernible in the Lodge of Kilwinning by the

election of Lord Cassillis to the deaconship.  It is worthy of

remark that, with singularly few exceptions, the non-operatives who

were admitted to Masonic fellowship in the Lodges of Edinburgh and

Kilwinning, during the 17th century, were persons of quality, the

most distinguished of whom, as the natural result of its

metropolitan position, being made in the former Lodge.  Their

admission to fellowship in an institution composed of Operative

Masons associated together for purposes of their Craft would in all

probability originate in a desire to elevate its position and

increase its influence, and once adopted, the system would further

recommend itself to the Fraternity by the opportunities which it

presented for cultivating the friendship and enjoying the society

of gentlemen to whom in ordinary circumstances there was little

chance of their ever being personally known.  On the other hand,

non-professionals connecting themselves with the Lodge by the ties

of membership would, we believe, be actuated partly by a

disposition to reciprocate the feelings that had prompted the

bestowal of the fellowship partly by curiosity to penetrate the

arcana of the Craft, and partly by the novelty of the situation as

members of a secret society and participants in its ceremonies and

festivities.  But whatever may have been the rnotives which

animated the parties on either side, the tie which united them was

a purely honorary one." (1)


What is here said by Lyon of the Scottish Lodges may, I think, be

with equal propriety applied to those of England at the same

period.  There was in 1646 a Lodge of Operative Masons at

Warrington, just as there was a similar one at Edinburgh.  Into

this Lodge Colonel Mainwarring and Elias Ashmole, both non-

professional gentlemen, were admitted as honorary members, or, to

use the language of the latter, were " made Freemasons," a

technical term that has been preserved to the present day.


But thirty-five years afterward, being then a resident of London,

he was summoned to attend a meeting of the Company of Masons, to be

held at their hall in Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street,


(1) Lyon, "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 81


and there, according to His own account, he was " admitted into the

fellowship of Freemasons." How are we to explain this apparent

double or renewed admission ? But mark the difference of language.

In 1646 he was "made a Freemason."  In 1682 he was admitted into

the fellowship of Freemasons." The distinction is an important one.


The Masons' Company in 1682 constituted in London one of those many

city companies which embraced the various trades and handicrafts of

the metropolis.  Stowe, in his Survey of London, says that " the

Masons, otherwise termed Freemasons, were a society of ancient

standing and  good reckoning, by means of affable and kind meetings

divers time, and as a loving brotherhood should use to do, did

frequent their mutual assemblies in the time of King Henry IV, in

the 12th year of whose most gracious reign they were incorporated."


In Cheswell's New View of London, printed in 1708, it is said that

the Masons' Company "were incorporated about the year 1410, having

been called the Free Masons, a Fraternity of great account, ,who

have been honored by several Kings, and very many of the Nobility

and Gentry being of their Society.  They are governed by a Master,

2 Wardens, 25 Assistants, and there are 65 on the Livery.  "


Maitland, in his London and its Environs, says, speaking of the

Masons: "This company had their arms granted by Clarencieux, King-

at-Arms, in the year 1477, though the members were not incorporated

by letters patent till they obtained them from King Charles II. in

1677.  They have a small convenient hall in Masons' Alley,

Basinghall Street."


There were then, in the time of Ashmole, two distinct bodies of men

practicing the Craft of Operative Masonry, namely, the Lodges which

were to be found in various parts of the country, and the Company

of Masons, whose seat was at London.


Into one of the Lodges, which was situated at Warrington, in

Lancashire, Ashmole had in 1646 received honorary membership,

which, in compliance with the technical language of that and of the

present day, he called being "made a Freemason." But this did not

constitute him a member of the Masons' Company of London, for this

was a distinct incorporated society, with its exclusive rules and

regulations, and admission into which could only be obtained by the

consent of the members.  There were many Masons who were not

members of the Company.


Ashmole, who had for thirty-five years been a Freemason, by virtue

of his  making at Warrington, was in 1682 elected a member of this

Masons' Company, and this he styles being "admitted into the

fellowship of Freemasons "-that is, he was admitted to the

fellowship or membership of the Company and made " free " of it.


From all of which we may draw the following conclusions: First,

that in 1646, at the very date assigned by Nicolai for the

organization of the Freemasons as a secret political society, under

the leadership of Ashmole and Lilly, the former, being as yet

unacquainted with the latter, was at Warrington, in Lancashire,

where he found a Lodge of Masons already organized and with its

proper officers and its members, by whom he was admitted as an

honorary non-professional member of the Craft.  And secondly, that

while in London be was admitted, being already a Freemason, to the

fellowship of the Masons' Company.  And thirdly, that he was also

a  member of the fraternity of Astrologers, having been admitted

probably in 1649, and regularly attended their annual feast from

that year to 1658, when the festival, and perhaps the fraternity,

was suspended until 1682, when it was again revived.  But during

all this time it is evident from the memoranda of Ashmole that the

Freemasons and the Astrologers were two entirely distinct bodies.

Lilly, who was the head of the Astrologers, was, we may say almost

with certainty, not a Freemason, else the spirit of minuteness with

which he has written his autobiography would not have permitted him

to omit what to his peculiar frame of maid would have been so

important a circumstance as connecting him still more closely with

his admired friend, Elias Ashmole, nor would the latter have

neglected to record it in his diary, written with even still

greater minuteness than Lilly's memoirs.


Notwithstanding the clear historical testimony which shows that

Lodges of Freemasons had been organized long before the time of

Ashmok, and that he had actually been made a Freemason in one of

them, many writers, both Masonic and profane, have maintained the

erroneous doctrine that Ashmole was the founder of the Masonic



'Thus Chambers, in their Encyclopedia say that " Masonry was

founded by Ashmole some of his literary friends," and De Quincey

expressed the same opinion.


Mr. John Yarker, in his very readable Notes on the Scientific and

Religious Mysteries of Antiquity, offers a modified view and a

compromise of the subject.  He refers to the meeting of the

chemical adepts at Masons' Hall (a fact of which we have no

evidence), and then to the " Feast of the Astrologers " which

Ashmole attended.  He follows Nicolai in asserting that their

allegories were founded on Bacon's House of Solomon, and says that

they used as emblems the sun, moon, square, triangle, etc.  And he

concludes, " it is possible that Ashmole may have consolidated the

customs  of the two associations, but there is no evidence that any

Lodge of this, his speculative rite, came under the Masonic

Constitution."' (1)


We may also say that it is possible that Ashmole may have invented

a speculative rite of some kind, but there is no evidence that he

did so.  Many things are possible that are not probable, and many

probable that are not actual.  History is made up of facts, and not

of possibilities or probabilities.


Ashmole himself entertained a very different and much more correct

notion of the origin of Masonry than any of those who have striven

to claim him as its founder.


Dr. Knipe, of Christ Church, Oxford, in a letter to the publisher

of Ashmole's Life, says: " What from Mr. E. Ashmole's collections

I could gather was, that the report of our society's taking rise

from a bull granted by the Pope in the reign of Henry III, to some

Italian architects to travel over all Europe, to erect chapels, was

illfounded.  Such a bull there was, and these architects were

Masons; but this bull, in the opinion of the learned Mr. Ashmole,

was confirmative only, and did not, by any means, create our

Fraternity, or even establish them in this kingdom."


This settles the question.  Ashmole could not have been the founder

of Freemasonry in London in 1646, since he himself expressed the

belief that the Institution had existed in England before the 13th



There is no doubt, as I have already said, that he was very

intimately connected with the Astrologers.  Dr. Krause, in his

Three Oldest Documents of the Masonic Brotherhood, quotes the

following passage from Lilly's History of my Life and Titles. (I

can not


(1) "Notes on the Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity,"

p. 106

(2) "Die drei altesten Kunsturkunden der Freimaurerbruderschaft,"

IV., 286


find it in my own copy of that work, but the statements are

corroborated by Ashmole's diary.) "


"The King's affairs being now grown desperate, Mr. Ashmole withdrew

himself, after the surrender of the Garrison of Worcester, into

Cheshire, where he continued till the end of October, and then came

up to London, where he became acquainted with Master, afterwords

Sir Jonas Moore, Mr.  William Lilly, and Mr. John Booker, esteemed

the greatest astrologers iii the world, by whom he was caressed,

instructed and received into their fraternity, which then made a

very considerable figure, as appeared by the great resort of

persons of distinction to their annual feast, of which Mr. Ashmole

was afterwards elected Steward."


Ashmole left Worcester for Cheshire July 24, 1646, and moved from

Cheshire to London October 25, of the same year.  In that interval

of three months he was made a Freemason, at Warrington.  At that

time he was not acquainted with Lilly, Moore, or Booker, and knew

nothing of astrology or of the great astrologers.


This destroys the accuracy of Nicolai's assertion that the meeting

held at Masons' Hall, in 1682, by Ashmole, Lilly, and other

astrologers, when they founded the Society of Freemasons, was

preceded by a similar and initiatory one, in 1646, at Warrington.


A few words must now be said upon the subject of Bacon's House of

Solomon, which Nicolai and others supposed to have first given rise

to the Masonic allegory which was afterward changed to that of the

Temple of Solomon.


Bacon, in his fragmentary and unfinished romance of the New

Atlantis, had devised the fable of an island of Bensalem, in which

was an institution or college called the House of Solomon, the

fellows of which were to be students of philosophy and

investigators of science.  He thus described their occupations :


"We have twelve that sail into foreign countries, who bring in the

books and patterns of experiments of all other parts ; these we

call merchants of light.  We have three that collect the

experiments that are in all books; these are called depredators.

We have three that collect experiments of all mechanical arts, and

also of liberal sciences, and also of practices which are not

brought into the arts; these we call mystery men.  We have three

that try new experiments such as themselves think good; these we

call pioneers or miners. We have three that draw the experiments of

the former four into titles and  tablets to give the better light

for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them; these we

call compilers.  We have three that bind themselves looking into

the experiments of their fellows and cast about how to draw out of

them things of use and practice for man's life and knowledge as

well for iworks as for plain demonstrations and the easy and clear

discovering of the virtues and parts of bodies ; these we call

doing men and benefactors. Then after divers meetings and consults

of our whole number to consider of the former labors and

collections, we have three to take care out of them to direct new

experiments of higher light, more penetrating into nature than the

former; these we call lamps.  We have three others that do execute

the experiments so directed and report them ; these we call

inoculators.  Lastly we have three that raise the former

discoveries by experiments into greater observations, axioms and

aphorisms; these we call interpreters of nature." (1)


It is evident from this schedule of the occupations of the inmates

of the House of Solomon that it could not in the remotest degree

have been made the foundatiort of a Masonic allegory.  In fact, the

suggestion of a Masonic connection could have been derived only

from a confused idea of the relation of the House to the Temple of

Solomon, a misapprehension which a reading of the New Atlantis

would readily remove.


As Plato had written his Republic and Sir Thomas More his Utopia to

give their ideas of a model commonwealth, so Lord Bacon commenced

his New Atlantis to furnish his idea of a model college to be

instituted for the study and interpretation of nature by

experimental methods. These views were first introduced in his

Advancement of Human Learning, and would have been perfected in his

New Atlantis had he ever completed it.


The new philosophy of Bacon had produced a great revolution in the

minds of thinking men, and that group of philosophers who in the

17th century, as Dr. Whewell says, "began to knock at the door

where truth was to be found " would very wisely seek the key in the

inductive and experimental method taught by Bacon.


To the learned men, therefore, who first met at the house of Dr.

Goddard and the other members, and whose meetings finally ended in

the formation of the Royal Society, the allegory of the House of


(1) "New Atlantis," Works, vol. ii., p. 376


Solomon very probably furnished valuable hints  for the pursuit of

their experimental studies.


To Freemasons in any age the allegory would have been useless and

unprofitable, and could by no ingenious method have been twisted

into a foundation for their symbolic science The hypothesis that it

was adopted in 1646 by the founders of Freemasonry as a fitting

allegory for their esoteric system of instruction is evidently too

absurd to need further refutation.


In conclusion, we may unhesitatingly concur with Bro.  W. J.

Elughan in his opinion that the theory which assigns the foundation

of Freemasonry to Elias Ashmole and his friends the Astrologers "

is opposed to existing documents dating before and since his

initiation." It is equally opposed to the whole current of

authentic history, and is unsupported by the character of the

Institution and true nature of its symbolism.

Ref :