The Mystery of Free-Masonry

The Daily Journal, August 22, 1730

At last the death of a brother, who for his own remembrance and observation, had seemed to have committed to writing the form and manner of his admission, which he kept among his choicest and most private papers, and in the most secret part of his cabinet, has given us a light into the mysterious Part of Entrance, and into their puerile Signs and Wonders. I shall not pretend to use many words to bespeak your reader’s belief of the genuineness of this MS., only referring him to the observations of the conduct of the Fraternity on this occasion, who will be sure to be either very angry, or very silent, or very zealous to decry it, if it be really what I in myself have abundant reason to be satisfied it is.

Your constant reader, F. G.


Q. Are you a Mason?

A. I am.

Q. How shall I know you are a Mason?

A. By Signs, Tokens, and the Points of my Entrance.

Q. How was you made?

A. Neither naked nor clothed, standing nor lying, but in due form.

Q. Give me a sign.

A. Every square is a sign, but the most solemn is the right-hand upon the left-breast, the arm hanging down, a little extended from the body.

Q. Give me a letter.

A. B. O. A. Z.

[When this is asked, you are to give the letter B., the querist will say O., you A., he Z.]

Q. Give me another.

A. J. A. C. H. I. N. (Alternatively as before.)

[N.B. Boaz and Jachin were two pillars in Solomon’s Porch, I Kings vii. 21]

Q. To what Lodge do you belong?

A. The Holy Lodge of St. John.

Q. How is it seated?

A. East and West, as all other temples are.

Q. Where was you enter’d?

A. In a Just and Perfect Lodge.

Q. What makes a Just and Perfect Lodge?

A. A Master, two Wardens, and four Fellows with Square, Compass, and Common Gudge.

[N.B. One of them must be a Working Mason.]

Q. Where was you made?

A. In the valley of Jehosaphat, behind a rush bush, where a dog was never heard to bark, and a cock to crow, or elsewhere.

Q. Where was the first Lodge kept?

A. In Solomon’s Porch, the pillars were called Jachin and Boaz.

Q. How many orders be there in architecture?

A. There be five, Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite or Roman.

Q. How many points are in the fellowship?

A. There be five, 1st Foot to Foot, 2d Knee to Knee, 3d Hand to Hand, 4th Heart to Heart, and 5th Ear to Ear.

Q. How do Masons take their place in work?

A. The Master’s place East, the Wardens West, and the Fellows the Eastern Passage.

Q. How many precious jewels be there in Masonry?

A. Three, the Master, Wardens, and Fellows.

Q. Whence comes the pattern of an arch?

A. From the rainbow.

Q. Is there a key for your Lodge?

A. Yes, there is.

Q. Where is it kept?

A. In an ivory box, between my tongue and my teeth, or under the lap of my liver, where the secrets of my heart are.

Q. Is there a chain to your key?

A. Yes, there is.

Q. How long is it?

A. As long as from my tongue to my heart.

Q. Where does the key to the working lodge lie?

A. It lies upon the right hand, from the door two feet and a half, under a green turf, or under a square ashlar.

Q. Where does the Master Mason set his mark upon the work?

A. Upon the South East Corner.

Q. Have you been in the kitchen?

[You shall know an Enter’d Apprentice by this question.]

A. Yes, I have.

Q. Did you ever dine in the hall?

[N.B. A Brother by this question.]

A. Yes, I did.

Q. How old are you?

A. Under 5, or under 7, which you will.

[N.B. When you are first made a Mason, you are only Enter’d Apprentice, and till you are made a Master, or, as they call it, pass’d the Master’s Part, you are only an Enter’d Apprentice, and consequently must answer under 7; for if you say above, they will expect the Master’s Word and Signs. Note: There is not one Mason in an hundred that will be at the expense to pass the Master’s Part, except it be for interest.]

Q. How was you admitted?

[N.B. Some will ask what was that form after the third question and answer above.]

A. When I came to the first door, a man with a drawn sword ask’d me, if I had any weapons. I answer’d, No. Upon which he let me pass by him into a dark entry, and conducted me from darkness into light, passing thro’ two rows of the Brotherhood, who stood mute, to the upper end of the room, from whence the Master went down the outside of one of the rows, and touching a young Brother on the shoulder, said, Who have we here? To which he answered, A gentleman who desires to be admitted a member of this Society. Upon which he came up again, and asked me if I came there thro’ my own desire, or at the request or desire of another? I said, My own. He then told me, if I would become a Brother of the Society, I must take the oath administr’d on that occasion. To which assenting, a square was laid on the ground, in which they made me kneel bare-knee’d, and giving a Compass into my right hand, I set the point to my left-breast, and my left-arm hanging down. The words of the oath follows:

“I promise, in the presence of Almighty God, and this worshipful assembly, that I will conceal, and not reveal the secrets or secrecy of Masons or Masonry, what I know now, or what I shall hereafter; and that I will neither write them, mock them, print them, nor engrave them, by any letter or character, upon anything moveable or immoveable; and I will neither speak them, rehearse them, or divulge them, to man, woman, or child, so that they may be unlawfully known, unless to a Brother, and that upon due examination had of the Signs and Tokens of his Entrance. And if I fail in any of these, I promise to submit my throat to be cut, my tongue to be torn from the roof of my mouth, my heart to be pluck’d from my left breast, and buried in the sands of the sea, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, my bones to be dug up and burnt to ashes, and then sifted over those seas, where the four winds blow, that they may be dispers’d, and there be no more remembrance of me.”

After which I was clothed.

[N.B. The clothing is putting on the apron and gloves.]

Q. How was the Master clothed?

A. In a yellow jacket and blue pair of breeches.

[N.B. The Master is not otherwise clothed than common, the question and answer are only emblematical; the yellow jacket, the Compasses; and the blue breeches, the Steel Points.]

Q. What was you doing while the oath was tendering?

A. I was kneeling bare-knee’d betwixt the Bible and the Square, taking the solemn oath of a Mason.

[N.B. There’s a Bible put in the right hand, and the Square under the right elbow.]