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National Grand Lodge of all German Freemasons

Source: THE HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY of Robert Freke Gould


IV. The National Grand Lodge of all German Freemasons at Berlin. 1 The above title of this Grand Lodge is not now and never was justified. It is a barefaced usurpation. The Lodge never has been national in the way claimed, as embracing all Germany, and even at its birth was not so in the more restricted sense as applying to Prussia, where the National Grand Mother Lodge of the Three Globes already existed. That it assumed until quite recently to be the only legal Grand Lodge in Germany, that it to this day poses as infallible, the only true exponent of Freemasonry with the sole exception of Sweden, is, how- ever, only in perfect keeping with the imperious temper of its founder. From its inception the Lodge has been dictatorial and oppressive towards its own daughters; scornful and even impertinent towards its equals ; boastful of its own superior light, yet persistently shrouding itself in darkness ; founded by a violation of all masonic legality, yet a stickler for legal forms when they suit its own convenience ; revolutionary at its birth, and ever since most rigidly conservative. Nevertheless this Grand Lodge is the second largest in Germany, and has produced Masons of the highest culture, whose very names must always remain an honour to the Fraternity. Zinnendorff and his immediate friends and successors knew their own minds at a time when their German brethren were vacillating between Clermont degrees, Strict Observance Pates, Eosicrucianism, ct hoc genus omne, and so knowing, carried out their views astutely, ruthlessly, and persistently— with the success that usually attends all well- directed efforts. No official history of this Grand Lodge has ever been published; its partisans speak with awe of its ancient documents, and hide them from the gaze of the student. Like holy relics they are only accessible to devout believers ; nay, even a complete book of Constitutions has never been placed within reach of the public ; and Worshipful Masters, in order to govern their Lodges, have been constrained to gather together the decisions pronounced at various times by the Grand Lodge, each thus forming for himself a species of digest of the common law as settled by decided cases. Such a collection has been made in Vol. xxvi. of the " Latomia," and will be used by me ; my other facts I have had to collect from divers sources, but many gaps still remain to be filled up.

The early annals of this Grand Lodge are indissolubly connected with Zinnendorff, one of the most remarkable and perhaps unscrupulous Masons of whom we have any record. Ellenberger was his patronymic, and he was born August 11, 1731, at Halle; but, being adopted by his mother's brother, took his uncle's name of Zinnendorff. He followed the medical profession, and rose to be the chief of that department in the Prussian army, retiring in 1779. His initiation took place at Halle, March 13, 1757. When he joined a Berlin Lodge, or even which Lodge it was, are alike unknown ; but he was one of the early members of the Berlin Chapter of Jerusalem. We have already seen how Schubart, the Deputy GM. of the "Three Globes," was in November 1763 won over by Von Hund. Schubart's first step was to despatch a letter in Von Hund's interest to the " Three Globes," which was to be opened in the presence of 24 brethren, who were specified. On its arrival, Zinnendorff and three others being with Von Printzen, the G.M., Zinnendorff persuaded

1 The literal trauslation of the German title is "Grand Lodge of the Country." I therefore reject as a barbarism the accepted designation " Grand Countries Lodge "—a phrase which proclaims either a contempt for, or an ignorance of, the structure of both the German and English tongues ; it is not English, and it is not German, because Laudcs is not the plural of Land, which would be Lander, but its genitive singular. VOL. III. 2 K

thein to open the letter then and there, and to extenuate their fault as an excess of zeal. Schubart being asked " for more light," insisted upon the letter being shown to the others, and as a result Zinnendorff and Kriiger were selected to visit Von Hund. Probably from selfish motives, the former of these emissaries appeared alone, saying that the latter was ill, but this was afterwards denied by Kriiger, who ultimately arrived on the scene. Zinnendorff signed the act of Strict Observance (or Unquestioning Obedience), August 24, 1764, was knighted by Von Hund October 30, and made Prefect of Templin, i.e., Berlin, on the 6th.

In June 1765 Zinnendorff was elected G.M. of the Three Globes, possibly because the Lodge was already tending towards the Strict Observance sytem, of which he was the resident chief in Berlin. Scarcely was he installed before complaints arose of his arbitrary pro- ceedings and haughty independence, not only from his Masonic, but also from his Templar subjects. Almost his first act was to despatch his friend Baumann to Stockholm in order to obtain information there respecting the Swedish rite. The requisite funds were taken from the treasury of the Three Globes, though the Lodge was not consulted either with regard to the mission or the appropriation of its money— and, worst of all, Zinnendorff kept for his own use the information so acquired, at a cost to the Lodge for travelling expenses of 1100 thalers. Baumann obtained from Dr Eckleff not only the rituals of the Swedish High Degrees, but a warrant of constitution; and Findel states that the latter was 220 ducats in pocket by the transaction. 1 It is a somewhat important point to decide whether Eckleff 2 was at this time G.M. of the Grand Lodge of Sweden, or merely, as the Swedish Grand Lodge subsequently affirmed, the Head-Master of the Scots Chapter at Stockholm. We have already seen that the Grand Lodge of Sweden was formed in 1759, and that on December 7, 1762, the King assumed the Protectorate, so that the probability is that he was virtually its G.M. But even if Eckleff were at the time G.M., it is obvious that if he acted in the matter without the knowledge of Grand Lodge, the step was equally ultra vires. Both these grounds were alleged when, in 1777, Sweden repudiated Zinnendorff; but on the other hand, it should be mentioned that as late as 1776, the Swedish authorities were in close and fraternal correspondence with him, and these intimate relations must be held to have condoned any irregularities in the initial stages.

In 1766 the Berlin Templars complained strongly of the impossibility of obtaining any financial statements from Zinnendorff, but Kriiger, who was sent by them on a mission to Von Hund, advised the Prov. G.M. to treat him delicately, because he might become dangerous and create scandal — another testimony to the character of the man.

In June 1766 Zinnendorff was not re-elected G.M. of the Three Globes, but of course retained his office as Prefect of Templin (which was not elective), and on August 9 the Three Globes formally joined Von Hund's system. The financial dispute between Zinnendorff and the Three Globes now assumed a threatening aspect, so Schubart and Bode were deputed to arrange matters in July 1766. Zinnendorff being called to account, made up a statement on the spur of the moment, showing that, even admitting for argument's sake the debt of 1100 thalers, there still remained 800 thalers owing to him. In the interests of peace and quietness it was at length decided to let the matter drop on both sides. On November 16, 1766, 1 Findel, Gcsch. tier Freim., 4tli edit., p. 419. For the preceding facts concerning Zinnendorff, as well as for much that follows, see Allgemeines Handbuch, s.v. " Anlc, p. 196.


Zinnendorff wrote a formal letter to Von Hund renouncing the Strict Observance ; and on May 6, 1767, he resigned the Three Globes. By the " Three Globes," however, as well as by the Provincial Chapter of Von Hund, a sentence of expulsion was passed upon him, and from that moment he became the bitter and confirmed enemy of the Strict Observance system. 1

In 1768, " by virtue of his inherent power," i.e., as a Scots Master, Zinnendorff erected his first Lodge on the Swedish system in Potsdam; 3 on August 10, 1769, his second, the Three Golden Keys, in Berlin— of which he became W.M., 3 and— November 3, 1769— he instituted the Scots or St Andrew's Lodge " Indissoluble " in Berlin. His conversion of two clandestine Swedish Lodges at Hamburg in 1770 to his own rite has already been noticed, 4 in fact such was his energy and activity, that before midsummer 1770 he had already 12 Lodges at work.

Then began a series of attempts to obtain a patent enabling him to erect a Grand Lodge. He first of all applied to the High Chapter at Stockholm, but his request was refused on the ground that Sweden never constituted Lodges abroad, a statement tending to invalidate Eckleff's proceedings. Undaunted, Zinnendorff called his 12 Lodges together and proclaimed the " National Grand Lodge for all German Freemasons." 5 According to his view none but those of his own rite were entitled to be called Freemasons, and least of all, the brethren under the Strict Observance. I have been unable to glean any particulars of the primary organisation of this Grand Lodge, but from subsequent facts I believe it to have been (in theory) repre- sentative, and that all Masters (in office) were members. As the election of these Masters, however, was invalid unless approved by the Grand Lodge, the system of representation was defective and a sham, because the Grand Lodge practically became self elective. Now, although Zinnendorff always professed the greatest contempt for the Grand Lodge of England as being deficient in true knowledge— and possessing the shell only, of which he and the Swedish Masons held the kernel— yet his advances meeting with no encouragement from Sweden, he made application to London— March 29, 1771— requesting recognition as a Grand Lodge, partly on the ground of possessing superior degrees, and partly from the circumstance of his holding a Swedish patent. The petition, however, failed to elicit any response. 6

Upon this followed the constitution of a second Berlin Lodge, " The Golden Ship," and the election of Martin Kronke as G.M. with Zinnendorff as Dep. G.M.

On October 29, 1771, he renewed his request, and on this occasion to De Vignolles 7 as Prov. G.M. for foreign Lodges. But De Vignolles at least understood the course affairs had taken, and answered that he could not even acknowledge him as a brother until he had proof that he was received in a legitimate Lodge. The only legitimate Lodge in Berlin was the " Eoyal York ; " the Three Globes had never been warranted by England, and was now a Strict Observ- ance Lodge, and all such were clandestine. That beyond this it would be most unseemly of England to subordinate such personages as the Duke of Brunswick 8 and other Provincial Grand Masters to unknown men like Zinnendorff and Kronke. 9 Zinnendorff s efforts were therefore turned to procuring a show of regularity— and a prince as G.M.

Accordingly, on January 8, 1772, he applied to the Eoyal York Lodge for permission to use their rooms for an initiation, and invited that Lodge to be present on the 10th. This was

1 Ante, p. 104 ; and O'Etzel, Geschiehte, etc., p. 55. 2 O'Etzel, etc., p. 55. • Ibid., p. 17. 4 Ante, p. 226. = Acta Latomorum, p. 96 ; and O'Etzel, p. 61. • Findel, p. 422. ' Chap. XX., pp. 474, 495.

8 Appointed Prov. G.M. of Brunswick in 1770, but who had already at this time joined the Strict Observance.

9 Findel, p. 422 ; and Allgemeines Handbuch, s.v. Zinnendorff.


done, a sheet of paper was clandestinely inserted in the minute-book of Eoyal York, the proceedings taken down, signed by the Royal York members, and the sheet secretly abstracted and forwarded to England, in order to prove that Zinnendorff and his friends were acknow- ledged as regular Masons by a properly constituted English Lodge. 1

On August 11 following he further induced the Landgrave Louis of Hesse Darmstadt to accept the office of G.M., and negotiations were resumed with England; this time with Grand Secretary Heseltine, and in spite of De Vignolles, who, writing to Du Bois 2 in Holland, states that matters were arranged behind his back, and accuses Heseltine of receiving a £50 bribe. 3 In the same year a third Berlin Lodge—" Pegasus "—was warranted, and the total of subordinate Lodges had risen to 18.

Zinnendorff 's great argument of course was, that the Strict Observance had strangled pure Freemasonry in Germany, and that it was necessary to erect a powerful Grand Lodge as a counterpoise. That his own system was as great an innovation as any of the others he naturally concealed, as he did the fact that all he wanted was England's name to conjure with. In its lamentable ignorance the Grand Lodge of England fell into the trap— De Vignolles appears to have been the only one of its officers au courant of passing events— and in consequence acted most unjustly towards its faithful daughter the P.G.L. of Frankfort.

On November 19, 1773, "the Grand Secretary (Heseltine) informed the G.L. of England of a proposal for establishing a friendly union and correspondence with the G.L. of Germany, held at Berlin, under the patronage of His Serene Highness the Prince of Hesse and Darm- stadt, which met with general approbation." 4

Tiie compact with Zinnendorff 6 was signed (on behalf of the G.L. of England) November 30, 1773. As it was executed in Berlin on October 20, it is evident that the terms had already been settled by Zinnendorff and Heseltine prior to the latter's motion in Grand Lodge. §§ 1 and 2 confirm in their offices Prince Ferdinand at Brunswick and Gogel at Frankfort for their respective lifetimes, protect their districts, and leave them free— in the future— to make terms with the Grand Lodge of Germany. § 3 deposes various other Prov. G.M.'s (who had gone over to the Strict Observance), among whom I need only mention Jaenisch of Hamburg. § 4 reserves Hanover as common ground for England and Berlin. By § 5 Berlin is to contri- bute to the charity according to its increase of power, but never less than £25 per annum. § 6 recognises the German Grand Lodge as the only constituent power in Germany, always except- ing Brunswick and Frankfort, and these only for the term of the then existing personal patents. § 7 forbids the G.L. at Berlin to exercise its powers outside Germany. In clause 9 both parties bind themselves to combat all innovations in Masonry, especially the Strict Observance.

Zinnendorff had thus, although under false pretences, obtained his point, and was con-

1 Hauptmomente der Geschichte der Grossen Loge von Preussen Royal York zur Freundschaft, p. 19.

- G. Sec. of G.L. of the Netherlands.

3 AUgemeines Handbuch, loc. cit. The following excerpt from the minutes of the G.L. of England — April 23, 1773 — may possibly serve to explain De Vignolles' mistake, and clear the G. Secretary from an odious charge: — " Bro. Charles Hanhury, of Hamburg, Esq., attended the G. Lodge, and on behalf of the G. Lodge of Germany, situated at Berlin, paid in the sum of £50 towards the fund for building a Hall, and received the thanks of the Grand Lodge thereupon."— But although Heseltine personally could not have benefited by this, yet the transaction does bear the appearance of at least a propitiatory gift to the G.L. The donation was made in April, and the contract with Zinnen- dorir in the following October and November at Berlin and London respectively.

1 Constitutions, 1784, p. 305. s For the text see Findel, pp. 822-824.


stituted the sole Masonic authority in Germany, by the Mother Grand Lodge of the Craft, and July 16, 1774, his own G.L. obtained the protection of Frederick the Great. 1 Prince Louis having served the end for which he was elected, was evidently treated with scant courtesy, for on September 20, 1774, the Landgrave resigned, alleging as his reason for so doing, that he was ignored in his own Grand Lodge. 2 Zinnendorff was elected G.M., but in the following year — June 30, 1775 — made way for Duke Ernest II. of Saxe-Gotha-Alten- burg. 3 This high-minded prince exerted all his efforts to heal the strife which raged between Zinnendorff's Lodges and the Strict Observance, and though he failed to accomplish a union, at least succeeded — July 1776 — in effecting a pact of mutual recognition and tolerance. This, however, being at once broken by Zinnendorff, the Duke — unable to endure the petty quarrels any longer — resigned, and was succeeded by G.M. Golz 4 — December 21, 1776 — and by Dr T. Mumssen in 1777. 5 Meanwhile the system had increased considerably; in Berlin alone Lodge "Constancy" was erected in 1775, and Lodges "Pilgrim," "Golden Plough," and " Earn " in 1776, making a total of no less than 7 Lodges in that city.

At this period began the negotiations between the S.O. and the Duke of Sudermania, threatening to end in the withdrawal of Sweden's tacit support of the National Grand Lodge. The Strict Observance Masons may at this time be said to have had only one formidable rival, viz., Zinnendorff, whose party enjoyed the great advantage of knowing their own minds, whereas we have seen that Ferdinand and his friends did not. Such an opportunity of humiliating Zinnendorff could not be allowed to pass, but that able tactician, who probably saw the storm brewing, took measures to draw still closer the bonds between England and himself. In April 1777 be despatched his attached ally, Leonhardi, to London, who in August 1779 obtained a warrant to establish there the Pilgrim Lodge, No. 516 (now No. 238), under a special dispensation to work in German and use their own ritual. Leonhardi was admitted to Grand Lodge — February 7, 1781 — as the representative of the National Grand Lodge, and took rank immediately after the Grand Officers. 7 We have already seen how in 1782 Leonhardi frustrated the efforts made by the Frankfort brethren through Pascha, subsequently to Gogel's death. 8

Meanwhile — April 27, 1777 — the Swedish G.L., to please the S.O. members, drew up a document signed by Karl of Sudermania and others, declaring that Eckleff's patent to Zinnen- dorff had been granted without the knowledge or consent of the Chapter, and therefore — being illegal — was thereby cancelled and annulled. 9 In August the Swedish envoys, Oxen- stierna and Plommenfeldt, arrived in Berlin, published this document, and formally repudiated Zinnendorff and all his doings. Zinnendorff's circular to his Lodges announcing the fore- going proceedings is a masterpiece, 10 and however we may disapprove of his conduct, it is quite impossible to withhold our respect for his singular ability. He clearly places the G.L. of Sweden in the wrong, and demonstrates its inconsistency ; he also frankly avows, " more- over, we no longer require the help of the Swedish fraternity, and can well spare their recog-

1 O'Etzel, p. 61. ~ Allgemeines Handbuch, loc. cit. 3 Ibid. ; and Acta Lat., p. 117.

4 Findel, p. 425. 5 Hid., p. 429. 6 See ante (Hamburg), p. 226.

7 Chap. XX., p. 478; see further, Festgabe, London, 1879, being the Centennial History of the Pilgrim Lodge, 238, by Karl Bergmann, P.M.

8 Ante, p. 233. 9 For the text see Paul, Annales des Eclectischen Frsimaurerbundes, p. 225.

10 To bo found in Findel, p. 426 et seq.


ration." Nor was this an idle boast, for at that time (1778) eight years only after its birth, the National Grand Lodge ruled over 34 Lodges, with Provincial Grand Lodges in Austria, Silesia, Pomerania, and Lower Saxony. 1

In 1780— June 24 — Ziunendorff replaced Mumssen as G.M., and two years later— June 6, 1782— this unscrupulous but eminently strong and masterful man was struck down by apoplexy, gavel in hand, at the very moment he was opening his Lodge " of the Three Keys." His death produced no ill effect on his life's work. Able and resolute brethren— trained up in his school— were ready to carry on the system where he left it. His immediate successor as G.M. was Castillon; and that the death of the founder had not destroyed the spirit implanted by him, may be gathered from the fact that in 1783, the " Three Globes " having made advances by permitting the visits of brethren of the Zinnendorff Kite, the National Grand Lodge replied by enacting— October 30, 1783— that only Lodges on the official list were to be considered legitimate, and no communication was to be held with others. 2

One more heavy blow awaited the National Grand Lodge. That which De Vignolles had been unable to avert in 1773, Graefe was destined to undo in 1786. Count Graefe, a Bruns- wicker (to whom reference has already been made), was a captain in the English service in America. He had also been a Deputy P.G.M. of Canada, and returned to Brunswick in 1785, with an appointment as representative of the Grand Lodge of England at the National Grand Lodge, which, under the contract of Nov. 30, 1773, was of course tantamount to representative for all Germany. On August 15, 1785, he wrote from Brunswick to the National Grand Lodge that instead of harmony among the Fraternity in Germany he found only discord and antipathy, and called upon it to assist him in finding a remedy. 3 The National Grand Lodge —October 20— expressed a willingness to receive and aid him, but objected to the term " Supreme Grand Lodge " as applied to that at London, and expected that he would only visit such German Lodges as were recognised by their own body. 4 Graefe's eyes were soon opened to the state of affairs, and in the spring of 17S6 he left for England. We find the results of his report in the minutes of the Grand Lodge of England, April 12, 1786, when the Grand Treasurer announced that the intolerant spirit of the Berlin Grand Lodge had evoked quarrels and scandals in Germany, and that many Lodges looked to London for redress. It was resolved that the proceedings of the Berlin Grand Lodge tended to divide the Fraternity, to limit its progress, and were in contravention of the treaty of 1773, and that steps should be taken to abrogate or alter that compact. 6 As we have already seen, this was followed by the re-inauguration of the Hamburg Provincial Grand Lodge under Graefe, by whom— August 17, 1786— a letter was despatched to Berlin inviting the presence of the National Grand Lodge at the ceremony. He added " that Berlin appeared to doubt the power of the Supreme Grand Lodo-e to make new arrangements, but he prayed them not to force him to take steps which old friendship had hitherto restrained." 6 Castillon replied by excluding all Hamburg Lodges and even Graefe himself, upon which the latter issued a circular inveighing against the intoler- ance and injustice of the National Grand Lodge, and declaring it to be his duty to pronounce that body and all its daughter Lodges illegitimate. 7 This action was approved in London, and Leonhardi, finding his presence no longer of any use, left that city— April 9, 1787— and betook

i Findel, p. 425. 2 Latomia, vol. xxvi., 1868, p. 89. 3 Nettelbladt, Gesch. Frei. Sj»teme, p. 575.

4 Ibid. 5 Of. ante, p. 228 ; and Appendix, giving Grand Lodge Minutes, April 12, 1786.

6 Nettelbladt, p. 575. 7 Findel, p. 462.


himself to St Petersburg. 1 In 1788- April 23-the Grand Lodge of England apprised the Berlin Lodge by letter of the abrogation of the treaty, and— November 26— the G.M. com- municated to the Grand Lodge that he had acted on the resolution of April 12, 1786, and gave his reasons for so doing. 2 They are very cogent, and show more knowledge than usual of Continental affairs, but are too long for even partial reproduction; suffice it to say, that the Berlin Lodges, although deprived of all supremacy, continued to be recognised by the Grand Lodoe of England as legitimate. But in spite of all difficulties the National Grand Lodge continued to prosper as before.

In 1789— June 24— the National Grand Lodge became wearied of its isolated position in Germany, and passed a decree whereby the legality of all Lodges constituted by any recognised authority was acknowledged, and mutual intercourse permitted, excepting, of course, in the case of brethren of the Hebrew faith. 3 This Grand Lodge has from the first been so intensely Christian that the Jewish question has never been even mooted, and it is only of late years that, yielding to outside pressure, Jews are allowed to be present in Lodges as occasional

visitors.

Castillon resigned June 24, 1790, and was succeeded as G.M. by C. A. von Beulewitz. By the Eoyal Edict of October 20, 1798, the National Grand Lodge was included as one of the three Grand Lodges of the Prussian States, and in 1799— January 14— Beulewitz died, where- upon Castillon was re-elected G.M. From 1807-9 the Grand Lodge was closed on account of the presence of the French Army of Occupation. In 1814— January 27— the G.M., Castillon, died ; and on December 27 ensuing the previous Dep. G.M., Joachim F. Neander von Petersheiden, was elected in his stead, who was followed in turn (1818) by J. II. 0. von

Schmidt.

Under G.M. Schmidt the quarrel with Sweden was made up, and a contract of mutual amity and support signed, April 6, 1819. 4 On this occasion the Grand Lodge of Sweden furnished complete copies of its constitutions, ritual, etc. ; and Nettelbladt, one of the foremost Masons of Zinnendorfi" s rite, and an ardent defender of his master's probity, was at once set to work to revise the ritual of the National Grand Lodge. 5 A backward glance at my account of Freemasonry in Sweden will enable the reader to discern that at the time of the Eckleff transaction the Swedish rite was still incomplete, as the cope-stone of the highest degrees had not been placed on the structure. In consequence the National Lodge had always been deficient of two degrees, and knew nothing of a Vicarius Salomonis. These defects were now remedied, the ceremonies throughout brought into unison, and a Vicarius Salomonis under the title of " Master of the Order," elected. In 1821 we first hear of Palmie under that title, but I have not met with the date of his election, which was probably in 1820. The G.M.— Schmidt— took the title of First Assistant of the Master of the Order in 1821, and retained it so long as he remained G.M. A decree of October 2, 1820, 6 affirms that

Karl Bergrnann, Festgabe, etc., p. 4.

2 Chap. XX., p. 481 ; O'Etzel, p. 91 ; and Appendix {post) giving Grand Lodge Minutes, November 26, 1788.

3 Latomia, vol. xxvi., p. 91. 4 O'Etzel, p. 140.

5 Findel, p, 516. Although Nettelbladt wrote a history of all the other Masonic systems and rites (including the English)— in which the ignorance and credulity of their votaries are pitilessly denounced— unfortunately he has not favoured us with one of the National Grand Lodge. He always, however, maintains its infallibility iu strong terms, which to the student of to-day are somewhat amusing. Cj. ante, p. 137.

6 Latomia, vol. xxvi., p. 95.


Masters of Lodges are elected for life, the triennial re-election being a concession on the Master's part, not a right of the Lodge. The election of the Master, according to a decree of March 2, 1824, 1 was to take place by casting the names of all those eligible into an urn; the youngest member drew a name, its owner had to leave the Lodge, and his merits were can- vassed. A ballot was then taken for him, and required a two-thirds' majority in his favour. If unfavourable, a second ticket was drawn, and so on until the necessary majority was obtained. In 1825— December 5 2 — it was affirmed that the election must be approved by the Grand Lodge ; in 1830— December 20— that Lodges which became dormant ceded their property and funds to the Grand Lodge; 3 and in 1837 4 — September 11— that the " Master of the Order shall be eo ipso also Grand Master, but he may appoint his First Assistant to this office for life."

In 1838 Count Henckel von Donnersmark was elected G.M. in succession to Schmidt, but in 1841 the "Master of the Order "— Palmie"— dying, he was elected in his room, and con- formably with the above last quoted law, retained both offices until his death.

In 1843 Constitutions were printed, but I have been unable to procure a complete copy. They were only issued to Masters of Lodges— who are not allowed to show them, or even give extracts, and are kept under three keys held by different Officers of the Lodge. 5 Keller, however, gives some excerpts, 6 and the chief points are naturally more or less well known. The Inner Orient is composed of members of the highest degrees only. It comprises, at its head, the M. of the Order, his two assistants, called Senior and Junior Architects, and nine Officers. These twelve represent the twelve Apostles, and to a certain extent, the M. of the O. is the Vicar of Christ. Their functions are to supervise everything, but especially the ritual and dogma. The members have the right to preside and vote in any Lodge, and can even stop the proceedings. The Grand Lodge, with the G.M. at its head, is divided into two bodies, the St John's and the St Andrew's Lodges, to rule respectively the degrees of pure Freemasonry and the Scots degrees. Grand Officers must at least be Scots Masters. The ritual is identical with that of Sweden and Denmark.

In 1849 — July 24 — Henckel von Donnersmark died, and — October 23 — K. F. von Selasinsky was elected " Master of the Order."

On November 5, 1853, an event of great importance to the present generation of Masons throughout Germany took place ; this was the initiation of Frederick William, Prince, now Crown Prince, of Prussia. The ceremony took place in the palace of his father, the then heir to the throne, who presided in person, in the presence of the Grand Officers of the three Prussian Grand Lodges, and in the name— or as we should say in England, "under the banner "—of the National Grand Lodge, of which he became a member. The Master's gavel used on this occasion was that formerly belonging to Frederick the Great. The eighth and last of the Berlin Lodges under this system was constituted exactly two years afterwards— November 5, 1855— and named in his honour " Frederick William of the Dawn."

In 1860— April 26— Selasinsky died, and Prince Frederick William of Prussia accepted the office of Master of the Order on June 24 following.

Ten years later— June 24, 1870— the Grand Lodge celebrated its centenary, with the Prince in the chair. On this occasion a bombshell fell amongst the brethren. The G.M., in a > Latomia, vol. xxvi., p. 95. 2 Ibid., p. 96. s Ibid. * Ibid., p. 97. 5 Ibid., pp. 83 and 87.

8 Geschichte der Freimaurerei in Deutschland, 1S5P, pp. 14-17 ; and Findel, p. 423 ct scq.


long and able speech, alluded to the superior knowledge and greater purity of origin to which the National Grand Lodge had always laid claim— also to its persistence in requiring that those statements should be taken as articles of faith, whilst the documents on which they rested were jealously preserved from the vulgar ken. He showed how impossible it was to resist libellous misrepresentation from outside, except by frankly producing proofs to the contrary, and how the assumption of infallibility was not only untenable in the nineteenth century, but injurious to the best interests of the Grand Lodge; and concluded by calling upon all to aid him in ascertaining the historical truth of those supposed documents and traditions, and to freely give up whatever should be found unsupported. 1 The excitement caused throughout the Lodges of the system was intense, and two opposing parties— of light and leading, of mystery and conservatism— were at once formed. In 1873 twenty brethren at Hanover were suspended for advocating reform, whilst in 1871 six Lodges attempted to found an historical and archaeological union— a crime almost amounting to treason under this Grand Lodge. Schiffmann of Stettin received the prince's commission to undertake researches, but was denied access to the archives. Wearied by this persistent opposition, the Crown Prince at length- March 1, 1874— resigned his office. 2 In his place Von Dachroden was elected, with Schiff- mann as Senior Architect. The danger then became obvious that Schiffmann might at the next election be appointed " Master of the Order," and have the archives at his disposal. The Statutes were therefore arbitrarily altered, and the election placed in the hands of the highest degree only. It was also laid down that the G.M. should live in Berlin. As Schiffmann held an ecclesiastical appointment in Stettin, he was thus rendered ineligible for election, but he nevertheless proceeded with his researches, and made most damaging discoveries. For this the G.L. suspended him — May 1, 1876— but his part was warmly taken by several Lodges, and many, especially of other systems, made him an honorary member. Two months later — j u ly 1 — Schiffmann was expelled, and several Lodges who supported him were erased ; others transferred their allegiance. 3 Thus for the moment the movement was crushed, but with the increasing enlightenment of our age, I cannot but think that the latent volcano is merely crusted over for a time, and that the smothered fire will sooner or later break out afresh. The position and attitude of the National Grand Lodge of Germany is an anomaly in the nine- teenth century, and can only be likened in many respects to the standpoint of the Church

of Eome.

In 1872 G. A. von Ziegler had been appointed Grand Master, and succeeded the " Master of the Order " — Dachroden— on his retirement, in both capacities. He in turn was followed by F. B. A. Neuland, the present " Master of the Order " of the National Grand Lodge of all German Masons.

In May 1885 this Grand Lodge, with 3 Provincial Grand Lodges, ruled over 93 Lodges, with a membership of 10,276, or an average of 110 members per Lodge. 4

1 An English translation of this address was read before the St Mary's Lodge, No. 63, by Dr E. E. Wendt, Grand Secretary for German Correspondence— March 20, 1873— and will be found in the Centennial History of that Lodge, 1883, by George Kelly and Wilmer Hollingworth. Cf. ante, Chap. XVI., p. 257.

2 This was the third Royal G.M. of the National G.L. who resigned the chair in disgust.

3 Allgemeines Handbuch, etc., vol. iv., 1879, s.v. Schwedischer System; and Findel, Gesch., etc., p. 568 et scj. Cf. ante, pp. 79, 92 (note 4).


  • Throughout Germany no Mason may be an active member of two Lodges at the same time.

VOL. III. 2 L


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