Although Freemasonry officially
traces its beginning from the year 1717 it was in existence prior to this.
A pamphlet entitled 'To All Godly People in the City of London'
was distributed in 1698, where it urged its readers to..
..take care lest the Ceremonies and secret swearings take hold of
you: and be wary that none cause you to err from Godliness. For this
devilish Sect of Men are Meeters in Secret..For how should Men meet in
Secret Places and with Secret Signes taking care that none observe them
to do the Work of God..? - The Craft, pages 38-38
Stephensons 'Origins of Freemasonry'
mentions 'Pre 1710 Masonic Lodges in Scotland with the date of their First Recorded
Of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence on 4
July 1778, the following were Masons:
William Hooper, Benjamin Franklin, Matthew
Thornton, William Whippie, John Hancock, Phillip Livingston and Thomas Nelson.
It was said at the time that with just four men out of the room the assembly that
remained was more than enough to hold a Masonic Lodge in the Third Degree!
It could also have allowed in most of the army leaders. Leading Freemasons here
included such men as Greene, Marion, Sullivan, Rufus, Putnam, Edwards, Jackson, Gist,
Baron Steuben. Baron de Kalb, the Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington himself.
When Washington was sworn into office as the first President
of the Republic on 30 April 1789 it was by the Grand Master of New York and he took his
oath on the Masonic Bible, which was normally used as the Volume of the Sacred Law of St.
John's Lodge, No. 1 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of New York.
That same Masonic Bible has been used to swear in every
President since then - except George Bush junior as it was too wet a day to produce it.
He was initiated into the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge five months before his
twenty-first birthday on Friday 4 November 1752.
As his mother Lodge met on the first Friday of the month, he was passed to the Second
Degree on 3 March 1753 and raised to the 'sublime degree' of a Master Mason on 4 August
1753 in the same Lodge.
At the time of his initiation he had just completed surveying the Virginian estates of
Lord Fairfax, whose forebear had introduced Oliver Cromwell to Freemasonry.
The Fairfax family were very active Freemasons in the Grand Lodge of York and his elder
brother Lawrence, with whom George was living at the time, had been educated in England
and was married to Lord Fairfax's niece. The Lodge that Washington attended probably
followed an ad hoc 'York Rite' Lodge rather than a 'Scottish Rite', but six years after
his initiation, in 1758, Fredericksburg Lodge received a Charter from Scottish Grand Lodge
which formalised its position.
When Washington was made First President of the United States of America he had been a
member of the Craft for almost thirty-six years and was at the time a member of the
Alexandria Lodge, No. 22.
On September 18, 1793, President Washington officiated at the laying of the cornerstone
for the United States Capitol building. It was a major event in the creation and
development of the federal city, a project very dear to the heart of George Washington. It
was also what the Masonic Fraternity refers to as one of the most memorable days in the
life of George Washington, in the life of Freemasonry, and in the life of the United
Washington, dressed in Masonic regalia, lead a
procession of officers and brethren of the Masonic Fraternity from Maryland and Virginia
to the site in the District of Columbia. Upon arrival, the music stopped playing, the
drums stopped beating, the flags were anchored, and the artillery fired a volley. A large
silver plate was handed to President Washington. Using a small trowel with silver blade
and ivory handle, Washington deposited the plate and laid it on the corner-stone. A prayer
followed. Then there were heard Masonic chanting honors and then a 15-volley from the
artillery. According to a newspaper's eyewitness account, when the proceedings ended 'The
whole company retired to an extensive booth, where an ox of 500 pounds weight was
barbecued . . . Before dark the whole company departed with joyful hopes of the production
of their labor.'
The apron and sash worn by George Washington together with the trowel he used are today
preserved in the Alexandria- Washington Masonic Lodge. George Washington, a member of the
Masons since 1752, the Master Mason, the Past Master, the President of the United States
had personally participated in the laying of the U.S. Capitol's cornerstone. He did so 'as
a Freemason and President,' wrote Allen E. Roberts in G. Washington: Master Mason.
The Architect of the Capitol Home
Page also documents that "The cornerstone [of the Capitol] was laid by President
Washington in the building's southeast corner on September 18, 1793, with Masonic
ceremonies." And in a more recent Masonic
ceremony in Washington, D.C., 33º Freemason Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) and
fellow Masons honor the laying of the cornerstone 200 years ago. (see photo)
That same year the dollar was adopted as the unit of currency for the United States of
America. the synbol for the dollar is an 'S' with a double vertical strike-through,
although in print it usually appears today with a single vertical line. The 'S' was
borrowed from an old spanish coin but the two vertical lines were the Nasorean pillars of
'Mishpat' and 'Tsedeq' better known to the Masonic founders of the United States as 'Boaz'
and 'Jachim', the pillars of the porchway to King Solomon's Temple.
Extract from 'The Hiram key' by Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas
Today the dollar bill bears the image of a pyramid with an
eye set within it, which is the most ancient of all images..