It was in 1976 (December 10, 1976) that the FF∴ French and American members of the R∴L∴ L’Atlantide of the Orient of New York, who later would join some FF∴-sympathizing Americans, would take the initiative, under the leadership and impetus of the FF∴ Harry Hendler and Alfred Kagan to create an American progressive lodge in New York. This lodge, in the spirit of its initiators, would form the embryo of a future American liberal obedience working in accordance with the precepts of absolute freedom of conscience. This was twenty years ago!
This lodge with the distinctive title of George Washington no. 1 received its exclusive patent from the G∴O∴D∴F∴ in the terms of a convention signed on August 16, 1977, and ratified by the Congress of the Grand Orient in September 1978.
Since 1979, this lodge has been a member of CLIPSAS so as to assert very clearly its liberal Masonic tendencies in both the United States and abroad.
The beginnings of the lodge enjoyed an encouraging activity. Meetings in English took place at a regular monthly pace, following the French rite, and benefited from the diligence of the FF∴ of the R∴L∴ L’Atlantide and of George Washington no. 1, the two lodges working together in total osmosis and in alternation until the end of the 1970s. At that time, or so it seems, following the change of the venerable master of the respectable lodge L’Atlantide, the necessity or rather the wish of the members, perhaps regrettable because it was premature, appeared to disassociate the work of the two lodges. The sudden lack of the relations and support of the R∴L∴ L’Atlantide, essential during the building period of the young American lodge, seems to have caused a big slowdown in this undertaking before all activity over the minimum ceased, so that practically speaking the lodge maintained only its virtual life, to preserve its fragile gains.
The ups and downs, due to the mobility of the FF∴, both French and American, also greatly contributed during this preliminary phase to the weakening of the dynamics of this voluntaristic approach. But these setbacks nonetheless did not prevail over an undertaking that was, by definition, quite difficult on American soil, which was fundamentally hostile to the G∴O∴D∴F∴ (not only but particularly because of the establishment of the R∴L∴ L’Atlantide in New York in violation of the “sacrosanct” rule of territorial exclusivity) and the notion of absolute freedom of conscience, and this American resistance was entirely foreign to the very French value of secularism. However, the lodge has prospered, albeit modestly, over the years. The Keystone no. 2 Lodge was created as an offshoot of the first in 1993, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, followed by the Triangle Alfred Kagen in 1995.
*1 The Geneva Declaration was undersigned by the Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite gathered in an international conference in Geneva on May 7, 2005.
*2 They were John Mitchell, Barend Moses Spitzer, Frederick Dalcho, Alexandre François Auguste de Grasse-Tilly, Jean-Baptiste de La Hogue, Thomas Bartholomeus Bowen, Emmanuel de La Motta, Isaac Auld, Israël de Lieven, Moses Clava Levy, and James Moultrie.
*3 Ecossisme is a Masonic neologism. This generic term refers to a system of Masonic rites that was born in or derived from the tradition since the time of Chevalier Ramsay, without it being easy to give it a perfectly satisfying definition.
*4 The first book of architecture (1804–1812) of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree was compiled under the presidency of Grasse-Tilly and is held in the library of the Southern Jurisdiction, whose staff happily supplied me with facsimiles. This historic document was the subject of an article in Renaissance traditionelle, no. 122, in 2000.
*5 It was on January 21, 1961, that the grand lodges who had gathered in Strasbourg on the initiative of the GODF agreed to jointly sign the writ that brought into being this organization.
Interpreting American Freemasonry throughout Time
1. Andreas Önnerfors, in Hivert-Messeca, L’Europe sous l’acacia, 751–58.
Freemasonry in Pioneer America
1. Fontanelle, Discours sur la nature de l’églogue, 364.
2. Roger, Cahiers de l’Association Internationale des Etudes Françaises, 168.
At the Order’s Origins:
The United Grand Lodge of England
1. Le Moal and Lerbet, La Franc-maçonnerie, 26.
2. Lussy, “History of the Supreme Council 33°.”
3. Thual, “La complexité du fait Maçonnique.”
4. Andreas Önnerfors, in the afterword of Hivert-Messica, L’Europe sous l’acacia, vol. II.
5. Mollier, Note d’analyse interne inedited.
6. Lepage, L’Ordre et les obédiences.
7. Koch, “La Lumière,” in L’Express.
The American Spiritual Infusion and Freemasonry
1. Preuss, Étude sur la Franc-maçonnerie américaine, 72–73.
2. Ibid., 324.
3. Hoyos and Morris, Is It True?
4. James, Will to Believe.
5. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 119.
6. Mackey, Symbolism of Freemasonry.
7. Cook, “Review of Factors,” 76–78, 81.
Black American Freemasonry
1. Tocqueville, Democracy in America.
2. Révauger, Black Freemasonry.
French Freemasonry in North America, Yesterday and Today
1. Brengues, “Les Franc-maçons français.”