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Table 7 - Jewish Calendar

2. The Jewish Calendar


2.1. Its main characteristics compared with the Gregorian Calendar

The Jewish Calendar is based on principles which are completely different from the Gregorian Calendar’s rules. They sound so complicated for us that it would make little sense to try and explain them in detail. However a few points are worth mentioning in order to show the main differences existing between both reckoning systems.


    • A Jewish month can only have 29 or 30 days.

    • A Jewish year has either 12 or 13 months (see Table 4). These 13 months years are called leap-years and happen seven times within a cycle of 19 years (see Table 7).

    • Accordingly a Jewish year has at least 353, at most 385 days.

    • The religious Jewish year begins with the month Nisan but the civil Jewish year with the month Tishri (see Lewisohn, Geschichte und System des jüdischen Kalenderwesens, Leipzig 1856, p. 8).

    • It very seldom happens that a Jewish month coincides with a month of the Gregorian Calendar.

    • Consequently Jewish months almost always overlap two months of the Gregorian Calendar (see Appendix 2 showing equivalent dates for 1986 and the Jewish Year 5746).


These points being taken into consideration, it can be readily understood that the conversion of a date from one calendar into the other can prove extraordinarily difficult. At least one logical method of achieving this end does exist : it is indicated in the Jewish Encyclopedia (under Calendar) but such a conversion takes a lot of time.


Fortunately an extremely easy way of solving this problem exists and will presently be explained.



2.2. The book of Dr. Robert Schram

In 1908 in Leipzig Dr. Robert Schram published a book entitled: Kalendariographische & Chronologische Tafeln (Calendar and Chronology Tables). This book takes into consideration most chronological systems which are or were used by mankind. A method which seems to have been devised by the author, allows the instant conversion from any date given according to one chronology into another chronology.


From a casual glance in Dr. Schram’s book one notices that all chronologies have one point in common: they are all divided in years and these years are themselves divided in months, mostly twelve, sometimes thirteen.


The fundamental idea of Dr. Schram was to draw up Tables in which a number with seven digits would correspond to the beginning of each month within each year of the era of any chronology and let equivalent dates receive the same number in all chronologies. His second idea was that each of these numbers would correspond to the zero of that month.[1]

From the outset it should be clearly understood that these Tables show seven digit numbers which follow themselves in a row.


For instance, in Table 6 (Gregorian Calendar) the first line of figures corresponds to the year 1750. We read under Januar (January) the number 2360 234, under Febr. (February) the number 265. These are the three last digits of the complete number 2360’265 which corresponds to: 2360’234 + 31 (days in January) = 2360’265. The first four digits are indicated in the January column only when the fourth digit has changed.


The third line of the same Table corresponds to the year 1752. We read under Febr. (February) the number 995 for the complete number 2360’995. But under März (March) we see Ō24, the little line over the O reminding us that the seven digit number is now 2361’024 (not 2360’024) because the fourth digit, the thousand one, has changed : 2’360’995 + 29 (days in February, 1752 was a leap year!) = 2361’024.


As we said before, these given seven digit numbers correspond to the zero of each month; the number corresponding to the 1st of any month is found by adding 1 to that number, the number corresponding to the 23rd of that month, by adding 23 to it.


Table 7 (Jewish Calendar) is broader than Table 6 (Gregorian Calendar) because of the 13 months of the Jewish leap years. Table 7 corresponds to the Jewish years 5500 up to 5599 but the two first figures (55..) of these years are indicated only once in the left-side angle of the Table (5500 + t) and, for lack of space, the first column (underneath ‘t’) shows only the two last digits of the contemplated year. That is: 00 corresponds to 5500, 01 to 5501 &c.


Although this might sound a little complicated when one reads it for the first time, this system is really extremely simple to use and a few examples will help understanding how it works.



Example 1        Which number corresponds to 25 November 1813 ?


Facing 1813 underneath January we read the number : 2383  244

Underneath November (facing 1813) we read : 548.

This means 2383 548 for November 1813.

25 November 1813 corresponds to the number : 2383 548 + 25 = 2383 573



Example 2        Which number corresponds to 2 Kislev 5515 ?


Facing 15 (for the year 5515) underneath Kislev (third column) we read: Ō13.

The little line above the 0 reminds us that the corresponding number for Kislev 5515 is not 2361 013 (the 2361 could be read facing 13 for 5513), but 2362 013. The number we want to ascertain is : 2362 013 + 2 = 2362 015



Example 3        Which is the Jewish Calendar date corresponding to 25 November 1813?


In such a case one ascertains first the number corresponding to the given date. This we already know from Example 1. That number is: 2382 573

We look now in Table 7 (Jewish Calendar) for the smallest number approaching 2383 573. We look first for the four first digits, 2383, which we see facing ‘73’ in the left-hand column. One line further down, facing ‘74’ we find the number 571 in the third column, underneath Kislev.

This gives us the number 2383 571 for the zero of Kislev 5574. All we have to do now is a very simple subtraction: 2383 573 - 2383 571 = 2

The Jewish Calendar date corresponding to 25 November 1813 is 2 Kislev 5574.


The spelling of the months of the Jewish calendar in their phonetic transcription from the Hebraic alphabet can vary considerably from one author to another.


The following Table indicates the transcription used by Dr. Schram in his Tables, the transcription indicated in the Encyclopædia Britannica (under Calendar) and the transcriptions found in the Livre d’Or of Grasse-Tilly, fº8, reproduced p. 29).



Dr. Schram

Encyclopædia Britannica

Grasse- Tilly


1. Thischri

2. Marcheschwan

3. Kislev

4. Tebeth

5. Schebat

6. Adar


7. Nisan

8. Ijjar

9. Sivan

10, Thamus

11. Ab

12. Elul
















7. Tizri (Tisri)

S. Macheswan (Marchesvan)

9. Keslive (Chislev)

10. Thebeth (Tebeth)

11. Sheba'

12. Adar

13. Veadar

1. Nisan

2. Jar (I jar)

3. Sivan

4. Tammuz (Thamuz)

5. Ab

6. Elul






A quite useful secondary advantage of these Tables is that they allow one to find quickly the day of the week of any date in any Chronology. The seven digit number corresponding to that date will be divided by 7. The remainder of this division indicates the day of the week of that date according to Table 5.






















Let us take again as an example the 25 of November 1813. We know (Example 1) that its seven digit corresponding number is: 2383 573.


2383 573 divided by 7 equals 340 510 and a remainder of 3.

2383 573 = (340 510 x 7) + 3

This 3 indicates a Thursday.


The Articles of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Freemasons of England were agreed on Thursday, 25 November 1813.4



2.3. Introduction of the Jewish Calendar in masonic documents


It has been previously mentioned (The two main dating codes and a subsidiary one) that the oldest extant masonic document (correctly) dated with the Jewish Calendar was issued in the year 1767. This certainly does not constitute a proof that this Calendar was used therein for the first time. Circumstantial evidence would tend to suggest the contrary. Because of the importance of that document, details surrounding its delivery are described in Appendix l.


That document is a Warrant given by Bro. Henry Andrew Francken with the authority given to him by Stephen (Etienne) Morin, to Brethren residing in Albany (province of New York), constituting them ‘into a Regular Lodge of Perfection’. Of the various facsimile reproductions of this document the one to be found in the Yorston American Edition of Gould’s History of Freemasonry (1889), Vol. IV, facing p. 624, is the easiest to read and shows clearly the signature of Francken.


The date of this Warrant is expressed thus:

the 29th of the Ninth Month called Kisleu 7767. A.M. 5528. equal to 20th Dec. 1767.

Tables 6 and 7 show that both dates are equivalent : 2366 797 for both. The use of the + 6000 code and of the abbreviation A.M. is worth noticing.


The Minutes of the Lodge of Perfection at Albany (see Appendix 1) show clearly that the draft of this Warrant had been given by Francken to the Albany Brethren, but that the fair Draft, that is, the document of which we know various reproductions, had been made by them. Although the remote possibility does exist that the date could have been worked out by the Brethren in Albany, it seems, in all likelihood, that Francken was responsible for it.


There is nothing whatsoever to show that any of the seven Brethren, Founders of that Lodge of Perfection, were connected in any way with the Jewish religion. It is well known that Bro. Francken initiated Moses Michael Hays ‘to the highest degree of Masonry’ and appointed him ‘Deputy Inspector General’ ; that Bro. Hays was described as being ‘of the Jewish nation’ in the Patent which he received from Francken and that most of the Brethren later appointed Deputy Inspectors General by Hays were themselves orthodox Jews. But the Hays appointment took place a whole year later than the Founding of the Lodge of Perfection in Albany, namely on 6 December 1768.


In his Historical Account of Jamaican Freemasonry, 1976, Bro. F. W. Seal-Coon, p. 11, quotes Bro. A. P. M. Andrade who wrote in his Record of the Jews in Jamaica from the English Conquest to the present Time (1941): ‘From the introduction of Freemasonry in Jamaica... Jews have identified themselves with the Craft’ and Bro. Seal-Coon adds: ‘(... in Jamaica) Jews were and are also very active in some other branches of Masonry...’.


It could be the case that Francken brought this method of dating masonic documents from Jamaica, but that is nothing else than a hypothesis.


Although his directions for his funeral provided that he wanted ‘to be carried to the grave without being carried in the Church’ (Richardson Wright in The American Lodge of Research, Vol. III – Number 1, October 31, 1938 – Oct. 30, 1939), Francken was buried on 24 May 1795 in Kingston Parish churchyard, the same one as that in which Morin, some twenty four years before, was also interred and this was an Anglican cemetery. No known documents indicate that Francken was a Jew or was ever connected personally with the Jewish faith.


Until new information is discovered, this early mention of a Jewish date in a masonic document will remain an unsolved mystery.


Mention should be made here that the use of the Jewish Calendar in documents pertaining to the Ancient and Accepted (Scottish) Rite remained in use up to the end of the 19th century.



3. The republican Calendar of France


One last code base should be mentioned because it is found, on masonic documents, in France as well as in America, after the French Revolution: it is the Republican Calendar. It became law in France on 5 October 1793 but its first day (1 Vendemiaire An 1) corresponds to 22 September 1792 because this was the day of the proclamation of the first French Republic.


It divided the year into 12 months of 30 days each and added five holidays (six in leap years) to achieve the required number of 365 (366) days. The months were divided in three ‘weeks’ of ten days each. These are exactly the principles of the Egyptian Calendar introduced by Julius Cæsar in the Roman Empire, 46 B.C. (see Allan Oslo in Das Tau (1982), p. 20).



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Table 6 - Republican Calendar



Because it is used as an extra dating code on masonic documents already dated with the Jewish Calendar as well as with the ‘Vulgar Era’, the French Republican Calendar can be considered as a useful checking method to ascertain the date of a document when the other datings have been corrupted by misprints or the mistakes of a copyist. We shall see further down that dates using the Jewish Calendar are often wrong and cannot be taken as reliable.


For example in the Bideaud-Villadieu Register reproduced in the Official Bulletin of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, Vol. VI, No. 1, April 1884, there is, p. 437, a transcription of a Patente given to Bro. Etienne Fourteau and dated thus : le 1ere du 3e mois appelle SIVAN de I’année 5558 de la restauration, et de l’ère vulgaire le 1ere Mar (sic) 1798 et de la republique le 12 floreal au (sic) six. We are confronted here with a problem : the month Mar is either a misprint or a wrong transcription. It could mean either mars for March or mai for May. A knowledge of the Republican Calendar code is a great help here : le 12 floreal an six corresponds in Table 8 to 2377 887. Table 6 gives for this number the equivalent date 1 May 1798. This solves the problem and shows moreover that the pseudo-Jewish coded date, 1st Sivan, was an example of the simplified Jewish code (see infra South-Carolina since 1796) in which May is the third month. The correct Jewish dating should have been: 15 Iyyar 5558.






Deciphering masonic dating codes would be fairly easy under two conditions which are almost never fulfilled: the first one is a knowledge of the code’s choice by the writer of the document under consideration. We have seen already (§1.2.2.) that an element of doubt remains most of the time when one is confronted with an expression such as ‘the Xth month’ because all we know for certain is that the first month can be either March or June and that it is never January.

That same element of doubt exists with dates coded with a +4000 or a +4004 code which look very much alike.


The second condition would be that a specific dating code was not mixed with another method of dating. Unfortunately this is very often the case and we shall now consider a few examples of such ‘code cocktails’ which were used in France, South Carolina and Ireland.


1. France 1763 – 1780

In the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris there is a document (FM5 37) which was given to Bro. Jean-Pierre Moët on the day of his election as ‘Sovereign of the most excellent and most sublime Council of the east’ (Souverain du très excellent et très sublime Conseil d’orient). This is dated thus : ‘the nineteenth day of the sixth Moon of the Year two thousand two hundred ninety nine of the Rebuilding of the second Temple of the Great Architect of the Universe (vulgar Era, the twenty fifth september one thousand seven hundred sixty three)’.


Subtracting 1763 from 2299 gives 536 which is the B.C. date given in Anderson’s 1738 Constitutions, p. 22, for the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. But ‘the nineteenth day of the sixth Moon’ seems difficult to decode. The equivalent date in the Jewish Calendar of 25 September 1763 is 18 Tishri 5524. And Tishri is never the sixth month. (See Table 4). This cannot as yet be decoded.


There are a few documents which make use of Jewish months’ names. The dates given never correspond to the clear dates therein indicated.


Such is the case in the Minute of the election of the Duke de Chartres as Grand Master, quoted by Besuchet, 1st Vol. of his Precis Historique de la Franc-Magonnerie (1829) p. 46, dated thus:

The year of the great light 1772, 3rd day of the moon of Iyyar, 5th day of the 2nd month of the masonic year 5772, and of the birth of the Messiah, 5th day of April 1772.

5 April 1772 corresponds to 2 Nisan 5532 and this makes both a day and a month disparity with the date indicated in this document: 3 Iyyar.


Similar types of discrepancy occur with the dates given in 1780 on two Decrees of the ‘Sovereign Council Sublime Mother-Lodge of the Excellent, formerly called Scottish of the French Great-Globe’ (Souverain Conseil Sublime Mère-Loge des Excellens, ci-devant dite Ecossoise du Grand-Globe François), reproduced in facsimile in La Franc-Maçonnerie et I’Etat en France au 18e siècle by G. H. Luquet, pp. 138 – 139.


Even a serious author like J. Emile Daruty shows a remarkable ignorance of the rules of the Jewish Calendar illustrated by what he names a Concordance-Table, p. 212, Note 115, of his Recherches sur le Rite Ecossais Ancien Accepté (1879). The alleged (and various !) dates of the Constitutions of 1762 gave the same author the opportunity to write interesting comments (ibid. p. 185, Note 82) which are no longer valid following the paper by Bro. Jackson in AQC 97 (1984) on the authorship of these Constitutions.



2. South-Carolina since 1796

We have seen earlier (§ 2.1.) that the months of the Gregorian and of the Jewish Calendars very seldom begin on the same day.


Folio 8 of Grasse-Tilly’s Livre d’Or shows that the Count did not bother about this at all and that using the numeration of the months of the classical masonic dating code (see end of § 1.3.2.) and writing above the names of the months: Vulgaire (meaning Vulgar Era), he wrote – or let somebody write – the names of the months of the Jewish Calendar opposite each of them as if they were equivalent.


Further pages of this Livre d’Or show how this new dating method came into use. The first period of the promotions made by Grasse-Tiily registered therein begins on September 1796 and ends with December 1798. All are dated according to the Gregorian Calendar in clear together with the expression: de I’ère vulgaire (of the vulgar era), this being many times written thus : de I’air vulgaire which does not speak in favour of the Count’s talent for spelling. These clear dates are accompanied with specifically Jewish-sounding dates. Actually the first two promotions’ entries left the day as well as the name of the month blank : ‘The ... day of the month called..... of the year 5556 and of the restoration and (sic) of the vulgar era the 25 of September 1796’. The two next promotions show Jewish dates which are completely wrong ! Then comes promotion No. 5 dated thus: ‘This 20th day of the 11th month called Shebat of the year 5556 & of the restoration and of the vulgar era the 20 January 1797’ (Ce 20me jour du 11me mois appellé Shebat de l’année 5556 & de la restoration (sic) et de I’air vulgaire le 20 janvier 1797).


This 20 January 1797 could be considered as the birthday of the simplified Jewish code : one recognizes the classical masonic dating code which would have been spelled out thus : ‘The 20th day of the 11th month’ but in which the names of a Jewish month and of a Jewish year have been added, both unfortunately being wrong: 20 January 1797 corresponds to 22 Thebeth 5557 and Thebeth is the 10th (or the 4th) month.


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Folio 8 of Grasse-Tilly’s Livre d’Or showing on the right-hand side

‘his’ concordance Table between Jewish and Gregorian months



The remaining promotions are dated accordingly. But by the last one the dating is almost correct: ‘this 23rd day of the month called Kislev of the year 5558 and of the vulgar Era the 1st of December 1798’ (ce 23eme jour du mois appelld Kislev de l’an 5558 et de l’ere vulgaire le 1er de Xbre 1798). This is almost correct because the rightly coded Jewish date should have been 23 Kislev 5559, not 5558. But this could have been a remembrance of the classical +4000 code.


This simplified Jewish code may have been invented by Grasse-Tilly. It is often used in masonic documents in the 19th century, at least for the coding of the day and the month.


3. Ireland 1802 – 1807

As previously mentioned (§ 1.1.6.), the ‘Illustrious College of Heredon, Knights of K.H. of Ireland’ made use of another type of ‘code cocktail’.


The 1808 edition of the ‘Orations of the Illustrious Brother Frederick Dalcho Esqr. M.D. Reprinted By Permission of the Author under the Sanction of the ILL. the COLLEGE of KNIGHTS of K.H. And the Original Chapter of Prince Masons of IRELAND. Dublin Printed by John King Westmoreland St.’ reproduces, pp. I and II, the ‘Copy of an Extract’ from the Minutes of the transactions of the Illustrious College of Heredon (sic) dated thus: ‘The fifth day of the Month called Tisri, A.F. 492’. Page IV is an ‘Extract from the Minutes of the Illustrious College of Heredon, &c. &c. &c.’ dated: ‘The ninth day of the Month called Nisan, A. F. 493’.


Two quotations included in Bro. Tunbridge’s paper on Emanuel Zimmermann (AQC 79, 1966) may prove a help for the decoding of these dates : ‘The Ritual History of the 32nd Degree of Ireland, records the following :

“...on June 1, 1802, under a French ‘Constitutional Warrant’ the ‘Metropolitan College of Heredom Knights K.H. of Ireland’ was opened in Dublin as the Governing Body of the ‘Order of Philosophical Masonry in all its Branches’”.

Bro. Tunbridge also quotes Bro. George Gamble, ‘Grand Secretary and Treasurer, 33º, Ireland’, who transcribed ‘the existing Register of the College of Philosophical Masons’ in which ‘The first name recorded is “1. Zimmermann, Emanuel” and opposite is written “24th Day of the Month Thammuz A.F. 488 constituted this Illustrious College. In a foot-note Bro. Tunbridge adds : ‘The A.F. (Bro. Gamble writes) means 488 years after the supposed origin of the College in 1314’. This indication of Bro. Gamble is quite interesting and would tend to add a third notable event, though possibly an imaginary one, to the other two we mentioned before (§ 1.1.6.) for the year 1314.


But what of the coded dates?


If we follow Bro. Gamble, the year date for 488 should be decoded as 488 + 1314 = 1802. The 24 Tammuz (Jewish year 5562) which falls in that (Gregorian) year 1802 corresponds to 24 July. This results in a 53 days difference between this date and the date previously quoted from the Ritual History, 1 June 1802, a difference which might be explained by a distinction made between the Constitution and the Opening of the College.


Applied to the documents reproduced in the Dublin edition of Dr. Dalcho’s Orations, this decoding method gives 17 September 1806 and 17 April 1807 respectively for the 5th day of Tishri A.F. 492 and the 9th day of Nisan A.F. 493, if the conversion of the Jewish days and months was correctly made by the Registrar of the Illustrious College, Bro. Peter Heaphy.






The two examples given below are not intended to show how to solve the problems which are disclosed but only to illustrate how a knowledge of masonic dating codes can be used as one element of judgment.

1. Two Documents from the ‘Holbrook Register’

The Register of Bro. Moses Holbrook (which should be more appropriately named: the Register of Bro. Frederick Dalcho) was transcribed about a hundred years ago and published in the Official Bulletin of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, Vol. VIII No. 1, September 1887.


Except for the names of the recipients and the stated dates, the two first documents transcribed there are identical, word for word. Both were issued by Bro. Hyman Isaac Long. They certified and attested that their recipients had been nominated by him as a ‘deputy Grand Inspector General’. The two recipients named therein were Bros. Alexandre François Auguste de Grasse-Tilly and Jean Baptiste Marie de La Hogue. The dates were expressed thus:



Document Grasse-Tilly


Document de La Hogue




‘this 11th day


'this 12th day

of 3rd month


of the 9th month

called Keslive


called Keslive

of the year 5556


of the year 5556

of the restoration


of the restoration

and of the Vulgar Aera


and of the vulgar aera

the 12th December 1796’.


the 12th November 1796’.






The use of capitalization for ‘vulgar aera’ is not important nor the use of 3rd or 9th month describing the month Keslive (for Kislev) either. But it is quite evident that it is impossible for the 11th and the 12th day of Kislev 5556 to be equivalent to 12 November and 12 December 1796.


Tables No. 6 and 7 are used to find out the corresponding seven digit numbers for these four dates. They give the following results:


11 Kislev 5556            2376 997

12 Kislev 5556            2376 998

12 November 1796      2377 352

12 December 1796      2377 382


This clearly demonstrates that the dates are wrong and that it is very doubtful if either of these documents could have been drawn up by an orthodox Jew like Bro. Hyman Isaac Long.[2]


2. The Letters of Credence of Dr. Frederick Dalcho

In the History of the Supreme Council 33 º (1964) by Ray Baker Harris & James D. Carter, six Patents delivered to Dr. Dalcho are reproduced in facsimile.


One of them is dated with our present-day chronology as well as with a Jewish Calendar date. This Patent (Plate 2, p. 330) is described in its wording as the ‘Letters of Credence’ delivered by ‘the undersigned Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, duly and lawfully established and congregated in Supreme Council of the 33rd degree ....’ to Bro. Dalcho as a ‘Sovereign Grand Inspector General and member of the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree ...’


The date given on this document reads thus: ‘this Twenty Third day of the Third month, called Sivan of the Restoration 5562. Anno Lucis 5801.—— and of the Christian Aera this twenty fifth day of May One thousand Eight hundred and one. 1801. .—— ’ (the word Sivan is written down in Hebrew characters). Tables 6 and 7 are used to find out the corresponding numbers for these two dates. The following is the result:


            25 May 1801     2379 006

            23 Sivan 5562   2379 400


These two dates do not correspond to each other. The first date would correspond to 13 Sivan 5561, the second to 23 June 1802.


As this document was signed by nine Brethren, three of whom are known to have been orthodox Jews (Israel Delieben, Emanuel DeLaMotta and Abraham Alexander), that fact being established in the above mentioned book which reproduces this document, and as the writer’s handwriting looks very much like that of Bro. Alexander who was Grand Secretary of the Supreme Council, ‘a calligraphist of the first order’ (Albert Pike, A Historical inquiry, New Edition 5664 = 1904, p. 203) and in 1784 ‘a Rabbi’ (Harris & Carter, History of The Supreme Council, p. 47), the date discrepancy is certainly curious.[3]


From these two examples one might ask the question how could most of the Jewish dates given in masonic documents of that period all be wrong?


This is not the case. The Official Bulletin shows both documents from the ‘Holbrook Register’ which we considered before (§ C. 1.) and indicates that they were deposited in the archives (in Charleston) ‘the 7th day of the month called Tammuz 5558 The 21 June 1798 of the Vulgar Era’ (le 7me jour du mois appelle Tammuz 5558 Le 21 June (sic) 1798 de l’Ere Vulgaire). Both these dates correspond to each other (2377 938).


The ‘Letters of Credence’ which were given to Grasse-Tilly by ‘the Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, duly and lawfully established & congregated in Supreme Council of the 33rd degree’, and dated: ‘this nineteenth day of the 12th month called Adar, of the Restoration 5562 Anno Lucis 5802, and of the Christian Era the 21st day of February, 1802’, give two dates which correspond perfectly to each other (2379 278). These ‘Letters of Credence’ are transcribed in the Official Bulletin of she Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction Vol. II, No. 1, August 1872. They are also found in VoL VIII, No. 1, 1887, among other documents copied from the ‘Holbrook Register’, but in this volume, the name of the Jewish month is not transcribed.





This paper will, I hope, show that, almost 102 years after the Warrant of Constitution of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (which was ‘Given under our Hands and the Seal of the Grand Lodge at London, the 28th November, A.L., 5884, A.D., 1884’), some material which does not seem until now to have been taken into consideration can prove a help in the field of masonic research.


The quite important theme of misprints, which plays a weighty part when original documents are no longer available but exist only as transcriptions, could not here be taken into consideration because of the limitation on the length of this essay. It is of special importance where coded dates were used. Such texts, like those reproduced in the Recueil des Actes du Suprême Conseil de France (Sétier, 1832) between the Constitutions of 1762 and those of 1786, have never been given their rightful importance because the coded dates therein given are misprinted.


The Jewish Calendar never seems to have been taken into consideration when documents were so dated, and that probably because of a lack of an adequate method of converting such dates quickly and accurately. It is likely that Dr. Robert Schram’s Tables will be found very helpful for this purpose.


In conclusion it should be stressed that masonic dating codes can only be considered as one factor among many when a document is being examined for genuineness. Because of the complexity of some of these codes, the human factor can never be ruled out, nor can human mistakes !



Appendix 1

When was the jewish chronology first used in a masonic document ?



We have mentioned (§ 2.3.) that the first documentary evidence of the Jewish chronology being used in a masonic document was discovered by the present writer to be toward the end of 1767. This happened under the following circumstances:


§         Henry Andrew Francken had ‘arrived in Jamaica in February 1757, and, being an alien, was admitted by naturalization to the privileges of an English subject in March 1758.[4]


§         Some four years later Etienne Morin, ‘a French gentleman’,[5] after having received his Patente in Paris (1761), left France, returning to Saint Domingue. He arrived there, in Saint Marc, only on the 20 January 1763.[6] He explained this in a letter he wrote to Chaillon de Jonville, Substitut Général du Grand Maitre, the Count of Clermont, on the 21 of June 1763: ‘The travels I made in various cities of France, my (short) stay in England after having been taken (prisoner) and the one I made in Jamaica for the same reasons, have detained me fourteen months before I could go to Saint Domingue where I landed in Saint Marc the 20 of January, 1763.’ We know of subsequent letters from Morin up to March 7, 1765, but he never made any allusion in them either to Francken or to Jamaica.


§         Between his arrival in Jamaica, 1757, and his departure for New York, where he arrived in August 1767,[7] Francken had occupied the posts of ‘appraiser, marshal and sergeant-at-mace in the Vice-Admiralty Court.[8] It is possible that he met Morin then when Morin was a prisoner in Jamaica, but we have no proof of this. In 1765, Francken was appointed ‘interpreter of the English and Dutch languages at the same Court.[9]


§         Very shortly after arriving in America, Francken made the acquaintance of two Masons from Albany (N.Y.) in New York ‘about the 7th October 1767’,[10] and within ten days he conferred on them thirteen degrees, namely ‘from the Secret Master being the 4th to the Perfection, which is the 14th, and known to be the utmost limits of Symbolick Masonry, (he then) conferred on them the 2 first degrees of Modern Masonry, or Masonry Revived, and proposed to them that if they chose he would erect A Lodge of Perfection at Albany...’ [11]


§         These two brethren introduced two more to Francken who initiated them up to the 14th degree and the four Albany brethren initiated two more in their home town two months later. One of these was Bro. Cartwright who had been ‘installed as Assistant Master’ of Union Lodge No. 1 in Albany the 11 April 1759 by ‘the Master, Wardens and Brethren of ... Lodge No. 74, Registry of Ireland, in the Second Battalion Royal Scots... stationed in ihe City of Albany (who were) about to leave that city’.[12]


§         Francken’s offer to erect a Lodge of Perfection had been ‘thankfully accepted’ and Francken gave Bros. Pfister and Gamble ‘a Draft of a Constitution whereof a fair draft was to be made’. Sometimes between the 6 and the 14 of December that fair draft was sent from Albany ‘to be signed and sealed by him’, which he must have done because the ‘Constitution’ was received in Albany on 26 December, ‘signed and sealed.’[13]


§         This ‘Constitution’ is still extant and facsimile reproductions of it can be found in some masonic books. It is extremely interesting for two reasons. First of all its text begins with the following words:

By virtue of a full power and authority committed to me by the Most Illustrious, Most Respectable and Most Sublime Brother Stephen Morin, Grand Inspector of all Lodges relative to the Superior Degrees of Masonry...

          That constitutes the first proof we have of the relationship existing between Morin and Francken.


§         Secondly, it is at the head of this ‘Constitution’ that we find: a) a date coded with the Jewish chronology and it is the first example of this method of dating on a masonic document known to the present writer; b) a date given with the +6000 code on the American continent.



Appendix 2



Almanacs for the gregorian year 1986 and the jewish year 5746





1 January

1 February

1 March

1 April

1 May

1 June

1 July

1 August

1 September

1 October

1 November

1 December

1 January


20 Tebeth

22 Shebat

20 Adar

21 We-Adar

22 Nisan

23 Iyyar

24 Sivan

25 Tammuz

27 Ab

27 Ellul

29 Tishri

29 Marheshvan

30 Kislev



















1 Tishri

1 Marheshvan

1 Kislev

1 Tebeth

1 Shebat

1 Adar

1 We-Adar

1 Nisan

1 Iyyar

1 Sivan

1 Tammuz

1 Ab

1 Ellul

1 Tishri


16 September

16 October

14 November

13 December

11 January

10 February

12 March

10 April

10 May

8 June

8 July

6 August

5 September

4 October        









Note One notices that the Jewish New Year 5747 corresponds to 4 October 1986. In 5739 it :corresponded to 2 October 1978.





May I express my deepest gratitude to the late Bro. George Draffen who was kind enough to read this paper, correct its style and suggest its present title. This he did in March 1986, at a time when he was very sick and a few weeks before his untimely death.


It would not have been possible for me to take into consideration many rare American masonic books, magazines and documents without the invaluable help provided by the Librarian of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., Mrs Inge Baum, and by the Assistant Librarian of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum of Our National Heritage, Mrs Gloria Jackson to whom I was warmly recommended by Ill. Bro. Francis G. Paul, 33, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A.


Madame Florence de Lussy and Madame Dominique Morillon gave me all their possible help from the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.


Brigadier A. C. F. Jackson was responsible for suggesting that I should enter the Norman B. Spencer competition and gave me thus one more token of a ten years’ deeply-appreciated friendship.




[1]           The notion of a zero date is extremely brilliant and at the same time absolutely necessary. Not using a zero year at the beginning of the Christian Era accounts for mathematical problems encountered by historians. This has been emphasized, among others, by J. Boucher, La Symbolique Magonnfque (1953) p. 74, Note 2; Schram, op. cit., p, IX, Note 1, Oslo, op. cit., p. 23.

[2]           But 12 December 1796 is equal to 12 Kislev 5557 (2377 382) !

[3]           These ‘Letters of Credence describe Dr. Dalcho (on 25 May 1801) as ‘Member of the Medical Society of South Carolina' although he was only elected a member thereof on 1 July 1801; and as ‘one of the Physicians of the Charleston Dispensary’ in which he volunteered to serve on 5 April 1802, but not the year before.

Sampson Simson, a fourth ‘orthodox Israelite’ (Baynard, Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Vol. I, p. 194) among the nine brethren who signed this document, wrote after his name ‘Lieut. Grand Comnr. for the Northern Dist. of America’ ; as ‘he was raised in... New York, November 24, 1807’ (Baynard, ibid.), he certainly signed it at a much later date than 1801, or even 1802.

[4]           Journal of the Assembly of Jamaica, Vol. IX, p. 35, quoted in Richardson Wright, ‘Henry Andrew Francken’, p. 159.

[5]           Register of Burials in Kingston (Jamaica). Facsimile reproduction in Seal-Coon, An Historical Account of 7amaican Freemasonry (1976).

[6]           Letter of Morin quoted by Choumitzky, ‘Etienne Morin’, St. Claudms No. 21 (Compte rendu 1927 – 1928).

[7]           Charles S. Lobingier, The Ancient and Accepted Scoaish Rice of Freemasonry (1932) p. 146. Lobingier refers to Homan, Proceedings New York Council of Deliberation (1902), p. 117 and to Masonic Chronicle XIII, p. 236.

[8]           Council kfinutes (of Jamaica), quoted by R. Wright (see ' supra).

[9]           Ibid.

[10]          A Memorandum at the beginning of the original Book of Afinutes of the Lodge of Perfection Ineffable in Albany, facsimile reproduction in: 1906 Proceedings of the thirty-semen' Council of Deliberation for the bodies of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.SA., of the State of New York... (1906).

[11]          Ibid.

[12]          Enoch T. Carson, 'The History of Ancient and Accepted Sconish Rite Masonry in the United States’, part IV of R. F. Gould’s History of Freemasonry (Yorston Edition, 1SB9), p. 624.

[13]          Book of Minutes of the Lodge of Perfection Ineffable in Albany (see note 16).