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StarRed Special Project 2008 - PS Review of Freemasonry meets the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Ten selected papers first published on Heredom,
The Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society

PS Review of Freemasonry
Human progress is our cause, liberty of thought our supreme wish, freedom of conscience our mission,
and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal. - The Scottish Rite Creed

by Michael R. Poll, 32°
Published in Vol.10, Year 2002.

© No part of this paper may be reproduced without written permission from the Scottish Rite Research Society.
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Read the text of Albert Pike's Address before the Grand Consistory of Louisiana


I believe readily that you did not want the office, but the office wanted you

Charles Laffon de Ladebat to Albert Pike [i]


THE PASSAGE OF YEARS can sometimes elevate a historical figure into a legend. This is not always beneficial when a study of the individual is desired. A historical figure can be examined and their actions understood from a human perspective. A legend, however, can take on near supernatural qualities and the whole of their activities are sometimes not expected to be understood, explained or completely recounted. Such is, at times, the case with Albert Pike. It is often difficult to imagine Albert Pike as a player ( rather than as the player) in American Scottish Rite events of the 1800s. The monumental mark that Pike left on the Southern Jurisdiction can mask the fact that his influence was not always as profound as it was in his later years. Regardless of his many accomplishments, there was a time when Illustrious Brother Pike was but an inexperienced, yet promising Mason with a blank book before him upon which it was unknown exactly what would be written.


This address, the first ever given by Pike as the presiding officer of a Scottish Rite body, gives us a rare look at the early Albert Pike. While in his later years, Pike was viewed by many as a true Master of the Scottish Rite, this address clearly calls into notice his immaturity in the Rite, and he asks for "lenient judgment" upon  his "shortcomings". In his address Pike is clearly humble and sincerely appreciative of his election. He also notes that his election to the position of Commander in Chief was "politic" in nature and due to "circumstances that surround us". What could have caused a political election of the untried Albert Pike as the presiding officer of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana? Let's look at the "circumstances".





Just seven years prior to Pike's assuming the leadership of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana, the whole of Louisiana Masonry underwent a dramatic shift in direction, leadership, and character. The once French dominated Grand Lodge of Louisiana became "American" in nature. This shift mirrored the cultural changes taking place in New Orleans and other French areas of the state. Louisiana was founded as a French colony.  Even after the territory became a state in 1812, the French influence was the dominate force, especially in the city of New Orleans. Not only was the Grand Lodge of Louisiana a French-speaking body, but so were the five lodges that created it. Louisiana was the most "foreign" Grand Lodge (as well as state) in the U.S. Over time, many did not view this as an acceptable situation.


By the 1830s, Louisiana Masonry, as well as the whole of the Louisiana culture, began feeling intense pressure to become "more American". With many, this was not a welcome change. Bitter disputes and unyielding divisions developed that culminated in actual violent clashes between the "Creoles" and "Americans" in the downtown New Orleans streets. The Grand Lodge was not immune to these cultural divisions which often manifested themselves in the different rites worked by the Louisiana craft lodges. For the most part, the French interests were championed by the lodges working the French or Modern and A.&A.S.R. Rites and the American interests by the York Rite (American Webb) lodges. The 1844 Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana was the last straw for many York Masons. The new constitution officially recognized the, then, three rites working in Louisiana and sanctioned the creation of a "chamber of Rites" to supervise the work of the lodges. The York position was that there should be only one recognized rite for Louisiana craft lodges (York Rite ) and that the Grand Lodge should be made to conform to the same system as worked by the other U.S. Grand Lodges.


A committee of English-speaking York Rite Masons, frustrated by the lack of accommodation they perceived in the Grand Lodge, approached the Grand Lodge of Mississippi and submitted a letter of grievance on January 23, 1845. [ii] They charged the Grand Lodge of Louisiana with irregularity due to its practice and acknowledgement of various craft lodge rituals. After debate, the Grand Lodge of Mississippi agreed with the charges, declared the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana as "open territory" and, by 1848, chartered seven lodges in Louisiana. [iii] On March 8, 1848 these seven lodges formed a second Grand Lodge within Louisiana. John Gedge, who had spearheaded the "rebellion" was elected Grand Master of the "Louisiana Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons". While this new Grand Lodge received recognition from only the Grand Lodge of Mississippi, its future was not nearly as bleak as it might seem.


The Grand Lodge of Louisiana was created in a manner to accommodate the needs of the lodges which organized it. The Grand Lodge was created French in nature because this was the culture of the vast majority of those living in the area of the Grand Lodge at that time. Over the years that followed, the Grand Lodge continued to exist and operate in the manner in which it was created. The majority of the membership of the lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge, however, changed from French to American. The Grand Lodge was then viewed, by the majority, as not accommodating their wants and needs.


The Grand Lodge of Mississippi received admonitions from most U.S.  Grand Lodges for their actions in Louisiana, with the majority openly condemning its activities. [iv] With the exception of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi, no U.S. Grand Lodge entered into relations with the new Louisiana Grand Lodge. Regardless of their seemingly advantageous position, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana was in serious trouble.


The Scottish Rite Journal is published bimonthly by the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, United States of America, Washington, DC.

Outside of New Orleans, there were a few pockets where the French culture was strong, but the majority of the state was already (or was becoming) Americanized. The events surrounding the creation of the Louisiana Grand Lodge buckled the knees of the Grand Lodge because most of the lodges under this new Grand Lodge were located in the New Orleans area -perceived to be the largest stronghold of the French culture within the state as well as the home of the Grand Lodge. The fact that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana was overwhelmingly considered to be the "regular" Grand Lodge in Louisiana was not sufficient to overcome the internal problems stemming from the cultural divisions in New Orleans. By mid 1849, it was realized that the English-speaking lodges that had remained loyal to the Grand Lodge were showing signs that continued loyalty would, most likely, not happen. Contributing to the dilemma was divisions between the French-speaking New Orleans Masons.


Obviously realizing that the total collapse of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana was a very real possibility, the Grand Lodge and the Louisiana Grand Lodge, A. Y.M. entered into discussions in 1849 designed to merge the two bodies. [v] That merger took place in June of 1850 with the approval of a new Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana of Free and Accepted Masons. Under the terms of the agreement of the merger, the Louisiana Grand Lodge, A. Y.M. members declared "irregular" would be healed by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana,F.&A.M.. All Lodges chartered by the Louisiana Grand Lodge, A. Y.M. ( or by the Grand Lodge of Mississippi in Louisiana) would, also, pass under the jurisdiction of the new Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F.&A.M. John Gedge, who had served as Grand Master of the Louisiana Grand Lodge, A. Y.M., was elected Grand Master of the new Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F.&A.M. for 1851.


While this new constitution seemed to merge the two Grand Lodges, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana was, in reality, replaced by the Louisiana Grand Lodge, A. Y.M.. All that actually remained of the old Grand Lodge was the name, organizational date of 1812, and the list of Past Grand Masters. The nature of the new Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F.&A.M. changed to match the Louisiana Grand Lodge, A. Y.M.. The "Americans" were in power.


The old Grand Lodge of Louisiana officially accommodated lodges working in the York (American Webb), French, or Modern, and A.&A.S.R. craft rituals. The French-speaking Masons believed that the two Grand Lodge merger would result in the continued recognition oflodges working in all three rites. They were horrified and outraged when the new Grand Lodge instructed all non-York Rite lodges to turn in their charters so that York Rite charters could be issued. [vi] Charges of trickery abounded. Three A.&A.S.R. craft lodges (Etoile Polaire, Disciples of the Masonic Senate, and Los Amigos del Orden) applied to the Supreme Council of Louisiana for relief. The Supreme Council announced that since the Concordat of 1833 between the Grand Lodge of Louisiana and the Grand Consistory of Louisiana (at that time the highest ranking Scottish Rite body in the State) had been violated by the new Grand Lodge, the Supreme Council would issue charters to these lodges and allow them to pass under its jurisdiction. [vii]


The French Rite Masons did not have a Grand Body from which to seek relief. The Grand Lodge had been the "home" of the French Rite. With no superior body for the government of the French Rite lodges, they would, ultimately, disappear from Louisiana Masonry as an identifiable force. [viii]





When we step back and attempt to look at the situation through the eyes of the participants, we can see that the Supreme Council of Louisiana taking jurisdiction over the three A.&A.S.R. Craft Lodges must have been just as jarring to the new Grand Lodge of Louisiana as the action of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi was to the old Grand Lodge. No one could see or know the future. The Grand Lodge of Mississippi had been a body in full fraternal relations with the old Grand Lodge, as was the Supreme Council of Louisiana. While the Grand Lodge of Mississippi was a sister Grand Lodge, the Supreme Council of Louisiana was composed of members who were nearly all Grand Lodge officers, a good number of whom were Past Grand Masters. The Supreme Council of Louisiana was not an insignificant body. The actions of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi set into motion a series of events that led to the downfall of the old Grand Lodge of Louisiana. It was not unfeasible for the actions of the Supreme Council of Louisiana to result in the same fate for the new Grand Lodge of Louisiana. Clearly this situation needed to be addressed by the new Grand



At the invitation of Grand Master John Gedge, Albert Mackey came to New Orleans in 1852 and established, for the Charleston Supreme Council, a Consistory of the 32°. Gedge was appointed Commander in Chief of this new consistory. Obviously, the Supreme Council of Louisiana charged that this was an outrageous invasion of territory. Not only was it the fact that the Consistory was organized in New Orleans, but the manner in which it was created was the subject of severe criticism. In 1853, Charles Laffon de Ladebat wrote about the events concerning the new Grand Lodge, the Supreme Council of Louisiana and the new Charleston Consistory in New Orleans.


In presence of such despotic, anti-masonic conduct, the Scotch BB:. resited as men, as Masons, and formed an independent corporation under the only M:. authority existing in Louisiana dejure et defacto. The balance remained with the new Grand Lodge, swore obedience to her, through indifference rather than from conviction. Soon after this, the very same Sectarian, in his restlessness, caused Br :. Albert G. Mackey to come from Charleston, in order to establish a Grand Consistory, exactly as if there never had existed a Supreme Council of the Scotch Rite in Louisiana. Our sectarian, after abolishing the Scotch Rite, wished to re-establish it in order to be at the head of it. This Consistory has been inaugurated, you know it M:. W..., for you were admitted into it for proper causes. The manner in which the degrees were conferred in this spurious Consistory is and will be an eternal shame to the Br :. who has conferred them. [ix]


While we can only speculate as to the events which might have caused this "eternal shame" statement, it is evident that the creation of the Charleston consistory in New Orleans fanned the flames of emotion and deeply angered the already frustrated NewOrleans Scottish Rite Masons. But what could be done?


The cultural variances within New Orleans societies during the 1800s are far too complex to be explained from onlya French and/or American viewpoint. New Orleans was a cosmopolitan city with layers of cultures and subcultures. The lodges under the Grand Lodge of Louisiana were not only French and English speaking, but there were also lodges working in German, Italian, and Spanish. Like the many New Orleans neighborhoods, Masonic lodges often reflected the culture of the members of the lodge. Prior to 1850, the Grand Lodge maintained but a minimal supervision of the lodges under its jurisdiction. As long as a lodge worked within a general Masonic framework, as defined by the Grand Lodge, the lodge was left effectively alone. For some lodges (especially in rural areas) the only contact they had with the Grand Lodge was when they sent in their yearly returns. Lodges were free to develop their own cultural "stamp" on both their lodge and the ritual they used. Germania Lodge No.46 was created as a German-speaking lodge receiving a York Rite charter from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana in 1844. Their 1844 ritual shows that they originally worked an eclectic ritual which may well have derived from all three rites worked in Louisiana (as well as rituals from outside the state). [x] It is very possible that the unknown author(s) of this ritual simply sat down with a number of rituals and created a unique ritual to his (or their) liking. Such independent activity was not uncommon.


The freedom extended to the lodges by the Grand Lodge may have ultimately contributed to the downfall of the French interests in Louisiana. The York Rite English-speaking Masons were, by then, in the majority, but it was not a large majority. The non-York Rite Masons might have been able to overturn the actions of the new Grand Lodge, but they could not unify themselves and were split into unyielding factions with their own goals and agendas.


Regardless of the influence the Supreme Council of Louisi'ana once had in Louisiana, the creation of the 1852 Charleston Consistory created a split that led to the demise of the New Orleans Supreme Council as a true Masonic power. Not only was the New Orleans Council locked in battle with the new Grand Lodge, it was also facing perplexing (in NewOrleans) charges of irregularity -charges that it was not prepared to answer. The rapid fire changes involving the whole of Louisiana Masonry left most of the French Masons flabbergasted and hopelessly divided as to which direction to take. It was at this time that a new "solution" was introduced that cut the divisions even deeper.





The Scottish Rite in New Orleans existed in what might be described as a "parallel universe" with the rest of the U.S. A.&A.S.R. Given the cultural difference between the whole of Louisiana Masonry and the rest of the U.S., the differences and "detached" nature of the Scottish Rite in New Orleans is understandable. With the "American invasion" of Louisiana Masonry came a forced realization that changes would have to be made in the nature of all Louisiana Masonic bodies. Exactly what changes would be necessary was the subject of heated debate.


The creation of the 1852 Mackey/Charleston Consistory in New Orleans triggered intense emotion in an already explosive environment. It was during this time and in this setting, that a plan to merge the Charleston and New Orleans Supreme Councils was born. For those who viewed the New Orleans Supreme Council as the only hope of preserving the French interests in New Orleans, the idea of such a merger was wholly unacceptable. The more moderate French Masons saw such a merger as, quite possibly, the only option left. In 1860, Charles Laffon de Ladebat wrote to Albert Pike about the Concordat and explained his position of it.


My resolution of retiring from active practice is 5 years old & more. Hear what I wrote to Mackey January 31,1855: "When the work will be accomplished, when every thing will be in proper order & well understood, will retire willingly & leave the management of all to more competent, but not more devoted hands". We know that the foreign influence will & must be superseded by the American element. Now the time has come & I believe that, even in Masonry, Americans must rule in America. I, a frenchman, must retire -in due time. [xi]


Not all of the French Masons were willing to turn over what they viewed as their "possession" to others with different ideas, plans, and goals. When the merger between the two councils seemed to be inevitable, the officers and nearly half of the Active Members of the New Orleans Supreme Council resigned rather than take part in the Concordat. On January 7, 1854, the remaining Members of the council elected Charles Claiborne as the new Grand Commander, Claude Pierre Samory as Lt. Grand Commander, and Charles Laffon de Ladebat was appointed Grand Secretary. The Concordat merging the Charleston and New Orleans Supreme Councils was signed in New Orleans on February 16, 1855. The New Orleans Supreme Council ceased to exist as a Supreme Council and the Grand Consistory of Louisiana merged with the 1852 "Mackey" Consistory.


With the Concordat of 1855, the elimination of the French control of Louisiana Masonry was complete. The unrest, dissatisfaction, and ill feelings, however, continued to fester. James Foulhouze was the Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Louisiana who, along with the other officers, resigned from the council rather than participate in the Concordat. Claude Samory and AlbertMackey approached Foulhouze in the summer of 1856 to enlist his aid in healing the old wounds and to, hopefully, rebuild the A.&A.S.R. in New Orleans. Foulhouze was offered the office of Commander in Chief of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana and Active Membership in the Charleston Supreme Council if he would join in the rebuilding. Foulhouze declined the offers and began his efforts to reorganize the New Orleans Supreme Council with its former officers.[xii]


With James Foulhouze out of consideration, a new leader for the troubled New Orleans Scottish Rite had to be found. The choice would prove to be inspired.





Albert Pike was an attorney by profession and a Mason of only five years when he moved his law practice to New Orleans in 1855.[xiii] Thro years earlier, Pike received the Scottish Rite degrees up to the 32° from Albert Mackey in Charleston. Mackey saw a unique quality in Pike and recruited him to be on the ritual committee of the Charleston Supreme Council. Mackey lent Pike a collection of Scottish Rite rituals for his review and study. It was through the examination and transcription of these rituals that Pike received his first understanding of the A.&A.S.R. Busy with setting up his law practice and studying the rituals lent to him by Mackey, Pike did not concern himself with the momentous developments taking place in New Orleans at the time of his arrival.


One of Pike's earliest Masonic acquaintances in New Orleans was Charles Laffon de Ladebat. Over the years ( even after Pike became Grand Commander) these two would maintain a "love/hate" relationship that was founded on a basic respect for each other. Ladebat was made a 33° by James Foulhouze in the New Orleans Supreme Council on February 11, 1852, and served as its Grand Secretary at the time of the Concordat of 1855. Ladebat would later be elected an Active Member of the Charleston Supreme Council in 1859. Pike's time in New Orleans put him in close contact with many competent New Orleans 33rds who were quite capable of completing Pike's education and understanding of the A.&A.S.R. Ladebat was, clearly, one of Pike's early mentors.


Just as he had done with Albert Mackey, Pike greatly impressed the New Orleans Scottish Rite Masons. Pike's talent and raw abilities clearly made him a candidate for any Masonic office. The fact that Pike played no part whatsoever in the Concordat of 1855 may have made Pike even more attractive and a prime candidate for leading the Grand Consistory of Louisiana. Pike did not carry "baggage" with him from the Louisiana Masonic turmoil. While he was under the jurisdiction of the Charleston Supreme Council at the time of the concordat, he was not an Active Member and played no part in any of the decisions concerning the Concordat. No one could "blame" Pike for any of the events. Albert Pike was the only serious candidate for leading the Grand Consistory who could be seen as potentially objective as well as extraordinarily promising. Next to James Foulhouze, no one had a better chance of appeasing the French Masons and unifying all the factions. Once the New Orleans Supreme Council was re-organized, Pike's value to the "Charleston cause" was even more evident.


This address, given by Pike only four days after he received the 33°, [xiv] is valuable to all Scottish Rite researchers not only because it is an extremely rare piece of early Pike literature, but also because of significant information provided in it. From this address we not only get abetter feel of the early Albert Pike, but also have the opportunity to develop a more detailed understanding of the momentous events that were taking place at the time Albert Pike arrived on the Scottish Rite stage. Within just two years from the time of this address, Pike would be elected an Active Member of the Southern Jurisdiction (over the possible objections of the Grand Commander and Lt. Grand Commander) [xv] and then on January 2, 1859, with the very first S.J. election of officers, be elected to the position of Sovereign Grand Commander.


Pike's address was ordered to be recorded in the handwritten Minutes of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana. A typed transcript of this address was made by an unknown Brother sometime between the 1940s and 1950s and a copy of this transcript acquired by this writer. The accuracy of the transcript was verified by this writer by a comparison of the transcript with the original Minutes located in the Scottish Rite Bodies of New Orleans. This address was published in a very limited edition in 1995 by Michael Poll Publishing.








Apri1 29 1857


Th :. Ill:. Bros :. and Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret:


I PRAY YOU TO ACCEPT MY MOST SINCERE THANKS and profoundest gratitude for the great and unexpected honor which you conferred upon me, when, in my absence, you selected me to fill the most honorable and very responsible station of Grand Commander of this Grand Consistory and for your present ratification of that choice. I will earnestly endeavor to have myself not wholly undeserving of your good opinion; so that, although it must now be said that when elected I was not worthy either by service or qualification, it may not hereafter be said that when I cease to serve, you repented of your selection.


I can bring to your service, Princes, little more than good intentions, kind feelings, and a zealous devotion to the interest of Masonry of all Rites -when you find me deficient (and wherein shall I not, alas, be found, Bro :. ? ) I entreat of you in advance lenient judgment upon my short-comings, and that you will kindly aid me with your sympathy, support and advice. For I must be ever embarrassed by the reflection that I have been by your too favorable judgment preferred to many eminent and distinguished Brethren, whose longer service and greater familiarity with the work gave them far higher claims than any I could have preferred to the post of honor and command. If I supposed that personal consideration or a belief in my superior fitness and capacity had led you to this choice, I should sink under a sense of my feebleness, not ever have succeeded in overcoming my repugnance to accept a post where so much was to be expected. But, amass that there were other reasons, which acted upon you, and made your selection seem politic and for the interest of Masonry in this Valley, reasons not personal to me, but growing out of the conditions of things and the circumstances that surrounded us. I am encouraged to hope that I may in some degree aid in attaining the result which you all desire, and that your just expectations may not be disappointed.


I have accordingly accepted tile post which you have tendered me, and will endeavor to perform its duties. Most important private business will compel my absence for some months. I shall return as soon as practicable, and remain thereafter permanently in the city. [xvi]


Should the interest of the Order at any time be likely to suffer by my temporary absence, I shall be prepared at once to surrender up my office, faintly imitating the lofty magnanimity, of which so beautiful an example has been set me by an Ill:. Bro:. whose genius and labors have done so much to restore the splendors of the Ancient and Accepted Rite [xvii] in this Valley, and whose name will not be forgotten among us, while the order of Knights Rose Croix continues to exist, or the Kadosh to war against tyranny and usurpation.


But I shall most sensibly feel how great will be the contrast between myself, with my slender experience, and the Th:. Ill:. Prince and Sovereign whose place I come to take, but not fil.[xviii] Eminent in Masonic learning and more illustrious by long and faithful service than even by his high rank and lofty station, the new and supreme dignity recently conferred upon him was a most just and appropriate acknowledgment of his worth. This Consistory must most sensibly feel its loss, as he, Ill:. Gr :. Commander, crowned and laurelled with the highest honor, and with the grateful thanks and recollections of his brethren, most gracefully retires from this distinguished post, to yield it of his own choice to another. I beseech him not to withdraw from me his counsel and advice, and I pray him and our Ill:. Bro:. Laffon, [xix] and the other eminent brethren who surround me, to aid me, to advise me, to support me in my inexperience, that, guided by them I may not despair of rendering some little service to the cause of humanity, to the cause of truth, of liberty, of philosophy, and of Masonic progress.


My brethren, I see around me the representatives of more than one race, [xx] and the disciples of more than one Masonic Rite -I rejoice at this reunion, and it gives me happy augury of the prosperity, health, and continuance of Masonry in this Valley. I am especially glad that here and in other bodies of this Rite, I see by the side of the children of the first generous and gallant settlers of Louisiana, many of another land, and who not long since for the first time passed beyond the boundaries of the York Rite.


We are all aware, my brethren, how little among Masons of the latter Rite is known of the Ancient & Accepted Rite, and how great and general a prejudice has obtained those against it. It has been imagined that there was antagonism between the two: Scottish Masonry has been deemed almost spurious, and its degrees, at the best, no more than mere side degrees; and the York Mason who has entered into our sanctuaries has been regarded in the estimation of many, as untrue to his allegiance and disloyal.


Those of you, my brethren, who lately have known only the York Rite, are already aware how unfounded is this prejudice, how erroneous this opinion, how chimerical these apprehensions and alarms. It shall be my study to make you more fully to know this hereafter.


The Ancient and Accepted Rite is, when itself fully developed and understood, when itself what it should be and can be, a great, harmonious and connected system, all the degrees and lessons, embody the philosophy, the history, the morality and the essential meaning of Masonry, and are to us what the Ancient mysteries were to the initiate of Eleusis, of Egypt, and of Samothrace.


The degrees of this Rite are commentaries on the Master's Degree, which itself is essentially the same in all Rites. They interpret instead of being at variance with that degree. They ultimately make it known to the Initiate the true word and the true meaning and inner sense of the True Word of a Mason. They teach the great doctrines that God taught the Patriarchs, and which are the foundations on which all religions repose.


We do not undervalue symbolic Masonry, nor love it the less because we also love the Ancient & Accepted Rite, we but learn justly to value the Master's degree, by coming to understand its full meaning and to appreciate the sublime and lofty lessons which it teaches. Masonry is one everywhere and in all its Temples of whatever Rite; as it has been one in all times. Everywhere it teaches the same great lessons of morality and philosophy, or should do so, if faithful to its mission, and if its apostles are properly informed and true to the duties which it imposes on them. If anywhere it has excluded from even the inmost Sanctuaries of its Temples men of any faith who believe in Our Supreme God, Creator and Preserver of all things that become, and in the immortality of the Soul-if it has anywhere assumed the garb of religious exclusion and intolerance, of Jesuitism, of political vengeance, of Hermetic Mysticism, there most assuredly it has ceased to be Masonry.


It would not be true to say, however, that even Scottish Masonry has adequately fulfilled or been equal to its missions. While by the irresistible influence of time, by innovations and by mutilations and corruptions of ignorance, the degrees of the York Rite have long since ceased to be what they should be, and what they were in the beginning, when they succeeded to those ancient academies of science, philosophy and morality, the mysteries; while the practice of confirming everything contained in them to the memory has by the silent lapse of time caused more and more both of ceremony and substance to be forgotten, much to be intentionally dropped, and the field of each degree to be made more and more narrow; while the true meaning of very many of their most valuable symbols have faded away and disappeared, and been replaced by commonplace, and the inventions of ignorance, and the lofty science and profound teachings, of the Ancients have too much given way to unimpressive phrases and valueless formulas, -the Scottish Rite also has not enjoyed immunity from the ravages of the biting tooth of time, universal destroyer of all human beings.


For even here, where over the Temples of our Degrees stood perfect and complete in all the splendor and Majesty of their beautiful and harmonious proportions, we are like strangers from a far land who wander amid the shattered columns and wrecked glories of Thebes and Palmyra, and union over the ruins that track the steps of time, and over the instability of all earthly things. From many of our degrees everything has dropped out except the signs and words, and they remain half effaced and corrupted. From more, all is lost except these and some unimportant formulas; in still more, useless repetition arrives at impressiveness, but cannot renunciate us for the old science and the noble philosophy whose place it endeavors to supply. Those huge chasms have been created in the work, and the connections between the degrees have been broken; so that each has become a fragment instead of being, as at first part of one consistent, regularly progressive and harmonious whole.


Thus it has come that of the degrees from the fourth to the thirty-second inclusive, which we retain and apply to ourselves the sounding titles, four only are habitually conferred, which all the residue remain in a great measure, and part of them altogether unknown.


It had become so obvious that this Rite needed reformation, and that either its degrees should all be made worthy to be conferred and of value to be attained, or else those which were not so ought to be abandoned and their titles disused, that more than two years ago the Supreme Council at Charleston appointed a Committee of five Brethren to revise the whole ritual of the degrees; on which Committee I had the distinguished honor to be placed. While my Brother Laffon, both before and after he was also placed there in the stead of my Brother Samory, who to the general regret found himself compelled to decline the act. [xxi] While my Brother Laffon labored, more particularly on the 18th Degree, but not alone on that, I also, undertaking at first a few degrees, continued my labors during two years, until I completed a revision of all; which that it may be thoroughly examined and sanctioned, I have printed in a volume and submitted to the Supreme Council. Whether that August Body will stamp it or any part of it with its approval, is wholly unknown to me. I have endeavored to restore the effaced or faded lineament of many of the degrees to develop and elaborate the great leading idea of each, to correct the whole together as a regular series, and to make of them our harmonious and systematic whole, ascending by regular graduations to the highest moral and philosophical truth -I have endeavored to prime away all commonplaces and puerility's, all unmeaning forms and ceremonies, all absurd interpretations, and everything useless or injurious with which time and ignorance had overloaded the degrees. I have endeavored so to restore, to retouch and to supply, retaining all that was valuable and working up all the old material, as to make every degree worth to be conferred: that there should be no longer any empty tile, or barren honors in the Ancient & Accepted Rite.


This I have attempted; but I am only too well aware that the undertaking was too great for my furios; and that what I have done will be found full of imperfections, as the work of the painter, the sculpture, the creator, and the poet ever falls short of his own ideal.


Still I have endeavored to do somewhat; and it is my desire, at some appropriate future time, and with your consent and assistance, to confer upon some suitable candidate such of the degrees, as I have revised them, as have not been already revised by other and more competent hands.


I congratulate you, my brethren, on the advancement and progress of the Ancient & Accepted Rite in this Valley: The Concordat by which the Supreme Jurisdiction of the Supreme Council at Charleston was acknowledged and under which the two Consistories then existing became one, laid broad and deep the strong foundations of the prosperity of our Rite. The walls of our TempIe, solidly and squarely built, bid defiance to the storms of faction; and if we are true to ourselves, peace will dwell within our gates.


And in the Realm of Masonry, if anywhere on earth, there ought to be peace ahd quiet and harmony. No where are schism and faction, and disunion and discontent so lamentably out of place as here. Here there should be no lust for power and no eagerness for rank or distinction. If discontented men should in this valley have established, or if any shall hereafter establish, under a foreign authority which has no jurisdiction here and act only by usurpation, any body or bodies, claiming to administer the Ancient & Accepted Rite, we shall, I think, be prepared to show that the Supreme Council at Charleston, to which we owe allegiance, is the only legitimate authority in the Rite that can exist in our country south of the River Potomac; and that the Grand Orient of France and the Supreme Council within its bosom offered against Masonic Law and Masonic Comity where they made another jurisdiction and erect their banners on the soil of Louisiana.


It is time that this question should be receive the fullest consideration; and that the authentic history of the creation of the Grand Orient itself and of that of the Supreme Council of France, of the disputes between those two bodies and their temporary alliance should be made known to the order in the United States. Supplied with the emissary documents on both sides, it is every intention to translate them and make them public, that all may judge where is the right and where the usurpation.


The time when fables would pass for history has gone by; and that has come when criticism and investigation will deal with the history of Masonry as with other histories, separating the truth from the error, and after reducing great pretensions to the narrowest proportions. Let us examine the history the Ancient & Accepted Rite and the Grand Orient in that spirit and by the rules and canons of sound criticism, never forgetting that courtesy, moderation, and kindness ought to inspire all Masonic discussions, hoping to find a like tone and spirit on the other side, and that those who may array themselves against us will, if Right and Truth be found with us, candidly admit it, and uniting with us acknowledge the same allegiance and so cause peace ever and ever to reign in this valley.


My Brethren, let me impress it upon you, that there is much to do, if we would have Masonry adequately fulfill its mission. It is not sufficient merely to receive three or four of the degrees, and then, imagining the rest, to live in contented indolence, without an effort to know the high science and philosophy of the system. The time has come when one who would be truly and really be a Scottish Rite Mason must study and reflect. It shall be my earnest endeavor to aid you in penetrating to the inmost heart of Masonry and in unveiling its profound secrets, which are that light towards which all Masons at least profess to struggle, that knowledge of the True Work which is the great remuneration of a Mason's labor. But if I should fall short of the performance of this duty, be not you, my brethren, disheartened nor discouraged. Masonry must be true to itself, or it will find in numbers weakness only, and its walls will be crushed to the ground with its own might. In this intellectual and practical age.. Masonry must it from merited disaster and dissolution.


It is time for it to assume a higher ground; and here, if any where, the effort to elevate it must be made. Here, I believe, we can commence and successfully carry onward the indispensable work of reformation, that shall in time end the reign of puerility's and trivialities, and make masonry what it should be. The great teacher of moral and philosophical truth; the teacher of the primitive religion known to the first men that lived; the defender pf the right of free thought, free conscience and free speech; the apostle of rational and well regulated liberty; the protector of the oppressed, the defender of the common people, the asserterof the dignity of labor and the right of the laboring man; the enemy of intolerance, fanaticism and uncharitable opinion, and of all idle and pernicious theories that arraign providence for its dispensations, and endeavor to set their notions of an abstract justice and equality above the laws by which God chooses to rule all human affairs.


In this great work I wish your co-operation, and I ask, for myself and for those eminent brethren who are to act with me and in my place, your countenance, your assistance, and your encouragement. I am sure my brethren that I shall not ask this in vain; and that grateful, deeply grateful as I now am for your confidence and kindness, I shall be far more so, and with far greater reason, when I am allowed to surrender into your hands the trust which you have so generously confided to me.


[i] Charles Laffon de Ladebat to Albert Pike, Iun. 24, 1860. Archives of the Supreme Council, 33°, S.I., Washington. Photocopy in possession of the author.

[ii] Report of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence of the Louisiana Grand Lodge of York Masons (New Orleans: Cook, Young & Co., 1949), p. 5.

[iii] George Washington, Lafayette, Warren, Marion, Crescent City, Hiram, and Eureka.

[iv] Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana Report and Exposition (New Orleans: I. L. Sollee, 1849), pp. 5-34.

[v] James B. Scot, Outline of the Rise and Progress of Freemasonry in Louisiana (1873; reprint, New Orleans: Michael Poll Publishing, 1995), pp. 78-80.

[vi] Charles Laffon de Ladebat, A Letter to H. R. W. Hill, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Concerning the Schism between the Scotch & York Rites (New Orleans: J. Lamarre's Printing Office, 1853), pp. 7-8.

[vii] Scot, Outline, pp. 86-87.

[viii] An attempt was made in the late 1800s to revive the French Rite in New Orleans through the short lived Grand Orient of Louisiana. This body was created in 1879, but, possibly due to little support, did not last longer than ten years. See: Proqres Grand Orient de la Louisiane (Rite Moderne) (New Orleans: P. & E. Marchand, 1886) . A copy of this very rare work is in the George Longe Papers in the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans.

[ix] Ladebat, Letter to Hill, pp. 7-8.

[x] Art de Hoyos, Introduction, The Liturgy of Germania Lodge No.46, R&A.M. (New Orleans: Michael R Poll, 1993).

[xi] Ladebat to Pike, Jun. 24,1860.

[xii]  See: Michael R. Poll, "James Foulhouze: Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Louisiana;' Heredom, vol. 6 (1997), pp. 49-82.

[xiii] Pike's law office was located in downtown New Orleans in a building on the riverside of Camp Street one block from Canal Street. The building no longer exists. New Orleans City Directory, 1856.

[xiv] After the Concordat of 1855, the Active Members of the New Orleans Supreme Council were brought in as Honorary Members of the Charleston Supreme Council. As with all Honorary Members of a Supreme Council, they held the 33° but not the active office of Sovereign Grand Inspector General (S.G.I.G.). It was at this time that theCharleston Supreme Council began elevating 32° Masons to the 33° but not including the office ofS.G.I.G. in their elevation. Albert Pike was one of the first 32° in the S.J. elevated to the 33° without being invested with the office of S.G.I.G. Pike would be elected an Active Member (S.G.I.G.) of the Charleston Supreme Council on March 20,1858.

[xv]  ". ..I was not the last to devise the means of placing you at the head of the order, 1st by making you a 33rd against the will of Messrs. Furman & Honour: 2nd by vacating my office of Deputy in your favor, &twice you got in the S.C. & especially twice you were unanimously elected to the Presidency, I consider myself as having done my duty, all I could do. The lifeless council of Charleston was revived; it lives now! Only now tho!" Ladebat to Pike, Jun. 24,1860.

[xvi] The New Orleans City Directories from 1856 unti11859 show that while Pike had opened a law office in New Orleans, he did not have more than a temporary home in the city. The Minutes of the Grand Consistory also reveal that he was absent for many of the meetings of the Grand Consistory. There is no record that Pike ever moved his family to New Orleans, and it is probable that he traveled between his home in Little Rock and New Orleans. One of the many boarding houses in New Orleans would have likely been his residence during his stays in the city. Despite Pike's statement, New Orleans would never be his permanent home.

[xvii] At the time of this address, the term Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was not in common use in the U.S. This accounts for Pike's repeated use of the older (in the U.S.) term Ancient and Accepted Rite.

[xviii] Pike refers to Claude Pierre Samory. Samory was elected an Active Member of the Charleston Supreme Council on Nov. 20, 1856.

[xix] Charles Laffon de Ladebat.

[xx] Freemasonry in pre-Civil War New Orleans was reflective of the New Orleans culture of the time. Pierre Roup was the son-in-law of New Orleans Mason and Battle of New Orleans hero Dominique Youx. Roup was a member of Perseverance Lodge No.4 and sat on the lodge's building committee. He was a black Creole. While it is clear that there were more than a few black Creoles who were members of New Orleans lodges, identifying them is difficult, as ones' race was not a question asked or recorded except in notable situations. It is quite possible that there were black Creole members of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana present at the time of Pike's address. It is, likewise, possible that Pike used the word "race" in reference to the French Masons who were often considered part of the "Latin race".

[xxi] On p. 249 of his History of the Supreme Council 33°, A.&A.S.R. S.J., U:S.A (1801- 1864) (Washington: Supreme Council, 33°, 1964) Ray Baker Harris, 33°, reproduces a letter sent by Albert Mackey to Claude Samory dated Mar. 21, 1855. The letter concerns the Southern Jurisdiction's Ritual Committee and lists its members. Claude Samory is listed as the member from New Orleans and Albert Pike the member from Little Rock. Ill. Harris writes: "From all indications, the 'preparation of new copies' was in the hands of Albert Pike. He was then in New Orleans, and may have conferred with Samory in this work, but neither of them ever mentioned such a collaboration in their numerous letters written in this period". Until this address by Pike was rediscovered, it was assumed by most A.&A.S.R. scholars that Samory was on this committee with Pike for a substantial period of time. Bro. Harris, assuming that Samory remained on the committee, logically wondered about the absence of communications between Pike and Samory concerning ritual matters. This address brings to light the fact that Samory retired from the committee shortly after his appointment to be replaced by Ladebat. The collaboration was not between Pike and Samory, but between Pike and Ladebat and renders the degrees written by the two and their ritual communications understandable.

Scottish Rite Research Society Since 1991, the Scottish Rite Research Society (SRRS) has become one of the most dynamic forces in Masonic research today, pursuing a publication program emphasizing quality—both in content and physical form. While it has its administrative offices at the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C., it is open to all. We encourage anyone interested in deepening his or her understanding of Freemasonry to become a member and make the SRRS your research society.

Heredom is the flagship publication of the Scottish Rite Research Society and has been sent annually to members since 1992. It is a collection of the finest essays on contemporary and historical Freemasonry emphasizing the Scottish Rite.

Each year the Scottish Rite Research Society publishes a volume of insightful, scholarly, and thought-provoking articles on all aspects of Freemasonry, but with a general emphasis on the Scottish Rite. Past volumes include studies on biography, bibliography, the evolution and meaning of Masonic rituals, history, kabbalah, hermeticism, Masonic poetry, Prince Hall Affiliation, symbolism, and much more. Each volume is usually between 150-250 pages, and may be color illustrated. (One volume is sent free each year to dues-current Scottish Rite Research Society members.)

Heredom [orig. unknown] is a significant word in "high degree" Freemasonry, from French Rose Croix rituals where it refers to a mythical mountain in Scotland, the legendary site of the first such Chapter. Possible explanations include: Hieros-domos, Greek for Holy House, Harodim, Hebrew for overseers; Heredum, Latin for of the heirs.

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