The Architects of America: Freemasons and the Growth of the United States

By Russell Charles Blackwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1. “I WAS MADE A FREEMASON…”

“He is to be a Lover of the Arts and Sciences, and to take
all Opportunities of improving himself therein.”

—Part of a Charge to New Masons, circa 1734


I

“I was made a Freemason at the Salutation Tavern, Tavistock Street,” scribbled Doctor William Stukeley, “with Mr. Collins and Capt. Rowe, who made the famous Diving Engine…” In this rather terse and uncharacteristically bald sentence, William Stukeley committed his personal experiences of the evening of 6th January, 1721 to his diary. As someone well known across England for floridly chronicling anything that caught his eye, it might be expected that this particular physician, well versed in the importance of good observation and reporting, could have drawn back the curtain on the ceremony that actually took place within the walls of the Salutation for the benefit of the future. This necessarily didn’t mean the full works, just a whiff of detail, or a touch of drama perhaps; but this he failed to do, save for some supplementary commentary about the poor turnout at this particular Masonic assembly, for barely enough Masons had even bothered to turn out to induct the three newcomers, leading Stukeley to believe, quite wrongly, that he, Collins and Rowe were the first men in years to be “made a mason.”

-7-

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