« הקודםהמשך »
ture. Among the number was the celebrated Inigo Jones, son of Inigo Jones, a citizen of London; who was put apprentice to a joiner, and had a natural taste for the art of designing. Being first renowned for his skill in landscape painting, he was patronized by the learned William Herbert, afterwards earl of Pembroke. Having made the tour of Italy at his lordship's expense, and improved under some of the best disciples of the famous Andrea Palladio, on his return to England he laid aside the pencil, and, confining his study to architecture, became the Vitruvius of Britain, and the rival of Palladio.
This celebrated artist was appointed general surveyor to king James I., under whose auspices the science of Masonry flourished. He was nominated Grand Master of England, and was deputised by his sovereign to preside over the Lodges. During his administration, several learned men were initiated into the order, and the Society considerably increased in consequence and reputation. Ingenious artists daily resorted to England, where they met with great encouragement; Lodges were instituted as seminaries of instruction in the sciences and polite arts, after the model of the Italian schools; the communications of the Fraternity were established, and the annual festivals regularly observed.
Many curious and magnificent structures were finished under the direction of this accomplished architect; and, among the rest, he was employed, by command of his sovereign, to plan a new palace at Whitehall, worthy the residence of the kings of England, which he accordingly executed; but, for want of a parliamentary fund, no more of the plan than the present Banqueting-house,* was finished.
* This building is said to contain the finest single room of its ex- , tent since the days of Augustus, and was intended for the reception
In 1607, the foundation stone of this elegant piece of true Masonry was laid by king James, in presence of Grand Master Jones, and his Wardens, William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and Nicholas Stone, Esq., Master-mason of England, who were attended by many brothers, clothed in form, and other eminent persons, who had been invited on the occasion. The ceremony was conducted with great pomp and splendour, and a purse of broad pieces of gold laid upon the stone, to enable the Masons to regale.
Inigo Jones continued in the office of Grand Master till 1618, when he was succeeded by the Earl of Pembroke; under whose auspices many eminent, wealthy, and learned men were initiated, and the mysteries of the Order held in high estimation.
On the death of king James, in 1625, Charles
of ambassadors, and other audiences of state. The whole is a regular and stately building, of three stories; the lowest has a rustic wall, with small square windows, and by its strength happily serves as a basis for the orders. Upon this is raised the Ionic, with columns and pilasters; and between the columns are well proportioned windows, with arched and pointed pediments: over these, is placed the proper entablature; on which is raised a second series of the Corinthian order, consisting of columns and pilasters, like the other, column being placed over column, and pilaster over pilaster. From the capitals are carried festoons, which meet with masks and other ornaments in the middle. This series is also crowned with its proper entablature, on which is raised the balustrade, with attic pedestals between, which crown the work. The whole is finely proportioned, and happily executed. The projection of the columns from the wall, has a fine effect in the entablatures; which being brought forward in the same proportion, yields that happy diversity of light and shade so essential to true architecture. The internal decorations are also striking. The ceiling of the grand room, in particular, which is now used as a chapel, is richly painted by the celebrated Sir Peter Paul Rubens, who was ambassador in England in the time of Charles I. The subject is, the entrance, inauguration, and coronation of king James, represented by Pagan emblems; and it is justly esteemed one of the most capital performances of this eminent master. It has been pronounced one of the 'finest ceilings in the world.
ascended the throne. The Earl of Pembroke presided over the Fraternity till 1630, when he resigned in favour of Henry Dan vers, Earl of Dan by; who was succeeded, in 1633, by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, the progenitor of the Norfolk family. In 1635, Francis Russel, Earl of Bedford, accepted the government of the Society; but Inigo Jones having with indefatigable assiduity continued to patronize the Lodges during his lordship's administration, he was re-elected the following year, and continued in office till his death, in 1646.*
* That Lodges continued regularly to assemble at this time, appears from the Diary of the learned antiquary Elias Ashmole, where he says: 'I was made a Free-mason at Warrington, Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwaring, of Kerthingham, in Cheshire, by Mr. Richard Penket, the Warden, and the Fellow Crafts, (all of whom are specified,) on 16th October, 1646.' In another place of his Diary he says: ' On March the 10th, 1682, about 5 hor. post merid. I received a summons to appear at a Lodge, to be held the next day, at Masons' Hall in London— March 2 1. Accordingly I went, and about noon were admitted into the fellowship of Free-masons, Sir William Wilson, knt. Captain Richard Borthwick, Mr. William Woodman, Mr. William Gray, Mr. Samuel Taylour, and Mr. William Wise. I was the senior fellow among them, it being thirty-five years since I was admitted. There were present, beside myself, the fellows after named: Mr. Thomas Wise, Master of the Masons' Company this present year, Mr. Thomas Shorthose, and seven more old Free-masons. We all dined at the Half-room Tavern, Cheapside, at a noble dinner prepared at the charge of the new accepted Masons.'
An old record of the Society describes a coat of arms much the same with that of the London company of freemen Masons; whence it is generally believed that this company is a branch of that ancient Fraternity; and in former times, no man, it also appears, was made free of that company, until he was initiated in some Lodge of free and accepted Masons, as a necessary qualification. This practice still prevails in Scotland among the operative Masons.
The writer of Mr. Ashmole's Life, who was not a Mason, before his History of Berkshire, p. 6, gives the following account of Masonry:
'He (Mr. Ashmole) was elected a Brother of the company of Free-masons; a favour esteemed so singular by the Members, that kings themselves have not disdained to enter themselves of this Society. From these are derived the adopted Masons, accepted
The taste of this celebrated architect was dis played in many curious and elegant structures.
Masons, or Free-masons; who are known to one another all over the world, by certain signals and watch words known to them alone. They have several Lodges in different countries for their reception; and when any of them fall into decay, the Brotherhood is to relieve them. The manner of their adoption or admission is very formal and solemn, and with the administration of an oath of secrecy, which has had better fate than all other oaths, and has ever been most religiously observed: nor has the world been yet able, by the inadvertency, surprise, or folly of any of its members, to dive into this mystery, or make the least discovery'
In some of Mr. Ashmole's manuscripts, there are many valuable collections relating to the history of the Freemasons, as may be gathered from the letters of Dr. Knipe, of Christ-church, Oxford, to the publisher of Ashmole's Life; the following extracts from which will authenticate and illustrate many facts in this history:
'As to the ancient Society of Free-masons, concerning whom you are desirous of knowing what may be known with certainty, I shall only tell you, that if our worthy Brother, E. Ashmole, esq., had executed his intended design, our Fraternity had been as much obliged to him as the Brethren of the most noble Order of the Garter. I would not have you surprised at this expression, or think it at all too assuming. The Sovereigns of that Order have not disdained our fellowship, and there have been times when Emperors were also Free-masons. What from Mr. Ashmole's collection I could gather was, that the report of our Society taking rise from a bull granted by the pope in the reign of Henry VI. to some Italian architects, to travel over all Europe to erect chapels, was ill founded. Such a bull there was, and those architects were Masons; but this bull, in the opinion of the learned Mr. Ashmole, was confirmative only, and did not by any means create our Fraternity, or even establish them in this kingdom. But as to the time and manner of that establishment, something I shall relate from the same collections.
'St. Alban, the proto-martyr, established Masonry here, and from his time it flourished, more or less, according as the world went, down to the days of King Athelstane, who, for the sake of his brother Edwin, granted the Masons a charter. Under our Norman princes they frequently received extraordinary marks of royal favour. There is no doubt to be made, that the skill of Masons, which was always transcendently great, even in the most barbarous times; their wonderful kindness and attachment to each other, how different soever in condition; and their inviolable fidelity in keeping religiously their secrets; must have exposed them, in ignorant, troublesome, and superstitious times, to a vast variety of adventures, according to the different state of parties, and other alterations in government. By the way, it may be noted, that the Masons were
both in London and the country; particularly in designing the magnificent row of Great Queenstreet, and the west side of Lincoln's Inn Fields, with Lindsey-house in the centre; the late Chirurgeons'-hall and theatre, now Barbers'-hall, in Monkwell-street; Shaftsbury-house, late the London Lying-in Hospital for Married Women, in Aldersgate-street; Bedford-house, in Bloomsburysquare, which is now taken down to make room for the new buildings in the improvement of the Duke of Bedford's town estate; Berkeley-house, Piccadilly, lately burnt, and rebuilt, now in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire; and Yorkstairs, on the bank of the Thames, &c. Beside these, he designed Gunnersbury-house, near Brentford; Wilton-house,in Wiltshire; Castle-abbey,in Northamptonshire; Stoke-park; part of the quadrangle at St. John's, Oxford; Charlton-house, and Cobham-hall, in Kent; Coles-hill, in Berkshire; and the Grange, in Hampshire.
The breaking out of the civil wars obstructed the progress of Masonry in England for some time; but after the Restoration it began to revive under the patronage of Charles II., who had been received into the Order during his exile.'
On the 27th December, 1663, a general assembly was held, at which Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Alban's, was elected Grand Master; who appointed
always loyal, which exposed them to great severities when power wore the appearance of justice, and those who committed treason punished true men as traitors. Thus, in the 3d year of Henry VL an act passed to abolish the society of Masons, and to hinder, under grievous penalties, the holding Chapters, Lodges, or other regular assemblies; yet this act was afterwards [virtually] repealed; and even before that, King Henry and several lords of his court became fellows of the Craft.
* Some Lodges in the reign of Charles II. were constituted by leave of the several noble Grand Masters, and many gentlemen and famous scholars requested at this time to be admitted among the Fraternity.