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character of the government they had adopted, must have suggested to them the ideas of republicanism, as well as the antique models which they constantly had before their eyes. And the favorable position of their fraternity, established as it was, and exercising an extensive influence among all the nations of Christendom, must have suggested to them at least the possibility of success. Composed of men of all nations, and through their members allied to : the most powerful families in all countries, and though existing in the territory of the various kingdoms of Europe, yet exercising an independent jurisdiction like a sovereign state, it would have been strange indeed if the idea had not sometimes come to them of the feasibility of destroying the political divisions of Europe, and blending all the states together in one vast republican fraternity similar to their own, and governed by similar constitutions and laws.
While the society of Templars was secretly antagonistic to the existing political institutions, it was also at variance with the doctrine and policy of the church at Rome. The calumniations of Catholic writers allow us to refer to this. In the charge that they worshiped Mohammedan relics, and cultivated Pagan philosophy, we can see only this—that in their fraternity they respected the rights of conscience, and tolerated all religious opinions.*
* Vide Magaz. Encyclop., 1806, tome vi. ; also, Monum. Histor. Relatifs a la Condemnation des Chevaliers du Temple. Raynouard : Paris, 1813.
But in the realization of these vast schemes, and in propagating these ideas, the Order was not successful, and finally fell by treachery before the united powers of civil and religious despotism. But the last moment of its life was one of sublime magnificence. James Bernard Molay, the last Grand Master, ascended the scaffold prepared for him by the pontiff of Rome and the king of France, and died with the fortitude and calmness of a Christian hero. But in dying he announced the future downfall of all despotisms : "I summon you, tyrant of Rome, and you, despot of France, to meet me in one year before the Eternal Throne !” It was humanity, bleeding and torn, and outraged in all its sacred rights, summoning all despotisms, whether spiritual or temporal, before the judgment throne of future ages, to receive their condemnation, and to witness the inauguration of the divine sentiments Justice, Fraternity, and Equality.
Although the schemes of the Templars were unquestionably Utopian, and their notions confused and ill-defined, the ideal which they worshiped was prophetic of those institutions which, in a subsequent age, should secure the civil and spiritual freedom of man. The positive ideas of the society could not perish ; but from the tombs of the murdered Templars they marched forth with a supernatural force to renew their contest with the tyrants of the earth. Mingling with the thoughts of other
reformers, and taken up by other societies, they advanced through the centuries, disenthralled the human mind from the abuses of kingcraft and priestcraft-brought kings themselves to the scaffold—and laid the foundation of a more promising future for man.
Ancient Craft Masonry.
THE first societies of antiquity with which Freemasonry appears to stand in direct historical connection, are the corporations of architects, which, with the Romans, existed under the name collegia and corpora. It is related that Numa established the first corporations, if we may so term them, of architects (collegia fabrorum), with many other societies of mechanics and artificers (collegia artificum), after the model of the Greek societies or colleges of artificers and priests ; he also instituted for them proper meetings and certain religious rites. According to the laws of the twelve tables, the collegia had a right to make their own laws, and could conclude certain treaties with each other, if nothing was contained in either contrary to the public laws, which were conformable with Solon's legislation. Such corporations of all kinds, particularly the crafts connected with hydraulics, naval and civil architecture, early became dispersed through all the provinces of the Roman state, went on continually increasing, and co-operated most
powerfully in propagating the Roman customs, sciences, arts, and laws. They, as it were, cultivated the soil which the sword had gained. The useful arts are, of course, among the most important gifts which a civilized race can confer on the rude tribes who may be dependent on it. When an Indian tribe first concludes a treaty with the United States, one of the points has often been a stipulation that the latter shall send a blacksmith among them. If we now remember that the Romans were pre-eminently an architectural race, like most conquering nations who have already attained a considerable degree of civilization, and that the sciences and arts, connected with architecture, include a vast range, and are intimately connected with the other attainments of an advanced civilization, we shall easily comprehend that the colleges of architects must have been of great importance. As the collegia were established in those carly times when states were formed after the model of a family, and the religious and political constitution confusedly mingled, they had, besides their character of a society of artificers, that of a civil and religious institution. This character was retained by the collegio, particularly the collegium of architects, to the end of the Roman empire, and transplanted into the corporations of architects of the Middle Ages, already mentioned, because the constant mingling of religion in law, politics, and science, by no means