Chapter 31

The Graham Manuscript (1724)


All the institutions of Free-Masonry, opened and proved by the best Tradition and still with some references to Scriptures, such is the title of the Manuscript, dated October 24, 1726, which consists of a long list of Questions and Answers. 

It is, in the opinion of some historians, one of the first texts of English speculative Masonry.  In the opinion of others, it is one of the last texts of English operative Masonry.

Noted in the document, reproduced here, the raising of Noah’s body (foreshadowing that of Hiram), the construction of Solomon’s Temple and the practice of the five points of Fellowship. 

To be noted also this question and its answer that does reveal clearly the actual presence in the Masonic Lodge of Master Masons and Fellowcrafts:

– Ffrom whence came you?

– I came ffrom a right worshipfull Lodge of Masters and ffellows belonging to God and holy saint John who doth greet all perfect brothers of our holy secrets so do I you if I find you be one.

Finally it may be observed that many formulas set forth in the Graham Manuscript have gone, almost intact, through the ages and found a special place in the rituals professed today, this within the various symbolic rites.

Editor’s note - Presented below in its original writing the Graham Manuscript is fully understandable by any reader; so we have decided not to adapt it nor correct its spelling.

The Original Text

The whole Institutions of Free-Masonry opened and proved by the best of Tradition

and still some referance to Scripture.

Ffirst observe that all our signes is taken from the square according to every subject in handleing this is proved by the 9 vers of the 6 chapter of ffirst book of kings.

The Sallutation is as follows: 

Question. - Ffrom whence came you?

Answer. - I came ffrom a right worshipfull Lodge of Masters and ffellows (1) belonging to God and holy saint John who doth greet all perfect brothers of our holy secrets so do I you if I find you be one.

Q. - I greet you well Brother craveing your name?

Answere J and the other is to say his is B.

The examination as ffollows:

Q. - How shall I know you are a ffree Mason?

A. - By true words signes and tokens from my entering.

Q. - How were you made a ffree Mason?

A. - By a true and perfect Lodge.

Q. - What is a perfect Lodge?

A. - The senter of a true heart.

Q. - But how many masons is so called?

A. - Any od number from three to 13.

Q. - Why so much ado and still having od numbers?

A. - Still in refferance ffrom the blesed trinity to the comeing of christ with his 12 apostles.

Q. - What was the first step towards your entering?

A. - A willing disire for to know the secrets of free masonry.

Q. - Why is it called free masonry (2)?

A. - First because a ffree gift of God to the children of men secondly free from the intruption of infernall spirits thirdly a ffree union amonge the brothers of that holy secret to remain for ever.

Q. - How came you into the Lodge?

A. - Poor and penyless blind and Ignorant of our secrets.

Q. - Some reason for that?

A. - In regard our saviour became poor ffor our redemption so I became poor at that time for the knowledge of God contracted in the square.

Q. - What did you see in the Lodge when you did see?

A. - I saw truth the wolrd and Justice and brotherly Love.

Q. - Where?

A. - Before Me.

Q. - What was behind you?

A. - Perjury and hatred of Brotherhood ffor ever if I discover our Secrets without the consent of a Lodge Except that have obtained a trible Voice (3) by being entered passed and raised and Conformed by three severall Lodges and not so Except I take the party sworn to be true to our articles.

Q. - How stood your Lodge at your entering?

A. - East west and south.

Q. - Why not north also?

A. - In regard we dwell at the north part of the world we burie no dead at the north side of our churches so we cary a Vacancey at the north side of our Lodges.

Q. - Why east and west?

A. - Because churches stands eats and west and porches to the south.

Q. - Why doth churches stand east and west?

A. - In ffour references.

Q. - What are they?

A. - First our first parance was placed Eastward in edin - secondly the East winde dryed up the sea before the children of Israell so was the temple of the Lord to be builded - thirdly these who dwell near the Equenoxall the sun riseth and seteth west on them - fourthly the stare appeared in the East that advertised both the sheep heards and wise men that our saviour was come in the flesh.

Q. - Who Conducted you into the Lodge?

A. - The warden and the oldest fellow craft.

Q. - Why not the youngest fellow craft?

Q. - In regard our Saviour exorted the chiefe to Serve at the table that being an exortation to Hummility to be observed by us for ever.

Q. - What poster did you pass your oath in?

A. - I was nether siting standing goeing running rideing hinging nor flying naked nor cloathed shode nor bairfoot.

Q. - A reason fffor such poster?

A. - In regard one God one man makes a very christ so one naked object being half naked half cloathed half shode half bairfoot half kneeling half standing being half on all was one on the whole this sheweth a humble and obedient heart for to be o ffaithfull ffollower of that Just Jesus.

Q. - What were you sworn to?

A. - For to hale and conceal our secrets.

Q. What other tenours did your oath Cary?

A. - My second was to obey God and all true Squares made or sent from a brother my third was never to steall Least I should offend God and shame the square my fourth was never to commite adultery with a brothers wife nor tell him a willfull lie my fift was to disire no unjust revange of a brother but Love and relieve him when its in my power it not horting my self too far.

Q. - I pass you have been in a Lodge yet I demand how many Lights belongs to a Lodge?

A. - I answer 12.

Q. - What are they?

A. - The first three jewells is ffather son holy ghost sun moon Master Mason square Rule plum Lyne Mell and cheisall.

Q. - Prove all thses proper?

A. - As ffor the blesed trinity they affurd reason as ffor the sun he renders Light day and night as ffor the moon she is a dark body off water and doth receive her Light ffrom the sun ans is also queen of waters which is the best of Leavells as ffor the Master Mason he teaches the trade and ought to have a trible voice in teaching of our secrets if he be a bright man because we do be Leive into a Supper oratory power for alltho the 70 had great power Yet the 11 had mor for they chused matthias in place of Judas as ffor square Rule plum lyne mell and cheisall they are six toolls that no mason can performe true work without  the major part of them.

Q. - What refferance can be prest on the 12 Lights?

A. - We draw refferance from the 12 patriarches and also from the 12 oxen we reid of at the 7 chapter of first king that caryed up the molten sea of brass which was tipes of the 12 disciples was to be tought by christ.

Q. - I pass you entered yet I demand if you were raised?

A. - Yes I was.

Q. - Into what were you raised?

A. - I was raised into knowled of our primitive both by tradition and scripture.

Q. - What is your foundation words at the Laying of a builiding where you exspect that some inffernall squandering spirit hath haunted and posable may shake your handy work?

A. - O come Let us and you shall have.

Q. - To whom do you speak?

A. - To the blesed trinity in prayer.

Q. - How do you administer these words?

A. - Kneeling bairhead fface towards the east.

Q. - What mean you by the exspreshion thereof?

A. - We mean that we forsake self righteiouness and differs ffrom these baballonians who presumed to build to heaven but we pray the blesed trinity to Let us build trueLy and square and they shall have the praise to whom it is due.

Q. - When was these words made or what need was for them?

A. - I answere into the primitive before the ghospell spraid the world being incumbered with infernall squandering spirits except that men did build by ffaith and prayer their works were oft asulted.

Q. - But how came that the works of the Baballonians [Babylonians] stood before all this or yet the brightness off the gospell?

A. - I yet by your own question answere you because the presumption of the Baballonians aforesaid had vexed the God head in so much the Langvage was Confounded ffor their sake so that no mankind ffor ever was to do the Like again without a devine Lisiance which could not be had wtout faith and prayer.

Q. - Tradition that ?

A. - We have it by tradition and still some refferance to scripture cause shem ham and Japheth ffor to go to their father noahs grave for to try if they could find anything about him ffor to Lead them to the vertuable secret which this famieous preacher had fot I hop all will allow that all things needful for the new world was in the ark with noah. 

Now these three men had allready agreed that if they did not ffind the very thing it self that the first thing that they found was to be to them as a secret they not Douting but did most ffirmly be Leive that God was able and would also prove willing through their fatih prayer and obedience for to cause what they did find for to prove as vertuable to them as if they had received the secret at ffirst from God himself at its head spring so came to the Grave finding nothing save the dead body all most consumed away takeing a greip at a ffinger it came away so from Joynt to Joynt so to the wrest so to the Elbow.

So they Reared up the dead body and suported it setting ffoot to ffoot knee to knee Breats to beast Cheeck to check and hand to back and cryed out help o ffather as if they had said o father of heaven help us now for our Earthly ffather cannot so Laid down the dead body again and not knowing what to do.

So one said here is yet marrow in this bone and the second said but a dry bone and the third said it stinketh so they agreed for to give it a name as is known to free masonry to this day so went to their undertakings and afterwards works stood: yet it is to be beleived and also understood thet the vertue did not proceed from what they ffound or how it was called but ffrom ffaith and prayer so thus it Contenued the will pass for the deed.

While the reigne of king alboyne then was born Bazalliell [Bezalel] (4) who was so Called of God before conceived in the [womb] and this holy man knew by inspiration that the secret titles and primitive pallies of the God head was preservitiv and he builded on them in so much that no infernall squandering spirit durst presume to shake his handy work so his works be came so ffameious while the two younger brothers of the fforesaid king alboyin disired for to be instructed by him his noble asiance by which he wrought to which he agreed conditionally they were not to discover it without a another to themselves to make a trible voice so they entered oath and he tought them the heorick and the practick part of masonry and they did work.

Then was masons wages called up in that realme then was masons numbered with kings and princes yet near to the death of Bazalliell he disired to be buried in the valey of Jehosephate and have cutte over him according to his diserveing which was performed by these two princes and this was cutte as follows. 

Here Lys the flowr of masonry superiour of many other companion to a king and to two princes a brother Here Lys the heart all secrets could conceall Here lys the tongue that never did reveal. 

Now after his death the inhabitance there about did think that the secrets of masonry had been totally Lost because they were no more heard of for none knew the secrets therof  Save these two princes and they were so sworn at their entering not to discover it without another to make a trible voice.

Yet it is to be beleiued and allso under stood that such a holy secret could never be Lost while any good servant of God remained alive on the earth for every good servant of God had hath and allways will have a great part of that holy secret alltho they know it not themselves nor by what means to make use therof for it hapened with the world at that time as it did with the Sammaritan church about christ they were Seeking ffor what they did not want. 

But their deep Ignorance could not disarne it so all this contenued dark and obscure while the ffour hundred and ffour Score off year after the children of Israell came out of the Land off Egypt in the ffourth year of Sollomons reigne over Israell that sollomon begun to Build the house of the Lord which his father david should have builded but was not admited to performe it because his hands was gultie of blood wars being on every side.

So all reffered while the days off Sollomon his son that he be gun to build the house of the Lord now I hope all men will give ffor granted that all things needffull ffor carying on off that holy errection was not holden ffrom that wise king. 

To this we must all allow Els we must charge God with unJustice which no ffraill mortall dare presume to charge God with nether can his devine goodness be Guilty off now we read at the 13 vers off the 7 chapter of ffirst book of kings that Sollomon sent and ffet hiram out off tyre he being a widdows son of the tribe of naphtale and his father was a man of tyre a worker in brass ffilled with wisdom and Cunning to work all works in brass and he came to king sollomon and wrought all his work ffor him.

The Exsplanation of these verses is as ffollows:

The word Cunning renders ingenuity as ffor wisdom and understanding when they are both found in one person he can want nothing: so by this present scripture must be allowed that the widows Son whose name was hiram had a holy inspiration as well as the wise king sollomon or yet the holy Bazalliell. Now it is holden fforth by tradition that there was a tumult at this Errection which should hapened betwext the Laborours and masons about wages and ffor to call me all and to make all things easie the wise king should have had said be all of you contented ffor- you shall be payed all alike yet give a signe to the Masons not known to the Laborours and who could make that signe at the paying place was to be payed as masons the Laborours not knowing thereof was payed as fforesaid.

This might have been yet if it was so we are to Judge very Mercyfull on the words of the wise king sollomon ffor it is to be understood and allso beleived that the wise king meant according to every mans disarveing yet the 7 vers of the 6 chapter off ffirst book off kings reads me still Better where it is said the House when it was in Building was build of ston made ready beffore it was brought theither so that there was nether hammer nor ax nor any tooll off Iron heard in the house when it was in Building. 

Ffrom whence may be gathered that all things was flitted affore hand yet not posable to be caryed on without a motion and when all things were sought ffrom the horasin off the heavens to the plate fform off the earth there could be nothing ffound more be Comeing more becomeing then then the square ffor to be their signe ffor to signifie what they would have each other to do. 

So the work went on and prospered which could not well go amiss being they wrought ffor so good a Master and had the wisest man on earth for to be their overseer therefore in so parts by Merite yet Much mor by ffree grace Masonry obtained a name and a new command. 

Their name doth signifie strength and their answere beauty and theire command Love ffor proofe hereoff read the 7 and 6 of ffirst book off kings where you will finde the wonderfull works off hiram at the building off the house of the Lord.

So all Being ffinised then was the secrets off ffree Masonry ordered aright as is now and will be to the End of the world for such as do rightly understand it. 

In three parts in refferance to the blesed trinity who made all things yet in 13 brenches in refferances to Christ and his 12 apostles which is as follows a word ffor a devine Six ffor the clargey and 6 ffor the ffellow craft and at the ffull and totall agreement therof to ffollow with five points off ffree Masons fellowshipe which is ffoot to ffoot knee to knee breast to breast cheeck to cheeck and hand to Back which ffive points hath refferance to the ffive cheife signes which is head ffoot body hand and heart and allso to the ffive points off artitectur and allso to the ffive orders of Masonry yet takes thire strength ffrom five primitive one devine and ffour temporall which is as ffollows ffirst christ the chiefe and Cornnerston secondly Peter called Cephas thirdly moses who cutte the commands ffour­thly Bazalliell the best of Masons ffifftly hiram who was ffilled with wisdom and understanding.

You[r] ffirst is...

Your Second is...

Your third is...

You[r] ffourth is...

Your ffift is...

Your sixt is...

Your seven is...

Your eight is...

Your nineth is...

Your tent is...

you[r] Elewent is...

your twelt is...

You[r] thirteen is (6)...

Tho[mas] Graham Chanceing Master of Lodges

outher Enquam Ebo (7).

October ye 24 1726 

To all or any off our ffretarnity

that intends to Learn by this [text].


1. - The Mason who arrives in the Lodge comes from a very worshipful Lodge which includes several Masters (and not only a Master of the Lodge) and Companions.

2. - Free Masonry or Freemasonry? The answer clearly states the conception of English Masonry: “free” and not related to the use of “free-stone” or (medieval) “free-trade”. It has to be remembered that, according to previous Charges, the new Mason has to be free of birth and free of serfdom.

3. - Trible voice - The voice of three different people, or three people in one voice.

4. - Bezalel - A man who, in the Old Testament (Exodus 31:1-11), helped Moses as chief workman on the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant - as such, he was a predecessor of Hiram; meaning of the name: Servant of God.

5. - First manifestation of the search for a lost secret, foreshadowing the myth of Hiram.

6. - The text does not specify what this list is.

7. - Enquam Ebo - Probable corruption of “Inquam Ego” which may mean: I am. Thomas Graham was Master of the Lodge to which he belonged.

© Guy Chassagnard 2016