Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review: Masonic rivalries and literary politics

It seems to me as good a way as any to turn the lights back on here at the Hedge Mason to highlight a book that will stimulate thought. This title comes from the pen of Marsha Keith Schuchard, who brought us insight into Masonry and Cabalism in Jacobite Scotland.

Masonic rivalries and literary politics: from Jonathan Swift to Henry Fielding – May 17, 2018
by Marsha Keith Schuchard

Freemasonry had a major influence on politics and literature in eighteenth-century Britain, but many historical accounts have been limited by an overly Anglo-centric focus, which omitted the importance of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Europe in its development. The persistent “conventional wisdom” that the fraternity was non-political ignored the intense Jacobite-Hanoverian and Tory-Whig rivalries that continued from the 1690s. The assumption that Freemasonry generally espoused a rationalistic Enlightenment agenda omits the Hermetic, Cabalistic, and chivalric themes that infused the Écossais (Scottish-French) higher degrees which expanded rapidly in Europe and eventually in Britain itself. These rivalries and polarizations were reflected in the Tory-Jacobite writings of Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Moses Mendes, Eliza Haywood, Chevalier Ramsay, and many others, while Whig-Hanoverian authors such as Daniel Defoe, Jean-Theophilus Desaguliers, “Orator” Henley, and Henry Fielding supported the loyalist agenda of the Grand Lodge of England. By providing a detailed, chronological account of these developments, this book fills many gaps in eighteenth-century Masonic history.

Marsha Keith Schuchard, Ph. D has written extensively on eighteenth-century Cabalistic and “illuminist” Freemasonry and its influence on Swift, Ramsay, Swedenborg, and Blake. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Table of content
Chapter 1 - The Ruined Temple and the Flight of Knights (1685-1691)
Chapter 2 - Freemasons, Rosicrucians, and Radical Clubs (1691-1703)
Chapter 3 - Jacobites, Williamites, and Disputed Architectural Traditions (1695-1703)
Chapter 4 - Judaized Scots, Jacobite Jews, and the Problem of “False Brothers” (1702-1712)
Chapter 5 - Building Castles in the Air, at Home and Abroad (1710-1716)
Chapter 6 - The Swedish-Jacobite Plot and the Grand Lodge of London (1716-1719)
Chapter 7 - Scottish-Swedish Masonic Traditions and English Innovations (1719-1722)
Chapter 8 - Atterbury, Wharton, and “Combinations of Workmen” (1722-1723)
Chapter 9 - Chinese and Cabalistic Threats to the Grand Lodge (1723-1724)
Chapter 10 - Masonic Rivalries and International Ramifications (1725-1726)
Chapter 11 - A New King, Yet Old Corruption (1727-1730)
Chapter 12 - International Expansion of Chivalric Masonry (1730-1732)
Chapter 13 - Masonic Politics and “A Babel of Religions” (1732-1733)
Chapter 14 - Outbreaks of “Hyp” at Home and Abroad (1734)
Chapter 15 - Riots in Britain, Wars in Europe, Charges of Masonic Conspiracy (1735-1736)
Chapter 16 - Rival Claimants to the “Higher Order” and “Ancient Footing” (1737)
Chapter 17 - Two Young Pretenders to the British Throne (1738-1739)
Chapter 18 - Masonic Cabalists and the Opposition Cabal (1740-1742)
Chapter 19 - Mock Masons, Royal Arch Rebels, and Invasion Fears (1743-1744)
Chapter 20 - Rebuilding the Temple in the North (1745)
Chapter 21 - Early Jacobite Victories, Apparent Hanoverian Triumph (1745-1746)
Chapter 22 - Rival Grand Masters, Beheadings, and Boastings (1746-1748)
Chapter 23 - Disappearance of One Young Pretender, Emergence of the Other (1748-1750)
Epilogue - Schisms: Antients versus Moderns, Royalists versus Republicans, Nationalists versus Imperialists (1751-1788)

The book is available on Amazon.

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