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Thursday, June 01, 2017

'Francken Manuscript' Facsimile Now Available

As they promised, the Scottish Rite-Northern Masonic Jurisdiction today is releasing an important historical work that Scottish Rite and other Masonic scholars and students of degree rituals will want in their libraries. 

The Francken Manuscript was compiled in 1783 by Henry Andrew Francken and is the earliest known English translation of the French hauts grades degree rituals of the Rite of Perfection (Order of the Royal Secret), from the 4° to the 25°. The work is thought to be the the earliest surviving and most complete English-language versions of the Scottish Rite degrees that appeared in North America. Francken was a key player in bringing these French degrees out of Jamaica into the northern part of America in the period before and during the Revolution. What makes this so important is they are the precursors to the Scottish Rite in their most original form before Carson, Gourgas, Yates, Pike, and others got their mitts on them and began rewriting.

This beautifully presented 720-page book contains a complete, full-color photo facsimile of the Manuscript, with footnoted transcriptions on facing pages. It also includes introductory essays by the Supreme Council and Museum & Library staff members, Alan E. Foulds, Aimee E. Newell, and Jeffrey Croteau.

The price is $95 with free domestic shipping. Order directly from the Supreme Council-NMJ HERE. (Please note that overseas delivery via the least expensive US Postal Service fees is almost as expensive as the book itself. But it CAN be done.)


  1. Has anyone seen it yet? I am curious to know how the NMJ addresses the total departure from these rituals, and in particular the camps.

    1. Oh, Josef, that's easy. It can best be summarized by the late Melvin Maynard Johnson, the NMJ's former Sovereign Grand Commander, in his Allocution from 1943:

      “If the time ever comes when the Scottish Rite determines to remain static, when its philosophy may not be adjusted to the needs of a changing world, then is the time for its obsequies. Until then, its leaders should never abandon study of the philosophy of its ritualistic teachings that, by recast and revision, it may keep in the van of advancing civilization.”

      So, there you go. It's out in the van...

  2. I ordered my copy last night. I checked with the NMJ to make sure they did not have a typo or other error on the "shop" page regarding shipping to the UK. They responded that the $72.20 for shipping is correct. That is the cost of shipping via the USPS, with no markup.

  3. I'm curious to know the difference between this book and Bro. Arturo's Freemasonry's Royal Secret?

  4. You have piqued my curiosity, I'm a SR Mason in the SJ, but I have heard of this manuscript come up quite often, interested to see the differences.

  5. If you are in the Southern Jurisdiction, you will find this material to be very similar to some of the degrees you know.


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