Between the formation of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Scotland on the 4th August 1846 and the present day, a total of thirteen eminent Scottish freemasons have led the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Scotland, the first of these Sovereign Grand Commanders was Dr Charles Morison of Greenfield (d. 1849), a physician in the British Army. It is not known where Dr Morison first entered the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, but R.S Lindsay 33˚ suggests it was in Spain by one Comte de Grasse Tilly (1765–1845) during the Peninsular War (1807–1814), where he served in the Prince of Wales’ 10th Hussars. Possibly obtaining his 33˚ in 1813 from a Supreme Council for Spain, founded on the 11th July 1811, by de Grasse Tilly in alliance with the Grand Orient of Spain, his rank as ‘Sovereign Grand Inspector General’ was, in any case, accepted by the Supreme Council of France who issued him a 33˚ diploma (in exchange for his original) along with a Patent dated 15th November 1814 to form A&ASR Chapters & Councils in Scotland. Thirty-two years later, in 1846 he along with the other founding members formed the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for Scotland and became the new order’s first Sovereign Grand Commander. However, recent archival research by the author suggests that this most eminent of Scottish freemasons had a rather more exotic taste in masonry during the intervening thirty-two years, namely his admittance and active participation in the egyptian and deeply esoteric – Rite of Misraïm.
In his article in the Year Book of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1992) on the Grand Lodge’s ‘Morison Collection’, Lt. Cdr. David Currie explains that Charles Morison was born on the estate of Greenfield, near Alloa, the son of James and Jane Morison, on 1st January 1780. He became a freemason on 27th November 1797, in the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No. 1, when he was entered, passed and raised at the age of seventeen. Almost exactly a year later, on 26th November 1798, Morison (who was a medical student in Edinburgh) received a string of degrees at a meeting of the Knight’s Templar Encampment held under the auspices of St Stephen’s Lodge in Edinburgh. In 1802, Morison graduated as doctor of medicine and joined the army, becoming a medical officer. He served with distinction in Spain where, in 1810, he met a French prisoner of war, Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse, known as Comte de Grasse-Tilly. The Comte was a member of the Supreme Council of the West Indies, which was then working from Paris, and he conferred upon Morison the 32˚ of the Rite Ecossais (Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite). In 1801, de Grasse was among the eleven founders of the first Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in Charleston, South Carolina. Around 1813 Morison received the 33˚ and by 1814 he was semi-retired from the army, being placed on half-pay, and entering the household of HRH Augustus Frederick (1773–1843), Duke of Sussex, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, from 1813 to 1843, as his personal physician. During 1822 Morison took up residence in Paris, which became his permanent home until he died in 1849. His Misraïm diploma, discovered by the author in a Dutch archive, shows he was initiated in the 1˚- 77˚ of the egyptian rite whilst visiting Paris in 1820.
Dr Morison’s egyptian interests mark him out as very much a man of his time. From the late eighteenth-century a certain ‘Egyptomania’ had flourished right across Europe. Antiquities brought from Egypt to Europe in the aftermath of Napoleon’s invasion of 1798–1801 caused a great deal of awed excitement. Indeed, as Egypt began the nineteenth-century under Napoleonic rule, it would end under the British Empire, and their respective masonic orders, in true colonial style, made use of Egyptian imagery and philosophy as a way of setting out their own legitimacy and inventing an unbroken sense of heritage. Influencing Continental freemasonry more especially, the most famous of all the subsequent ‘egyptian’ masonic rites was the order to which our own deeply conservative Dr Morison’s was a member, the Rite of Misraïm.
Popular interest was already high in 1798 when Napoleon invaded Egypt with scientists as well as soldiers, and by 1820 Dr Morrison was by no means the only Scottish freemason indulging in fashionable egyptian mystique. The 53rd Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (1820-1822), the 10th Duke of Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton, (1767-1852) had been an ardent supporter of Napoleon and his expedition, as well as a famously obsessive collector of ancient Egyptian artefacts. The Duke funded the expedition and its monumental Description de l’Égypte, which began appearing in 1809, leading to yet another wave of ‘Egyptomania’. Added impetus was provided by Jean-Franƈois Champollion’s (1790-1832), deciphering of hieroglyphs (1822), proving them to be a language, not mystic symbols, and by the installation of an obelisk in Paris (1836).
As Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, was immensely proud of his family dynasty. The Duke’s ancestor, the 1st Lord Hamilton married a daughter of King James II in the 15th century, making the 2nd Earl of Arran, the heir presumptive to the Scottish throne. Alexander was the 10th Duke of Hamilton, the 7th Duke of Brandon, and following the death of Cardinal Henry, Duke of York, the last of the male Stuart line, in 1807, Hamilton began to promote himself as the legitimate heir to the throne. Imbued then with the blood of kings, divine right and manifest destiny, the Grand Master Mason became popularly known for his own sense of grandeur, and for his life long fixation with the process of Egyptian mummification. Such was his fascination, that on his death in 1852, the surgeon and antiquarian Thomas Pettigrew (1791–1865) was engaged to embalm the body of His Grace the Grand Master in strict recreation of Ancient Egyptian methods. The Duke’s mummified remains were placed in an ancient Ptolemaic period (305–30 BC) Egyptian sarcophagus he had purchased some 30 years earlier in Paris in 1836 for the British Museum, where he had been a Trustee since 1834. His Grace was then entombed in a vast Roman-style mausoleum on the grounds of his Scottish estate, described by The Times as ‘The most costly and magnificent temple for the reception of the dead in the world – always excepting the pyramids.‘
Visitors to the Grand Master’s mausoleum found themselves in a space that was both a Temple and a Masonic Lodge. Entering through an ‘Egyptian’ door, which alluded to the popular belief that Freemasonry originated or was practised in Egypt, and which was placed in the western position as an entrance to a Lodge. The mausoleum was marbled with a ‘Mosaic Pavement” with Masonic symbolism, including the point within a circle, Sun, Blazing Star, steps, ladders, degrees and processional circuits, and directly opposite a black marble ‘pedestal’ behind which the Right Worshipful Master might be expected to sit. But, placed in the east, on a plinth was, in fact, an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus containing the mummified body of the former Grand Master Mason of Scotland and premier peer of Scotland. The sarcophagus had actually been made for a lady called Maaru. It was much too small for the Duke and there are gruesome tales about how he was ‘made to fit’. Later, the word ‘Mose’ (child) on the sarcophagus was interpreted as a reference to the Old Testament Moses – Hamilton, as Masonic patriarch and royal initiate most certainly led his chosen people out from egypt.
Misraïm: Arcana Arcanorum
It is no coincidence then that Dr Morison was initiated into the egyptian Misraïm Rite in 1820, the first year of the Duke Hamilton’s reign as Grand Master. In his article ‘An Introduction to the High Degrees of Freemasonry‘ (2006), Henrik Bodgan explains the order was known as Misraïm in reference to a legend about the son of the biblical Ham, Misraïm. According to this legend, Misraïm had a profound part to play in shaping ancient Egypt religion. It was Misraïm, who began the secret tradition of Isis and Osiris. Bodgan states, ‘the wisdom preserved within the sanctuary of the rite was claimed to derive from Adam, who had received it directly from God‘. According to the order then, it was Adam himself, with his children, who created the first masonic lodge. Seth succeeded his father, Noah saved it from the flood and Sham established it in Egypt – it is from Egypt then that the true secret tradition must stem. The last link in this uninterrupted chain (prisca theologia) was believed to be one Gad Bedarride, a mason initiated in 1771 in Avignon; a centre of esoteric masonry, and suggested by some to be a member of Martinez de Pasqually‘s (1727?–1774) l’Ordre de Chevaliers Maçons Élus Coëns de l’Univers. In 1782, Gad was visited and initiated in the order’s ancient mysteries, in Cavaillon, by a mysterious Egyptian Initiator, of whom only his mystic name is known, the sage: ‘Ananiah‘.
In reality however, and from as early as 1738, traces of what would become the Misraïm can be found throughout Europe filled with alchemical, occult and Egyptian references, and with a structure of 90 degrees. Joseph Balsamo (1743 – 1795), called Cagliostro, a key character of his time, gave the Rite the impulse necessary for its development. Cagliostro founded the Rite of High Egyptian Masonry in 1784. Between 1767 and 1775 it is believed that he received the ‘Arcana Arcanorum‘, which are three very high hermetic degrees, from Sir Knight Luigi d’Aquino, the brother of the national Grand Master of Masonry in Naples. In 1788, he introduced them into the Rite of Misraïm and gave a patent to this Rite. It developed quickly in Milan, Geneva and Naples.
A few years later the order came into the hands of three brothers from Avignon, Marc, Michael, and Joseph Bedarride, the three ‘wolf cubs’ sons of Gad. It was under their leadership that the order was introduced in France in 1815. The Bedarride version of the rite consisted of a total of ninety degrees, divided into four series, which were further subdivided into seventeen classes. The four series were called Symbolic, Philosophic, Mystic, and Kabbalistic.
Today, this Misraïm Rite is commonly considered a kind of fringe masonic order with additional egyptian content, for example Hiram returns to be Osiris, and every lodge officer has names derived from the Alexandrian Greek-Egyptian tradition; indeed, it was proscribed by UGLE in 1859. However, by 1824 the rite had legitimately made its way to Scotland, as the Edinburgh 1824-25 Post-Office Annual Directory proudly advertises: ‘Supreme Council of the Masonic Order of Mizraim, in its 4 series and 90 degrees for Scotland, Duke of Athole, Hylerien Raux, Grand Secretary, Waterloo Place Meets quarterly.‘
Far from fringe, the Scottish membership of the Misraïm Rite seems eminent indeed. In addition to Dr Morison, the 1824-25 Post-Office Annual Directory describes the Duke of Atholl as the head of the order in Scotland. The exact ‘Duke of Atholl’ is a puzzle. Strictly speaking this should refer to John, 5th Duke of Athol, who died insane in 1845, and was never made a mason. In all likelihood it is his father, John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl, KT, PC, FRS (1755 – 1830), Grand Master Mason of Scotland 1778–1780 and Grand Master of the English ‘Ancients’ in 1775–81 and in 1791-1813. Evidence suggests then, that at one point during the early nineteenth-century this fringe masonic order was in fact populated not just by the elite of the Scottish Masonic establishment, but the elite of Scottish aristocracy – at the head of which was the Principle peer of the realm; His Grace, the Duke of Hamilton.
When Dr Morison established the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Scotland in 1849, thirty-three years after receiving his own 33˚, the ‘High Degrees’ of freemasonry were represented in Scotland by a confusing array or degrees and systems, governed by at least five other bodies beyond the Craft.
- The Royal Grand Conclave (Knights Templar). A warrant dated 1810 from the Duke of Kent as Grand Master of the Templar Order in England created this body. The charter also allowed them to work a string of different degrees and orders including the 18˚- 30˚ Rite Ancient and Accepted (Rite Ecossais), 25˚ Rite (Heredom) of Perfection (Prussian Masonry), and the Priestly Order of the Temple. A further set of another twenty degrees later to become associated the Royal Arch were worked by the Knight Templar ‘Encampments’ culminating in the Knights Templar degree. The majority of the Encampments in Scotland, both chartered and unchartered, recognised the authority of the Royal Grand Conclave and gave it their allegiance. A few Encampments, however, declined to recognise the Royal Grand Conclave, which they regarded as an upstart body, the members of which had disregarded their sworn allegiance to the Early Grand Encampment of Ireland. These Encampments were nearly all in the south west of Scotland and they continued to regard the Early Grand Encampment of Ireland as their governing body until 1822, when a Charter was granted to them setting up the Early Grand Encampment of Scotland.
- The Supreme Grand Royal Arch of Chapter of Scotland. This body of was founded in 1817 as a division of the Royal Grand Conclave.
- The Early Grand Encampment of Scotland. This body was founded in 1822 as a rival to The Royal Grand Conclave and retained that title until the 1880’s, when it was changed to The Grand Encampment of the Temple and Malta in Scotland. The change was carried out under the Grand Mastership of Mathew McB. Thomson, who made a number of changes in the organisation of the Grand Encampment. In the 1880’s The Early Grand Royal Arch Chapter and The Scottish Grand Council of Rites were formed from the body of the Grand Encampment and given an independent existence.
- Supreme Council of the Masonic Order of Mizraim. Established in Edinburgh by at least 1824. The Mizraim eventually goes on becomes the umbrella order for the other high degrees previously centred around the Royal Grand Conclave, and by 1845 this included the 25˚ Rite (Heredom) of Perfection, Rite Ancient and Accepted (Rite Ecossais), and the newly introduced Rite Primitive de Namours. This new governing body changes it name to The Supreme Grand Council of Rites circa. 1842/43.
- The Royal Order of Scotland.The date of foundation is about 1760. It was in abeyance for many years and ‘revived’ in 1839.
The Rite of Misraïm: Membership Lists 1818-1825
Dr Morison, as personal physician to the son of King George III (1738- 1820,) HRH Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, had lived in the Duke’s household from 1814. Newly discovered membership lists show both men were active members of the Mother Lodge Helvetica, of the Rite of Misraïm, under the Orient of Geneva, as well actually founding a Misraïm Lodge of their own: Médiateurs de la Nature. Boasting then, two British Dukes amongst their membership, both of whom were former Grand Master Masons as well as royalty, the Rite of Misraïm was clearly a prestigious and accepted order of masonry in the 1820s.
Alongside Dr Morison and the Duke of Sussex, the membership lists show several honorary Scottish members of the Mother Lodge Helvetica, Geneva; also detailing their own lodge or ‘Valley’. His Grace, the Duke of Atholl, John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl, is shown as holding the 90˚, a member of the ‘Valley of Edinburgh’ and an honorary member of Helvetica Mother Lodge. In an earlier 1821 printed list the Duke of Atholl is shown as an honorary member, but not in 1818. It appears yet again that Atholl’s association with the egyptian rite dates from circa. 1820, the same year as the Duke of Hamilton’s Grand Mastership of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Perhaps under his patronage, certainly with his approval, when the Rite of Misraïm appeared in Scotland it was from Swiss, rather than Egyptian roots, and His Grace, The Grand Master, seems clearly to welcome it.
Other eminent members of the ‘Valley of Edinburgh’ are mentioned also. Sir Patrick Walker of Coates, Bart. 90˚ (1790-1835), an Advocate living in the Drumsheugh area of Edinburgh in 1828-1830, Master of St David’s Lodge, and the very First Grand Principle (Grand Z) of Supreme Grand Chapter in 1817. As a member of no less than three continental Misraïm Lodges, Walker seems something of an enthusiast. Alexander Deuchar 90˚ (1777 – 1844), is also listed as entering the order in 1820. Deuchar, an engraver, was the principal mover in the establishment of the Grand Conclave of Knight Templar in Scotland, and its first Grand Master. In the 18th June 1870 issue of The Freemason magazine, a copy of a 1823 certificate issued by Alexander Deuchar as Grand Master of the Knights Templar of Scotland is printed, supplied by William James Hughan. Here we see Deuchar signing himself off as ‘R[oyal] G[rand] Con[clave] of Scot[land]. 90˚. Order of Misraïm’. Given the Royal Grand Conclave were also chartered to work high degrees other than that of Knight Templar, Deuchar involvement with the Misraïm in Scotland seems natural, indeed required.
Furthermore, there appears to have been a ‘Valley of Glasgow’, with its sole representative, Frater Ratteray 77˚, also an honorary member of the Helvetica Mother Lodge. Underlining the Rite of Misraïm‘s Scottish masonic legitimacy, three out of the four Sovereign Heads of Scotland’s ‘high-degrees’ were members.
The question remains, however, whether this burst of interest in the Misraïm by Scotland’s most eminent freemasons was an attempt to enter into the sphere of His Grace, the Duke of Hamilton as his loyal masonic ‘neophytes’, – courting, perhaps, ‘Pharaoh’s‘ favour in the process of his eventual mummified apotheosis?
In any case, it appears the following ten years of 1830s are a blank in regards to the Misraïm in Scotland. However, from the 1840s, the egyptian rite seems to take on several different manifestations.
Summary of known Scottish members of the Rite of Misraïm 1820’s
His Grace, the Duke of Atholl, John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl 90˚ – (Valley of Edinburgh). Honorary Member of Médiateurs de la Nature under Orient of Lausanne (Valley of Cavaillon). Likely originator of the order in Scotland. He was described by Dr. George Arnott Walker Arnott of ones of the heads of the Order during in the 1820s.
Sir Patrick Walker of Coates, Bart. 90˚ (Valley of Edinburgh). Honorary Member of Mother Lodge Helvetica, under Orient of Geneva. Honorary Member of Médiateurs de la Nature under Orient of Lausanne (Valley of Cavaillon). Honorary Member of Forez et Beaujolais (Valley of Lyon)
Dr Charles Morison of Greenfield 90˚ (Valley of London), Mother Lodge Helvetica (Valley of Geneva), Veritable Founder ‘Médiateurs de la Nature’ under Orient of Lausanne (Valley of Cavaillon),
Alexander Deuchar 90˚ (Valley of Edinburgh). Honorary Member of Médiateurs de la Nature under Orient of Lausanne (Valley of Cavaillon)
Ratteray 77˚ (Valley of Glasgow). Honorary Member of Mother Lodge Helvetica, under Orient of Geneva.
Hylerien R. Raux 90˚ (Valley of Edinburgh). Grand Secretary of the Supreme Council of the Masonic Order of Mizraim, in its 4 series and 90 degrees for Scotland. He was described by Dr. George Arnott Walker Arnott of ones of the heads of the Order during in the 1820s.
1845: The Supreme Grand Council of Rites.
Dr. George Arnott Walker-Arnott of Arlary 90˚ (1799 – 1868), eminent Scottish botanist, and member of the Supreme Council of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Scotland (1849-1874) is the next prominent actor in the story of the Scottish Misraïm. In a seminally important letter of Dr. Walker-Arnott’s written 18th April 1872, and published by William James Hughan in The Freemason, 15th January 1876, we find a great deal of information about the order from the the 1840’s onwards. In his letter Dr. Walker-Arnott writes he was initiated from the 1˚- 77˚ of the Misraïm Rite by Alexander Deuchar on the 23rd November 1842. He states ‘Mr Deuchar was anxious that I should relieve him of the trouble of looking after the high degrees, I was soon after promoted to the 90˚‘. It seems that either at this point or by this point the Misraïm rite falls under The Supreme Grand Council of Rites. Given that in the 1825 Edinburgh Post Office Directory the Misraïm is advertised as an independent order, we can assume that this merger happened at some point between 1816 and 1842. However, its date of inception is in all likelihood when Dr. Walker-Arnott was initiated, probably into the order he would go on to oversee the collection of high degrees now under Deuchar’s banner of The Supreme Grand Council of Rites, circa. 1842/43.
Walker-Arnott’s Letter of 1862
Transcribed by R. S. Lindsay, 33 from the original in the archives of the Supreme Council of Scotland. First published by William James Hughan in The Freemason, 15th January 1876. Strangely it appears again in again in ‘The Rite Of Misraim In Scotland’ in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum 97 (1984): 205–207.
The letter which followsis in the archives of the Supreme Council 33 for Scotland of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, of which both the writer and the recipient were members. The writer was Dr. George Arnott Walker Arnott of Arlary, Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow. He was admitted to the Supreme Council on 4 February 1851, and died in 1868. The recipient of the letter was Alexander James Stewart, a solicitor and a Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh. He was admitted to the Supreme Council on 1 April 1856 and was appointed Grand Secretary General at that same date. He died in 1873. From the letter it would seem that A. J. Stewart had written to Dr. Arnott with regard to the masonic status of one John Bell – about whom I have been unable to trace any information whatever. [Additional note by George Draffen Of Newington in AQC 97 (1984): 205–207 ]
2 Victoria Terrace, Dowanhill, Nr. Glasgow, 18 April 1862
My Dear Sir,
To answer your letter fully would consume [a]vast deal more time than I can afford, particularly as you seem to be perfectly ignorant of what preceded the formation of the Sup. Co. of the 33º by Dr. Morrison.
The Order of Mizraim of 90º was established in Scotland about 40 years ago. I think in 1822, but perhaps earlier; at all events it was long before March 1829. The heads of that body were the Messrs. Bidarrides of Paris, the late Duke of Atholel and Bro. H. R. Roux, and some others were admitted to the 90 degree, and several others to the 89′ and inferior degrees. I had once a copy of the printed original list, but it seems to have gone astray. Alex Deuchar, Sir Pat[rick] Walker,and some others were admitted to the 90º in 1829. The same year it was established here, the Bedarrides established it in Ireland, and there it forms still the third series of their Supreme Council of Rites. The Order of Mizraim contained all the degrees that belonged to the Rite Ancient of 33º (and many more) except the two highest degrees of 32º and 33º itself.
You must be aware also that what was called Prussian Masonry, or the Rite of Perfection, consisted of 25 degrees and that the highest is the ‘Prince of the Royal Secret’, and identical with the 32º of the ‘Ancient Scottish Rite’. These were the original degrees, but in America an addition took place in the beginning of this century (4 December 1802 at Charleston) so as to make the total No. 33º (the number of years our Saviour was on earth). No new degree was however concocted, except 33º itself. All the others were taken from the floating degrees belonging to several small rites in France and elsewhere, and all perfectly puerile.
Now the Rite of Perfection of 25 degrees was brought to Scotland from America before the Rite Ancient, and Alex Deuchar and some others [were] initiated. Deuchar, however, had a wish that all Masonic degrees above M.M. should, if not Christian, be placed under the Royal Arch Series, and all those that were Christian made part of those of the Temple. No arrangement was, however, completed, although many of the degrees were in accordance with that view given by him in the R.A. Chapters, and Templar ‘Encampments’.
The history of the Ancient and Accepted Rite in Scotland is more obscure. From documents shown to me by Mr. A. Deuchar, it appeared that both he and the late Duke of Athole had received the 33º regularly, as they believed, and in consequence Mr. Deuchar received from France, in French, the Ritual of the 33º. I think also of the 31º and 32º but these he already had.
I was admitted by A. Deuchar to the first degree of Mizraim as far as the 77º on 23rd November 1842, and as Mr. Deuchar was anxious that I should relieve him of the trouble of looking after the high degrees, I was soon after promoted to the 90º and I also obtained the highest degree of all the other rites.
No one doubted the perfect legality of our practising these until Dr. Morison came, and as the proper documents had been lost, he denied that the Rite Ancient had been properly established, in consequence of the body with which he was connected in Paris, laying down certain forms, which were not regarded [as] necessary by the other body in France, which practised the Rite Ancient, viz: the Grand Orient of France, the only one now permitted to practise Masonry, and by which our body here would be regarded as irregular, having derived its authority from the polluted source of their opponents.
From this you will at once understand that although there may be a doubt about the power of the Scottish ‘Council of Rites’ (formed by the amalgamation of all the rites) to initiate any one into the Rite Ancient generally, we had a full right to confer all the degrees it contains, except the 33º itself.-
The object of establishing these degrees here was one merely of curiosity. No one considered any to be of the smallest value, and the only object was to keep up the knowledge of them in a Record of the folly of those who aspired to ‘high’ degrees. A mere trifle was, therefore, charged for initiation, or rather affiliation, from those who resided in Scotland, but a higher rate was taken from those out of Scotland, because they had some peculiar object in view.
Now if my Memorandum be correct – James Bell and two others, all Knights of the Royal Order and Comps of the Chapter Ed. No. L, were affiliated with the Degree of Rose+ in March 1845, and as our rule was to admit them members of all Rites as far as the same degree in each, this would probably be done. The same, at least, were all admitted to the degree of K.H. and afterwards to the 87 of Mizraim, to the 25th degree of [the] Rite of Perfection, and the 32º of the Ancient Rite. Archibald Douglas alone was admitted to the 33º but I know that others were afterwards, but I feel sure that among these Mr. Bell was not.
After Dr. Morison established the 33ºin his own fashion, I, feeling that there was great impropriety in their being two such powers in Scotland, refused to hold any meetings of the original body, and although I did not object to confer the degrees in Mizraim and Rite of Perfection, in all except ‘Grand Inspector General’, I formed the determination rather to allow the whole to drop than do anything that would cause umbrage. I ought to mention that Bro. W. Alex. Laurie, Secretary to the Gr. Lodge, had been admitted to the Rose+, to the 90º of Mizraim and to the 33rd degree of the Ancient Rite in September 1845.
After Dr. Morison’s death, at least I think it was not till then, a proposal was made to me to join the 33º as there was then a vacancy. I refused, unless arrangements could be made to admit also to the same degree they had obtained from my Sup. Council, all those in my list, and at a trifling fee, and that if there was no place for them at present in the corresponding degree, they were to be received into the next highest, with the understanding that they were to be promoted when a vacancy occured, or, at all events, were to be so according to seniority, they to rank from the date at which they had obtained the degree from my Sup. Council. This was agreed to by the late J[ames] L[inning] Woodman, and I find a Memorandum among my papers, dated Glasgow 1 May 1857 (at the time I left Glasgow and came to reside here, and when my Masonic papers were likely to get into great confusion by the flitting4, indeed some have entirely disappeared)to the following effect:
In consequence of the Rite Ancient having been established in Scotland by Dr. Charles Morison, in connection with the Supreme Council of the 33º of France, and as the late Alex Deuchar had left no documents to show that this Rite had been properly established in Scotland, and that he had been admitted a member of the 33rd degree according to the precise manner laid down in its regulations the members of the Supr. Council of Rites agreed without any formal meeting that they would no longer grant any degree as pan of the Rite Ancient, and, on the other hand, the newly formed body agreed to admit, as far as there was a place for them those of the 33º in connection with the Council of Rites, either to the 33º, or to the next highest degree in which there might be a vacancy on payment of a modified fee. It was in consequence agreed also by the members of the Council of Rites that in future they would not grant any degree but those belonging to the Order of Mizraim, and moreover that they would not grant more than the 45[th] degree to one who was not a member of the Royal Order, or of the 18º of the Rite Ancient, or more than the 63rd degree until one had obtained the 30º of the Rite Ancient, or the 66º to one who had not received the 31º in the Rite Ancient. This was agreed to, so as to avoid any collision and in the hope that the fees would be made so moderate as not to exclude Brethren. But the members of the Order of Mizraim reserved to themselves power at any time, if they saw cause, to act independently of the Rite Ancient, especially if they found it placed obstacles, either by high fees or the ballot in the way of any Brother of respectability, although not of civil rank, obtaining all the degrees up to the 31º inclusive.
In consequence of the above no meeting has taken place for several years, the general wish being to allow the Order of Mizraim to die out, unless for the purpose of admitting some worthy Brother who would ‘take charge of the papers of the body’.
I do not recollect what the modified fees were (but think £1/11) made by the Sup. Council of 33º. I alone was admitted to the 33º, there being only one vacancy. Archibald Douglas and some others of my 33º were admitted to the 32º, others care so little about it that they would not apply, or pay the fee. W. A. Laurie, I believe, refused. Dr. MacRitchie and Thos. Eld. MacRitchie were both entitled to join the 32º but I do not know if they did so. [Thomas Elder MacRitchie of Craigton was admitted to the 33º and became a member of the Supreme Council of Scotland on 3 December 1862.]
Mr. Bell about whom you write was entitled to join the 32º but not the 33º, or if the number was limited, and no place for him he was entitled to join the 31º it being distinctly understood that the modified fee was to be a single payment for all the 31º, 32º and 33º degrees and that no fee whatever was to be paid for K.H. or Rose Croix, unless they wished a Diploma when they were to pay for the parchment, etc.
I have faithfully kept to my part of the bargain, and hope that the Sup. Co. will keep to theirs, I regret to say that in the matter of the Royal Order, and the 18th degree, it was distinctly understood by Woodman and myself, when the articles of agreement were made, that every one admitted by the Royal Order as a Knight, was entitled to be affiliated into the 18º without ballot, OR FEES, the Royal Order paying the fee of £1/11- for them. Had Woodman been alive this practice would never have attempted to be broken, and will force me to grant the Rose Croix of the Order of Mizraim. You will recollect also that the Rose Croix formed part of the degree of the Temple in England and Scotland long before Dr. Morison introduced the 33º’. Mr. Bell’s oath to the body under me prevents his publishing any secrets, and I do not believe he ever had access to the ritual, at least.
[signed] G. A. Walker Arnott
Resurrection 1886 – Supreme Grand Eclectic Scottish Council of the Rite of Misraim.
It seems that, for whatever reason, the egyptian rite dies out in Scotland, only to be resurrected on the 14th March 1886 as advertised in the The Freemason’s Monthly Magazine of the 24th March 1886. The announcement suggests that at some point prior to 1886, the Misraïm fell under, or becomes, the Supreme Grand Eclectic Scottish Council of the Rite of Misraim and The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. It further suggests, that it fell ‘dormant’ for a time. One wonders if this dormancy followed the death of the Duke of Hamilton in 1852? In any case Scottish interest in the Egyptian rite clearly seems to wax and wane.