The Lodge of United Friends, founded at Paris in 1771, was distinguished for the talents of many of its members, among whom was Savalette de Langes, and played for many years an important part in the affairs of French Masonry. In its bosom was originated, in 1775, the Rite of Philalethes. In 1784 it convoked the first Congress of Paris, which was held in 1785, for the laudable purpose of endeavoring to disentangle Freemasonry from the almost inextricable confusion into which it had fallen by the invention of so many rites and new degrees.
The Lodge was in possession of a valuable library for the use of its members, and had an excellent cabinet of the physical and natural sciences. Upon the death of Savalette, who was the soul of the Lodge, it fell into decay, and its books, manuscripts, and cabinet were scattered, according to Clavel's Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Maçonnerie (page 171).
All of its library that was valuable was transferred to the archives of the Mother Ledge of the Philosophic Scottish Rite. Barruel gives a brilliant picture of the concerts, balls, and suppers given by this Lodge in its halcyon days, to which "les Crésus de la Maçonnerie," meaning the wealthy ones of Freemasonry (Crésus being the name of the proverbially rich king of Lydia), congregated, while a few superior members were engaged, as he says, in hatching political and revolutionary schemes, but really in plans for the elevation of Freemasonry as a philosophic institution (see Barruel, Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire du Jacobinisme iv, 343).
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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