Like the Worshipful Company of Musicians (which see) the history of the Ancient and Honorary Artillery Company of England runs a cotirse singularly parallel with the course of Masonic history, so that each throws light on the other.
The parent Company received its charter in England, in 1537. Because artillery was a modern invention (first used by the Turks when they captured Constantinople) this gild, "art," or society was not as ancient as others, but it claimed to be an integral part of the art of war, and on that ground had traditions and legends as old as any and older than most. A branch company was set up in Boston, Mass with a charter from the parent company dated January 13, 1638; the relation between the two was similar to the relations between an American Provincial Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge at London. (see The Historic Book, by Justin H. Smith ; printed privately, by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co. .in Town of Boston ; 1903. )
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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