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.
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