General Regulatory Code of the Order of the Knights Beneficent of the Holy City (1778)
GENERAL REGULATORY CODE OF THE ORDER OF
KNIGHTS BENEFICENT OF THE HOLY CITY
Agreed at the Convent National des Gaules
Held in November 1778/465
The different classes of the Order and the qualities required to be received
Different Classes of the Order
The Order of Knights Beneficent of the H. C. restored through reform to its primitive purpose, which is none other than the relief of humanity, to which service it is dedicated, pursues every means to accomplish this, discusses useful ideas, and serves to unite the strengths of individuals in order to achieve them, and to execute them with greater facility. Therefore it has not been believed necessary to compel the Knights to take obligations which are unchanging and often incompatible with the status which they have chosen in Civil Society, but as in former times a part of the militia of the Temple fought the enemies of the Christians on the great roads, while another received pilgrims into their hospices, and brought together the poor and the injured, one similarly recognizes three classes of Knights today: those of the Regular Knights or Clerici, the Military Knights or Milites, and the Civil or Civilian Knights, Equites Cives Sanctæ Civitatis.
The Knights of a Prefecture are distributed and divided in two manners, by Commanderies according to their domicile, and by Class according to their civil condition. Each Class in a Prefecture has an Inspector, who presides when it is called upon to deliberate on matters relating to their duties or obligations.
The Regular Knights, that is to say, those who have received the Sacred Orders of a Christian communion, promote in particular a love of good behavior and of a gentle, benign and tolerant religion, fulfill the ecclesiastical duties in the Ceremonies of the Order, and ensure the observation of divine worship and of a holy discipline in the asylums, orphanages and other hospices founded by the Order.
The Military Knights, among whom none are found in France, except those who are on active service, or who have withdrawn from the cross, or after having served 20 years, dedicate themselves by new oaths in the defense of their homeland and promise to remember, in the midst of the horrors of war, the holy laws of humanity and of generosity to the vanquished, the dying and prisoners.
It includes among the Civil Knights all Brothers, noble or otherwise, who have not served during the period of time prescribed and who have an honorable status in society, as is defined below. Magistrates and Men of the Law vow to defend the weak and the oppressed; Doctors to assist the poor with their counsel free of charge; Men of Letters to promise to watch over those works which extend the empire of virtue and truth; Traders to maintain the free flow of mutual needs and to provide work and bread to poor and honest citizens; and Farmers, Men of Finance and other honest Bourgeois, placed in a position which is less subject to civil duties, should all the more in like manner devote their leisure time to the good of mankind; and in general to extend the beneficent views of the Order.
The qualities required to be received
The Order of the Knights Beneficent of the H. C., being founded by gentlemen, only admits to its bosom those who prove, by authentic titles and according to the required formalities, they were born to noble parents in name and arms.
This ancient status, being founded upon the Feudal Constitution in Europe and the Military Constitution of our Order, holding more to vanity than justice, it is believed that, directed in our times toward the sole exercise of social and patriotic virtues, besides being mixed in its composition, it could not without injustice exclude useful Candidates filled with talent and zeal for the public good, but less favored by the accident of birth. Thus taking the view that true nobility resides in virtue, and that he who snatches his name from obscurity through generous deeds is worthy of the honors which should be their result, excepting the following:
None shall be admitted into the Order who has not given proof of nobility. These proofs will consist either of the titles of a hereditary nobility, or of those of a personal nobility.
The proofs of personal nobility will be either the exercise of a employment that gives this nobility, or through virtuous and non-suspect acts, which will be recorded in the preliminary information provided by the Ecclesiastical Prior and the Inspector of Novices.
Regardless of the titles of nobility that a Candidate produces, if degenerate from his ancestors, he defiles this respectable stock by dishonorable actions, he will be rejected and will not be received, except when with pure morals and true nobility of heart, he answers to the expectations of his homeland.
None shall be admitted into the class of Knight who do not enjoy in Civil Society an existence which draws individuals together, such as Nobles, Clergymen, Soldiers, Magistrates, Doctors, Lawyers, Traders, Bourgeois who are affluent or honorably classed financially, and finally all those who would not cause the Order to blush upon their admission; a provision whose application will be left to the prudence of the Chapters. This part of the information which must absolutely precede any registration of Candidates for the Novitiate, is in the hands of the Inspector of Novices, who reviews the titles of hereditary or moral nobility, presents them to the Chapter and sends his consent to receive the Candidate as a Squire to the Commander. It is the President of the Chapter who, at the Ceremony of his Armament, gives him the name of the Order.
All Knights who have been admitted upon the profession of their vows, are perfectly equal. Neither a more illustrious birth, nor a higher rank in civil society, gives the slightest true prerogative to Brothers.
Even Princes who wish to voluntarily waive the prestige of vanity and the political inequality of men, to taste pure pleasure in the bosom of friendship and beneficence, will respect the precious law of equality, the fundamental basis of any Order whose members devote themselves to the difficult but satisfying exercise of Christian charity. The only prerogative due to their birth and to the more effective means that Providence has assigned them to make them more useful to humanity, is that the Provincial Chapter, or the Prefecture to which they are attached, immediately after the reception, presents them with an Honorary Counsellor’s brevet for the Province or the Prefecture, which is not given to all the Regular Knights.
It is the Ecclesiastical Prior who is responsible for verifying information on the moral qualities of the Candidate. He undertakes the most stringent inquiries to assure himself of his religious principles, his morals, and his character. He inquires if he respects religion, the foundation of public happiness; that he never attacks the principles of religion and especially religious sentiment through sarcasm; and if he is imbued with the gentle and enlightened tolerance of this fraternal charity that the Christian law prescribes.
As for morals, he will banish those confirmed egotists who live only for themselves, and sacrifice the happiness of their neighbor for their ease and their families and fantasies. He will close the entrance to the Temple to those who lack the laws of probity and honor, who are known publicly for having failed to meet their commitments, who lead a promiscuous and roguish life, and disgrace themselves by any other major vice which brings about public scandal.
As to character, he will report precisely if the Candidate is beneficent, humane, sensitive, and if sordid avarice does not disqualify him from tasting the pure sweetness which is attached to good actions. And finally, since the interest of the Order requires that one conceals the knowledge of our reestablishment and our operations until the moment that we will have acquired, through our kindnesses and our works, the right to public esteem and legal existence, so that envy, fanaticism and the unfortunate habit of heaping ridicule or discouragement upon useful actions may not interfere with our progress, he will carefully inquire if the proposed Candidates are discrete and given to strong zeal.
Knights must be the arbiters of their fate, and for this reason must have reached the age of majority or 25 years on entering the Novitiate. They must derive a decent income and be insured, so as not to fall into the charge, or disfavor, or the dishonor of the Order. If the Candidate has not yet reached the age of majority, he must obtain a dispensation from age from the Chapter, for which the votes must be unanimous on this point, and for this favor pay a Right of Passage, to be applied to the Hospice that will be determined by the Chapter.
The Novitiate is usually one year. He who, during his year of probation has not been moderate in his morals and conduct, will be required to continue for a second year, even a third; and if his conduct does not become more regular, he will never armed Knight. If the Squire requests a dispensation from the interval to such an end as to be armed Knight before the year of his Novitiate has passed, he must similarly obtain the unanimous consent of the Chapter for this favor.
One may not receive as a Squire a Candidate from another Province or Prefecture without the formal consent of his natural Superiors. The Inspector of Novices will address them to this effect, and may, at the most deliver a favorable account of his life and morals, if he remains for a period of time in the jurisdiction of the Prefecture where he requested the Novitiate.
The Inspector of Novices in the Prefecture of the place of birth of the Candidate, or if it is not active, the Visitor General of the Province or the Priory to which he is directed in this instance, may record the information about his status, his life and his morals, and if favorable and the Chapter consents to this, he will send the Chancellor of the Province or the Prefecture where he wishes to be received an Action which gives him facultatem inscribendi vel induendi according to his request.
The Chapter which receives him takes from each of the two Receptions into the Inner Order a quarter for the cost of the Reception, and remits the surplus of the tax to the Prefectorial Chapter of the place of birth of the Candidate, so long as he is not domiciled in the latter place and makes a permanent election to live there, in which case there is no permission to ask for.
The military, who are garrisoned in a city, and will return to their place of birth or their ordinary residence, will not be included in this class of those who elect their place of domicile.
Any Candidate finally received in the intimate Brotherhood of Knights Beneficent, must receive a unanimous election for his admission, which will be given by means of a ballot with black and white balls. The first proposal made by a Brother will simply be recorded in the Register, and when it is time to move on to the ballot, the Prefect will be obliged to seek the consent of the respective Commanders.
If there are two black balls, the ballot is broken and the Candidate cannot be proposed again until three months have passed. If the Brothers who voted against him have had good reason, and are pleased to declare this in full Chapter, a note is taken of their comments and the Candidate may then never be received, at least unless the latter have given the discontinuance of their opposition in writing, so that one may not take advantage of their absence to propose a Candidate who would be disagreeable to them.
If there is only one black ballot against the Reception, the Master of Ceremonies, who collects the ballot, announces this aloud, and invites the opponent to divulge the reasons in an anonymous note that he will send to the Privy Council, which will examine their validity within the week: the opposing Brother will be compelled to submit to the decision and to consent to the receipt of the Candidate, if the reasons for refusal are declared insufficient.
Companions at Arms
In addition to the Knights, who have first rank in the Order and alone can achieve Commanderies and dignities, in conformity to the ancient Rule and Observance, there will also be received Companions at Arms or Armigeri who must not be of servile status, but born of free parents, exercising an honest profession in Society and enjoying the reputation of an untarnished probity.
These Companions at Arms will be in the domestic service of the Temple and some will be Assistants to Officers for the relief of the more onerous functions in their charge. From among them will be selected: the Dator Pannorum, or Master of the Wardrobe; and the Minister Responsium, charged with collecting funds, subordinate to the Treasurer and Procurator; as well as Assistant Secretaries to the Principal Secretary of the Chapter. They only attend Business Chapters when they are called, in order to be consulted on functional details to which they are assigned, or for which they are filling in.
The Chapter will sometimes, at the end of a long and distinguished service, receive a Companion at Arms as a Knight of Grace & Favor; but all the Capitular Knights must be agreeable. They will then receive, in addition to the name of the Order, which they are given at the time of their Reception, a seal bearing the devise of the spurs and mantle. The Companions at Arms are admitted in full to a participation in the Secret of the Order, and received according to a prescribed formula, and that of the Arming of Knights.
The Companions at Arms are chosen from among the Brethren of talent in the Lodges, whose discretion is proven, and who can become useful to the Order and draw salaries and bonuses to the extent that they provide service. The dignities of Standard-Bearer and Sword-Bearer must be conferred on people of trust who have served in the Army for at least 6 years. They must all be Masons and have attained the Grade of Master Mason. They will attend a Scottish Lodge where they will take the Obligation of discretion, after which they will immediately be received as Companions at Arms. One or more Brothers will be appointed to inquire about their life and morals, and the Companions at Arms are asked about the classmates that they wish to be their associates, and admitted to a ballot with the other Knights.
No longer will Valets at Arms be received into the Order as in the past, the Convent having found that it was unnecessary and even dangerous to entrust the secret of our existence, which it is still important for us to hide from people in servile conditions who do not always have the faculty and the probity required to resist the temptation to communicate our secrets.
One may employ at most one or two valets in the outer precincts, and entrust all the inner service to the Armigeri. In this case the former will be under the orders of the Master of Ceremonies, who will assign them their duties.
Henceforth one will not receive into the Order subjects in the intermediate class falsely called Squire, which has opened the door to discontent and jealousy, and the arbitrary distinctions born of a more or less forced interpretation of a vicious law, in the present constitution of the Order, which only tends to Beneficence and the study of Truth. In recalling the significance of Squire in its true origin, which was that of a Novice and the training-ground for Knights, it gives this qualification to those who are in their year of proof to be received Knights. This class of members of the Order, formerly unknown, where one found only the Equites, the Fratres Servientes, Famuli or Armigeri, who are not used in Commanderies, therefore stand replaced by that of Companions at Arms which is retained, and which better outlines the limits of the separation and result in fewer abuses and complaints.
Duties of the Brothers
The principal duties of the Knights of the H. C. are to exercise the gentle law of Beneficence towards all men and mainly toward the Brethren, to obey their Superiors, and to fulfill with zeal and exactitude the obligations of citizens and others, which are imposed upon them by their respective situations.
All the Brothers of the H. C. must respect and give obedience to their legitimate Superiors, to the Grand Master, the Great Prior, the Visitor General, the Prefect, the Inspector of their Class, the Commander of their District, and other Officers in the business relating to their Region.
This obedience, however, which is of the essence in all the Regular Orders which in former times lived in common, must be reasonable, and is required only in matters which are fair and honest, consistent with the Statutes, and in no way contrary to the laws of the Land, or the civil obligations of each.
Hospitality is a principal virtue of Knights, and they must exercise it between themselves, in an open and simple manner which is not burdensome. One will especially display to foreigners all due consideration, and will render them all the services capable of making their journey useful and pleasant.
Each Prefecture will have specific laws to ban from the Refectory of the Order all luxury and sumptuousness contrary to the respectable simplicity which must characterize it.
The ancient Rule of St. Bernard has been essentially retained, entitled: ut decimus panis Pauperibus detur, which is for the strict observance of all Knights and Commanders, and the implementation of which the Almoner must particularly ensure.
The law of Silence and the most absolute discretion is fundamental to the Order; it is forbidden to any Brother in whatever dignity he should be or is in possession of, to reveal the least thing concerning our Constitution, or what takes place in our Assemblies, either directly or indirectly. Those who are convicted of having derogated from this Law will be declared incapable of possessing any dignity or charge in the Order, and fined, in accordance with the severity of the case.
The inviolable exercise of social laws and patriotic virtues being the basis and the guarantor of the prosperity of our Order, he who would perjure his homeland, disrupt the people or cause damage will be judged by his Chapter; his trial will be held without leniency, and his judgment will be sent to all the Provinces.
Purity of morals alone can preserve our Order from the corruption and decadence into which most human institutions have fallen. Based upon a love of religion, of morality and of a beneficence purified by the reasonable motives that dictate it, the Order cannot keep within its bosom those people who would dishonor it through dishonest actions. The Privy Council, of which more will be said below, and mainly the Ecclesiastical Prior shall ensure the conservation of morals, and exercise their office against all those who give themselves over to scandal, and compromise the Order by their principles or their actions.
Any Knight has the right to warn the Ecclesiastical Prior, either openly or by unsigned notes, of disturbances caused by a Brother. The latter should seek, above all, to lead him back through fraternal admonitions.
If he does not succeed, he shall report it to the Privy Council, which will review the denunciation, check the facts in the greatest silence and conclude either that the process should be halted, or to warn the accused Knight a second time to change his conduct, or, finally, if the case is more grave, to order the communication of the indictment to the entire Chapter, which alone, through the vote of the Knights, can decide the banishment or exclusion of a Knight. However, it must do so without fanfare. The Ecclesiastical Prior will have the indictment with all the papers, the procedure and the minutes of the pronouncement placed in a sealed envelope, and deposited in the archives in a box or in a specific place.
Since the intimate concord which should prevail among the Brothers can be disturbed by reasons of personal interest, or by the malignancy of the people who like to sow hatred, it was believed necessary to establish a particular Council of Arbitrators or Justices of the Peace with the intention of reconciling the Brethren, who through misunderstanding can often become cool or bitter, and employ every effort to head off civil trials between Brothers, in order to obviate, if possible, the ruin that often follows the rapacity of the lackeys of justice. This Committee of Reconciliation should not only exist in the Prefectures, but also in the Commanderies.
Two Brothers who are in discussion or in dispute should each appoint an Arbitrator and add to their Arbitrators a third who is acceptable to both parties, and before holding their deliberations, the Arbitrators shall pronounce the following oath:
“I, a Knight of the H. C., swear and promise never to talk outside of this Assembly about any of the subjects that will be considered, and to give my opinion according to my soul and conscience, and according to my wisdom without influence from anyone. So help me God.”
When the sentence of the Reconciliation Committee is communicated to the parties and they accept it, mention will then be made to the Chapter and it will applaud the condescension of the parties to the wishes of the Order, which are to reduce the misunderstandings that divide men and to try everything to bring them together.
As a result of this principle of universal social beneficence, every Knight Beneficent will regard himself as a justice of the peace and will employ all his efforts to extinguish hatred, trials and divisions through wise counsel, and all the honest resources that his heart and the confidence that he will have merited by means of his virtue will dictate to him.
Any Brother who litigates against another Brother in the ordinary Courts of Justice, without having tried the path of arbitrary justice of the Order, will be looked on as refractory to the vow of concord sworn by all Knights, sentenced to a fine of 5 Louis to benefit the poor, and suspended for 6 months.
In order to safeguard the decency and respect due to our august assemblies, the Prefect will primarily watch over their preservation. It is forbidden for Brothers to disturb the good order of Meetings and Ceremonies, either by leaving their place, or by speaking out of turn without asking permission.
This last formality should not be regarded as monastic, but as an inevitable means to prevent the deliberations from becoming turbulent and fruitless. Above all it is particularly required that it be applied against those Brothers who might forget it to the extent of pronouncing insults or making insulting gestures against a Brother, so that the offender will be required to publicly apologize to the one he has offended, and sentenced to heavy fines; and even, depending on the severity of the case, barred for a few months or forever.
Composition of the Order in General
The Order of the Knights Beneficent of the H. C. is divided into 9 Provinces – Aragon; Auvergne; Occitania; Léon; Burgundy; Great Britain; Lower Germany between the Elbe and the Oder; High Germany; and Italy, Greece and Archipelago.
- The Arms of the Order are two Knights on the same horse in an escutcheon quartered with the Cross of the Order.
- Each Province has in its Arms a distinctive character and each of the Provincial Masters possesses one of the major Offices in the Order.
- Aragon, whose Provincial Master is Great Chancellor, and in whose name the convening of the Convents- General must be done, has for Arms a ring of gold having having outside it the form of a crown of laurels, in the middle of which in a field of red is written in Hebrew-style letters: In virtute tua.
- The Provincial Master of Auvergne is Grand Marshal of the Cavalry; the Arms of the Province are Knight in armor bearing a raised lance on a field of red, with the inscription: Qui cupit.
- That of the Grand Admiral of Occitania, a silver galley in a field of red with the inscription: Prospero motu.
- Leon, whose Provincial Master is Great Dean of the Order, has for Arms a silver lion in a field of red with the inscription: Audaces juvat.
- Burgundy has for its Arms a death’s head in a field of red with the inscription: Mors omnia aequat; its Provinicial Master is Great Treasurer in the Order.
- Britain has for its Arms a gold anchor in a field of red, with the inscription: Fata viam inveniunt. Its Provincial Master is Grand Commander of the Order.
- Lower Germany or the Province between the Elbe and the Oder has for Arms an armed arm holding an unsheathed sword and emerging from a cloud in a field of red. A label in blue contains three initial letters L. V. C. – Labor viris convenit; its Provincial Master is Visitor-General of the Order.
- High Germany has for Arms an acacia under which one sees in a field of blue a gold lance, and below a silver label with gothic letters: U. U. U. Ultorem Ulciscitur Ultor. Its Provincial Master is Principal General of the Order.
- The ninth Province has for Arms a red lion, supported on a black cross in a field of gold with the inscription: Veritas persuadet. Its Provincial Master is Inspector General of the troops.
Of these nine Provinces, there are only three French Provinces, the two in Germany, and Italy, which are legally active. If any of the others were to be restored, or if new ones sought to be created, the Brothers charged with this important commission should be authorized by a Convent-General, or in its absence by the other Provinces, and the restoration must be justified and legally notified to all Provincial Chapters, and for them to send this notification to all regular Prefectures of the Holy Order.
As for any functions that could cause conflict between the Provincial Masters by virtue of their great responsibility, they will be settled at a Convent-General; and until then none of those Masters will be able to interfere, under the pretext of their great responsibility, in the government of a Province other than their own.
Those of these Provinces whose jurisdiction is completely or in the main united in the same country, form a National body in order to modify the General Laws of the Order to reflect those of the homeland, whose strict observance is the first duty of Knights Beneficent, which form the divisions of the Order into nations and tongues. It is because of this that the Provinces of Auvergne, Occitania and Burgundy constitute the French nation or tongue.
The Provinces reformed according to the new Rite are divided into Great Priories. The new Register of three French Provinces thereby establishes three in each Province. It is sufficient, however, for there to be two restored in a Province for the latter to be legally active.
Each Priory is divided into Prefectures, the Register designating six in the jurisdiction of each Priory. It is sufficient, however, for there to be two established in order to hold a Prioral Chapter.
If numerous establishments exceed nine Commanderies in a Prefecture, requiring the creation of new Prefectures within the jurisdiction of a Priory, the Provincial Chapter, arbiter of all changes which must be made in the Register, may increase the number for each Priory up to nine, after which one would petition the General Chapter, or failing that the National Chapter for the creation of a new Priory.
Each Prefecture is composed of nine Commanderies. However, it is sufficient for three of them to be active for the Prefecture to operate legally.
The Masonic Lodges are the seminary for those destined for the Holy Order, and are placed under the authority of a Commander, who is their titular and permanent Chief.
General Government of the Order
Nature of Government
The Government of the Order is aristocratic, the Heads are but the Presidents of the respective Chapters.
The Grand Master General can do nothing without the advice of the Provinces; the Provincial Master nothing without the Priors and the Prefects; the Prefects nothing without the Commanders and the latter nothing without having conferred with the Knights of their District. All Presidents of Assemblies, Provincial Masters, Great Priors and Prefects always have the right, after the presentation of the material by the Chancellor, to the 1st advisory vote and the last deliberative one.
In all the assemblies in any Order, a majority of the votes prevails, and the decisions thus entered must be provisionally executed immediately, regardless of any protests or appellations. Rule by the majority is sacred and fundamental to the Order, as well as to any well-ordered Society: it is the bulwark of freedom and the safeguard against despotism. A Chief or Chairman of any Assembly who would abuse his power, to the point of reversing this fundamental law, is deemed to have betrayed his Obligations, and liable to the most severe punishemt at the hands of his Superiors.
The Convent-General is the Assembly of National and Provicial Masters, or of other Resprentatives of the Provinces chosen by them.
It is convened by the Provincial Master of Aragon of in his absence by a Chancellor named ad hoc by the Grand Master-General President of the Convent.
It must be regularly convened every nine years and if in the intervening period important business presents
itself, the Grand Master can only convene it with the consent of at least two thirds of the active Provinces.
The venue of the Assembly shall be decided by the majority of the voters of the Provinces. If the Grand Master-General cannot attend, he has the right to send a representative, and then the Convent shall be presided over by the most senior National or Provincial Grand Master in accordance with the order of the Register.
The laws promulgated by a Convent-General are obligatory for the entire Order, understanding that on all the points decided the Provinicial Masters will have received the necessary instructions from their Principals. For this reason the items to be put forward for deliberation at a Convent-General must be sent to all the Provincial Chapters at least six months in advance, in order that there might be the necessary time for them to be reviewed by the Great Priors and Prefectorial Chapters, and to be certain of their general position so that instructions may be given to the delegates from the Province.
The Grand Master-General is Supreme Head of the whole Order. He is elected by the Representatives of the Provinces only from among themselves, who are most likely by their rank in civil society and their merit to bring renown to the Order, and to do the most general good.
There is nothing he can innovate by his own authority in the constitution of the Order, nor may he exercise any arbitrary power, nor require any of the Knights to do anything that is contrary to the regulations and statutes: under these restrictions, all the Knights owe him respect and obedience.
The other prerogatives and Honorary rights that may be accorded to Grand Masters both General, National and Provincial will be defined and clearly set forth in the submission that the voters will make to them at the time of their elevation.
National Government of the Order
The National Convent is the assembly of Provincial Masters, Great Priors, Counsellors, Prefects and National Officers, presided over by the National Grand Master. As the regular holding of the Convents- General might be subject to some difficulty, the National Convent stands in for them and caters to the needs of the establishments of the nation through their combined Representatives.
The National Convent is ordinarily convened every six years on the orders of the Grand Master of the Nation, through the National Chancellor who sends the communication about the Convent to all the major Officers of the Order and to all the active Prefectures; and in the case that the National Magisterium is away on holiday or for any other reason, the Provincial Master of Auvergne (in France) has the right to summon the Convent. At any time that extraordinary circumstances require the holding of a National Convent for the good of the Order, he will require it to be requested by one of the three Provinces of France and affirmed by another; the National Convent will be convened extraordinarily by the National Grand Master and in his absence by the Provincial Master or most senior Administrator of the two Provinces which desire it.
The complete Convent is composed of 81 personnages, according to the following ranking:
- The National Grand Master
- Three Provincial Masters
- Nine Great Priors
- Eight Administrative Counsellors
- Three Visitors-General
- Three Chancellors of the Provinces
- Fifty-four Prefects or Representatives of the Prefectures
The latter rank among themselves according to the date of the establishment of their Prefectures, without regard to the Register, with the sole distinction that the Prefects present will outrank simple Representatives.
The Provincial Masters may send a Representative in their place, but the Great Priors, Visitors and Chancellors may only be replaced in case of emergency by a Representative named by their respective Chapter.
All the Knights present at these meetings have the right to participate in the National Convent, seated outside the precinct of the Capitular Members, observing the silence and respect due to this august legislative Assembly of the Order.
The National Convent must be announced six months in advance to all the Prefectures by the Chancellor, who invites them in letters of convocation to send him the requests that they wish to instroduce into discussion. He drafts a methodical document which sets out the agenda of the Capitular Conferences and sends it out three months before the Prefectorial Meetings, to allow the latter to give specific instructions to their Representatives. No item may be debated in the National Chapters which has not previously been proposed and communicated to all the Prefectures.
The seat of the National Convent of France, as well as the Administrative Council of His Most Serence Highness the Grand Master, is in Paris, if circumstances permit.
National Grand Master
The National Grand Master is elected at the Convent by the majority of the votes of the Provincial Masters, Great Priors, Visitors and Prefects of the Provinces together, presided over ad hoc by the Provincial Master of Auvergne.
In his Council the National Grand Master remits patents to the Provincial Masters and National Counselors.
The National Grand Master proclaims and registers in his Council all new Prefectures, and has inscribed in the General Register those Regular Lodges of the realm formed by the Scottish Directorates.
The National Grand Master, being the Head of the Order in France and responsible for the state of good conduct of all its members, receives in his Council the obedience of all the Provincial Masters, Great Priors and Prefects, (except the Chiefs and Officers of exempt Priories). This obedience is a promise never to undertake anything in the Order which is contrary to the laws of the realm.
The Great Priors will take care to inform His Most Serene Highness the Grand Master of new establishments and acts of beneficence which are within the extent of their jurisdiction; so that the latter, by virtue of the signal protection he must afford through his Vows to the Order, may make mention of this when the opportunity presents itself.
The National Grand Master always has the casting vote in case of an equal balance of votes.
National Council of Administration
The National Council of Administration or Grand Scottish Directorate in France is composed of nine persons including His Most Serene Highness the Grand Master. The members of this Council, who within it exercise certain honorific rights and entertain the final appeals of the Directorates in Symbolic Lodge matters are chosen by His Most Serene Highness the Grand Master from among three subjects presented by the Convent. If a station is vacated between Convents, it may on the approval of three Provincial Masters appoint an Officer ad interim until the next Convent.
The Provincial Masters and Great Priors that are located on the premises are noble members of the Tribunal and rank immediately after His Most Serene Highness the Grand Master.
A National Chancellor is selected from among these Consellors, who convenes the Convent on the orders of His Most Serene Highness the Grand Master or of his noble Representative, and stamps all acts, patents and minutes.
Sent both to the Convent and to the National Council, to which he carries the Great Seal: he has the first consultative vote both at the Convent and in the Council immediately after the Grand Master, and sits at the desk opposite the Grand Master, assisted by his Secretaries.
The Provincial Chapter is the assembly of Representatives of the Province chaired by the Provincial Master. It is composed of 27 people if it is complete: the Provincial Master, the three Great Priors, the Visitor-General, Provincial Chancellor, eighteen Prefects and three Prioral Visitors.
The Provincial Chapter is held every three years in the month of October in the m,ain meeting-place of the Province. The Chancellor sends the letters of invitation to the people who have a right to participate in it.
The only business conducted at the Provincial Chapter is that which concern the entire Province, such as a change in Register numbers, the erection of new Prefectures, the election or confirmation of a Senior Officer of the Order, or a final appeal to the Prioral Chapters.
All the Provincial Chapters must be opened and closed solemnly and members properly vested. If among the Senior Provincial Officers, Prefectorial Representatives or Provincial Counsellors there is an Ecclesiastical Knight, he must fulfill the functions of his office, and in his absence the Ecclesiastical Prior of the Prefecture of the venue.
The Provincial Master is the Leader and the Superior of his Province. All the Knights owe him respect and obedience, and must give it to him at the time of their Reception at the hands of the Prefect.
The Provincial Master may not demand anything of any Brother which is outside the General Regulations, or innovate any provision relative to the Province, without the consent of the majority of the Chapter, the sacred law of majority being fundamental and constitutive in the Order.
The Provincial Master presides over the Provincial Chapter. If he is prevented from attending he has the right to appoint a Commissioner to attend on his behalf; this Commissioner ranks below the Great Priors present. The Provincial Master represents of right his Province at the Convent-General, but there he should vote according to his instructions. The patents of all the Officers of the Province are sent out in his name, as well as in that of the National Master, by the Chancellor, and countersigned by the Visitor- General of the Province and the Prior of the District.
Each year the Visitor-General of the Province must send to the Provincial Master a status report on the Province and the various institutions which compose it.
The Provincial Master is elected to the Provincial Chapter in the following manner: the Prefects of each Priory, having received the instructions of their constituents, gather in a room and voluntarily give their sealed votes to the Great Prior, who carries these seven votes to the Conclave chaired by the Visitor- General of the Province and which is composed of the Chancellor, the Prioral Visitors and Honorary Counsellors (if there are any) of the Province.
The Chancellor mixes up the 21 slips and opens them in the presence of the Great Priors. After the Prefects have arrived in the Great Choir and taken their places, and the Conclave having taken theirs, the Visitor-General proclaims the new Provincial Master, and if he is on the premises, his Ceremony of Installation is proceeded with immediately. Otherwise, it sends him a Knight of Honor who relates the decree of his election, and requests him if it is possible, to go straightway to the venue of the Provincial Chapter, to receive the investiture.
In the case of absence, advanced age or other circumstances which demand his attention, one may at the behest and consent of the Provincial Master appoint in the same manner a coadjutor, who deputizes for the Provincial Master in the case of absence and replaces him in taking care of the law.
Visitor-General of the Province
The Visitor of the Province is elected by a majority of the votes of the Provincial Chapter from among the Prefects or other Capitular members.
The Visitor makes account to each Provincial Chapter of the state of the Prefectures, their finances, Commanderies, Hospices and the number of Knights which compose the Register and General Armorial of the Province.
Since the funds of the Order are intended for the poor, and the costs of the visits are high, this can lead to abuse. Therefore one must select the Vsitor of the Province from among the most zealous and affluent Knights, who will make the visits at his own expense, and he should not be repaid except as specially ordered by his Chapter.
The Visitor-General of the Province, during his tour of office, will keep a report on the state of the Order in each Prefecture, which will contain the names of the Order and the age of the Prefects, Officer Commanders, Knights and other members of the Order; their civil positions and those in the Order, the state of the Registers of finances, establishments and acts of charity, the observations of the Prefects and other Superiors and the complaints of the junior members.
The Visitor-General will be given the status of the Commanderies by the Deans and Visitors of the Prefectures, and the status of the Lodges by the Inspector of Novices. If he has the opportunity he will visit these establishments himself, to ensure the accuracy of their reports with his own eyes.
If the Visitor-General is unable to make the visits himself, they will be done by the Prioral Visitors, who are his natural delegates.
During the visit of the Visitor-General or the Particular Visitors, all Prefectures and Commanderies must open their records and accounts and accord them the same honors as their Superiors. The Visitor does not have the right to innovate on his sole authority, but he must be accountable for his inspection to the Provincial Chapters. If, however, during the course of one of his visits, the Visitor-General happens to find the Chapter divided and he believes the progress of this disorder has not caused too substantial a problem, the Visitor-General has the right to adjudicate provisionally and the parties are obliged to accept his judgment, unless they appeal to higher authorities, which will however not have a suspensive effect.
New Priories or Prefectures, as well as the Commanderies, in Districts where the Order is not yet active, must be established by the Visitor-General or in his absence the Prioral Visitor.
Chancellor of the Province
The Chancellor of the Province is elected by a majority of the votes of the Provincial Chapter from among the Prefects, Chancellors or other Prefectorial Officers.
His situation is one of the most important. He is the General Agent of the Province; all correspondence, the summary of the deliberations and the drafting of materials to be proposed to the Chapter pass through him.
He convenes the Chapter on the orders of the Provincial Master, or in his absence the senior Great Prior, his noble Deputy, drafts from propositions and requests of Prefectures the report for consideration and sends it out at least one month before the time of the meeting to all the Prefectures. He sends out all of the decisions, maintains the Registers and presents the materials to be discussed.
On behalf of the Grand Master he remits the Provincial brevets and Patents and collects fees in accordance with the taxes for the expenses for the Secretaries attached to the Province, and the other costs of the Chancellery.
The Chancellor notes and registers the seniority of the Members of the Provincial Chapter. The Master of Ceremonies of the Prefecture of the meeting-place, assuming the function of Master of Ceremonies of the Province, seats them according to their rank. The Chancellor is (if attending) seated in Chapters in the presence of and facing the President, but he ranks immediately after the Provincial Visitor and before the Prefects.
The Prioral Chancellors who attend the meeting of the Provincial Chapter, are seated next to the Provincial Chancellor, and offer their opinion and consultative advice after he does.
In case of absence or any impediment of the Provincial Chanceller, the Prioral Chancellor will perform his functions.
To reward the zeal of those who have long discharged significant repsonsibilities in the Province, the Provincial Chapter may appoint Honorary Counsellors and give them a place at the meetings and a consultative vote. Preference will be given to Honorary Counsellors of the Province who reside in the main meeing-place to compose the Administrative Council.
Foreign Princes or national aristocracy, who desire to belong to one of our Provinces, will be joined through this title to the Provincial Chapter.
The Provincial Master sends out the patents of Honorary Counsellors, to which the Visitor-General affixes his stamp.
In order to continue activities during the vacation of the Provincial Chapter, the latter, before removing itself, will each time create a Committee for the dispatch of routine business which will not suffer any delay, as well as to inform the individual Chancellors of the Prefectures of any general correspondence and business which affects the entire Province. The Committee will always be established in the main meeting-place of the Province and will provisionally judge all pressing cases, subject to the ratification of the neighboring Chapter, to which it will render an account of all its activites. The Visitor-General and the Chancellor of the Province are noble members of the Committee. Each year the Committee also allocates the costs of the Provincial Board in equal portions to the Prefectures. The Prefectorial Funds of the main meeting-place may pay advances, and all the Prefectorial Treaurers must immediately repay according to the proportion assigned to them.
§1 The Prioral Chapter is the Assembly of Representatives of the united Prefectures, under the authority of the Great Prior. When the six Prefectures are active, they are composed of nine persons: the Great Prior, the six Prefects, the Visitor and the Chancellor of the Priory.
§2 It is held regularly around Easter, at the main meeting-place of the Priory.
§3 The reasoned opinion on the erection, or the translation of new Prefectures, the judgment of matters devolved by appeal of the Prefectural Chapter to this tribunal, as well as the constitution of all Symbolic Lodges, and the definition of all Masonic proceedings, which can no longer lodge an appeal to the National Grand Directorate, belong to the Priories, which take as their ostensible title the name of Scottish Directorate.
§4 The Great Prior is the noble Deputy of the Provincial Master within the bounds of his jurisdiction. In this capacity the Knights owe him respect and obedience under the usual restrictions.
§5 The Great Prior is elected by the six Prefects, and chosen from among them or from other Officers of the Priory. The election is presided over by the Visitor-General of the Province, noble representative of the Provincial Chapter, confirmed by the Chapter and the Provincial Master, who sends him his patent and notifies the National Grand Master.
§6 The Prioral Visitor represents the Visitor-General within the bounds of his jurisdiction. He can only claim expenses for visits when they have been authorized by the Chapter. He is elected by the Prioral Chapter and confirmed by the Provincial Chapter. His patent is sent by the Chancellor of the Province in the name of the Master, and countersigned by the Visitor-General, who installs him.
§7 The Prioral Chancellor is selected and patented in the same manner. He convenes the Prioral Chapter some time in January, and later on, at the beginning of March, sends the report of the decisions taken to the Prefectures of his District. In case of absence or impediment, the Chancellor of the Prefecture replaces him as of right.
§8 The costs of the meeting of the Provincial Chapters are drawn by the Visitor from the Prefectorial funds and those of a Symbolic Lodge, at the request of the Scottish Grand Lodges. The former, in view of the costs of the meeting of the Provincial Chapters, are drawn by the Visitor from the Prefectorial funds of the main location, and reimbursed in equal proportion by the Prefectures. The accounts must be settled in Chapter before the Closing.
§9 The Patents that the Great Priory is authorized to issue are those of the erection of a new Prefecture and that of the Symbolic Lodges, at the request of the Scottish Grand Lodge. The former, in light of the considerable costs of creating new establishments, are given gratis, from the reserve of the 48 sols fees from the dispatch of the collated copy of the Rules, Rituals, Codes, Registery and Novitiate. In reality, the Patents of newly-constituted or rectified Lodges are sent out by the Scottish Directorate, but since in this case there is no fund to cover it, in abandoning the rights of Constitution to the Scottish Grand Lodge, it holds back two Louis for the cost of shipment of the Symbolic Code and the four Masonic Grades.
§10 Similarly to the Provincial Chapter the Priory can nominate Honorary Counsellors and a Committee for the dispatch of urgent business during its recess.
Composition of Prefectorial Chapters
§1 A Prefecture is the Assembly of Commanders of the District, chaired by the Prefect and headed by the Inspectors of the Classes, the Chancellor and other Officers. It is permanently in existence and active; while the Assemblies of the Superior Tribunals are not permanent.
§2 The Prefectorial Chapter is composed of the Prefect, the Dean, the Senior, the Ecclesiastical Prior, the nine Commanders of the District, the Chancellor, the Treasurer, the Almoner, the Inspector of Novices or Squires and the Master of Ceremonies.
§3 The Prefectorial Chapter is therefore composed of eighteen persons, if it is complete.
When first established, if there are not yet many capable people, the Commanderies and positions may be combined; but when (the Prefect) or the Prefecture is large, one will avoid giving two positions to the same person.
§4 An Officer of the Chapter, if absent, does not have the right to be represented by another, because his title is personal and may not be transferred, except by the consent of the Chapter. But in the case of a prolonged absence the Chapter can name a Substitute, for such position that an Office- holder cannot exercise himself.
§5 Commanders who represent their Districts will for this reason be excepted from this law, to which end both the Commandery and also the Commander may substitute a justified proxy all and any time he is prevented from visiting the Chapter in person, and to convey the wishes of the Knights of his District.
§6 All the Officers of the Province and the Priory, when they attend Prefectorial Chapter, are seated on the right of the Prefect and have the first consultative vote.
§7 The business which the Prefectorial Chapters transact are the general administration of the Prefecture, the establishment of Commanderies and of the Hospice, the election of Officers, the review of economic plans or beneficence which are presented, the Reception of new Knights, the establishment of Masonic Lodges, the accounts of Administrative Assistants, etc.
§8 The Prefectorial Chapter meets every 15 days and at least once a month; and extraordinarily each time that Prefect judges it appropriate.
§9 The Knights in Commanderies will be especially summoned for the proposal of a new Candidate, for the election of a Candidate, for the election of a Prefect and for the establishment of a Prefectorial Hospice.
The Prefect may summon them to other Assemblies if he judges it appropriate, although they do not have voting rights; but he will ask for their opinion to further clarify the deliberation that is taking place.
§ 10 Any matter deemed important to the majoirty of the voters must not be decided in haste, but communicated to the Commanderies, so that all Knights may contribute to the deliberations and be all the more keenly involved in the aims of the Order, in the Administration to which they belong. Commanders must attend the Assembly set for the decision, and vote according to the prevailing opinion of the Knights of their District. Commanderies which have not sent their voter at the time prescribed may not argue against the decision.
§ 11 The President receives the votes of the Capitular members, and the Chancellor counts them and keeps record. All decisions, without distinction, must be decided by the majority, unless the Chapter itself cannot decide, when there must be a three-quarters majority or a unanimous vote. If the deliberation concerns an exclusion, it must receive at least three-quarters of the votes.
§ 12 For there to be a Capitular vote, there must be present at least five members who have the right to vote, not including the Knights who the Head has been pleased to summons in order to hear their consultative opinions. In the case of the votes being equal, the discussion must be held over until the next Assembly, and then the Notices for the Convocation must be marked to indicate that it is to reconvene on the subject not decided at the last Assemby; and if at this Assembly the votes are again found to be equally split, the vote of the Prefect is preponderant and decisive, unless he prefers to send it for a third vote, at which the business in question must be terminated.
§ 13 All Capitular member who is 50 years old, who has held Office in the Prefecture for 15 years; or if he is less than 50 years old, but has given 20 years of service, has the right to veteran status and then become an Honorary Counsellor of his Chapter. In this capacity he enjoys a deliberative vote in all the Assemblies.
§ 14 Any Officer who gives the Chapter a letter requesting to resign his office, will not be allowed to, until he has asked three times, and at equal intervals from month to month. The minutes of a Capitular Assembly will be drafted by the Chancellor to include the resignation, read at the next Assembly, and signed by at least five of the Capitular members who were present.
§1 This Knight is the Head of the Prefecture, whose different members he governs in accordance with the Statutes and the spirit of the Order He is the noble Representative of the Prefecture at Superior Assemblies. All the Knights regardless of Class or Dignity owe him respect and obedience.
§2 The election of the Prefect is performed by the three Inspectors, Heads of the Classes and the Capitular Commanders, who must vote according to the majority votes of the Knights of their District, convened for this purpose. The Prefectorial Chapter presents three Candidates, from whom they are obliged to choose one. The election is presided over by the Chancellor who receives the votes, without having one himself; proclaimed by the Master of Ceremonies, and confirmed by the Provincial Master.
The new Prefect receives his Patent for the Provincial Chapter from the Chancellor and countersigned by the Great Prior and Visitor-General. He is installed in the Prefecture by the Visitor-General of the Province, or in his absence by the Prioral Visitor.
§3 The Convocation of all the Chapters is called on the orders of the Prefect or at the call of the Master of Ceremonies, or directly by the Secretary of the Chapter. In the absence of the Prefect, the Dean, after him the Ecclesiastical Prior, and then the Senior have the right to convene it. These latter members can only conven it under the authority of a Conclave composed of the three Inspectors of the Classes and the Chancellor. If the Prefect, althought present, refuses to convene it for nine days, the Conclave may be convened and the Dean authorized to run it. If, at the time fixed by Capitular decree or indicated in the Notice, the Prefect or President has not arrived, the delegates wait one quarter of an hour, at the expiration of which the Dean or most senior Capitular member opens the Chapter.
§4 The Prefect may not break off any meeting, but he can give his opinion that discussion should be postponed until the next Assembly, and if the majority agrees, the meeting must not continue; he must of right send out all new proposals which require preliminary clarification to the next Assembly. The referral may be decided at the request of a member of the Conclave or of a Commander.
§5 All the Knights promise obedience to the Prefect. This obedience is not monastic and blind, but all must respect him, the Principal Depositary of the Laws and authority whose knowledge and zeal have determined the choice of the Chapter. They must give him all possible respect, not only in the internal assemblies in the Order but also in civil life; and he himself, more eager to reign over their hearts than to exercise an authority of pure representation, will take every care to earn the trust and friendship of his Brethren.
§6 If against all expectations a Prefect forgets himself to the point of wanting to commit acts of violence in the Chapter, forcing deliberations, suspending the work or committing any action which would make the Constitution of the Order collapse, the Chapter may under the authority of the Dean and the majority of two-thirds of the votes, make a decree against him, which must be implemented and sent straight to the Superiors of the Provinces, the Provincial Master, the Great Prior and the Visitor-General, notwithstanding any appeal which will be discussed at the right time and place. In that case the Great Prior must establish a Council of at least five members of the Priory, and if it confirms the decree it may temporarily suspend the Prefect from all his functions.
§7 If the Prefect cannot visit the Provincial and National Prioral Chapters in person, in which he cannot however vote except in accordance with the clear instructions of his constituents, the Chapter will name one of its members to represent it, and preferably one of the Officers of the Conclave.
§8 The Prefect regulates and governs the Temple or the Grand Commandery of the Prefecture, which is the common House rented or bought out of the monies from the Order set aside for this purpose. This House must be suitable for holding the different Assemblies of the Order.
It is in this Temple of friendship and beneficence that the Knights will go to enjoy together those pure and honest pleasures. A Knight or Companion at Arms shall be lodged there, to manage the running of the house under the orders of the Prefect, or of the Master of Ceremonies.
The Dean of the Chapter
§1 The Knight Banneret or Inspector of Military Knights is the Dean or the second person of the Chapter, and he by right replaces the Prefect in case of his absence or holiday.
§2 He is elected by the Chapter, to which all the Military Knights are called. His patent, like that of all the Officers of the Prefecture are remitted to the Prefectorial Chapter under the authority of the National and Provincial Masters and countersigned by the Great Prior and the Visitor-General.
§3 All Companions at Arms owe obedience to the Knight Banneret and are commanded by him; above all the Standard-Bearer and the Sword-Bearer, who are his nominees.
§4 The Standard of the Prefecture, divided in two, like the ancient Beauceant of the Knights of the Temple, bears on one side the Arms of the Province and on the other the the Arms of the Prefecture.
§5 The Dean is the noble Visitor of the Commanderies of the Prefecture, and he oversees with sternness the regular administration of the different funds of the Order, which are all devoted to the benefit of humanity.
He sets up the new establishments and visits the existing ones.
He makes a presentation on their status to the Chapter and each year to the Prioral Visitor.
§6 The Dean is a member of the Privy Council and the Commission of the Treasury, and one of the three Directors of the Hospice, which is the beneficent establishment of the Prefecture, determined by Capitular decree according to the most pressing needs of the locality: whether they wish to establish an infirmary or to bring relief to the sick; or if they prefer to found a home for the education for orphans, foundlings or children born to parents who are powerless to raise them; or if they would open an asylum for the poor, to ensure honest indigents a guaranteed subsistence in exchange for work commensurate with their abilities; or finally if they would wish to bear our beneficence to the countryside by establishing village fairs for the encouragement of good morals and industry by improving the rural schools; establishing midwives or skilled surgeons in the countryside to benefit the useful class of farmers; or such other means as may be considered suitable to relieve humanity in an efficient manner.
§7 The three Inspectors of Classes in the Hospice will receive people they judge worthy of the majority of their votes, and share (with them) and between themselves the details of the administrative functions. The Dean will mainly act to police and inspect those who are the employees, and will maintain order and regularity. The Ecclesiastical Prior will devote himself to spiritual duties, to the preservation of morality and to education which he may see fit to give it. The Senior will care for the accounts and all the economic details.
§8 The Aadministrators of the Hospice will hold a meeting each week to review the duties under their care, and of preference will employ Companions at Arms of the Order for those duties.
§9 The Dean has a particular responsibility for the life and morality of the Military Knights, and assists the Ecclesiastical Prior in making inquiry about the life ands morality of the Brothers of his class who wish to be inducted into the Novitiate.
The Ecclesiastical Prior
§1 The Ecclesiastical Prior, as Inspector of Regular Knights is in charge of all religious ceremonies and the spiritual leadership of the beneficent foundations of the Order.
§2 He is especially charged with the preservation of law and morals. For this reason he is in charge of making the rmost severe inquiries which are to be made prior to receiving a Candidate to the Novitiate, and gives his permission in writing to the Commander who has had him registered.
§3 The Ecclesiastical Prior is elected by the Chapter, to which the Knights are included for this ballot.
§4 In Chapters of Vestition, he may never chair but invariably occupies the first place to the left of the President, and fulfils the functions of his Office; but in Chapters of Deliberation he may, in the absence of the Prefect and the Dean, preside over the meetings in the rank of his Office.
The Senior of the Chapter
§1 The Inspecter of Knights of the Civil Class is at the same time the Senior of the Chapter, and he presides over it in the absence of the three other Chiefs.
§2 He is elected by the members of the Chapter, to which are added the Civil Knights, to form the Conclave.
§3 He has the particular responsibility for the lives and moraliy of the Civil Knights. He assists the Ecclesiastical Prior in collecting information on the Candidates of his Class.
§4 The Senior is a member of the Privy Council and the Commission of the Treasury, and one of the Administrators of the Hospice, and has particular charge over the accounting and all economic details.
The Prefectorial Chancellor
§1 The Station of this Knight is one of the most important of the Chapter. He is elected by a majority of votes.
§2 The Chancellor is the General Agent of the Prefecture and Head of the Chancellery. He creates, stamps and seals all communications of the Order. He is assisted by one titled Secretary-in-Chief of the Chapter, a Knight, who helps him in his functions and watches over protocol. The Chancellery is further composed of one or several Assistant Companions at Arms who take the vow of fidelity and discretion between the hands of the Chancellor in full Chapter.
§3 The Chancellor has a particular duty to preserve the laws of the Order. In this quality of his office he is responsible for everything concerning at the execution of the laws, and the Chapter is obliged to rule on his reports, and to make mention hereunto on the registers.
§4 As a result of the perfect knowledge of the laws which the Chancellor must necessarily have, he sets forth the law in answer to any question, and gives his opinion on all business brought before the Chapter, without prejudice to the deliberative vote he gives in his turn.
In important cases, he should request a referral of the proposal to the next Chapter meeting, to have time to be able to prepare sufficiently to report on the subject.
§5 The Chancellor or his Assistants maintain correspondence with the Superiors and the other Prefectures, both of the Province and the Order in general, in order to strengthen the intimate links of Brotherhood, and to reciprocally communicate those operations concerning beneficence which can serve as an example.
§6 The Chancellor is, however, expressly enjoined to simplify all correspondence, to avoid unnecessary writing and above all to consult with his colleagues, so that this does not become too onerous, and also to manage the costs carefully, because all our funds belong to the poor.
§7 The Chancellor amasses the proposals made in the course of the year, and drafts a journal of the deliberations which the Prefectures send to the Chancellor of the Priory, as is their right; as well as those matters which must be brought to the Provincial and National Chapters. However, he must send it after previously submitting it to the Chapter, and have it signed by the three principal Officers present.
§8 The Chancellor drafts all acts of the Chapter as well as instructions for the members of the Prefecture.
§9 The Chancellor takes a vow specific to the Chapter not to send to anyone any mailing of the Rules, Ritual, Code or other information concerning the Order without the consent of the Chapter, nor to make a copy for himself.
§ 10 He alone guards the archives, and all the Capitular members have the right to see them; but they must be accompanied by the Chancellor.
§ 11 The Chancellor must not write to anyone in the name of the Chapter, without having previously consulted it. In a pressing case, which permits no delay, he must at least confer with the Prefect, or in his absence the Dean, and later give account to the Chapter.
§ 12 Extracts and other mailings made by the Chancellor do not need to be stamped by the Prefect, but in his absence any extracts made by another who is performing his functions must be legalized.
§ 13 The Chancellery funds cover brevets and other remittances, and offset the cost of seals, paper, parchment, pens and other materials necessary to the Chancellery. The surplus must be used at the end of the year to pay bonuses to the Secretary of the Chapter and to other Assistants of the Chancellery. In the case of a shortfall the Chancellor will make this known.
§ 14 Since the costs of establishing Commanderies, and the Constitution and Rectification of Lodges is not covered by Chancellery monies, fees for these will be added to the Prefectorial funds. The first will cost three Louis; Letters of Constitution five; and those of Rectification sixty pounds. The Officers and Commanders receive the patent from the Prefectorial Chapter. The patent is sent under the authority of the National and Provincial Master, in the name of the Prefect by the Chancellor of the Prefecture and stamped by the Great Prior.
§ 15 The five main Officer dignitaries of the Chapter, being the Prefect, the Dean, the Ecclesiastical Prior, the Senior and the Chancellor form the Privy Council or Conclave, which adjudicates provisionally and in the first instance all matters which demand prompt action, because similary the Chapter cannot always be convened, and so that a multiplicity of votes do not overly extend the decision-taking process on current affairs.
§1 The Treasurer, charged with the accounting of the Order, is one of the most essential persons of the Chapter. A scrupulous probity and the most assiduous and vigilant zeal must characterize him. It is he who, since the Order has legal recourse, appears on their behalf in his own name in civil affairs.
§2 The Treasurer is the Head of the Commission of the Treasury, which will be covered below. He is charged with the placement of all the funds of the Order. He receives the dues and donations of the Knights, and maintains an exact record of expenses.
§3 He is elected by a majority of votes of the Chapter, which will make its choice of a Knight who understand business and whose personal fortune is solidly established.
To assist the Treasurer in his duties, he is assisted by the Procurator, who without being a Capitular Knight, is an Officer of the Prefecture, and who is discussed below.
§1 The Almoner is charged with the distribution of alms. The alms fund is devoted to acts of long-term beneficence such as those which are the result of prepared charitable plans, and he will avoid diminishing this fund through generosity which only has the object of bringing temporary relief to the unfortunate, for which other routes can be pursued. The Almoner helps sick Brothers, brings them aid which will be comforting to them, and presides over the funerals which the Order holds for those of its members who go the way of all flesh.
§2 He is elected in Chapter by a majority of votes, preferably including the Class of Regular Knights, of which he is also the Sub-Prior; although the Chapter is not strictly obliged to do this if there are not enough Knights of this Class to make this viable.
§3 The alms distributed at the Prefectorial Hospice by the Almoner originate from the collections taken in Chapters of Vestition and Solemnity and from a portion of the revenues of the Prefectorial Temple which are assigned to this end. The alms are not to be given to vagabonds who are beggars by profession, but one may give small weekly or monthly pensions to the shameful poor, fathers of destitute families or other impoverished people who are unable to earn their full subsistence, to whom will be given such supplements as are needed, depending on the state of the alms fund.
§4 The Almoner will be the Paymaster for the poor who are to receive this small charity on the days agreed at the Prefectorial Hospice, and will give a report every six months on his administration to the Chapter.
§5 In the event of the grave illness of a Brother, the Almoner charged by duty to bring him Fraternal consolations will secure the papers of the Order which have been deposited with him.
§6 On the decease of a Knight of the Order, the Chapter will assemble to celebrate his memory, and on that day a distribution of alms will be made to the poor.
On All Souls Dayis the Knights who died during the year will be named, and their remembrance commended to the Brethren. If a Capitular member dies, his place in the Chapter remains vacant and covered with a black mourning crepe until the appointment of his successor.
The Inspector of Squire Novices
§1 The Inspector of Novices or Squires is charged with instructing them in the ancient customs of the Order during their Novitiate and to watch over their conduct. The length of their probation depends on the report which he gives to the Chapter. He organizes the activities prescribed by the ancient Rule and converted by the new into works of beneficence and humanity, which they are obliged to exercise, either by visiting the Hospice often and dedicating themselves to the particulars of the charity; or by traveling into the countryside in order to perform acts of kindness there.
§2 The Inspector of Novices also belongs to the Lodges in the jurisdiction of the Prefecture, which in Symbolic Lodges bears the name of Scottish Grand Lodge. On the day of his annual inspection in the Lodges he receives the honors due to the Superiors of the Order.
The Master of Ceremonies
§1 The Master of Ceremonies is charged with all the Ritual work of the Order to ensure the celebration of the Feast Days and to ensure that the Arming of Knights is performed done according ot the Rite of the Order.
§2 He sees to and is in charge of the custody of all the effects and furniture in the communal house. He is the Lieutenant of the Temple. The Concierge receives his instructions from him, and is entirely subordinate to him.
§3 He is sent as the Knight of Honor on behalf of the Chapter every time there is an interesting communication to make to the Superiors of the Order.
§4 He writes up the Register and Armorial of the Prefecture. He adds the names and arms in the Order and the ages of the Knights, as well as their rank, and sends them to the Dean-Visitor each year, who sends it to the Prioral Visitor.
§5 He looks after the small expenditures necessary for the furnishing of the Chapters; but all extraordinary expenses must be communicated beforehand to the Commission of the Treasury.
§6 The position of Master of Ceremonies is the appointment of the Provincial Master from three subjects put forward by the Chapter. For this reason this position carries the name of a Magisterial Order, and the incumbent receives his Patent from the Provincial Master, countersigned by his private Secretary.
§1 Commanderies are the basic establishments of the Order, and their meetings form the Prefectures. They are governed by a Commander, who by virtue of this title and Office is a member of the Prefectorial Chapter, to which he conveys the wishes and the votes of his Knights. New Commanderies are established on the orders of the Prefectorial Chapter by the Dean-Visitor.
§2 In the jurisdiction of each Prefecture one can form nine Commanderies and no more. It is sufficient, however, for there to be three active ones for them to be able to join together into a Prefectorial Chapter.
§3 There may only be 9 Knights at the most in a Commandery, and 5 at the least. One of them is Senior and by right stands in for the Commander both in the Assemblies of the Chapter and in those of the Commandery, even another Procurator, responsible for economic details. In order to facilitate its initial establishment, the Chapter may however permit by exemption that during the first year the Commandery be composed only of 3 Knights.
§4 Commanders are elected in the following manner: the Knights of the Commandery present the subjects of their choice from their District to the Chapter, selected by them in an Assembly convened ad hoc. The Chapter names one of the three presented who is confirmed and patented by the Provincial Master and installed by the Dean-Visitor of the Chapter.
§5 When some Knight has the ability to create an establishment in some city of the Prefecture appropriate to be the location of a Commandery; he can attend the Chapter and ask it for the title of Commander-by- Brevet and permission to begin the necessary negotiations in the aforesaid place. The Chapter may then take a vote and a commission the titular Commander, in order to charge him to fulfill his commitments in the space of one year, after which time his commission ceases and his brevet is withdrawn from him if he has not satisfied the requirements.
§6 Any establishment that one wishes to found in a District where the Order is not yet in operation must necessarily begin with the formation of a Commandery, which is implemented under the orders and the direction of the neighboring Prefecture; and it is only after three Commanderies composed of 3 Knights each at least have been erected, that they can ask the Prioral or Provincial Chapter for the establishment of a Prefecture. One reiterates to this effect that it is expressly forbidden to create Priories or Prefectures in partibus, without there being a sufficient number of subordinate establishments which should serve as their base.
§7 The matters that the Chapter is required to refer to the Commandery are the election of a Prefect, the proposal of a new Candidate, the establishment of a Prefectorial Hospice and any other major issue whose communication to the Commanderies will have been ordered by the Chapter. In all three cases, all votes of the Knights will be communicated to the Chapter; in all others the Commander alone will vote in Chapter according to their majority opinion.
§8 Commanders have the right to assemble their Knights as often as business and the good of the Order requires. In the absence of the Commander, if the Chapter sends the communication of a decree which needs to be deliberated or promulgated to the meeting-place, the Senior has a right to assemble the Brethren.
§9 The Commanderies have the right, having previously received the consent of the Prefecture, to receive Squires or Novices, but they must never arm them Knights, which is a solemnity reserved to Prefectorial Chapters alone.
§1 The Conservatory Freemasonry of our Holy Order is its nursery, where the subjects one believes proper to enter are raised and prepared. It must therefore be intimately linked with the Inner Government of the Holy Order.
§2 The Convent finalizes the Statutes and General Regulations of Masonry, which serve as invariable rules to all those who follow the reform of the Most Holy Order.
§3 The Appeals of the Scottish Committees of Lodges are carried to the Scottish Grand Lodges or Prefectorial Chapters, from there to the Great Priories or Scottish Directorates, and finally, in the last instance, to the National Grand Directorate. The erection of a Lodge is accorded by the Scottish Directorate on the advice of the Scottish Grand Lodges, but it must be confirmed and registered by the National Grand Directorate.
§4 All Lodges are under the authority of a Commander who can unite many under his gavel, of which he is then the titular Head or Deputy Master. Every three years, each Lodge appoints a Venerable to govern it under his authority.
The Commission of the Treasurer
§1 In each Prefecture the Treasurer is tasked with the handling and placement of the monies of the Order, following the advice and decisions of the Commission of the Treasury.
§2 This is composed of the Treasurer-President, the three Inspecteurs of the Classes, or in their absence the most senior Officers of the Chapter substituted by him, and by the Procurator who has in this Commission of the Treasury the same functions as the Chancellor of the Chapter.
§3 The Treasurer makes the proposals and pays the expenses of the Chapter on bills or reminders. All extraordinary expenses must be proposed and approved by the Commission of the Treasury, and signed by at least three of the Commissioners before settlement. Every six months the Treasurer presents the accounts of the particular Treasury of the Prefecture to the Chapter.
§4 The Procurator is chosen from among the Knights of the Prefecture in the Prefectorial Chapter. The most scrupulous integrity and the most pure zeal should determine the choice of this Officer, as that of the Treasurer. He is a member of the Commission of the Treasury, and although he is not by reason of his appointment a Capitular member, after a few years of service he will become one with the title of Prefectorial Counsellor. In the absence of the Treasurer he replaces him of right in the Chapter. The Dator pannorum, chosen from among the Companions at Arms, is under his command.
Dues paid by all the Knights
§1 Every Brother received into the Inner Order must pay a dowry for his Reception, to be fixed in each Prefecture according to local circumstances, of which one third of this subscription will be paid at the time of his registration to the Novitiate, and the other two thirds when he is armed a Knight.
§2 This dowry must be the same for all the Brothers. The Commission of the Treasury is charged with attending to its payment and to make such arrangements with the Candidate on this matter which it deems appropriate. The uniformity of this contribution which in no case may be reduced, is the principle of the perfect equality of all the Brothers.
§3 The Chapter alone may in extraordinary cases and when it acts to acquire a distinguished person who will prove useful, dispense with payment of that dowry; but this exception, which can only be very rare, should be granted unanimously, and without the contradiction of a single Capitular member.
§4 No Brother can have any outstanding amount due to any Commandery or charge in the Chapter, to which end they must have a plenary receipt from the Commission of the Treasury regarding their right of Reception; and before any election a list of eligible members is to be drawn up, among whom none can be included that still owe monies to the Treasury.
§5 This donation, which is to be invariably devoted without the least deduction to pious and solid establishments, is divided into three parts; two thirds belonging to the Prefectorial Hospice and the final third to the Temple.
§6 The placement of the various funds of the Order belongs to the Commission of the Temple and the Treasury, who administer them and report the interest payments of the Temple and the Hospice to the respective Administrators, when they are in session.
§7 The Temple or the Provincial Grand Commandery will be activated when the Chapter sees fit to make the acquisition of a House or suitable land upon which to build one. When one day it is richly endowed, after subtracting the funds of the purchase, construction and decoration, the surplus will be placed on interest; a quarter of the annuity will be paid towards the weekly alms, another quarter will be reserved for maintenance, and half will serve the Prefect to pay the respects of the Temple vis-à-vis the Knights of the Prefecture and especially foreign Brothers.
§8 The Hospice will be established when the funds have accrued significant capital and the Prefectorial Chapter deems it appropriate. The interest on the principal sums will be added up to this time, and it is only then that the current interest and successive augmentations will be applied to the uses prescribed by the Directors of the Hospice.
§9 The Chapter alone, to which the Knights are summoned, or at least at which their votes are counted as presented by their Commanders, will decide the time that the Prefectorial Hospice should be commenced, the place where it should be set up, as well as the kind of beneficent establishment which would be preferable.
§10 The Commission of the Treasury must give the respective Administrators of the Temple and the Hospice the status of their funds at least every six months, and the latter must report each year to the Chapter.
When these two benefices are in existence, the accounts of the application of income must be reviewed each year by the Treasurer and the Procurator, who are the Auditors, and who then make their presentation to the Chapter.
§11 It is the Chapter alone which can reprimand an Administrator following the poor application of funds, and instruct him to be more cautious and more attentive in future.
§1 Once the Hospice is up and running and well-funded, the Rural Benefice prescribed by the Rule may be established, by applying the funds collected from the Registration of Novices.
§2 The Rural Benefice will then be devoted to works of charity to be carried out in the countryside. There a place will be purchased and the House of the Novices in the Prefecture will be prepared. Two thirds will be invariably assigned to good works and administered by the Ecclesiastical Prior. One third of the revenues of the Rural Benefice can be used by the Master of Novices in the maintenance of the House of the Novices and other expenditures, to receive Brothers who wish to taste the pleasures of retirement, and Novices come to serve their apprenticeship.
§1 All the Knights at the commencement of their Reception into the Novitiate undertake to pay an annual Capitation of a Ducat valued in France as 12tt and intended to be added to three quarters of the Scottish Grade fee. The particular Treasury of the Prefecture serves to offset the current costs of correspondance, Receptions, Regalia, etc., as well as contributing to communcal expenses and meetings of the Superior Prioral Chapters, both Provincial and National.
§2 This contribution is paid every year on the 1st of July into the hands of the Minister Responsionum charged which receiving it. Those of the Brethren who have been asked for it and who have let it ride for a year without paying, are required to pay double as a form of amends, on the simple assignation of the Treasurer, from which one may only make an appeal to the assembled Chapter. Like the Knights of the Holy Order all Masonic members of a Reunited Lodge, who are Novices, pay each year an ecu of 6tt, to be added to the Prefectorial funds.
§3 As a form of recognition of the favor that the Order extends to Offical dignitaires in decorating them with a duty or title, which gives them a more satisfying influence in the government of the Order; upon their election they will pay two Louis for their brevet, to be added to the Prefectorial funds.
§4 The costs of the Prioral Chapters are split equally between the different Prefectures by the Chancellor and paid by the respective Treasurers upon the receipt of an invoice.
§5 The costs of the Provincial Chapters and other common expenses of the Province are split equally each year between the different Prefectures by the Provincial Administrative Committee and paid upon receipt of an invoice by the respective Treasurers.
§1 Each Prefecture being subdivided into nine jurisdictions, which form as many Commanderies within them, under which authority the Masonic Lodges are placed; the Commanderies have their own funds and Adminstration. The fund of the Commandery is administered like the Prefectorial fund by the Procurator, under the authority of the Commission of the Treasury formed by the Commander and the Senior. The accounts are given every six months to the Commandery, every year to the Dean-Visitor, and to the Superior Visitors whenever they request them.
§2 This fund, which is properly the Reserve Fund of the Lodges, is created out of the four different affiliations or Symbolic Receptions which are performed by the Lodges in the jurisdiction.
§3 When the funds of a Commandery reach 100 Louis, they are then put into use as an annuity which will serve as the specific establishment for acts of beneficence, as determined by the Prefectorial Chapter on the observations of the Knights, and which will be administered by the Commander.
The Commandery will however have the right, before establishing an annuity for acts of beneficence, to undertake under the authority of the Chapter the acquisition of a communal House for the Assemblies of the Knights and the Lodge in the town where it is located.
Masonic Lodge Funds
§1 The Masonic funds are created from three quarters of the Affiliation and Initiation fees from the three first Grades of Masonry, and from a quarter of the fee for Reception into the Scottish Grade, as well as the annual dues; the fees for Reception and Capitation are fixed by each Lodge according to its needs and its strengths, and confirmed by the Scottish Grand Lodge.
§2 The disposition of Lodge funds is the responsibility of the Scottish Committee of that Lodge under the direction of the Lodge Treasurer, who must present the accounts in Committee every six months and every year in the Lodge.
§3 The Inspector of Novices and the Deputy Master should oversee the use the Lodges make of their monies; despite the fact that they belong to them, they should not squander them on vain or ridiculous purchases, but, guided by the example of the Inner Order for which they are the nursery, the superfluous funds should be used for acts of clear and well-considered beneficence, which are proposed by the Scottish Committee and agreed to by the Lodge.
§1 All ecomonic plans presented to improve the well-being of the Chapter by making good use of the funds, or by working to procure new ones, should be brought before the Chapter, which will first send them for examination by the Commission of the Treasury, who will then agree on its final conclusions, and present them to the Chapter through the Treasurer.
§2 If anyone proposes a plan common to several Prefectures or even to the entire Province – it should be brought to the understanding of the Prioral or Provincial Chapter to receive a ruling de commodo vel incommodo. They will rule immediately either in pleno, or on the initial report of the Commissioners nominated to examine it. When the Order receives gifts from visitors as well as from its members, they should be used in accordance with the wishes of the benefactor, so long as that is not contrary to religion nor to the government, and in the absence of such instructions, the Order will make use of them in the manner which is most condusive to the benefit of humanity and the country.
Completed and fixed at the Convent National of France held in Lyons on10 Dec. 1778
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