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Rosicrucian and Masonic Origins
...Then appears that charming "first American gentleman," Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who together with the Marquis de Lafayette, played an important role in this drama of empires. While in France, Dr. Franklin was privileged to receive definite esoteric instruction. It is noteworthy that Franklin was the first in America to reprint Anderson's Constitutions of the Free-Masons, which is a most prized work on the subject, though its accuracy is disputed. Through all this stormy period, these impressive figures come and go, part of a definite organization of political and religious thought—a functioning body of philosophers represented in Spain by no less an individual than Cervantes, in France by Cagliostro and St.-Germain, in Germany by Gichtel and Andreae, in England by Bacon, More, and Raleigh, and in America by Washington and Franklin. Coincident with the Baconian agitation in England, the Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis appeared in Germany, both of these works being contributions to the establishment of a philosophic government upon the earth.
One of the outstanding links between the Rosicrucian Mysteries of the Middle Ages and modern Masonry is Elias Ashmole, the historian of the Order of the Garter and the first Englishman to compile the alchemical writings of the English chemists...