An Abbreviated History
of Scottish Rite

Records indicate Scottish Rite started in Paris, France, around 1758. It was at the Grand East in Paris that Etienne Morin received a patent on August 27, 1761, authorizing him to establish the Rite “in all the four parts of the world.” The Constitutions and Regulations were written in 1762, and Morin, who had originally been made a Mason in Bordeaux, left France to return to the modern-day Dominican Republic. In the West Indies, sometime between 1763 and 1767, Morin authorized Henry Francken to perform the degrees, and it was Francken who brought the Scottish Rite to America. On October 7, 1767, the Ineffable Lodge of Perfection was chartered and constituted in Albany, New York, making it the first body of the Rite of Perfection on the American continent. The early bodies initially offered degrees 4-25; the timing of the change to include up to 33 degrees continues to receive scholarly debate.


In 1851, Grand Commander Gourgas resigned at the age of 74. He named Illustrious Giles F. Yates, 33°, as his successor, who, though only 53 years old, resigned in a matter of days. His inaugural address was also to be his farewell address, and in it, he stated clearly why he was not accepting office. Among the reasons he stated were his many years of service, that he did not wish to obstruct the advancement of others, that he wished to serve as an example of how to let go of power, and his inability to reside near the jurisdiction’s headquarters. During that very brief tenure, the Grand East was moved from New York to Boston, with records kept at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts building. To succeed him as Grand Commander, Yates appointed Illustrious Edward Asa Raymond, 33°, a past Grand Master of Massachusetts and Grand Treasurer of the Supreme Council. Raymond was considered to be a most worthy successor, with a Masonic resumé that few Masons, if any, have ever equaled, and for the next 10 years, harmony reigned in the Supreme Council.

The University of Freemasonry

The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry which a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. In the United States, the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry. Scottish Rite acknowledges that there is no higher degree than that of Master Mason. Because of the extensive nature of the 29 degrees of the Scottish Rite, it has been called the University of Freemasonry.


Local bodies are organized into “Valleys”, States: Councils of Deliberation. There are nine Valleys in Massachusetts; Countries in Supreme Councils, In the U.S. the country is divided into the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction, with its Headquarters in Washington, DC and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, the fifteen Northeastern states, with its headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts.